Stepping out of your comfort zone
June 2022 article by: Maxime Legault
featured image: l'équilibre, by Maxime Legault
Hello, my name is Maxime Legault, I am a young painter, I live in Rockland and I recently completed my first year of university in visual arts. I was also one of the recipients of the CAPRAC scholarship last year and I am grateful for that.
This past April, I completed my first year of post-secondary study in visual art at the University of Ottawa. For this contribution to the community blog, I will be talking about my transition from high school to the professional art world. For me, art is the reason for my existence, so pursuing art was not really a question. I loved my time in high school, but the interesting thing about post-secondary is that I got to meet so many people who share the same interests as me including my passion for the visual arts. It was really the first time I was in a room with so many people my age who were as passionate as I am. You could say that I joined my own. In my studio classes, we were still a small group so I had the chance to get to know a lot of talented colleagues who each had their own story and different perspectives.
My first year of university was amazing! I learned so much, stepped out of my comfort zone several times and made some interesting connections. My practice is mostly reserved for painting, but last year I had multiple studio classes. I had photography classes where I was introduced to 35mm photography and darkroom processing. Media arts classes where I learned the basics of video editing and installation. Sculpture classes where I was introduced to different materials and the "molding" techniques and finally, in painting I discovered different techniques and completed many different projects. In addition to my studio classes I also had two art history classes this year, where we learned about the evolution of visual arts from the Neanderthal period to the beginning of the 20th century.
I believe that as an artist, no matter what field you are in, stepping out of your comfort zone is essential to improving yourself. It's not easy to get out of. I myself have always had little motivation to explore a variety of mediums, techniques and styles, but in the last few years I have been exposed to a lot of different ways of doing things and I have improved a lot. My first year of university has been incredible for my artistic growth. Even if I will be practicing little photography, sculpture, and media art in the next few years at least I have had the chance to expand my knowledge. Even in my painting class I went beyond my usual practice and the teacher helped me to go beyond my abilities. I usually paint in a detailed way and for this project, the teacher wanted me to work fast, so he set a timer and it was up to me to complete a large portion of my painting in the prescribed time frame. I have never had an experience like this in the past, I was really able to step out of my comfort zone and I am grateful for that. Stepping out of your comfort zone helps to develop creativity and expand your skills and knowledge. I strongly encourage my peers and any artist to venture out of their comfort zone in order to improve their art.
Next school year, I have to choose a discipline. So, after a year of exploration, I have decided to choose painting as my main focus. I am really looking forward to working with my classmates on different projects and I am really looking forward to meeting and working with established artists.
This blog is also for young artists who are passionate about their discipline. As a young artist myself, I encourage my peers to get involved in the art world and continue to practice their passion. I chose to pursue a career in art because of my love and strong passion for it. I believe in breaking the fear that exists in young people to pursue art - if the passion is there why not.
Since his young age, Maxime Legault has been passionate about art. He began his artistic research at the age of six when he started taking drawing and painting classes with Bernard Lévesque. As he gained experience and mastered techniques, Maxime was encouraged to participate in certain exhibitions in order to share the fruits of his studies. He diversified his knowledge by meeting different artists and by taking art classes in high school. In 2019, Maxime organized a youth exhibition himself in order to share the work of his colleagues and bring the community together. He is now at the University of Ottawa, in visual arts, where he takes courses in painting, sculpture, photography and more.