I will never understand why I get so nervous before I start a body of work for a show. When I begin a painting just for the sake of it, it is the most relaxing process. Is it because there is a set timeline? Or because I am working to meet someone’s expectations?
I guess I’ll never know. I am starting to embrace this feeling as it has always brought me to a beautiful ending.
Grounding and Being Present
The beginning stage of creation is always the hardest. Many ideas and an empty canvas. The heart starts beating fast, and time goes faster. The show is getting closer, and I do not even know what to paint.
Here is where I start. I start by breathing, trying to calm myself down. I grab a piece of paper, and I start writing random ideas. I then take a break, go for a walk, or take a shower. The best ideas I ever had where always in the shower, or while driving. I give myself a few days to gather a couple of good ideas. I then eliminate some ideas, and put some together.
This is exactly what I have been doing for the past couple of days, and I finally have “the” idea.
Correcting Mistakes and Letting Go
However, before finding “the” idea, I had to test the other ones. I even started a couple of paintings that I ended up not liking. The painting itself was not bad; it would just not go well with “the” idea.
It is important to accept every step of the process, and to know that even those painting will indirectly be part of the final piece. There is not such a thing as “bad” painting. Each painting will always teach me something.
I did not hesitate, I put those “bad” paintings on the side, and I started over.
To clear my mind, I like to start from zero. I gathered my stretcher bars, canvas, stapler and gesso. I prepared the first three canvases that I will be working on. I find it therapeutic to pull the canvas, make it as tight as I can, and then applying gesso all over it.
The hardest painting a of series of paintings is always the first one. However, keeping in mind that I can always start over, and make an extra one gives me the tranquillity to paint without any expectations. This allows me be creative, to flow, and to work effortlessly.