One day at the Art Students League, my teacher was late. The art teachers there always wander in late and bleary, as if awakened from some brilliant art-making reverie only to remember that they have to teach a bunch of art-starved students.
Since the teacher was late, the proctor, a middle-aged woman with uncombed red hair and bright eyes, sidled over to me.
She told me, “Tape your paper to the board and just get started. You’re not afraid of the blank page, are you?”
“No,” I laughed. Not me. I’m not afraid of the blank the page. The blank slate. The tabula rasa. Every time I go to blog, every time I start to write or paint anything, there it is – the blank page. And I’m not afraid.
I am so not afraid of the blank page that I have to excise it immediately. I must do away with it. I must X out the blank page using any old black font on the white screen. I must not pause. I must not stop. I must let my fingers fly.
In art class with Robert Burridge at the Holbein Art event several years ago, Burridge instructed me, my sis, and my dad to prime the heavy paper with acrylic gesso. Gesso is that heavy white, chalky paint that makes the next layer of paint stick. Then, my dad, or maybe Burridge, said all that gesso-ing is just a way of smearing your DNA on the page, making it your own.
My problem with gesso-ing the page is that I have to wait for the page to dry. Once I gesso, I want to get right in there and go. Slide the brush around the page.
Yup, that’s me. Not afraid of the blank page, but impatient for the creative process.
For creative inspiration, check out Bob Burridge’s website.