Thursday, 6 March 2014

Ways To Combat "The White Page Anxiety" Part 1

As an artist (or writer) being faced with a blank page or canvas can be extremely daunting, especially if you are new to art or aren't feeling that inspired of late.
I, for one, have experienced this feeling quite often because I am still learning to quiet my mind in times of upset or stress and concentrate on the task at hand. And because this is my job and not just a hobby of mine, it can be really worrying when this happens. Especially when I have something like a craft fair coming up or if I am working on a commission. It's not good, it causes me more stress which in turn causes my mind to get more blocked. It's a major catch 22! When I decided to go full time into the art business and really give it a go I realised quickly that I couldn't afford to have too many of these "white page anxiety" moments. I learned quickly that it was essential for me to create everyday, even if I don't feel 100% into it that day or don't really know where it is heading (although sometimes I find that half the fun)
So, I came up with some fool-proof ways to help get the creativity starting to flow within me. These are just techniques that work for me so I thought I would share them with you and maybe you will find them helpful in your own art processes. I use these techniques mainly in my art journals but they can be adapted to other work surfaces such as canvases. The first rule in combating the "white page anxiety" is to get colour and texture down on the page as quick as possible without too much thinking. Here are some of my favourite ways to do just that:

1. Acrylic Paint

This has to be one of the quickest and easiest ways to cover a page with colour and texture and so I thought it would be a good place to start. Apply some acrylic paint to your page (you can use as many colours as you like) and then using something like an old credit card or a piece of card, spread the paint all around the page.

It is that quick! It adds some fun texture because it doesn't always cover every inch of the page and it can be darker in some parts and lighter in others.

2. Watercolour Paint

Another very quick and easy technique to add colour to a blank page is the use of watercolour paints.

I first spritzed the page with water, this is optional but I find that it helps to spread the paint around the page better and also it helps the colours to blend together. I used two colours for this tutorial but again you can use as many as you like. Start by painting with one colour and then you can drop more colours in and watch them blend together.
4. Patterned Paper

A great way to get instant colour, texture and designs on to your page (and one I use a lot) is to cover it with different types of paper such as Scrapbooking paper, old book paper, receipts, old letters, newspaper, magazines etc. There is so little effort involved in this technique but with great effect. All you have to do is use some kind of white glue such as watered down PVA or something more high quality like Mod Podge to adhere the paper of your choice to the page. Then you seal the paper with another thin layer or glue on top. Once dry you can start to work on top!

As you can see I didn't fill every space with paper, I just added it randomly here and there. This just gives me a head start on the page and then I can work on from there.

4. Spray Inks

Spray inks are a fabulous invention especially for use in art journals. It is the fine mist of concentrated pigment that makes them so great! It gives you the opportunity to get instant colour down on your page. If you use a non-porous surface such as a page that has been sealed with acrylic paint, Gesso or Mod Podge first, the ink will go even further because it will be able move around the page and mix together to create very interesting effects.
I like to use these ink sprays through stencils because I love the effect it gives. It is just so quick!
5. Drips

The last technique I want to talk about today is drips! By drips I mean allowing fluid paint or inks to run down your page. This can be a very satisfying exercise for anyone to engage in because you are letting go of control a little bit and leaving the end result up to faith in a way. It is hard to tell how it will turn out because it usually happens so fast.

Once you have applied the paint or ink to your page, you lift up the page and watch it drip all the way down the page. It will create it's own path and there isn't too much you can do to guide it except maybe tilt it at a certain angle. Once you are happy with how it looks you can leave it just like that. However, I sometimes like to spritz it with water because it often re-activates it and more veins and tributaries will form off of the main drips.
 Again you have instant colour and amazing texture on your page and a great starting off point for what can become, no doubt, a spectacular piece of art.

I hope that these little tips and tricks of mine have been helpful for you, please let me know if you try any. Come back next Thursday for Part 2 where I share some more advanced techniques.

Have a great day!


  1. I get 'white page anxiety' or 'blank fabric anxiety' in my case, quite a lot. I usually stick on some music that I love and gets my in the creative spirit. If that doesnt work, I look on pinterest. Usually urges me to make something cool. Love your paint streaking by the way :-)

    1. Those are great tips fallfromgrace, thanks for sharing. I agree Pinterest is a gold mine for inspiration. I mean there really is nothing like it. I will be doing another series on how to find inspiration in other areas such as Pinterest etc so look out for that and also I will be doing part 2 of Combating "White Page Anxiety" next week too :)


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