Monday, March 14, 2016


A couple of months ago, when I was flipping through my latest issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine, I saw an article by Seth Apter, about stepping outside one's comfort zone. I skimmed over it, thinking "Yeah, makes sense", then set it aside and forgot all about it.

The newest issue arrived recently, so I went back through the older one once more, to make sure there was nothing in it I wanted to sketch, use, or do, before donating it to the library. When I came across Seth's article again, it was like "Whoa! He's talking to ME, isn't he?" You see, much has happened in the last couple of months, and I'm pretty sure it was Synchronicity's way of leading me back to something I should have paid more attention to the first time!

First of all, I realized that it had been quite some time since I'd signed up for any art classes -- so unusual for me! I had a favorite teacher online from whom I had taken numerous classes, and learned so very much from. But, the last couple of times I'd registered for one, I'd only completed two or three projects before losing interest. What was wrong with me?

Second, we went to Sudan -- a humongous step outside of my comfort zone!

Third, when working in my travel journal afterwards, I started out using my usual sketch and watercolor techniques that I had learned from that favorite teacher, and created several uninspired pages. Then I got a wild hair and decided to fill those beautiful saris with bits of colored paper instead of paint and, suddenly, sparks flew!

When I mentioned in a blog post how much I enjoyed doing that bit of collage, and shared that post on Facebook, I suddenly started seeing links to a certain collage artist from California in my Facebook feed -- one who "paints" with paper, as I had done.

I started following her blog posts, only to discover that she is coming to New Braunfels (so close!) in August to teach a three-day workshop that will include instruction not only in her collage techniques, but also in painting your own unique paper stash to use in them. I had my deposit check in the mail the very next day!

So, this is what Seth had to say in his article, and why it resonated with me the second time around:

"To grow as an artist you need to develop and evolve. Growth is at the heart of creativity and the core of artistry, and nothing leads to this type of change as much as taking a risk and stepping outside your comfort zone...Being in that zone may put you at ease and give you a sense of control, but it can stifle your creativity and become a barrier to your growth as an artist."

New Work In Progress
He even went on to list ten or eleven ways to take a risk and step out of your zone. These in particular called out to me, because I've actually thought about doing them, but held back.
  • take a class in a technique that's outside your wheelhouse
  • sketch or draw in public
  • if you work small, go large
  • usually use a paintbrush? use your hands instead
  • risk rejection by submitting artwork to a magazine
  • call yourself an artist
Guess I have a new to-do list, huh? Which is kinda funny, when you consider that the very first thing I ever submitted to Art Journaling magazine -- one of my crazy illustrated to-do lists -- actually did get published. But, for some reason, I've never had the nerve to try it again. This travel journal just might be worth the risk, if I ever finish it!


The Old Man said...

Really like this post and the artist you have become.

Hill Country Hippie said...

Thank you Dear. That means the world to me!

Corrine at said...

Oh I think you will enjoy this class. Always love your sketching. xox

Hill Country Hippie said...

I'm absolutely sure I will!