Six in Twenty….

My name is Carolyn Roberts and I suffer with ‘white paper syndrome’…..

Talking to friends and fellow artists…(although I still find myself feeling extremely self-conscious when I refer to myself as an artist…but that’s a subject for another post..),  I know that I am not alone…Faced with that lovely sheet of white paper, or a beautiful new sketchbook – have just bought two Seawhite ones from Jacksons Art – I feel panic setting in and at times this paralyses me…I find myself procrastinating….one of the down sides of working from home is that it is easy to be side-tracked, there’s always a job that needs doing…

I am sure all artists have ways of overcoming this ‘syndrome’….Last year I was lucky enough to attend a Jean Haines workshop and she advocates various exercises to remedy this – see her blog/books/DVDs. There’s also all the warm up exercises when you attend life-drawing classes…..non-dominant hand, continuous line drawing, not looking at the paper, holding the charcoal or pencil at arms length…

From these experiences I have developed my own little warm up exercise for me to overcome that feeling of panic every time I go into my ‘studio’ …(back bedroom)…I set myself the task of producing six images on six pieces of paper in twenty minutes…. The paper is whatever scraps I have lying around and are of varying sizes, although not too big owing to the time constraints. The medium is whatever I have to hand, be that pencil, ink, charcoal, watercolour…. I consciously try not to have to have set images in mind…I’m just concentrating on getting marks on paper, getting the creative juices flowing, overcoming the fear….




I set myself a time limit, one day it was ‘Six in Ten Minutes’ as I had lots of tiny scraps of paper, and I find this time limit stops me from ‘faffing about’…and it also removes that pressure of thinking I have to create a masterpiece every time….the marks are spontaneous….and sometimes, just sometimes, I get some images that I quite like or I think are worth developing….


img_0091How do you begin your studio sessions? How do you overcome ‘white paper syndrome?’


2 thoughts on “Six in Twenty….

  1. Usually I find pretending to start helps as a warm up… It takes the pressure off which can be a big hindrance; trying too hard to create a good work usually ends in work I’m not satisfied with but if I’m in a dont-care frame of mind the work is always good

    1. Oh I know that feeling too! Sometimes the work I like the best is that which I have done in my sketchbook or on a scrap of paper…and then I curse because it’s in my sketchbook or on a scrap of paper…..

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