Welcome to the blog of Melanie McDonald ! I'm a professional artist, my life is divided between my home in Newquay, Cornwall and my renovation project - an 18th Century farm - in North Brittany, France. My inspiration comes from the beautiful beaches, skies and seas of Cornwall, Brittany and Scotland. This is where I share my paintings and photographs, I hope it inspires you.

March 15, 2012

The open sea of the empty .... canvas.

A certain fear of the empty page has stayed with me since my schooldays.  For me it still seems perfectly to mirror an empty mind bereft of ideas.  It saps my confidence and my will and any hope I might be harbouring that I can cover the page with words at all, let alone with a coherent story.  Yet almost every day of my life I choose to face down that fear. It is not because I am brave.  Rather I am like a sailor who knows the terror of the sea and has discovered over the years and after countless voyages and adventures that the only way to banish this terror is by knowing and understanding the sea in all its moods so well that he is no longer frustrated when becalmed, nor terrified for his life in the midst of the storm.  And just as a sailor goes out once again to face the perils of the open sea, so I go to my bed each day, pile up my pillows behind me, settle back, pick up a pen, draw up my knees, open the exercise book and confront once more the open sea of the empty page. The mariner sails the sea because he longs to, because it is a challenge he needs, because each time he is testing himself, exploring, discovering, I write for the same reason.

Excerpt from Singing for Mrs Pettigrew by Michael Morpurgo

I have often wondered if writers fear the blank page.  I fear the blank canvas.

Michael Morpurgo is the story-maker behind War Horse.  I've long been a fan of his and recently picked up Singing for Mrs Pettigrew, which was lying around on my daughter's bedroom floor.  It's comprised of eleven short stories - each story followed by the story of its making.  The excerpt above is from an art and a craft and a marvellous magic - one of his 'story-maker's journey', autobiographical descriptions.  I confess that most days, when I enter my studio, I also face down a fear of the blank canvas.  I have often wondered why I put myself through it.  My art is a reflection of my life,  and an escape and a joy, perhaps it works for me where words fail.  Ultimately, it must be some kind of challenge I need.  The mysterious process of putting something I see in my mind's eye onto canvas is a miracle, indeed a truly marvellous magic.

p.s. In this treasure of a book - by describing his craft, Michael gives his readers the idea that this process of story-making and story-telling is for everyone.  And that it is 'simply a question of planting it and encouraging it to grow'.  I recommend this book for both children and adults, and all writers, artists and craftsmen.  Thank you Michael.

View my paintings and prints on www.melaniemcdonald.com

Join the chat with me on twitter
Say hello on Facebook
Pin me on Pinterest
Follow my pictures on Tumblr

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...