Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Stepping out of Your Comfort Zone

"Hey, Coconut Mon!" mixed media on canvas
When we’re young, we test the rules and skirt the ragged edge of danger. We experiment. We try on different styles and personalities. Some of us flaunt the rules and go into the unknown only to reap the consequences of our experimentation. But for most of us, somewhere along the way, we settle into what seems right and comfortable.

Don’t you wish that for a brief moment you could step out of the present paradigm and slip into another? Do you wish you were more daring and less predictable? A few days ago I decided to give it a go. I had a vague notion of what I wanted on canvas. I made no sketches. I didn’t even test the waters of my idea.
Work-in-Progress "Sea Breazes" acrylic on 30 x 24 wrapped canvas
I started to brush. It felt good! I slathered on paint and let my muse lead me. Swept along by intuition, I dabbed on color and highlights. Now I’m letting it rest while I contemplate my next move. Will the canvas require more changes? Probably. What will I do if it’s an utter failure? I’ll likely paint over it and start again. We all need to have that feeling of freedom. You know, when you just allow what you have learned and what you yearn for to take over?

If your idea doesn’t bloom and grow, it doesn't matter. You are experimenting with feelings, shapes, color and texture. The context is the story you are trying to tell. My current work-in-progress was inspired by my love for palm trees and my fondness for living near the ocean and the Gulf Coastal regions.
I added more color, but did it work? More contemplation!
The colors are those that I live with every day. I hope I can find the right combination of dazzle and sizzle to make my creation work. I’m calling this piece: “Sea Breezes” because that’s exactly what’s happening as the soft warm air flows across the Gulf through the palm fronds and into my world.

Take time once in awhile to leave your comfortable habits behind and open yourself to discovery. Switch things up. Change your usual canvas size. Go bigger (or smaller). Use a larger brush. Try a new color combination on canvas. Add a collage or two and a smattering of design in the background. The point is to do something different from the norm.

I recommend these books. They will not only inspire you, but dare you to experiment and then show you how: “Experimental Painting” by Lisa L. Cyr; “Art Revolution” by the same author (see Youtube fideo below), and “Journeys to Abstraction” by Sue St. John. 

If you discover something new about yourself in the process, please share it with me. I’d love to hear what happened when you crossed over into that ethereal place where things of wonder are created and magic happens!
"Window" oil on oval canvas