At the start of last year I decided I needed to branch out of my comfort zone and take up painting. I like things done in a certain way and I don’t like doing things that are new to me. I think it all goes down to the fact that I need to be cautious when doing things in case I fall or feel weak. In regards to painting, I don’t have very good fine motor control skills, so I knew when I was enrolling that it was going to be challenging.
So anyway, for the last year and a half I have been attending painting classes and painting many, many oil paintings. Mainly of fruit, which I know isn’t that creative, but I’m still a little scared of doing scenic paintings, or paintings of people. Fruit seem safe to me.
Whenever I finish these paintings, I look at them and while I tell people I am proud of them, I still see the smudges, bits of paint going out of the lines, and the lack of pristine detail.
But as I said at the beginning of the entry, I took up painting to get out of my comfort zone. And boy have I ever. Not only am I doing something extremely challenging, I am also making new “friends”. I say “friends” because I don’t socialise with them outside of class other than the last session of the term where we go out for coffee. However, every week we chat about what we’ve been up to, we laugh over over our work and listen to music (Leonard Cohen one week, Janis Joplin the next). And it’s fun. I no longer feel uncomfortable, but comfortable enough to not be embarrassed by my work.
The reason why I am writing this entry is because of what happened yesterday. One of the students mentioned she had been to an exhibition where the artists all have a disability. It’s an annual event supported by State Trustees. I had heard about it through my work, but never took much notice because none of my clients have mentioned being interested in painting or drawing.
This woman mentioned the exhibition because she thought that I should enter next year. As soon as the words came out of her mouth, I was taken aback. Oh right, I have a disability and I paint. She could see I was surprised and apologized. I responded by saying “I’m not in denial about my disability,” which is something I thought was true.
I won’t get too personal here, but it has made me think about the perception I have of myself and maybe it needs to change.
On a lighter note, do you think it’s a good idea? Should I step out of my comfort zone and submit a painting next year?
Who doesn’t like a painting of a bowl of fruit?