It is rare to face a totally blank canvas. Most times there are ideas about the subject matter before the canvas appears on the easel. When the canvas is prepared, the subject matter is projected onto the canvas via the mind's eye. The empty space becomes a field for exploration.
There are times when the canvas has been started and images are present. Previous blogs have addressed this experience. It is as if the painting becomes frozen in time while the artist patiently waits for it to reveal itself. What is blank is the direction to move in.
Whether in front of a blank canvas, or a canvas that already has an image, patience is what is called for. To dive in prematurely is to set off a chain of events that inevitably leads to a crash landing. It is essential to have a path. Ultimately, the path will reveal itself. I hate the waiting.
While sitting in the "waiting room," it is essential to have a plan. At this point, my waiting room plan is this. Draw a line a day. Write the blog. Do something artistic, eg; read from an art periodical, look closely at a master painting, putz around in the studio. These simple actions keep the connection alive and real.
Since coming back from the workshop in Provincetown last March I've had the experience that something has been missing from my plan of action. It took me until yesterday to figure out what it was; conversations with other artists.
In Provincetown my work flowed freely. I was in conversation with other artists. Last fall I painted weekly with a dear friend until she moved to Europe.
It is essential to have other artists around. The artistic journey is lonely enough. The company of other artists was the missing piece. I say "was," because a friend arrived with a newpaper article about an art atelier that has opened in the town that is next to me. Yesterday I called and scheduled a time to speak with the master painter who teaches there. The prospect of being in conversation and painting with other artists completes my plan for the moment. The path has revealed itself. All I had to do was wait.