It is often said of an artist that making the first mark is the hardest thing to do. The first stroke of the brush across a fresh, blank canvas, the first impression of the chisel on an untouched stone, or the first sentence on a new piece of paper. The lack of any guide or direction at that moment has been described as intimidating, stressful, or even a suppressant to the creative process.
The anxiety to get it right, make the first mark count - to commit to a direction; the endless and open possibility of the blank medium – presenting the opportunity to create without constraint. You can do anything, but what…? With any number of possibilities available it’s easy to see how starting a new piece of work can lead to the unavoidable urge to clean the bathroom again - rather than actually make that first mark.
Many artists may be familiar with this. But to extend the idea a little, perhaps this is also what stops many of us non-artists from being creative. Even before buying a brush, or chisel, or a writing pad - we cannot decide where to start. It’s fair to say that if a talented and professional artist has trouble starting, what chance do the rest of us have!
So perhaps the trick is to look at the situation differently. If, instead of fearing that moment of endless possibilities and unrestrained options, we embrace it, then maybe it works in our favor. After all, none of the marks we make at the beginning will be seen at the end; they start the journey but that’s all.
It is also often said that the solution for an artist to overcome this fear of making the first mark is simply to begin. Make that brushstroke, mark the stone, write the sentence – see what happens, and see where it takes you. Eventually, through trial and error, dedication [and an immaculate bathroom,] ideas emerge.
There is something wonderfully rewarding about creating something yourself. Finding your inner artist and making something unique is a very personal thing. Whether you’re a talented artist or an enthusiastic novice, only by starting the process can the creativity properly begin.