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The Blank Page (or Blank Canvas) Syndrome

By Madelaine Ginsberg aka Madelaine Grant, Pen Woman In Art and Letters.



Many writers fear facing a blank page when starting a project. One way to handle this is to write something down, even if it’s only to write “I don’t know what to write.” The action you take when typing on your keyboard sets off your ability to keep on typing. Even if you put down sentences you will need to delete later, just moving your fingers often opens up a ‘creative faucet’ within you. Seeing something written down on that first blank sheet of paper gives you hope that you’ll be able to write a whole page. From then on, you are usually ready to continue the project.


For the artist facing a blank canvas or sheet of paper, the best thing I’ve found is to cover the surface with strokes of color that may have nothing at all to do with the finished painting. Once that white surface is completely obliterated, you get a sense of relief. At least I do. I often put down several layers alternating glazing and dry brush in different colors before actually beginning a painting. Moving my hand freely while holding a brush loaded with paint gives me a sense of freedom. Since I use acrylic paint, I don’t worry about “mistakes.” Any so-called mistake can be covered over with white paint and redone. This sense of ‘creative play’ opens up my ‘creative faucet’ and once that begins, I’m in business.


Next time you’re hit with a blank page or blank canvas, try this technique and see if it helps. It certainly makes starting something new easier, at least, for me. Try it yourself and see if it helps.

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