A blank canvas has so much to offer, so much promise, so many possibilities. It speaks of fresh starts, new beginnings and freedom. There’s an eagerness to dive right in and paint, but, I know, what eventually gets put on this canvas cannot be painted over.

Do I cover it completely or do I just cover a part of it? Maybe something centred, space all around, isolated; or something pushed off kilter, clinging to one side. Something floating loftily at the top, perhaps even sitting morosely at the bottom, lonely and off balance.

I could make a true representation of what I see, putting a trusting honesty into my painting, or I could change what I see, distort it until it becomes something that I would be more comfortable facing.

I could approach my canvas tentatively, adding a little colour here, a line or two there, gradually forming a carefully painted picture, boundaries in place. Or I could plunge straight in, passionately colouring it with joy, splashing it with anger, frustration, fear, and every other colourful emotion I have to offer.

The past could be depicted, looming darkly unchangeable and unforgiving; or the future could be optimistically drawn in enticing, beckoning, bright and hopeful rendering.

Then there is the medium of expression — should it be the dark, unctuous and slow drying oils, or the light, fickle water colour, so delicate to handle, so easy to wash away, so hard to control.

What about the story my picture has to tell? Is it a story of hidden emotions, painted over, or is it one that is laid bare by great sweeping strokes of a brush wielded with intentions unknown to even me. Pain and joy, triumph and frustration, moments of euphoria, periods of despair; lofty goals and lost dreams. A life time of living and feeling onto one blank space.

What, at the end, am I faced with when I am done with this canvas of my life? What have I hidden, what exposed? What have those lines revealed, those boundaries restrained? How much of the colouring was joyful, how much of it sad? If I had the chance to paint this canvas of my life again, would I paint another picture?

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