Creativity Devotional – Fear of a Blank Canvas

Starry Night by Van Gogh

Starry Night by Van Gogh

 “Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile. You don’t know how paralyzing that is, that stare of a blank canvas is, which says to the painter, ‘You can’t do a thing’. The canvas has an idiotic stare and mesmerizes some painters so much that they turn into idiots themselves. Many painters are afraid in front of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the real, passionate painter who dares and who has broken the spell of `you can’t’ once and for all.”

~Vincent Van Gogh


Has anyone felt the same way as Vincent Van Gogh about a blank canvas? I have. I have had those times I was afraid to start a project. The paper intimidated me. Sometimes I worried about the cost or about messing up. But usually once I took the leap and began the painting or drawing the fear disappeared. I thought it was just me, that I was unique in having this fear. I was surprised to find that Van Gogh had written the above to his brother Theo years ago.

What a comfort it is when you find out that you are not alone. I love the idea Van Gogh has of just getting the canvas dirty. The perfect cleanliness of the page whether you are an artist or a writer can cause anxiety. So mess it up with a little paint or whatever your medium is. What a great idea. Another idea, pray before you begin. Praying always reminds me that I am not alone.



Thank you for new beginnings. Thank you for the chance to start new creative projects, paintings, and drawings. Remind us to carry on when we get intimidated. Help us to be passionate about our work.

In Christ’s name,


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