Recently, I attended a private party at Pinot’s Palette, a place where you make a little art while you drink a little wine. A co-worker organized a party and invited us to bring some people and join in for an evening of painting and wine drinking. This was not my first trip to Pinot’s Palette. Some of us had booked seats on an open night for my Aunt’s birthday. At the birthday celebration my mom and I had a blast, so when this came up, I invited her along. Plus, she’s kind of fun to hang out with.
You start off with a blank canvas…and some wine. We chatted and laughed, and I got to know more really fun people. (and forgot to take pictures of the work “in progress”) The instructors are all very kind and patient. Well, they’d have to be right? Creating art, especially for the first time, can be a bit intimidating, and people get really worried if it doesn’t look exactly like the example or the one the instructor’s painting. (Plus, they serve alcohol…patience is always a requirement when alcohol is involved.) All of the instructors I’ve had either have or are getting a degree in Fine Arts, and I’ve been impressed with them.
Slowly, under patient (and often repeated) instruction…and more wine, an actual picture begins to take shape. I like to paint at home for fun. Mostly abstracts…that way I don’t have to worry about reality too much. When we saw the example, my mom turned to me and groaned “circles”. If you’ve ever had to paint or draw a circle freehand, you know what she was talking about. Me I just shrugged, and told her that if it ended up really crooked we could just say we wanted to try Salvador Dali’s style.
When I come to these places, I have to really be careful, because I’m not in my old comfortable painting clothes. You know the kind, jeans worn until there are holes, the hems have frayed, they are all soft and comfy, and fit perfectly. My usual are jeans like that (but also paint smeared) and an amazingly soft but ugly flannel shirt (the sleeves are a different color blue from the rest of the shirt). I can’t really complain though. I stole it from my sister when we were in high school. However, for an evening out in public on Cherry Street, I tend to dress like a grown up. (Mostly a grown up, I still had on my Chuck Taylors…those are grownup…right?) All night, I had to remind myself not to wipe my hands on my pants…I’m a pretty messy painter at home. My clothes managed to stay paint-free, but my hands were smeared with green paint before we even got started. (Eh, their hands. They wash.)
Typically, painting doesn’t make me nervous. It is kind of relaxing. However, that’s at home alone in my little spare bedroom/studio. Apparently, I don’t relax well when other’s are watching (probably not actually watching because they’re painting too, but it sure feels like everybody’s watching!) I don’t know why. It isn’t even really stage fright, because I’m mostly okay (when forced) on stage.
The same issue plagued me when I played the piano…and the clarinet…and sang in the choir. Put me in a group where no one can hear me and I’m great…anytime that I realize someone is actually paying attention, I mess it all up! My poor mother had to stand in another room just to listen to me play the piano…for years. These days, I’ll let her stay in the room…sometimes. I can’t play and talk…or sing at the same time. Lord help us if you want me to play while you sing. I get distracted by the singing, and apparently forget how to mostly play things…like chords.
Vintage Ride, by Jessica Thompson
Aaaaannnnndddd we’re back on the actual point. You know what helps with this nervousness? Wine. Wine helps a lot. I didn’t worry so much about what other people thought about my creation, or who was watching. When my inner perfectionist tried to raise her head, I drowned her out with a nice red blend and some laughter. At events like this, I try to just enjoy the company, the laughter, and the whole process without worrying too much about the finished product. Sometimes, it even works.
A long time ago, I got some great advice about the little imperfections in things I make. When I was making my first quilt, I worried about mistakes a lot. The rows didn’t line up exactly, or it wasn’t perfectly square (or both). My Mom just told me that the imperfections were where the love lives. That’s how they know that it was handmade…she also told me when I pricked my finger with the sewing needle, “whatever you do, don’t bleed on the quilt!” Both excellent pieces of advice. The one about the imperfections being where the love lives, is the one that really stayed with me through quilts, painting, music, and even baking…wait, maybe cooking was “it doesn’t matter what it looks like, as long as it tastes good”. (I may have dropped a pie…or two. What can I say, I am not the most coordinated of individuals.)
By the end of the night, I ended up with a painting, some new friends, and great memories. The imperfections are where the love lives. “Vintage Ride” hangs in the entryway of my house, front and center. The memory of laughter, family, friends, and fun are in every brushstroke. I wouldn’t change a single thing.
My Mom and I showing off our creations
Have you ever gone to a place like this? Taken an art class? (I really want to do that, but it scares the bejesus out of me! Probably that whole creating art in front of someone…or a bunch of someones.)
‘Til next time,