The Blank Canvas of the Mind, or Dang, It’s Dark in Here

An attempt to add imagination to a photograph.

An attempt to add imagination to a photograph.

I have absolutely no visual imagination. I hardly ever see pictures in my mind.

Once, in fourth grade, my teacher took the entire class through a visualization exercise. I had to make up a picture to describe so I wouldn’t fail the writing assignment.

Choosing paint for the kids’ rooms was agonizing. I had two Lowe’s employees and several bystanders involved by the time I settled on teal and sea green.

I arrange the house by directing my husband on where to push the furniture. He sets up the room completely, then I decide what does or doesn’t work and he moves it all again.

I am surrounded by visually creative people. Their talents manifest in a plethora of ways, and I’m jealous of all of them.

My mom has been creating crafts for as long as I can remember. From woodwork to scrapbooks to beads, she amazes me with her creations.

My aunt Judy can decorate, arrange, and display like a magazine home and hearth goddess. Her stained glass is gorgeous.

My friend Beki has designed awesome sets. I’m looking forward to the project I know is rambling around in her head right now.

Paul is an incredibly compelling artist. The things he can do with a pencil just don’t make sense. We’re working on a childrens’ book together, and I am fascinated by watching my words come alive beneath his eyes and hand.

Jason writes his plays from the pictures in his head. He collects the images over time until they cluster together and start talking to each other. Then he writes down what he sees.

It was Jason who prompted me to think on this subject more. I recently read his play ETHER STEEDS. It is a beautiful and potent play, and so powerful that I could actually see what was happening. I wish I could have made it to New York to see it on the stage.

The insistence of my imagination to stubbornly remain a blank canvas could be why I love photography so much. I can capture an existing image, and then practice playing with it until I stumble across something cool. I wish I could do more with color and creative lens angles – I recently met Sarah of Look Again Photography, and her work is too gorgeous! – but I’m not quite there yet. I can only create art by accident, never by intention.

It takes all types to make a world, but sometimes I wouldn’t mind having been born with a little more color splashed across my mental canvas.


~ by gypsyjonga on August 18, 2009.

2 Responses to “The Blank Canvas of the Mind, or Dang, It’s Dark in Here”

  1. Jenny, your brain is far from a blank canvas. I think you’re very creative. I love to read your words and see your pictures. I think, it would be safe to say, I learn something new everytime I look at your pics (like how a scary guy with a mohawk can be sweet) or read something your write (how poignant the death of a “nobody” can be if you pause to think about it). You sell yourself short.

    • Thanks, Jenny! Maybe it’s not blank; maybe I just can’t see it! I really appreciate your comment – I admire your work and value your opinion.

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