The White Page and the Blank Canvas
Before the pen begins to write, the brush to stroke, the potter’s wheel to spin, there is a time of gestation. This time before creating begins might be marked by frustration, fear, jumping in prematurely. The emerging work born out of willfulness or fear could resemble that angry letter we write and should have put into the desk drawer to be forgotten, but we mailed it.
For others so many ideas are competing in our heads we are unable to have the interior clarity to begin a new creation. When one friend sees my turmoil and not a focused intent, they gently suggest that perhaps I need to put the project down for a while, and let it season. And when the time is right to begin this new creation, I will know. Just lay it down for a while to season, which implies that later I will know when to pick it up and begin creating in earnest, with a focused, clear mind and imagination.
What happens within a creative person in this time of seasoning, is often inexplicable, a mystery, beyond anything that words could adequately describe. We just don’t know. But something like our interior tectonic plates move and we begin.
Have you had this experience? What was it like?
As the white page fills with words, the blank canvas with paint, the round ball of clay changes shape, Some loose all sense of self, disappear into what they and the clay or canvas are creating together. There is no such thing as time. We begin. We create, until something inside us says, stop. If you continue you will ruin the beauty you have created. One painter has said a painting has several stopping places. The creator may have to ponder, to gaze upon what they have created for some time. And maybe their gaze never ends and the work is finished, as if by default. Other times after a time of attentiveness, the artist picks up the work and continues, until the next stopping place.
Can you identify with this? How do you know when to stop, or when you have reached a stopping place, for now?
When you place your work alone and apart from distractions, and you gaze on this new creation which never existed until you gave birth, what feelings come forth from your heart?
Are there occasions when you have been changed as you felt turmoil, laid your idea down to season, picked it up with a clear mind and focused attention, and created and gave birth?
John Holliger July 2014