This is a 5×7 oil painting that was done as an exercise in an art class. The task was to paint something for 30 minutes… with your non-dominant hand. I was scared that painting left-handed would result in nothing but gobs of paint colors splattered on the canvas, so I chose to paint flowers, which are generally more forgiving of an awkward stroke and the dabbing of paint. It turns out that painting with my left hand forced me to be more creative in my brush strokes, which produced a unique interpretation of my reference. The tight time limit on the exercise made me use a variety of colors to quickly demonstrate the various lights (e.g., the white “pedals” in the flower jar) and use of purple to make the shadows on the flowers, flower jar and table.
It’s easy to turn back to the familiar and paint in a way that you are confident because you know it will lead to a good finished product. But this exercise forced me out of that comfort zone and challenged me to experiment with new ideas,which showed some excitement behind the colors. I walked away energized, and surprised with my ability to tackle a challenging exercise. I think that’s the fun of stepping outside of what you thought were your limits.