Going Beyond Our “Comfort Zone” in Art

green and white leafed plantsIt’s easy to stay within one’s “comfort zone” – to do what we already know will lead to some level of success. Our fear of failure often keeps us within our own boundaries. Risks that are necessary for growth aren’t taken and we grow progressively stagnant in our artistic growth.

You see, it’s easy to make excuses for not taking risks. We can describe ourselves as “specialists” in certain subjects or media, and remain safe from judgment when we venture into mediums or subjects beyond are those categorizations. And when we are met with any form of failure, no matter how small, we cower back to our “specialization”.

This thinking stifles our artistic growth and limits our potential – especially if we are learning art and discovering ourselves as artists. In actuality, we are always learning and discovering – no matter what level of achievement we have attained. But if we compartmentalize ourselves as artists, we have truly done ourselves an injustice. After all, experimentation and risk are part of it. These are core constituents to artistic growth. We need to embrace what we find foreign from time to time. Experiment with media and subjects that exist outside of our “comfort zone” – outside of our specializations. Embrace the “risk of failure” and see it instead as a “risk of success”.

Don’t Limit Yourself as an Artist

Renoir is quoted as saying…

“One must, from time to time, attempt things that are beyond one’s capacity.”

We truly need to look for opportunities to experience things that we may feel that are beyond our abilities. The truth is we don’t know until we try.

And often trying once is simply not enough. Our first experience with a new medium, technique, or subject is not typically going to produce amazing results. We should be accepting of this and be willing to invest some time and effort in order to see results.

Approach new media and subjects in your art like a child. Be open to “shortcomings”. But be willing to work through them.

What’s Next?

So, what new medium, technique, or subject are you going to explore today? You may find a new love – if you are willing to take a risk.

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