Knowing The Unknown

When does patience turn to procrastination?
   For weeks now (almost) I have been plotting a painting onto a canvas. Thoughtfully, decisively, carefully, consciously, marking each line. Deliberately.
   It is a large canvas. It had to be; this is a big project.
   I have not painted in oils for decades. I’ve thought about it (a lot), and this pandemic seemed to provide opportunity, or an outlet, to make it happen.
   I was slow getting started, but 12 days ago I finally began taking the design from my head and mapping it out.
   I was incrementally inspired.
   I am now at the point — actually, I am hesitating — where I need to mix my medium, take up my brush and begin to apply colour to the canvas.
   But really, for days now, I stare at the lines on the white surface and I see what it could be, but only in my mind.
   Is this now a mental block?
   Like the lines on the surface, I am at the intersection of design, desire, and fear.
   That’s it: fear.
   It is not fear of starting (because, technically, I have begun) but there is the fear of this not looking as I imagined it would look.
   Exactly.
   Can I be that exacting? Will this work live up to my expectations or will it be even better than I imagined?
   There is that doubt.
   Right now, I can only know the unknown. That invokes this fear.
   This is how I struggle, linearly, creatively, even spiritually, when I take on any artistic project.
   Hesitation.
   I keep talking myself out of the next step. Is it lack of confidence; or is it lack of control?
   I have come to know myself. I know, knowing myself, that the moment I mix the paint, the moment I apply some life to the canvas, what has only been a project will become an obsession. It is the way I am with all things creative.
   I know, or I feel, the initial underpainting will pull me in.
   If I — and I will — take the next step, will it take me further from, or closer to the realization that I am an artist?
   If it takes time, that time is now. Today.

© 2021 j.g. lewis

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