Beyond the comfort zone: Watercolour challenge

I’m a writer. Give me a pen, and I can paint a fairly decent picture in your imagination with my words. That’s my talent.

Put that pen in my hand and ask me to draw a scene, and the end result will be something entirely different. I am not artistically inclined.

Many of my favourite creative gurus and mentors recommend leaving the warm, cozy area that is your comfort zone to expand your creative mind. This week, I took a small, gentle step outside my comfort zone by picking up a paintbrush.

I mentioned a brief foray I had taken into watercolours (via a piece for my living room inspired by imitating a much more professional, trendy piece I had seen in a friend’s living room that involved words and paint splatters, and then again, 14 months later when I made Christmas cards) to my friend Jax over at Cooking with Jax. One thing led to another, and soon I had agreed to a watercolour challenge: One watercolour a week for the next year. We determined some weekly themes, and agreed to reveal the fruits of our labour to each other every Sunday via text because we live 13 hours apart.

So far we’ve completed two pieces each, and they have been uncomfortable and intimidating for me, but on the flip side, I’ve had a heck of a lot of fun seeking out inspiration and tutorials. The first week we painted an anchor, (Jax’s was adorable and elegant, mine was a two-dimensional mess that you will never see because I destroyed it as soon as I obligingly showed Jax), and last week we completed a piece based on snow. I found a great little snow globe tutorial by someone much more talented than I am and came up with this:


Snow – the second instalment in our watercolour challenge

What I’ve learned:

  • This was a good starting place for me. Doing the challenge with a buddy means that I’m both accountable to complete the challenge each week, but also that I have kind support and encouragement from someone I know won’t judge me harshly as we complete the challenge together.
  • Switching to a different creative outlet a few times a week forces me to think outside the box. I’m learning about using space, light and colour, and it’s a fun diversion from my wordy norm!
  • I *LOVE* being exposed to other creatives and different information from what I normally seek out. There are some seriously talented people out there, and I feel lucky to soak up some of their expertise and connect with their work. Everywhere I look there’s inspiration

What small step outside your comfort zone could you take this week to expand your world just a little?

4 thoughts

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