Creating on this side of your comfort zone

Watercolour painting floral motifs on this side of my comfort zone

Yes, we all know that life starts out of your comfort zone and if you are not willing to step out of it, then you can only blame yourself, etc. If you catch yourself enthusiastically nodding to these statements, you might as well close the tab, because this post is written in defence of the comfort zone.

Of course I also jumped on the bandwagon when it comes to this popular statement. In the last couple of months I took a machete a slashed my comfort zone into pieces – both in my professional and private life. As a result (or not) I am writing this post slightly drugged by antifebrile and having a damp cloth wrapped around my aching head.

I went to an art school, tried new techniques, illustrated complete stories, painted human figures. All of these were fantastic experiences, except that in the insanse rush I forgot to take time to rest, to process new information, to build these new experiences into my creative self.

So after these few months, I had to draw the consequenence: the comfort zone in itself is not such a terrible creation. Lying ill at home made me realise that

I can only achieve the desired harmony by finding a good ballance between time spent inside and outside of my comfort zone.

So I started painting floral motifs again. And copying some. Again. With watercolours. Because that is what I’m already good at. Why not? One goal of painting is of course becoming better and better, to create waulity work (which I don’t intend to stop doing), but the other is to make me happy, to create something nice, which I like. And if mine isn’t the only piece looking like this in the universe… Well, then so what? It gave me a few happy hours and that’s it.

I have often felt guilty when I was painting without any specific reason: I wasn’t planning to give it away or sell it, or even upload it to my blog. But in some situations it is alright. If the point of creating is self-care, then I don’t have the pressure on me to create something even better than before. There are plenty of advantages of staying within your comfort zone. Like these…

  • it is calming and  cosy
  • if you are tired it is the perfect way to relax
  • after a longer break it helps getting back into the habit of painting/creating
  • it gives you confidence – you are at least good at this!
  • you can feel secure

Obviously, it is inevitable for me to step out of my comfort zone every now and then, to get better, to create quality work. (Actually it counts as outstepping if I paint just something after a longer painting-free period). But it is so important to see when it’s time to get “back home”.

So go on, create and care for yourself! :)

Artwork created after Rose Henges’s piece


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3 thoughts on “Creating on this side of your comfort zone

  1. I agree – sometimes it’s great to just zone out and do something fun and familiar. Pushing yourself is great, but some days call for a bit of comfort.

  2. Lovely advice – spend part of the time pushing yourself, but also celebrate what you’re good at, even if it’s not necessarily boundary-pushing!

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