I’ve spent a lifetime maintaining that I’m crafty, not arty. You want me to whip up a cable-knit sweater, sew a miniature outfit for your niece’s Barbie using a vintage ’50s pattern, embroider eye-hurtingly cute bunny cushions, or crochet an Amigurumi baby flamingo, I’m your gal. You want me to paint or draw… well, not so much. In fact, the last time I painted – outside a spot of house painting – was probably primary school. Back then, I could never keep in the lines, and, as it is, I’m generally covered in ink and/or dirt within minutes of getting dressed, so I kinda gave up. Plus, to be frank, I was a bit shit. That said, my dad, at the ripe old age of 73, started painting for the first time in his life recently and he’s bloody brilliant! Inspired by his moxie, I decided to give a bash, which led me to the Paint For Fun crew.
Throughout the year, Paint For Fun run classes for grownups looking to coax out their inner artist at various inner-city locales (usually a pub or café, so you can have a bite to eat and a bevvie while you work). Plus, at appropriate times, they hold themed paint sessions. Come Christmas, this year’s choices included ‘A Gloomy Christmas’, which involved having a bash at Sally and Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, or ‘Merry Christmas’, featuring two super-cute snowman. Being a dedicated noël nerd and Tim Burton fan, ‘A Gloomy Christmas’ had my name all over it.
This class was held at the Hub Café in St Kilda and conducted by experienced artist and Paint For Fun co-founder Revi Carmel. While classes are usually two hours, this one pushed three given that it was a tad more complicated. Each participant had a work station with the necessary brushes, paints, smock, easel and canvas: no need to bring anything. An easel with an already complete picture of Jack and Sally was up front for reference throughout the class, but initially it was a wee bit intimidating. How the hell were we meant to paint that? We’ve been assured though that no experience is required.
Revi started proceedings by talking us through the various brushes (dad, mum, teenager and baby to make it easy), and then guided us through the task with small, readily understandable steps. At each stage, Revi explained which brush to use, which paints to mix and in what quantities. Throughout the class, she observed us all carefully and offered gentle suggestions to make sure that we were on track. For instance, I’d painted Sally’s shoulders too high and was blurring blue into areas it didn’t belong, so Revi showed me how to get back on course. A patient, kind and funny instructor, Revi’s instructions were so precise as to be fool-proof and we all end up with a more than fair facsimile of her original painting: everyone was stoked.
I couldn’t have been more chuffed with my handiwork and it’s taken pride of place amidst the festive fracas at home. What’s more, I enjoyed myself so darn much that I’ve signed up for another four classes to have a crack at everything from water-colour cacti to cherry-blossom vistas and Banksy-esque creations.
Meg Crawford is a freelance journo and full-time rockabilly. She’s also a rock dog to her core and likes Ghostbusters a little bit too much. Follow her on @rockabillywriter.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Paint For Fun.
Image credit: Paint For Fun.