A few Saturdays ago, I joined my sister-in-law for an indoor, air-conditioned, non-exertive adventure! ~smile~ Okay, so some may not consider painting extremely adventurous, but I had an amazing time filling my canvas with color! I generally do not fancy myself an artist, as I have never completely mastered the stick figure; but, something about paint has always intrigued me.
Being the true anti-perfectionist she was, my grandmother gave me a can of paint and a brush when I was in elementary school and let me loose on a piece of her outdoor furniture. (Maybe it was a swing?) She set me free and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
My lack of confidence keeps me from slapping paint on our bedroom walls (that and the hideous wallpaper I keep wanting to remove); yet, give me a paint-by-number or a blank canvas and I will have the time of my life. The final product may not be much to look at, but I can assure you I will emerge from the experience with a happy heart and a toothy grin.
Painting is therapeutic. Painting the outside of a house on a hot summer day may not fill the heart with glee, but taking a white surface and covering it with emotionally stimulating colors is, in my opinion, abundantly relaxing.
Paint Night Anyone?
Months ago, my sister-in-law approached me about trying Roanoke’s Paint Nite. Somehow, she knew I would love it!
How does it work? Well, in the span of about two hours, an instructor teaches his or her entire class to paint the same picture. When the night is complete, the assistant takes pictures of each student holding his or her painting. Everyone emerges with personal masterpieces they can hang in their homes or hide in their closets – whichever they choose! It seemed like a relaxing, educational, and slightly daunting experience, but finally I was ready to do it! We went to their website, scrolled through the available dates, found a picture we liked, and signed up!
Given my deep-seated fear of appearing foolish (that pesky annoyance which plagues all my new pursuits), I have spent a lifetime shying away from experiences that might embarrass me in front of others. Painting is most definitely one of those experiences! In any kind of art class, there is no such option as hiding your work; so, when I signed up for this night of artistic fun, I had a little anxiety about painting in front of strangers. Everyone would see me succeed or fail! However, the promise of fun outweighed the fear and I was excited to try it! (I would call that personal growth, wouldn’t you? ~smile~)
Fun Day with the Fam!
Eric and I decided to make the Day o’ Paint a special day; so, we drove to Roanoke early in the day and caught a movie with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. And, not just any movie… the long-awaited Minions movie! Seriously, I have been impatiently waiting for its release for over a year because I am a big kid. (It was, of course, fabulous.)
After the movie, we squeezed in a game of cards and then enjoyed a delicious meal at Mission BBQ. Tender meats, delicious sides, the best cornbread I have ever inhaled, and a good selection of barbecue sauces. Minions make everything happier and a variety of barbecue sauces makes everything tastier! ~smile~ The first half of the day was pretty spectacular!
Ready, Set, PAINT!
After we ate, my sister-in-law and I headed to the hotel which was hosting our girls’ night. When we arrived, I noticed several average-looking, middle aged ladies waiting to check in. Not one of them appeared to be oozing confidence. It occurred to me that I was entering a classroom full of Heathers! We were all nervous and hoping not to make fools of ourselves. Suddenly, my concerns melted away. A feeling of camaraderie began forming as I heard ladies chattering.
“Have you ever done this before?”
“This is my first Paint Nite!”
“I hope my painting does not look hideous when we are through!”
Clearly, the other participants were at least mildly insecure about their artistic abilities and, thus, I knew I was in the presence of many kindred spirits. What was left but to paint, laugh, and be merry?
Before we began, the assistant passed out canvases and gave us some pointers. What I especially appreciated was her declaration that we were working in a no negativity zone! She must have expected a room full of women (and a few men) to utter some self-deprecating statements. (Why do we do that to ourselves, ladies?) When the instructor took over, she said, “Every painting will look different, no one’s painting will look exactly like mine, and if you do not want to paint what I am painting, that is fine. My feelings will not be hurt!” Said like a true artist. ~smile~
And, we were off! First, we mixed blue and white for a beautiful sky backdrop. Then, blue and yellow for the green grass. Next, it was time to paint tree trunks, then limbs, and then branches. At times I felt like I was falling behind, but so was everyone else! Finally, we were able to mix our red and white to paint beautiful cherry blossoms on our trees. I did get a little testy with myself when my blossoms appeared more like random, pink blobs than whimsical flowers, but then the instructor came over and said, “I love your thick paint!” (Maybe she was lying, but I am choosing to believe she was not. ~smile~)
When I expressed my discontent with my work, the assistant picked it up, walked it a few feet away, and asked me “How does it look now?” Surprisingly, a few feet made so much difference! Stepping back from a stressful situation helps us to see it more clearly, and stepping back from our artwork does the same!
We were among the last of the group to leave – both of us adding finishing touches. I am happy and rather amazed to report that I did not stain my clothes in the process of painting my masterpiece. We turned in our aprons, had our pictures taken, and then headed home to show off our cherry blossom trees to our husbands.
Paint with Your Special Someone
If you and your sweetie are in a rut and looking for something new to try, check around your town and see if they have a similar painting event. For a reasonable fee, you get a canvas, paints, brushes to use, an apron rental, and expert instruction – not to mention a night out! I would highly recommend this for your next date night! There is something special about taking nothingness and putting your special mark on it!
When is the last time you got paint all over your hands, face, and hair and did not care?