The Blank Canvas

Episode 220 · September 10th, 2022 · 38 mins 58 secs

About this Episode

Beginning a work of art is a leap into the unknown. Facing a blank canvas or panel or sheet of drawing paper, a lump of clay, a block of wood, a freshly prepared litho stone, or the untouched material of any art form is exhilarating but also a bit intimidating. How do you approach starting new work? Do you feel the energy of a fresh start, or is there some worry about how things will go? How do you overcome resistance to starting something new? Today we will talk about the ups and downs in launching into new work.

The beginning stages of your work challenges you with the question of "now what"? What, if anything, are you ready to change in your work? What urges and new ideas are you entertaining? These questions impact all people who are producing creative work, because we never rest long on past accomplishments. New beginnings are the part of the creative cycle that keep us moving forward.

How you respond to beginning new work depends on where you are in that cycle. At different times, starting fresh work can affect you differently. If your ideas are flowing well, you probably are excited about the new work. The question of what’s next brings a positive, confident feeling. If you're struggling though, it’s time for some serious reflection about your work, and trying to pinpoint where the problems are coming from. Another difficult situation can be feeling self-imposed pressure if you're previous piece was very successful. You may worry about being able to reach that level again. Understanding that progress takes time and multiple stages in which you integrate new skills and ideas is important. Another situation that affects how you approach new work is when you have a commitment or event that you’re working toward. In that case, there is a bigger context because you will be thinking about creating work that will show well together or that fits a specific theme.

While there are certainly difficulties or challenges with facing the metaphoric bank canvas, you can access positive aspects no matter where you are in the creative cycle. The fresh start, the sense of limitless possibilities is exciting, and there is a special energy when you have yet to make the first move on the new work. That is something to cultivate, to look forward to, and respect because every time you approach a new piece, you are showing commitment to your work, and a certain optimism that keeps you moving forward.

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What's new at Cold Wax Academy?
As their summer programming comes to a close this month, Rebecca and Jerry are busy planning for their online sessions for Fall Quarter which begins October 5th. If you are already a member, please respond to the survey Jerry sent out asking for member input on what you'd like to learn more about or delve into more deeply in upcoming online sessions. As instructors, Rebecca and Jerry are always aiming to increase member participation and involvement--one of the many valuable aspects of Cold Wax Academy. If you're not a member yet, this is a great time to join, catch up on all past recordings, and enjoy their interactive online sessions.
Please visit for more information.

Also-- stay tuned for information coming soon about Rebecca and Jerry's newest project, Espacio, dedicated to providing beautiful living and working spaces for artists and writers. Espacio's first offering is Casa Clavel, a modern, fully equipped house opening this September in the beautiful cultural city of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. You can learn more and make a reservation by emailing [email protected]. A dedicated Espacio website is coming soon!

Here is what a member named Sandy has to say about her own experience with Cold Wax Academy:
"Rebecca and Jerry have presented the most professional, authentic and structured approach to a creative activity I have ever come across. Their selfless sharing of all their knowledge and encouragement is a gift in my life unsurpassed."

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