An Historical Downpour: The big black smear Thursday June 2, 2005, 1 comments

An Historical Downpour is a new featurette of Rain. It won’t be common, but once in a while I will feature something I wrote on a different blog under a penname. I hope you enjoy.

Originally posted as “The big black smear” at 4:45PM on February 3, 2004.

When you think about the Internet, you sit there and think of all the amazing things you could say if you had the time. You’re full of ideas, and there’s a massive audience out there. The potential!

And then the Internet gives you exactly what you want, a blog for which you are completely responsible, and the weight of the task suddenly becomes apparent.

It’s just another example of the “blank canvas problem.”

When I was in university, I remember staring at a blank canvas. Not just any blank canvas, but a huge canvas 60 inches wide and 30 inches from top to bottom. It was almost bigger than me. It was also terrifying. I had never before been stumped by so much empty raw potential.

At the end of the session, I was asked why my canvas remained empty. I explained to the TA that I was a failure as an artist, that I was afraid of the canvas. She laughed and picked up my brush. Holding it directly in front of her, she looked me square in the eye and said “You’re scared of yourself. If that much emptiness scares you, FILL IT!” And with that, she ran a great big black smear across the canvas.

I stared at that gash of blackness and suddenly ideas flowed into my head. I packed my stuff up, ran home, and painted all night. That particular canvas is now hanging in my parents dining room, and I consider it one of my best.

So, here it is, my big black gash in this otherwise empty space. Hopefully I’ll be able to create something as enduring and interesting as that university painting.


Comments

Julio Vasquez Wednesday June 8, 2005


I read this story first on another site and was moved by it… reading it again here and the feeling is still the same.

The moment of clarity that manifested the instant the “big black gash” appeared, is a moment that inspires… if not everyone… then just me.

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