Out of My Comfort Zone

As you probably are aware, I like to paint. It’s a wonderful hobby and given me a lot of fulfilment, but also a lot frustration. This is apparent when a painting doesn’t work out quite as envisaged. Or when my husband, my harshest critic, doesn’t like something I’ve created. His opinion of art is that a painting should be photographic in its image, especially when observed up close. He doesn’t understand a painting is simply an artist’s interpretation and that most art should be seen from several feet away. I think this is the main reason I become increasingly self-critical and hesitant to start a new picture, to the point towards the end of last year I had totally lost my mojo. This, for me, was bad news. Put simply, I had no idea what to paint.

I spent hours trawling the Internet for images, days scanning photographs on Pinterest seeking that one picture that would get the creative juices flowing again. I splashed out on half a dozen large canvases, took long drives with camera at the ready – anything to fire the enthusiasm and push me into opening a tube of paint, dusting off the brushes and setting up the easel. All to no avail. I seriously thought I was all burned out where painting was concerned. And staring at a blank canvas, not knowing what to put down, is as bad as a writer staring at a blank sheet of paper or computer screen at a loss for words.

Then one 100_6751day, whilst idling a morning away on Facebook, an advertisement popped up of a forthcoming day’s art class being held in my region. The tutor, Jeremy Ford, a professional artist I knew from watching many painting programmes on TV and whose work I admired even though he doesn’t use acrylics, was tutoring in pastels – a medium I had tried a couple of times but always a disaster and incredibly messy to use, let alone all the chalk dust created. The fee was expensive but all materials were to be supplied and open to beginners and established artists alike. I wondered whether trying a different medium might give me some inspiration as I was beginning to get withdrawal symptoms from not painting for so long and frightened I might lose what little talent I had. Having nothing much else to do in the middle of November on a dreary Saturday, I thought what the heck! Let’s give it a go. So I booked. And wondered what I had let myself in for.

Poppyfield PastelThe location was some distance from home, an hour’s drive through heavy fog, as it turned out, but the moment I walked into the venue I felt at ease, even though I was the last to arrive, and a little late! We got down to work, with Jeremy explaining step-by-step how to use pastels correctly. And most important of all – how not to make a lot of dust. The most difficult part is using the fingers or side of the hand to blend in the colours. If done right, no dust should be created at all. Brilliant! It was hard work but the day flew by. Although we were all painting the same two paintings, one in the morning, the second after lunch, everyone’s work was different. I was more than pleased with the two works I did, and so enthused I came away with a pastel pad and a bundle of pastels Jeremy said we could keep if we wanted in order to do some pastels at home.

Lake District PastelI drove home elated, satisfied with the day and the work I produced. More importantly, I have regained my confidence and found my mojo. Since that day I have produced another painting in acrylics, started another and even attempted another pastel, although I binned that as it wasn’t good. But I shall not give up. It certainly paid to step out of the box for once and away from my comfort zone. Long may it continue.

A Happy New Year to you all and I hope 2015 proves to be a great one for you.

19 responses to “Out of My Comfort Zone

  1. Beautiful! So pleased you have your mojo back. Looking forward to seeing more. x

  2. Fate is a wonderful thing. Being in the right place at the right time and seeing that ad took you on a new road to achieving greater things with your painting. Here’s to a successful 2015 xx

  3. Beautiful, Kit! I love your work and am so glad that you hung on in there until you got your mojo back on track. Kudos to you for stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new! And just look at the results 🙂

  4. How wonderful to find another medium to spark your interest. And what awesome works you’ve pictured here. I am SO in AWE of your talent, Kit. Well done!

  5. Wow these are beautiful. I love seeing your work. I thought you had a website with some of your paintings but couldn’t find it. Congrats on finding a new medium to create with. Looking forward to seeing more in 2015

    • So sweet of you to say so, Lavada. Sorry you couldn’t find my website. Here’s the link: http://www.kit-domino.com/. I’ve also recently set up a blog site for my art at http://kitdominoart.wordpress.com/ although still very much in its infancy. 🙂

      • OMG… Thank you for the links. I’ve saved the website in my bookmarks and tried to find where I could subscribe to your blog but couldn’t so save it too though I do better when I get emails to new postings.

        I love love love By the Garden Fence. The colors are so rich and vibrant it makes me feel like I’m there.

      • Lavada, there is a black margin at the very top of the blog page says KitDominoArt: Reader Follow Like – just click on Follow. By the Garden Fence is one of my favourite paintings too. It’s only postcard size and one day I intent to create a larger version of it. 🙂

      • Thanks found the follow link. I think I’v had this problem before.

  6. What a result, Kit, you must be thrilled! I often feel that we can ‘over-think’ things and that’s the nail of death to creativity. I also think it’s important to listen to your own instincts first, as if you love something you’ve done then someone else out there will love it too! We are all different and your talent as an artist is unique to you – I just can’t believe that you are an author as well! A double blessing!

    • Thank you, Linn. And yes, I am thrilled at the result. So glad I plucked up the courage to go on that painting day. I intend to go on a painting holiday abroad at some point, hopefully this year. Always fancied doing one; it’s chosing the right place and tutor that’s the hard part! 🙂

  7. this is gorgeous and I’m glad you made the trek through the fog to get there. Sometimes that stress is necessary to get to good things, right? Keep up the great work. It’s super.

  8. Valerie J. Patterson

    Wow! Kit, those are lovely. It certainly paid for you to step out and try something new. I do hope you keep trying on your own with the pastels. Happy 2015 to you and yours!! 😛

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