Sunday, November 2, 2014

Artists for a Night...

The Facts

We painted Fletcher… well, pictures of Fletcher.

His Side

I consider myself an artist. But, I am an artist with words, not pencil or crayons or markers or paint. With that being said, I do enjoy a good challenge and am always willing to try new things. So, when Kristi suggested we do this wine and design thing, I thought it would be fun. It’s different than our usual date nights and there is an instructor walking you through the painting process, so how hard can it be? I realized just how hard it can be.

First of all, we wanted to go on a “paint your pet” night because Fletcher is the cutest puppy in the world and the other, regular options for classes weren’t great. After a bunch of phone calls and asking around, Kristi was able to get us in to the paint your pet class even though it was a few days after our Groupon expired and it cost a little bit more than a regular class. Not only does it cost more than a regular class but it is longer and, I found out, much more difficult.

It seemed easy when I first arrived. We had sent in the pictures of our adorable little guy that we wanted to paint. Then, they blew them up in black and white on the canvas we would paint. So, we were painting over the picture itself. Sounds easy, right? Not really. The instructor had us start with the eyes and nose. Those were easy. I rocked those parts. Then, however, we had to do the rest of the pup… and fur is really hard to get right. Then there’s the whole thing of mixing paint to make the proper colors. The instructor would help mix a good color but she would only mix a tiny bit of it. Once I ran out of that, I was on my own to mix a color that looked similar. It turns out I wasn’t too great at that. Then, of course, there’s the aspect of blending colors and doing highlights and layers of color… all very foreign concepts to me. Even with the instructor’s help, I wasn’t able to really get the picture (pun intended).

My picture looks interesting. I actually like how it turned out even though the skill level is clearly not the greatest. I say it has a certain amateurish charm to it. It didn’t help that I was next to Kristi who knocked it out of the park. She was, hands down, the best in the class. Her painting looks just like the picture she was basing it on. I was thoroughly impressed. I mean, I knew she could paint because she has made stuff to decorate our house and to give to people for gifts, but it’s never been an actual animal. She’s very good and I’m happy to have her picture hung up in our house. And, I’m just appreciative that she’s willing to hang mine up, too!

It was a fun experience for sure; I just wish I was better at it. And I’m pretty sure this class was way harder than most of the classes in which everyone is painting the same thing. It’s a tough place to start my career as a painter and it may be where that career ends. I guess I’ll keep my day job and stick to writing.

Her Side

This is all about a date night that Nolan and I just had. Our date nights are normally spent at home, at a restaurant, or at a movie theater… we apparently lack variety in that aspect of our lives. So, a few months back, I found what I thought to be the perfect outing for Nolan and me (at least in my mind). I was perusing my e-mail that is filled to the brim with subscription based propaganda… I’ll admit I really need to click “unsubscribe” so as not to tempt myself to make impromptu (and unneeded) purchases. Unfortunately, I’m a sucker for Living Social and Groupon. This is NOT because I actually need anything from them, but because they suck me in with the promise of saving money!

Earlier this year I went to a Wine and Design class with my coworkers and it was a blast. So, when I saw a Living Social deal for the same thing, I knew that Nolan and I just had to go! I ran the idea by Nolan and the deal was purchased a few moments later. After going back and forth about what class to attend and after some back and forth dealings with the folks at Wine and Design, we settled on a class entitled “Paint Your Pet.”  I know what you’re thinking:  “How cruel! Why would they want to paint their pet?!” To put your mind at ease, we didn’t paint Fletcher, but rather a picture of Fletcher.

Nolan chose a picture of Fletcher from right after we got him and I chose one from a photo shoot I made Nolan do a few weeks ago for the purpose of having a “glamour shot” of Fletcher for me to paint.

Neither of us really knew what to expect going into this class. I had more of an idea since I’d gone to a similar class before, but I wasn’t quite sure how they were going to instruct us on painting our own pets since most classes focus on one painting that an instructor paints alongside the class… a very different scenario than what we were embarking on.

I was surprised to find that they blew up the photos that we previously e-mailed them of our pets and wrapped the blown up photo around a canvas. I’ll admit that I thought to myself that they had done the hard work for us and of course everyone’s photo would turn out looking great since we didn’t really have to “work” for it. I’ll be the first to admit that my mindset was totally wrong. I’m so thankful that they blew up the pictures because, without that, I’m not sure what Fletcher would have turned out looking like… if I had to guess, I would say an alien.

We had a small class which provided more one on one time with the instructor, making the process so much better. When you have no concept of how a painting is created, it’s easy to get discouraged and think that your creation is going to look nothing like the picture right in front of you. So, we had to put a lot of faith in the instructor and she had to have a decent amount of patience with her skeptical students! The air was full of comments like “this doesn’t look like my dog” and “this doesn’t look like fur at all.” Even though there were only four of us in the class, we were a lively bunch and that definitely added to the experience.

At the end of the night, we had spent nearly three and a half hours obsessing over our paintings and perfecting them to our liking. Each one turned out very different from one another, but perfect for the person who painted it. While I can only speak for myself, I’d bet that Nolan had just as great of a time as I did. We got to spend time together being creative (something we both enjoy, albeit in different capacities) and we ended the night with some wonderful artwork that has already found a place in our home!

Sometimes spending time together just needs to include something outside of the norm. I got to see an artsy and creative side of Nolan that doesn’t often come out. And while I know that doing crafts will never really be his thing, the fact that he jumped in feet first to this experience (and didn’t complain once) means a lot!

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