Sometimes I wonder if what I consider the most challenging part of my job is actually an obstacle shared by other artists and creative friends. Every time I sit in front of a blank canvas I have this weird, haunting feeling that I don't know what to do, as if I had never held a brush in my hand. Then I start painting, not sure how to approach the canvas, and suddenly I am making one decision after another until things start to take shape. Most of the time I think I am probably making the wrong decisions, and yet I keep going anyway; as if I was given a job where I am only an instrument and not a creator.
At that point, painting along other artists, is where I have found most people get paralyzed by the fear of making a wrong choice. I might feel clueless, but I am rarely afraid because I know paint can be scraped off, a whole eye erased or painted over, and it is not the end of the world. It is usually said that there are lots of things that are like a riding a bike, you never forget how to do them. That does not apply to my creative process, and maybe others as well. I guess it is what the Buddhists called “the beginner’s mind”. I don’t know if this is the “right” way to approach any creative project, whether it be painting, writing or cooking: to forget every formula you have learned before and to treat each project as a whole new experience. I know that, for me, it is the most challenging and frustrating part of the journey. But then I know I cannot stop, I can only keep walking; evaluating every new form, value and shape. The same way I need to approach this new “project” of having another baby after 13 years. I might forgotten a lot of the things I have done before, but then that is the beauty of being in front of a “blank canvas”. There are no right or wrong formulas. Instead, there are various ways to try to achieve our best work; reevaluating our journey as we move along; enjoying every step; noticing mistakes and walking without fear. Maybe there is a formula for creating a masterpiece, but so far I'd rather not follow any formula whatsoever and instead be surprised by every new beginning, haunted by my temporary “amnesia” and my persistence to keep going.
originally written 8/6/15