“It’s so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas.” – Paul Cezanne


quote: It's so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas - Paul Cezanne. photo by desiree east

the infamous blank canvas…what to do, what to do…???


This was the question asked during the last conference call with my fellow creative coaches in training.

‘What perfect timing,’ I thought to myself. I’ve had five blank canvases collecting dust (you know from the last buy-one-get-one-free sale at the art supply store). And, I had planned on participating in Downtown Ventura’s Paint Ventura event.

The next part of my training as a creative coach is the Painting Made Easy program. The painting exercises in this program encourage people to look at the blank canvas and the creative process during the painting as a reflection of their lives.

During the Paint Ventura event, I participated as a plein-air artist and decided to work on a couple of different paintings from my Creatively Fit Coaching Training.

I set up shop on the sidewalk in Downtown Ventura and engaged with visitors who attended the event. Some people casually walked by, making comments amongst themselves here and there, and some stopped to take a look at what I was painting.

I decided to invite the curious onlookers who stopped to contribute to my painting(s). I loved seeing their reactions when I handed them the paint brush:

“Who me?”

“Really? But I don’t want to mess it up…”

“Sure, I’d love to…but, I usually do oils…”

“Mmmm…I’m not really an artist…”


“Let me see that paint brush…”

“I don’t know…this makes me nervous!”

For me, the relationship I have with a blank canvas, and painting live, for that matter, is the vulnerability that comes with sharing your creativity as an expression of who you are. I think we all have these thoughts at one point, or another:

“What if it doesn’t turn out right?”

“I don’t even know where to start.”

“I hope people like it.”

“I don’t want to mess it up.”

“What if people think I’m weird?”

As a creative coach, my job is to help break down these barriers that come with creating artwork. Because, after all, it’s not the always the end result that brings you creative bliss, it is the creative process itself that bring you into that zone of self-expression that is uniquely yours. And it is in that experience where you begin to see your painting as a reflection of the ‘Art that is your Life.’

Stay tuned, as I reveal more photos from the Paint Ventura event and share the steps I have gone through to create each painting.

For now, I’d like to know. Do you have experience painting on canvas? If not, have you always wanted to try? Why or why not?