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out of your comfort zone

Well and truly out of my comfort zone

As I found on my recent four-day course at the Newlyn School of Art, you never stop learning with art! I’ve never formally studied art or art history, having spent 26 years as an Engineer before changing career 10 years ago. I can certainly say that my learning curve has been steep and challenging at times but so rewarding and enjoyable too!


We studied the techniques of some fascinating artists and had a go at painting landscapes in a similar style. Our tutor Anthony Garratt helped us to think about how the scene feels, not just how it looks, and we experienced wild places, along with a beach and a bustling harbour, trying different techniques at each location.

It certainly took me out of my comfort zone at times and although I was exhausted when I got home, I was so grateful for the opportunity to push myself into an unfamiliar situation and learn something new.

Our comfort zone is a safe place where we feel in control of events. Within this zone there is less incentive to grow and reach for different experiences, we stick to the same routine with little risk involved but this path can lead to a plateau of unfulfilled boredom.

It takes courage to step out of our comfort zone into the unknown. It causes anxiety and requires perseverance to be able to develop new skills and see the benefit of pushing yourself. In the end, you create a new comfort zone at a new level. This isn’t a smooth journey, there will be peaks and troughs along the way where you might need to retreat into your comfort zone to gather enough strength to push on again.

Once we’ve reached a new level of comfort, we don’t want to go back to the old comfort zone, we are fulfilling our need to grow, learn and improve but we must understand that it’s OK to be ‘comfortably uncomfortable’ to reach this growth zone.

We have total control over how we think about our growth but our mind can get the better of our positive thinking and tell us that it’s safest to stay in the comfort zone. The voice in your head will provide a million reasons why it’s too risky to leap ahead – you’ll fail, it’s dangerous, you’re not good enough.

The voice in your head is your safety blanket but you need to ignore it and ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. You’ll soon realise that you are way more capable than you thought and that you can overcome all the barriers that you thought would be insurmountable.

So despite feeling anxious and unqualified to carry out the artistic tasks set on my landscapes course at Newlyn School of Art, I gave everything a go, I asked for help when I felt stuck and I am very proud of what I achieved. You can see the photos of my creations on this month’s Artistic ReTreats newsletter.

If you feel you’d like to push out of your comfort zone and try a Powertex workshop for the first time, why not try an Intro to Powertex and make a Christmas decoration or robin? Or if you’re looking to try a more difficult skill level in Powertex, take a look at our brand new two-day dragon sculpture workshop. All details available here.

Photo credit: Michael Shannon on www.unsplash.com