Normally it’s not a problem for me to start something new. I’ve never really had a problem with a blank page or an empty canvas. I try not to view the paper or canvas as too precious and although I still get frustrated when I’m not happy with end result (I talked about some recent frustrations here), I typically try to just get to work. This is probably why I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal to take everything down on one of my studio walls with the intention of working to fill it back up. An empty wall. No big deal. No grand plans. No pressure. Right?
Initially, yes. I was excited about the potential opportunities and had a vision — a vague vision, but still, a vision — of what it would look like once it was filled back up with new work. And that lasted for approximately 37.4 hours. Then… it hit me. This wall. It’s empty. Mild panic.
I temporarily hung up some earlier illustrations in an effort to ease my mind, but it’s now blank again. And I’m glad. Because during that time I also started a list. Well, several lists. I made a list of things I like. I made a list of things I want to be painting. My favorite colors. Things I want to practice and work on. Styles I’m drawn to. And then I had the idea for the 6x6 project…. Many of which (or all?) will probably be making their way onto the wall. At least for a while.
And the biggest thing I have to remember is that the vision I had of a wall covered with new work is not going to happen over night. It’s going to take time. And that is okay. Patience is not exactly one of my virtues, but I need to remember that, fortunately, hard work is. And I need to remember to view that wall as an ever changing thing. Paintings will go up and paintings will go down. It's not about the end result of a full wall. It's about the process and the painting. Anne Lamott's excellent book about writing is called Bird by Bird (which I highly recommend). And I'm going to borrow that philosophy and try to just take it painting by painting.
So on that note, it's the start of a new week, and time to get to work. I hope you have a great one!