4 things I Learned at Paint Nite
I was a Paint Nite instructor.
For the uninitiated: Paint Nite is a company that puts on events, beginner painting workshops (to be precise), in bars and restaurants across North America. "Drink Creatively", that's their motto. The paintings were assigned by the company and I would have to figure out how to duplicate them, and then walk people through them step by step.
The concept is interesting! Aside from the logistical nightmare of 40 tipsy adults navigating a tight, expensively furnished, area with (permanently staining) acrylic paint, what you get is a truly low pressure, social introduction to art and creativity. I had a lot of fun! I made some friends, broke the record for tips and learned a few things along the way. In case you never got the pleasure of seeing me in action (stay tuned for the next opportunity, by the way) here are the 5 things I found myself repeating absolutely EVERY night.
1. Just start! The first brush stroke feels like the hardest, but you won't even see it by the end! It will be in the background, buried under three layers of other colours. 20 years as an artist and I'm still nervous when I start a painting.
2. It feels wrong when you're doing it right. Painting and drawing is an act of radical trust. The act of jumping from 3D to 2D is very strange. Anything in an even vaguely impressionist style will look like a big mess up close. Your mind's eye will fight you. Keep going. Draw/paint waht you see, not what you THINK you see.
3. They all look different. The most striking think about watching 40 people paint the exact same thing is how incredibly unique each interpretation is, even when people are doing their absolute best to make an exact replica. Your own personality and flavour will shine through. Let it!
4. Stop! You want to fix just one more thing. You want to make it perfect. I know. I understand. But seriously, put down the brush! There comes a time when adding something will take something away. You might not know it until it's too late if you're caught up with your inner perfectionist.
I miss shepherding folk through, what is often, their first creative experience in years! I'm working of a workshop of my own and concocting a plan to bring it to you soon. Drop me a line here if you are interested or have suggestions.
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