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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Importance of Venturing Outside Your Comfort Zone

'Summer Freedom' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis
purchase painting here $95

Ah the freedom of painting the landscape. It is like a breath of fresh air. I love to paint the landscape. It is my muse and my comfort zone. I could probably paint a marsh with my eyes closed (hmmm an interesting idea) But sometimes we get too comfortable and we have to challenge ourselves and try something that pushes us beyond that place where it is nice and easy. This is the only way we will grow as artists. So when I saw that Margaret Dyer was teaching an 8 week pastel figure painting class here in Atlanta I knew it would be just what I needed.

Margaret is one of my 'pastel heros'. I love her work and I credit her with a major breakthrough I had in understanding value during a 3 day figure workshop in 2007. I had never painted the figure before or since so I went to class today filled with excitement and very unsure of myself.
1 minute poses from today's figure class....warming up!

I am so glad for the support of my two friends Jayne and Holly who decided to take the class as well. I didn't get very far in my painting today but I had fun and I know that with practice I will do better. I do know that I definitely felt stretched which was the idea. An added benefit that I didn't anticipate is that I am getting a better understanding of what it feels like to be struggling and to be unsure as a student learning how to paint. Landscapes may be less challenging for me now, but as a teacher, I need to remember what it feels like to be outside my comfort zone.

After this 8 week class I may not be a better figure painter though I plan on working very hard....but I do know that I will be a better teacher as a result of being a student once again.

Today's painting was done as a demo last weekend for a private student fairly new to pastels. I hope I was able to do a good job breaking down my process and helping her understand some basic landscape concepts.


Susan Roux said...

Your landscape is beautiful! Sounds like you're enjoying your class. It is good to push out of your comfort zone. It's where improvement lies...

Mariela said...

Hello Karen,
I wish you good luck to this workshop!
I'm sure you will feel some how different at the end!
and I agree so much with you! it's a very good idea for a teacher to become a student once in a while...
I will follow youw new journey!

Karen said...

Thank you Susan. That's what I am hoping for. It is always good to learn new things!

Karen said...

Thank you Mariela! I am excited to try new things and I will be posting on my new journey!

robertsloan2art said...

Gorgeous landscape. I love the way you did the sky holes in the patch of trees to the right - I have a bad habit of leaving out sky holes and have been noticing this on past landscapes. We all stretch in different ways.

Enjoy your figure painting class. I know taking classes always stimulates me, just as I think I'm getting really good something explodes that makes everything I did in the past look crude.


Karen said...

Thank you so much Rob! I am excited about the class and love a good challenge!