I’m not sure what possessed me to sign up for the Wine, Whine and Design workshop at the Port Aransas Art Center. The workshop was described as a “stress free and creative” exercise in creating a painting one step at a time. I’m an author, not a visual artist. But I had been in a bit of a writing slump lately and thought I would exercise different creative muscles.
For a $40 donation, the Art Center provides canvas, paints and tools and instruction. Participants are encouraged to bring wine to drink and a snack to share. The Art Center even provides the wine glasses. The classes are held on a Sunday and run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
I was told that this is a very popular program and that they sell out quickly, so when I showed up for the Feb. 15 class I wasn’t surprised to find the classroom filled. I joined a dozen or so other people at the worktables.
Our work areas were already supplied with stretched 16” x 20” canvases, palettes of acrylic paint, brushes and sponges, and stencils. Arlene Hughes stood at the head of the class ready to guide us in creating a scene studded with four palm trees. (Different artists take turns leading the workshops and the subjects vary by workshop.)
Sure there was a lot of “paint by numbers” to this. Arlene instructed us to “put a strip of this color here, put a strip of that color there. Make a tracing of the palm tree fronds there,” etc. Still there was certainly room for individual artistic expression. Ever the rebel, I decided to have five palm trees, not four, and another student chose to deviate with regard to the colors for his striped background.
In between the different stages of making the paintings we took breaks to nibble on the snacks, refresh ourselves with the beverages and get acquainted with our fellow artists. If we got so involved with our work that our glasses ran empty, Arlene’s helpers circulated around the workroom to see if anyone needed a refill. The evening went by like a flash. I found it not only fun but therapeutic: three hours during which I was so focused on the task at hand that there wasn’t a brain cell left to worry about a single other thing.
Yes there was wine and design but absolutely no whining. The energy was high, paint brushes flew and the artists laughed, oohed and ahhed with delight not only over what they were able to create but what the other students produced. Although we all worked with the same canvas, the same tools and the same design, we ended up with unique paintings. It was quite astounding.
We ended the workshop with a group art exhibit and a toast to Arlene and the Art Center staff for a job well done.
Before the night was out I signed up for the March 22 class (we’ll be painting an angelfish) and the April 19 class (the subject’s a parrot). At this rate I’ll soon need a gallery of my own to exhibit my work.
For more information about the Port Aransas Art Center Whine, Wine and Design workshops, or any of the other classes or events, stop by 323 N. Alister St. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the center’s Web site at http://www.portaransasartcenter.org, visit the group’s page on Facebook or call (361) 749-7334.
P.S. As for the Author me, I’ll be the guest of the Friends of the Library “Coffee with the Author” event on Saturday, Mar. 14, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Ellis Memorial Library, 700 W. Ave. A. I’ll read an excerpt from “The King’s Redress,” my latest work, and take questions. Want to know where I get my ideas or how long it takes to write a novel? Come ask, enjoy free coffee and donuts plus some surprise treats from me. I’ll see you there.