This is one of my favorite scenes in all of film — not because of any particular cinematic qualities to it, but because of what it represents: taking on something so huge you have to knock out walls to accommodate it; taking the time — significant time — to contemplate the bigness of the blank, ambiguous canvas; letting it intimidate you; considering all the endless possibilities, the angles of attack, the implications, the outcomes — then, when the waves of forethought, fear, impatience and inspiration surge, then crest, you crash on the surface with conviction, working madly to transform the emptiness into something meaningful — something beautiful; something you feel deserves to exist.
Well, that’s the romantic version of it in my head, anyway. And who knows if Pollock really painted his mural for Peggy Guggenheim in a fury of inspiration as the film suggests. (Plus, to most serious creators, it’s a tired, unhelpful trope that great works of art come fully-formed like lightning from heaven to the mind of genius artists. Not true. Great work is hard work, tempered by failures.)
But I believe in the importance of that silent canvas.
I believe in the importance of stepping back and isolating your own mind from everybody else’s; resisting predictable, automatic responses; and as the dust settles, developing your own understanding, and your own conviction for what should be done — then doing it.
If we aren’t able to have the space to develop our own point of view, then we’re just constant re-mixers of each other’s opinions and whims, with no center, and no strength.