Posted in Mid-life Mama

5 lessons learned from the joy of painting

5 lessons learned from the joy of painting Posted on November 3, 201636 Comments

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

Acrylics works best

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

Great American Nude

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 

Poppy in progress

And under Allison’s expert tutelage I have managed to walk away with a my very own piece of art.

I am pretty chuffed with my pop art piece, Great American Nude, Tom Wesselmann, and the 1919 impressionist,  the  Corn Poppy, Kees Van Dongen.  Both sit proudly the living room.

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

Jungle Painting in progress

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.

Dear Bear and Beany

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36 thoughts on “5 lessons learned from the joy of painting

    1. Thank you, Dan. Yes Paris is very beautiful, somewhat preserved, but there are some really amazing parts, one of my favourite areas is Belleville – a stunning view from the top of Belleville Hill and fabulous street art too. Thanks for dropping by.

  1. Ah I recently did my first bit of painting in years! I forced the Mr into “arts and crafts time” and we did a little canvas each – it’s really satisfying isn’t it? I think we’ll be making more soon – there’s nothing like some creative freedom to keep the soul happy! #sharingthebloglove
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  2. I love the idea of a paint party. I miss art, I used to paint and sketch all the time when I was younger. I would have the same gremlins now as you had. But you are so right, it doesn’t have to be perfect and you can paint over any actual mistakes.

    1. Thank you! But you are creative – just take a look at your blog, your photos, the ideas you have, that’s all creativity!

  3. This is such a great idea! Honestly, I didn’t even got my G.C.S.E in Needlework but I love it! Sewing has become one of my passion too. I just love it. I think this is a great way to connect with your passion as well as make new and connect with old friends. Sound like a great night out for me! I wish I could live nearer to you so I can come and join you. Perhaps, when I visit Paris one day I can come and join your wonderful world or clubs/ parties too. 🙂 No shame – I have just invited myself! Haha 😉 xx P.s. I love your painting too. 🙂

    Thank you so much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost
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    1. So what if you didn’t get your GCSE – you love it that’s all that matters! Who knows maybe I’ll set up paint parties when I get back to the UK, I think they are a fantastic idea for connecting people!

    1. I love the paint parties, they’re such a great way to get a couple of hours of relaxation, creativity and gossip with girl friends.

    1. I think we all have a creative vibe, we have in our heads what we think good ought to be. You write a blog, you shoot blogs – that all takes creativity!

  4. This sounds fab! I used to love art, so much so that I took my GCSE early and passed with flying colours, but since then I haven’t so much as picked up a paint brush and the most artistic thing I get to draw is stick figures for the children! This sounds so therapeutic, maybe I should try and get back into it! #fabfridaypost
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    1. You should. I love the art class, it’s something I had wanted to do for a long time but always found reasons not to. It’s great for finding headspace.

    1. I bet you could! Hey it’s just about being a bit creative, and letting that flow. The paint parties were brilliant for that.

    1. Ah! Thanks for the comment! I’m kinda blushing. Wow you must have been good if you did art A level, maybe it’s time to indulge the creative spirit a bit – but I get you time! Now the kids are a bit older I can sneak out for a couple of hours in the evening.

    1. Ha! Ha! Me! Just crashed out! I’m glad I rediscovered painting albeit 30 years later, and loving it! If you get the chance – splash some paint soon!

    1. Thank you! I think paint parties are just fabulous, I love them! It’s been great to do something artistic, with other mums, no kids, and have a glass of wine too!

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