The benefit of challenging yourself – Am I on the right path?

And breathe…

I’ve spent the last month completing a 30 day blogging challenge which I finished on Wednesday. Now I’ve had a little break it’s time to blog something.
Whilst i enjoy the blogging challenge I’m not going to keep up that rate as time spent blogging, while valuable, is time away from painting.

Although I valued it, it was time consuming and having decided on a theme and a plan, I realised that what I had chosen to do did not fit in with the challenge plan. It was good because it made me think on my feet, but if I’d have know what I do now after seeing all the emails then I’d have done things differently.

Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith.

Sometimes you have to start walking and take each turning as you come to it. It’s nearly 7 years since I started on my artistic journey. I knew what I wanted to do involved creating art but I had absolutely no idea which direction I was heading.

I started off with caricatures and portraits

I’d been good at them at school ,so they were an obvious starting place. I had no discipline, I was a casual drawer and rarely did a complete a painting. My first attempts were crude. Like John Travolta here…

They had some charm but I wasn’t satisfied with them. (I’ve now realised I’ll never be satisfied with them, no artist ever is.)

So I started a daily blogging challenge.

Not in response to an internet link like this last one. More a self imposed discipline, with no guidance. Looking back I cringe at the drawings and the content. No links, no tags, just raw, unedited, uncurated content.

7 years down the line and what’s happened?

Well, masses really, and it’s only when you look back you can see the progress. Taking stock is an important stage in any creative endeavor. Find out what works and what doesn’t. My work now is wildly different to what I started creating but if I’d have worried that I didn’t know where I was going when I started I wouldn’t have begun the journey. I never, in a million years, would have predicted I’d be painting architecture.

And yet what am I doing now?

©2012-Cathy-Read-Hot-Tin-View-Mixed-Media-40x50cm - £450 framed
©2012-Cathy-Read-Hot-Tin-View-Mixed-Media-40x50cm – £450 framed

Did something go wrong? Well, obviously not but if I hadn’t started that blogging challenge I might not be here now, would I?

So what is the benefit of challenging yourself?

For me it’s that the more I did, the more I felt able to do. That’s not to say I don’t still have doubts and hesitate still but now I tend to say “Bring it on!” Oh, and I quite like the idea of a Wordless Wednesdays!

What would challenge yourself to do?

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4 Replies to “The benefit of challenging yourself – Am I on the right path?”

  1. Challenging oneself is one of the most important steps in an artistic journey. I have to remind myself of it all the time, too (I do freelance photography and have yet so much to learn). Sometimes it’s hard because you get comfortable in what you are doing but if I hadn’t taken that new course or that workshop, I probably would have never been able to expand my skill set and see my art in a different light. Stagnation is poison to art.

    1. Thanks for commenting Laura. You’re so right and I love that phrase “Stagnation is poison to art.” Great way to sum it up. It’s so easy to find a comfortable spot and stay there. Which is why finding new challenges helps to keep us fresh. There’s always so much to learn, even if you’ve been at the top of your game for years.

  2. I love your work! It’s so interesting that your development as an artist came from something like a blog challenge. Obviously challenging yourself was worth it!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment Jessica! I agree, the challenge certainly helped me to grow as an artist. Ironically I hadn’t considered the fact until I started to write this post. Then I realised how significant it had been.

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