Thursday, April 26, 2012

venturing outside my comfort zone

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As an artist (and a creative person in general) I feel that its really important to always push yourself to grow, develop and change things up. Its never good to get too comfortable when it comes to making art because you miss out on growth that comes with venturing outside your comfort zone- this is when really great things happen in the creative process!

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The one big thing that makes me squirm is working small! Give me brush and a 6 foot surface and I'm in my comfort zone but tell me to work small and I feel like I've been confined, restricted and I suddenly lose all inspiration. So in my quest to always be growing and getting better I have been challenging myself to work small- really small!


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I recently purchased a whole bunch of teeny, TINY stretched canvases and went to town painting on them. I picked a subject matter that I am familiar with but challenged myself to work within the small surface with expressive techniques. I forced myself (yes forced) to use the same techniques that I use when working big- using my fingers, lots of defined brushstrokes and messy layers.


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The result, after working through numerous little "shell study" paintings was that I actually started to really enjoy myself and found that I didn't have to feel restricted by the size of the surface. Suddenly the discomfort sort of just fell away and I found myself really enjoying the process of working on a smaller scale.


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I challenge you to push yourself outside of your creative comfort zone- whether its scale or subject matter, materials or techniques- try something new or even something that makes you uncomfortable- if you give it a little time I guarantee you'll grow, you may end up enjoying yourself and actually find something new to add to your creative routine!

35 comments:

K. Dill said...

Goodness me! They are absolutely AMAZING! You are one SUPER TALENTED artist!

Pippa @ BeadsAndBarnacles said...

Now these are lovely. It is amazing the detail that can be achieved using fingertips.
Well done on pushing yourself, it is something I really need to do more. x

Anesha said...

Wow, stunning!!! It's great to challenge yourself.

Sketch of Senses said...

They are amazing! You really are awesome!

alarmcat said...

i love your shell study...they are so beautiful.

I have the opposite problem...i'm uncomfortable when I work on large surfaces. You've given me the nudge to work outside my comfort zone.

doro K. said...

i think i have to try.
i love the experience of feeling paint at my fingers.
but i couldn't imagen it's possible to achieve such fantastic results using the finger tips.

thanks for this stimulus.

best wishes, doro K.

Alyssa said...

Awww! I love them! It's good advice too. Right now in school, I feel like I'm always being pushed outside my comfort zone.

Jamie said...

Beautiful! I tried painting for the first time (since I was little) with my fingers. So wonderful! Thank you.

Faygie Fellig said...

there is magic in your fingers!
Fantastic once again ...

Frankie said...

These turned out lovely. They really are proof that stepping outside our comfort zones can produce amazing results. I've been trying a lot of different things lately, and I definitely enjoy the challenge.

Lallabel said...

I love the finger painting! But you are so talented, It's all amazing!

Nesrin said...

These are amazing! As you said working on big surfaces is fine, but when it comes to tiny ones, ohh Gosh!.
Last weekend I was watching this guy who painted a picture of Istanbul on a grain of rice, and all other very tiny stuff one can imagine!

Mind blowing definetely!

Maria Ontiveros said...

Thank you for your post today. I have a small canvas and a sketch of sand dollars that I"ve been afraid to start on, but this really helps.
Have a great day!
Rinda

Teddi said...

well done alisa! they turned out stupendous. moving out of comfort zones is tough.

The Red Hare said...

Nice stretch & nice execution!

elena prikhodko knapp said...

that looks awesome!!
i m trying to push myself out of comfort zone with taking your last class! i want to learn how to be creatively messy... paint with my fingers...
and so on... be ok with dropping paints and dripping ink... never been good about it and now starting to enjoy it bit by bit:)
thank you for all your creative ideas and for your constant inspiration!!!

Lauren said...

These are beautiful! Good for you, for getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new. I could see a collage of these on a bathroom wall. Very pretty!

Mia Bloom Designs said...

Great advice! That's the reason I took your Larger Than Life class last year at Create Orange County. It's fun to paint large!

I love the small shells paintings. Very inspiring!

Rose said...

You are so right about pushing yourself! Your new paintings turned out beautifully.

A Scrap-a-Teeny Girl said...

too sweet & beautiful!! You are amazing!!

kirstenreed said...

I love this post! I too, paint with my fingers all the time ~ brings me back to my childhood. Just wanted you to know I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Check out my post about it at: www.keystrokesandkaleidoscopes.com Kirsten ☺

Jennifer Allison said...

scrumptious!!!! and kudos to YOU for pushing your boundaries. :)

HollyM said...

One would not know you were working outside your comfort zone! They are scrumptious!
I am comfortable working small, so I must work big to be challenged.

Christina said...

I'm the opposite. I'm SO comfortable with working with the teeny-tiny and have to really push myself to think large.

Btw, your art retreats sound incredible, but I'm a calligrapher not a painter. Do you think that there would be something for someone like me if I were to come?

nikkijoy said...

Wow!! You are incredible!! I have the opposite problem though... I can doodle and paint to my heart's content in my little A5 sketchbook... put a giant canvas in front of me and I'll freeze!! Definitely good to push your comfort boundaries sometimes =)

Caleen said...

Seriously, is there anything you can't do???? You are multi talented.
Love those littles paintings. They are beautiful. I have been pushing myself out of my comfort zone too. It feels good :) Thanks for always inspiring us!

Jeans 'n Tshirt said...

i feel courageous and creative here and then i turn away and hit a wall! love these fun little canvas works

carolyn said...

LOVE these minis! I was at Michael's today & saw tiny canvases & thought...these are just too tiny to do anything. After seeing your beautiful creations, now I need to go back & get some!

The Bluths said...

these are AMAZING!

cri-cri said...

I find them fabulous ... next month I´ll go to Bretagne and ´ll try to painte shells ...maybe I´lltry out something like this ...

Ruth said...

I am constantly inspired by all the art work you do. You are an amazingly creative person. I love your style.
I so wish I could attend one of you live art classes. Personally I am not anywhere near as good as you are but I love to create and try new things.
Ruth

Gutsy Arts Girl said...

The S.t.r.e.t.c.h is what keeps these creative muscles sexy. GREAT lesson. Thanks for always being so open about your process.

Fallingladies said...

I so love coming here to see all the beauty you've created lately!!!

kristin maynes said...

Those are darling! They would go perfect in my bathroom. :). Love your art and style! I'm excited to hear more about your retreat.

Stephanie said...

How funny, going big is outside my comfort zone. Thanks for the tips.

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