Tuesday, September 18, 2012


For me, the hardest part of any project is just making myself begin.

Do you remember my telling you about this book I stumbled across in our little library, on a Color Mad Monday way back in the summer of '10? About how totally smitten I became with the work of W.B. Thompson from that point on, but since I couldn't afford any of his artwork, I supposed I'd just have to learn to do some color mad paintings of my own?

For as long as I can remember, I've had that problem with just getting started on something. Didn't matter whether it was cleaning my room or doing a school assignment when I was a kid, or cleaning out closets or doing yard work as an adult. I put it off and put it off, but once I finally force myself to just do one tiny thing, then I really get into it, and time goes by in a flash! What surprises me the most is that I'm the same way with things that aren't even chores -- things I actually enjoy doing, like cooking, writing in my journals, and making art.

There's something about a blank page that is rather intimidating, isn't there? It causes all kinds of self-doubt. Do I have any words or ideas or images that are worthy of this page, or will they just be a total waste of paper? The funny things is, once I put that first mark on the page -- force myself to do something, anything, to mar that pristine whiteness, then I'm o.k. I can usually fill up two or three pages with words in the blink of an eye after that, and, if I leave one of my sketchbooks or art journals lying open on the counter after making that first mark, well, then it seems I can't keep myself away from it. It calls to me each time I walk through the room -- whether I'm on my way to the bathroom, or even out the door for an appointment -- and draws me over like a magnet, forcing me to pick up pen or brush and add just a few more strokes, strokes that usually cause me to forget where I was headed in the first place.

That's what happened to me yesterday when I finally pulled out that book again, and decided to try my hand at a color-mad drawing of one of my favorite restaurants.  It only took me two years to get around to it, but I finally put pencil to paper and made a simple, Y-shaped mark. That's all it took. By the end of the day, I'd finished all but that crazy curved wall embedded with gazing balls.

So just do it.
Make that first mark.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

I hear the energy you speak of, the energy calling us to a project, a passion, something that feeds us on our path. And I recognize the resistance. You bring to our attention this awareness, now it is up to us to choose to clear away the clutter, to follow the energy, and make room for that which nourishes us. I appreciate your words.