Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone.
We all have a comfort zone, that little place where we will push ourselves to a point but never cross the line into any real discomfort. Well last week I went so far out of my comfort zone that I thought I might have just lost my mind !. Grab a tea or coffee because its a little longer than normal. Other than horses the only real interests I had when I was growing up were art/ photography and reading. I broke my parents hearts getting all the crap photos I would take developed and having to buy me new colours, colouring books and pencils. I had all the art supplies and I loved nothing more than the smell of a new book or that smell you get from pencils and paint. My horses have been my passion since I was a toddler and that was the one I put all my time and effort into after school. My other interests after secondary school just stayed as a hobby. They were still things that pulled at me to do and while I could spend years never lifting a paint brush or even my camera they still always called me back. It was a pull that was deep inside me, like a longing that I couldn’t ignore.
Art was the first one to call to me when i was in my 20’s and I started taking weekly night classes for beginners . I lived for these classes, for a chance to use my supplies and I could see my art grow as I did. The classes ran twice a year for about ten weeks each time and for years I never missed one. Then life got in the way as it does and all my supplies were packed away in the hope that one day I would get back to them. Sid was born and I found the world of blogging which drew me in because now I could indulge my other interests taking photos and reading. Only this time I not only got to read amazing pieces of work I got to try my hand at writing myself. I could take loads of photos all the time which just fed my creative side and it felt great. But that little voice wouldn’t leave me, I still had that feeling deep in my gut that I needed to do something with art. In June last year I found the world of art journalling and I fell in love again with creating. I couldn’t get enough and all my old supplies were dragged out again.
Over the summer I decided to head back to my art classes in September and thats where this story of my comfort zone starts.
There was a new art teacher and at the start of the classes I found her a little blunt/ cranky. The class was the beginners because after having nearly nine years away I didn’t feel ready to join the advanced class. Over the weeks we worked away on our art as a group and on our own pieces. While the class followed the directions exactly I found myself going off on my own little adventures. My work had somehow turned very abstract while everyone else was very traditional and hugely talented !. My work never really fitted into the class. Then one evening my art teacher sat beside me and asked if I had ever thought of turning my art into cards to sell ? . Over the coming weeks this was what she asked me every week and I was beginning to think she was politely telling me I wasn’t up to the level of the class and maybe its card making I should try and not art. That session of classes were over and I was determined to join the next group after Christmas with the same teacher. My work after Christmas was more abstract, more free, more mixed media and totally different to the rest of the class.
Again my teacher started suggesting I should start to try sell my work on cards, that I should put two paintings forward for an exhibition in the local library with others from my class but to be honest I thought she had lost the plot !. Then a friend started to say the same so one evening out of a need to prove them wrong maybe, that my work is not up to the standard needed to sell I turned four pieces into cards. When I was done I sat looking at them thinking they actually looked ok and not like something I had done. I brought them to class that week and got my next push which just kicked me so far out of my comfort zone I might never find my way back.
My art teacher sent me off to find a place in a local town to put my cards into. This would mean I had to walk into a business and ask them if they would be interested in taking MY cards !!!!. The first place I went weren’t that interested and said they would have to see as they stocked a huge array of art from loads of other people. I left kind of feeling like I knew they weren’t good enough, that no one would like them and what was my teacher on about. But as I walked back down the town I decided not to give up just yet and I walked into an art gallery !. Yes I walked into a proper art gallery with my little pieces of art to see if they would like to have them in the gallery. I felt this would be the test but god was I sweating !! I felt like a kid showing my work to a teacher already knowing it wouldn’t be good enough. Then I got the shock of my life !! Claire the gallery owner said YES !! she said yes to my little pieces of art. My abstract, weird, making no sense pieces of art.
I have never been so nervous, excited or afraid about doing anything in my life before and it paid off. My 20 cards with my original art work are sitting in a gallery surrounded by other beautiful art and if they never sell just sit there I am happy I have achieved this much. The last week I have gotten to do art everyday, I have sold 19 of my cards in a week and I have decided to turn some of them into larger pieces that can be framed and hung on a wall. I no longer have a comfort zone it has been blown to pieces and I will for ever be thankful to my art teacher for pushing so hard, for good friends who push me as much, for family who have to look at the designs first and to Claire the owner of The Gaslamp gallery in Gorey for giving me the chance.
Have you ever been pushed out of your comfort zone ? was it a success ? how did you feel after ?