Happy little bats

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So. The last 9 days, I was in Austin, Texas. Which was a completely kickass vacation, I’m pleased to say. The past year has been a bit rough in several ways, but this was a trip that made stress melt away. I got to have quiet mornings on the deck with a glass of iced coffee, got to meet up with online friends to do fun stuff, got to experience the special weirdness that Austin excels at, and meet amazingly friendly people. And eat fabulous food.

I got a couple different DCFG projects of mine fangirled, which was delightful — the painted/decoupaged shoes got several compliments, and the TARDIS kindle cozy could have gotten me a niche in a great little Austin store if not for the fact that I’m not from Texas.

And yes, even while racing around hearing music and shopping and thrift shopping, I did not forget my duty to create my weekly project. This time I had company while doing so. While looking through the do512.com site (if you’re ever going to Austin, it’s essential), I stumbled on the Austin franchise of Painting with a Twist. It’s a business that offers space and supplies to make a painting in one night, as a local artist guides you through the process.

Aprons and finished works.

You all work on the same painting, with different paintings offered on different days. The do512 listing showed thumbnails of each day’s painting, so I decided on mine at the beginning of the trip, figuring it would be a terrific souvenir: Starry Austin Night, which compressed the Austin skyline with Van Gogh swoops and swirls of stars behind it.

One paper plate held the colors we needed for the evening's work, and the other provided a palette for blending.

Oh, and I forgot the Twist part of Painting with a Twist. Each person can bring their own snacks and beer, wine or whatever, so it’s a party with a painting. (Our instructor told us his first group with that painting — we were the second — brought hard liquor and were stinking drunk and rowdy. Would love to see their works! Ours was pretty mellow.)

When we walked in our easels and paper-plate palettes were set up, and we got our 16″ x 24″ canvas when we paid. David, our instructor, led us through the process, giving us general guidelines for blending shades and spacing elements by finger-widths and stuff. There was a finished painting to reference, plus David painted a new one as he walked us through the process, and for some of the finer details, he used a white board to give us a closer look at what we should be doing.

I couldn’t help but think of the Happy Little Trees guy, and in fact, the comparison was acknowledged. Wish I’d taken a picture of it: there was a sketch of HLTG by David’s easel, with HIS NAME above and BOB ROSS below.

Despite the fact that we were working on the same image, there was a range of different looks to the students’ works, whether or not they wanted it. Periodically you’d hear little noises of frustration when a brushstroke didn’t go the way a painter wanted, and there was a lot of “I like yours, but mine…” I suspect, though, that the longer people lived with their own paintings, the better they liked them. Mine has grown on me. I originally planned to go back over a few spots but I’ve decided, to quote Anne Lamott, to leave it lay where Jesus flang it.

Smished skyline of Austin welcomes you!

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