‘It’s so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas.’ Paul Cezanne
This is such a beautifully simple quote, but so very true. Well it is for me… A pristine blank canvas or brand new sketchbook is a joy to behold. So clean, so pure, it almost seems sacrilege to spoil it, And that’s where the ‘pressure’ stems from. The pressure to do it right, to not make a mistake. It can terrify any artist. To be perfectly honest, this has never really been that much of an issue for me. I generally just feel that a non-white/clean canvas is a lot more interesting to work on than a clean unspoiled one. As a rule, my first step when creating, is to mess things up a little. This could be with paint, a bit of collage, maps are a particular favourite, or often a combination of lots of things. I don’t tend to worry too much about how things are looking, as most of this prep-work will disappear behind the finished artwork.
With portraits I feel this approach is especially important in my process. I love a portrait, love the challenge, always have done. But often, with portraits, you can easily get sucked into drawing/painting what you think is right, rather than what you really should be drawing/painting. There are so many things that can catch you out with a portrait. I guess it’s why the idea of tackling them does terrify a lot of people. That’s possibly why I’ve always loved the challenge.