blank canvas final. by- adventureclubviral

 

the adventureclubinteractive blank canvas assignment gave me some unexpected perspective this week. although it seemed a simple assignment- choose a work, start from scratch and work on it everyday- i came to realize that a blank canvas is like a blank mind.

blank can be a beautiful thing: a nothing that turns into a something, the endlessness of possibilities, the spaciousness for retention, the potential for imagination…
blank can also be frustrating: nothing that could be anything, endless choices, decisions without direction, the potential for failure…

for my first blank canvas i wanted to paint. i wanted to commit to working on it for at least half an hour each day. for the first two days i ended up pacing around, poking around for random materials that might (but never did) have anything to do with the project. i didn’t have any goal in mind. not a single idea or vision or thought. and it’s funny the way the mind tends to wander when faced with a deadline or an obligation to work. the only applause i give myself for the first two days was that my intention was there. i wanted to work. i wanted to do something brilliant. but i wanted the idea to just occur to me. i wanted a masterpiece to just arrive. i admit- i wanted to be told how to do it. because then- of course-i would do the specific work required to make a brilliant masterpiece each half hour of each day. this perspective is of the passive. work doesn’t create itself. art doesn’t have instructions.

 

without using a brush, i painted a castle onto canvas with acrylics, cardboard strips and a sharpie pen. it’s not a masterpiece but it was fun and the colors pleased me. the above pictures show my daily progress after the first two days of being passive. and the perspective thereafter was this: just do it.

for my garden project, of hiding the hole under the fence, i was a little more ambitious at the outset. i bravely moved the cinder blocks around and actually threw some soil and sunflower seeds into the holes. my challenge in completing this work was not one of passiveness. instead it was the challenge of the uncontrollable and the external. on day three, the landscapers showed up and did their own work of trimming and pruning all the trees in the yard, making huge piles everywhere in the way of getting anything done. hence the final picture which shows little next to anything of a masterpiece. the perspective is this: even when you take the initiative to do your work, sometimes unexpected things get in the way.

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