November 9, 2011

Painting Class

How do you know what brush to choose?
I've been wanting to take a painting class for some time now. They had a variety to choose from in Denver. I thought a Sipping N' Painting class would be a great one to take. It sounds relaxing and fun at the same time, right? Also I didn't want to do anything too serious, I just wanted to explore a little and hopefully learn something new.  I was envious when I saw the pictures of one of my friends at a Sipping N' Painting class. She even painted the exact painting that I had my eye on, the Aspen trees with mountains in the background. Her pictures validated what I envisioned in my head a class like this would be like.  An environment full of inspiration with works of art and previous paintings hanging on the walls. A room full of people neatly sitting in rows focused on the task, mimicking what their instructor was doing. Proud students holding up their paintings for a group picture.

Well I never got to take a Sipping N' Painting  class before I moved away from Denver so I decided to look for one to take in Omaha. I searched under lots of different names but never found anything. Then one day Groupon came to the rescue! They had a Groupon for a place that does all kinds of classes and you could use the Groupon toward a painting class. Who could resist half off a painting class? I was lucky enough to have a friend that wanted to take the class with me!

I can't help but laugh at the experience we had, mostly because it was not what I was expecting at all. After I bought the Groupon I e-mailed the owner for more information. I wondered when they had the classes and what the options were for painting. That's when I found out that they only had classes on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of every month and there was no sipping provided, so it wasn't really a sip n' paint class, unless you brought your own something to sip. I realized that these were all things I should have figured out before I bought the Groupon but since the Groupon was already purchased I remained positive and still looked forward to the class.

The day finally arrived for our painting class! My friend, Miss S and I decided to meet each other there. After a day of substituting in 4th grade I felt a little hyper. Teaching does that to me sometimes especially if the schedule is jumping from one thing to the next and is all over the place. My plan was to rely on Google Maps to get me to this painting class. Google Maps on my I-phone is always reliable. Well almost always...Let's just say I had a little trouble finding the place and my hyper turned into frenzy. I don't like being late! I kept driving back and forth on the street that it was supposed to be located on. According to the little dot that I was following on the map, I kept passing it. I called Miss S and with her help I finally located the place.

When I arrived my friend was there to greet me at the door and led me down dark and dreary stairs to a room that was cold and not exactly inspiring. It actually made me feel crazy! You see, this room looked like a paint bomb went off. Interestingly enough we were the only ones that had signed up to take the class that night. I had kept my friend waiting all alone in that crazy room, how awkward for her. I felt really bad.

Our friendly and eccentric instructor was eager for the class to start. He saw that I brought something for us to "sip" and asked if I even had anything to open it with. Luckily I threw a bottle opener in my bag before I left, but I didn't have cups with me... I thought it was strange that they didn't have any cups either  considering it was advertised as a sip and paint class. He ended up finding some mighty fine birthday cups for us and encouraged us to drink deeply. I think he could tell I was worked up. That room was not helping me relax it was seriously making me feel crazy.

Our goal was to paint a version of Monet's Water Lillies. We had an example set before us and were supposed to follow the steps given on a Power Point type presentation being shown on a laptop. I had no clue what I was doing. I had never taken  a painting class before! I didn't know what brush to choose, what color to use, let alone how to apply the paint. The first step was to create an outline. I didn't know what I was doing and after the fact realized that my outline did not have the right proportions at all.

Which one do you think is mine?
This was not the "happy little tree" experience I had envisioned. I thought someone was going to actually be doing the painting along with us and show us step by step what to do and how to do it. I didn't know I was going to be learning from a slide show presentation. Those of you who have taken one of these classes before did you have an instructor painting along with you?

My painting kept getting worse and worse. It was so far gone. In the meantime Miss S is next to me all Zen like and focused. Let's just say hers looked completely different from mine. I don't generally give up but my painting was not turning out the way I wanted it to. The instructor said that mine was just more on the abstract side. That's when I decided I should at least fill in the rest of the canvas with color and I added the red streaks.

This is Miss S being all Zen like. Notice the paint bomb walls?

Here are the 5 things I learned from this experience:
  1.) Next time I go to a new place I should drive with my friend instead of meeting her there
  2.) I should do more research before buying a Groupon
  3.) I should have no expectations when trying something new
  4.) Next time I should drink more, we didn't even finish half the bottle of wine between the two of us!
  5.) I'm an abstract painter :)

This was when I had enough. I didn't want to paint any longer. How could it really be that bad? O yes this really happened. Like I said it just kept getting worse and worse...

I'm not sure if you find this story to be as humorous as I do. Maybe it was one of those situations where you just had to be there. You should stay tuned though because tomorrow I'm going to share with you how I turned my unloved painting into an inspirational masterpiece.


  1. lol I do think this is funny and I think your painting is lovely (I do see a hint of Pepto-Bismol) Out of sight, out of mind; I have a framed painting hanging above my Nana's antique cedar chest that is very dear to me.

    "It's on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly."
    Claude Monet (1840–1926)

  2. When I have taken painting classes, the instructor always paints along with me to show the technique! You should come visit and we should take one together. :)


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