Last Friday a group of friends and I ventured to Williamsburg in Brooklyn to the Painting Lounge. We made reservations a few months ago based on a Groupon deal. Dear readers, I was walking into a BYOB painting class. The Painting Lounge is set up for the artistic wannabe. For me, that was very comforting as my equivalent of drawing is the stick figure. You walk in and the easels are set up on two long tables. You reserve your time based on the painting you wish to replicate (including “Starry Night”, “The Kiss”, and others). Each canvas has a piece of carbon paper over it. The first step is to trace the outline of the painting so it shows on the canvas. My first thought was, “Fantastic, it’s like a paint by numbers!”
Well, it was a tich more complicated than that. Our class painted Andy Warhol’s “Flowers”. Pretty simple, right? Well yes, but that was before the art of mixing paint came into play.
I spent almost the entire class on the bottom right flower. I wanted a deep purple, but the purple paint was too transparent. So I tried mixing it with black. Didn’t work. The instructor suggested mixing it with white because it was the most opaque. I didn’t really want to do that though because I wanted a deep purple. I eventually gave in and started on the next flower. The deep green I wanted to portray gave me the same problem! I sighed and started to feel that acrylic paint is not meant to be deep.
The first hour of the class I experienced a great deal of frustration. Then after getting a new paint pallet and walking back to my canvas, I realized that it didn’t look all that bad. In fact, my biggest mistakes now looked really good! All of us were in the class for about 2-and-a-half hours, and we each came to realize that what we thought would be a silly way to pass time actually became one of the most fulfilling and meditative events we experienced in quite some time.
The last time I painted was in junior high art class. I never once thought that picking up a brush could lead to some of the same results as after a walk outside or a yoga class: That feeling of peace and calm. With our crazy schedules, sometimes even fitting in a workout can be stressful. And the workout is usually meant to relieve stress! We strive to find different ways to just breathe and let go for even just 15 to 20 minutes. Well, I think I found an option, take a painting class!
The classes at Painting Lounge cost around $50. You bring your own beverages (and yes, we did have a few glasses of wine while debating on what paint color combinations worked best with our “concepts”), and you get to keep the painting when you’re done! Our coupon got us in for $25, which I think was an incredible deal for the experience. My version of “Flowers” is now hanging on my kitchen wall. I’m incredibly proud of it – not because it’s a great work of art (it isn’t), but because after battling with what I thought I wanted, I realized that I got what I wanted by simply accepting what was handed to me and appreciating it for what it was.
Good lessons for our everyday work life, yes?