One of the great things about living in Paris, has been re-discovering a past love. A love that has been dead and buried for over thirty years. A love I thought I would never find again. I’ve re-discovered the joy of painting!
The last time I did some serious painting (not bathrooms or bedrooms) was for my art O’ Level which I flunked in spectacular style. After opening that brown envelope and seeing that I couldn’t even scrape a measly C in art, I packed up art for good. Who knows what life would have been like had I passed.
But thanks to a mum here in Paris, I’ve rediscovered the joy of painting through paint parties. Oh and we get to drink wine!
Paint parties are all the rage, companies are popping up to offer the painting experience to friends, corporates. Even stag parties are opting for the brush and canvas rather than drunkenly stumbling through a European city dressed as a smurf!
Allison, started her series of paint parties for mums living in Paris. The parties give mums time to hangout with girlfriends, make new friends, make connections. And while we’re sploshing paint on the canvas we can enjoy a glass of wine or two.
1. Staring at a blank canvas was terrifying but I had to start somewhere
Now that was terrifying. I haven’t picked up a paint brush in over thirty years. What if I am rubbish? What if it goes wrong? Where do I start?
But Allison is an excellent teacher.
She starts us off by making a 3 x 3 grid on the canvas on to which we start painting the background. By blending a few colours thinning or thickening our paints, et voilà, I am painting. Actually painting, like real proper painting.
I realise starting anything new is terrifying, but that one spot of paint has led a pretty decent work of art.
2. I can paint over my mistakes
Then it starts. The little gremlin sitting on my shoulder saying the painting must be perfect but it won’t because I am useless at art.
But I’m not going to listen to the gremlin. The gremlin goes back in his box. I am here to have fun. I bite into my brownie, and gulp my wine and paint on.
I do make mistakes. I do go wrong.
There is no room for perfection, I kick that gremlin out right out of my head. I spent at least an hour struggling to get a nipple just right, but it ended up all wrong.
So what? I can I simply paint over my mistakes and start again.
3. I’m not as bad as I think I am
And under Allison’s expert tutelage I have managed to walk away with a my very own piece of art.
Flunking that exam led me to believe I was rubbish at art. But I realise I am not that bad, and the only person who has to like my work is me.
4. Children have no fear
On the back of the success of the paint parties for mums, Allison has started paint parties for children.
I took mine to a session where the kids recreated Henri Rousseau’s Jungle Paintings. The paint party concept was a brilliant way to get my children interested in a great artist and an amazing piece of art.
And when it comes to art and painting, children are not wracked with fear and self-doubt, the paint just hits the canvas and they are off. As if by magic leaves, tigers, toucans start to appear.
5. I should not have waited so long to pick up a paint brush
Seriously why did I wait so long? I can’t believe it, for thirty years, I let a little exam crush my joy of painting. That exam led me to believe I wasn’t good as something I enjoyed.
That has stopped. I’ve signed up for a local art class, and Thursday nights, I pop round the corner to spend two hours with a bunch of French ladies, splashing paint.