Blank Canvas

APRIL 8, 2024

Nothing is as scary as staring at a blank canvas wanting to be filled. Once you put down the smallest of marks, it will never be white again. The mark will talk to you, asks you questions and is ready to judge. It causes hesitation. Artists blocks are real and they can be debilitating. There are also tricks to the trade to avoid them.

Ernest Hemingway had a way of staying inspired while working on a novel. He would end the day halfway a thought or even a sentence. This way he was forced to go back to his original idea and pick it up from there. I thought about this before I moved to Asheville. Transitions do something to your mental state. At one point in time there is a void. It is inevitable. It feels like a blank canvas.

In that void, sitting in a new space, with new expectations, new people and new possibilities, doubt can find some fertile soil. “Am I good enough?” “Can I pull this off?” “Where do I find new inspiration?” “Should I have stayed in my comfort zone?” If the voices of negative thinking become stronger and take root, it can take a long time to recover.

Frantically I started working on my new series before I moved as a way to make a bridge from the old to the new. I started 10 paintings without finishing them and left them in different stages of completion. That way I am forced to go back to the original thinking about “Our Fragile Nature”, bringing the tropics into a dream world.

In Dutch there is a saying that every year you live in the tropics counts as two. I can understand that. It is exhausting to face the heat of the sun every day, to prepare for yet another storm, to feel you have to be out there instead of quietly sitting in a corner reading a book. Dreaming about the tropics to me is more comfortable than living in it.

Today you can find me painting the memory of the tropics in a studio wearing a sweater and keeping my head cool. Northlight studio’s, 357 Depot street, Asheville.

Jacobina Oele

My autobiography is called True Colors, Independently published on January 11, 2024 in English,135 pages. ISBN-13: 979-8875809200.
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