A Blank Page Is A GiftDec 28, 2020
From nothing to something. This might be the preferred way to begin 2021; a new year.
As I look back on how I began 2020, I am almost a bit more relieved that I am starting with a clean slate so to speak. At the start of 2020, I had a very loaded year with the first quarter already booked solid. I was excelling in my art business with large teaching events scheduled and some new opportunities involving speaking engagements. I made sure my art materials inventory was in good shape to handle the upcoming classes and even managed to get my wardrobe updated to make the best impression on stage and for presentations. We all know what happened next. COVID-19 hit and caught us ALL by surprise. The world came to a halt and is still barely chugging along. Things are not back to normal, but rather, they're new, different and even scary at times.
This year, I am starting from scratch with a new website, a new direction for my business and most importantly, a fresh sense of purpose and priority. Not all that different from the principles I was operating under before the big shift due to COVID-19, just a bit more forgiving and grateful with regard to my career position and ability to be in contact with others. Starting over is bumpy and not very smooth or flawless. There is a humility involved. Quite frankly, It's a gift.
The Big Idea Of Sharing Blankness
As I write this, I am surrounded by cards, envelopes and stamps. I felt a deep urge to send Christmas cards to friends and family this year; unlike other years in the past. I missed being in contact with everyone. As I began to craft my holiday update, I decided to send the card with a little extra detail inside. It was a blank piece of watercolor paper with a postage stamp on one side. In the Christmas card, I am asking everyone to consider creating something on the blank and sending it to a family member, friend, neighbor or even stranger. I considered this to be my gift I could give to everyone. This was the gift with of blankness, potential, learning and best of all contact with others that would appreciate receiving this card in the mail.
Would getting this in the mail stress you out or would you enjoy the project? As I shared my idea with several others in my effort to create my own person accountability, I was thrilled to hear some great enthusiasm towards this idea. A few days before Christmas, I went to the post office to purchase postcard stamps and shared the idea with the USPS worker. She loved the idea and shared a site that is solely designed for the purpose of connecting a postcard recipient with a sender. I looked up the site and it looks very interesting with almost 60,000,000 cards sent. (www.postcrossing.com)
Postcard Creations Come In Many Shapes and Sizes
When I was a student at Moore College of Art, a classmate named Lisa made these wonderful original works of art that she would put in the mailbox to send to friends and family. I was fortunate to get a few. These were postcard sized, sewn together, patched, painted, stamped and USPS cancelled and delivered works of art; one of a kind expressions sent to you. It was quite a treat to get these creations made by hand. It was almost like having a small, special conversation with Lisa when receiving one of these cards.
If you are in a situation where you're facing a blank page or canvas, I realize this might be hard to take on the task of turning nothingness into somethingness and I want to share with you some resources that will be helpful. It doesn't require fancy supplies, artistic skill or tremendous time to begin making your marks. In the highlighted text to follow is a resource listing some optional supplies you might like. It's a site where I've made many KITS with supplies to purchase. Keep in mind that I think a ball point pen or some magazine scraps and glue stick work pretty great as well when making art.
Virtual Learning and Demonstrations
On January 5th, 2021, I've been asked by inthecoracle.org to lead a group through a free virtual exercise on the potential of a blank page as the start of a new year. It starts at 8:30am and runs 30 minutes.
UPDATE: Here is the recording https://vimeo.com/498029747
As a guest artist of National Sporting Library and Museum, I demonstrated some sketching techniques during their program, "Sketchbook Sundays", in October 2020. The video for that program is linked here and can be found on YouTube. (Note: I demonstrated different ways to draw a fly fishing tie from their collection. The program runs about an hour long.)
Keep Me POSTED
I would love to know if you have created a postcard to send someone or even signed up as part of the postcrossing site. Leave a comment below or reach out to me on email or social media. I would LOVE to see your approach to blankness.
Happy New Year!