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  • Writer's pictureCheryl Owens

Silence Blank Canvas Fear

Do you ever feel like you don't know where to start on a piece of artwork? You're not alone in your creative block! Try using three handy tips to silence blank canvas fear.

Blank canvas fear is the paralysis of ideas that can occasionally strike when faced with creating something new. One might assume that blank canvas fear is exclusive to painting from the name. However, it is not — blank canvas is merely a metaphor, symbolic of any creative endeavor affected by a block.

The sculptor working with clay might suddenly succumb to creative block, the fiber artist weaving a tapestry may suffer, the author writing a novel, the computer programmer designing a video game, why even a chef can agonize over what to cook for dinner. But alas, for this blog, we'll be sticking to the realm of fine art.

At one point or another blank canvas fear is the bane of every artist's creative existence. Unfortunately, no one is ever completely immune to the condition. So, realize that upon occasion, you will likely find yourself staring at a medium — whether paint, clay, or fiber — only to discover that the creative ideas aren't flowing.

As the name suggests, fear is usually at the heart of your creative block. The typical behavioral response to fear is fleeing, freezing, or fighting. So be sure to choose the latter! Don't be afraid to face that void space on the right side of your brain head-on! Once you've done that, you'll be able to recover your creative mojo, embrace the materials you have, and silence blank canvas fear.

Actor Alan Alda once beautifully expressed his observations regarding the relationship between creativity and the human spirit when he said (unabridged version), “Be brave enough to live creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You cannot get there by bus, only by hard work, risking and by not quite knowing what you are doing. What you will discover will be wonderful: Yourself.”

Alan Alda's words are undoubtedly inspiring! What could be better than discarding fear and discovering yourself through your creativity? If you've made it to this point in the ARTicle, we can assume that you ARE brave enough to live creatively — even if it means leaving your comfort zone. We should also assume that you're interested in a few handy tips for when you encounter the inevitable creative block. So, by all means, read on!

Three Tips to Help Silence Blank Canvas Fear

[ No. 1 ] Make No Mistake

One fear that may crop up is making a mistake. However, you may cast that fear from your psyche and not allow that to hinder your progress. Repeatedly tell yourself that "anything I do when creating my art — can be undone just as easily." So if you make marks on that white canvas that you're not happy with, go over them or make the marks into something else entirely. If it's clay you're working with, nothing is more forgiving. You may remold your forms and smooth over your details. And even the fiber artist can rip out a few rows of the weave and start fresh. Failure will be part of your growth as an artist. So there is absolutely nothing to fear, and you should be comforted in knowing that in the end, you have the control to change anything about your art that doesn't make you happy.

[ No. 2 ] Be Ready & Set

Indeed, you remember 'Ready. Set. Go.' from your childhood. It is a phrase that marked the beginning of an event — perhaps a three-legged race at the family picnic. You would have never thought to start the race with 'Go. Ready. Set.' — nor should you create your artwork in that sequence. Getting ready and set before you go will help you silence blank canvas fear before it gets a foothold. Be prepared before you jump into your artwork. Firstly, find a comfortable, well-lit workspace with enough room to spread out. Ensure that it is a space you can leave works in progress — to alleviate any dread around dragging things out or cleaning things up. Have all the tools and materials you will need at your fingertips. Always make sure that you have clear ideas about what you are creating and reasonable expectations for the outcome. If it's the idea part you're stuck on, look to other artists and their art for inspiration. Photographs are a great source of inspiration too! On this website, check out Artsy Inspo for oodles of super-cool images that inspire.

[ No. 3 ] Enjoy the Ride

Children seem to understand better than adults that creating art is an amazing adventure! They are much more able to live in the moment and not worry about the outcome. When going on an adventure, do you worry about the memories you'll take away — or do you live in the moment, enjoying the ride? Hopefully, you relish the experience, as you should when creating art. Focus on the process rather than the product because worrying about the end result can be paralyzing. Remain in the moment for as long as possible. Do this by embracing the satisfaction you feel from the creative process. Enjoy the inspiration you find, the passion you feel when expressing your creativity, and the excitement of seeing all the elements of your art coming together. There is no room for worry about failure, success, or anything else when you live in the artistic moment.

We hope you found these three tips helpful! You might also consider an Art Adventure Box® product to help silence blank canvas fear! Mind 'n' Muse Boxes, Art Kit 'n' Kaboodles, and Mini Art Boxes are full of artful knowledge, artistic inspiration, and all the Earth-friendly tools and materials you need to create your art your way!


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