Outside of My Comfort Zone

Remember that painting hanging in my office?  Here’s the close-up:

cherry blossom

I did that.  Those would be my initials down at the bottom.  There’s a new place near me called Muse Paintbar.  They have classes just about every night.  You sign up for the class based on the date/time you want and the painting.  You begin with a blank white canvas and the instructor walks you through the painting, from blending colors making the perfect shade of tan or pink to drawing branches and trees and boats.  I’ve since made two more and look forward to my fourth.

I am very much an “inside the lines” kind of person.  I work linearly, following steps and procedures.  When I draw, my lines are straight.  I am also a perfectionist with no creative outlet/limited creative ability.  At my first class, the instructor began the class by saying, “Leave your Type A and your perfectionist at the door.”  My reaction?  Well, shit.  (Sorry for the language.  Not really.)  He then said “There are no straight lines.”  My reaction?  Again: well, shit.  My branches may be a little thick.  My boat may look like it’s on top of the water instead of in the water.  My floating leaves may not look like floating leaves.  My rope may look 2-D.  But it’s my first try and I think it’s pretty darn good.  I love how the base of the tree and the water turned out.  More importantly, the classes get me completely out of my comfort zone and put me in a position where the only thing I am thinking about is my painting.  The classes, which run about $35-$45 unless you’re lucky enough to find a Groupon or Living Social deal, are the creative outlet my life has been lacking.

I choose the class I want to go to based on the painting for that session.  Now that I’ve experienced two different instructors, I look for the one I like.  I also look for the “free drink” sessions as a few sips of wine can take the edge off.  The wine also helps me lose my inner perfectionist.

My second painting I don’t like as much.  I love the colors and I think the boat came out really well but I don’t like the sharp line between the reddish-pinkish color and the yellow.  How the painting turns out, keeping in mind everyone’s is different, has something to do with how the instructor explains the task.  The instructor on this night was overwhelmed by an obnoxious birthday party and didn’t explain proper blending techniques.  She also omitted a step on the boat so I had to redo mine (if you look very very very closely, you can see the shadow of a black line in the yellow under the sail).

sailboat on sunset lagoon

I love my third painting!  I took a class with the women in my family and had the same instructor as the cherry blossom tree.  It was easier for me to make semi-controlled thinner lines this time than it was the last time.  I mean, the lines outlining the white birch trees aren’t as thin (barely visible) as they shoudl be, but they’re not the out of control thickness of the branches on my cherry blossom.  Even the letters in my initials are getting thinner.  Practice, and the instructor, really do make a world of difference.

cardinals

Here’s the latest viewing of my gallery wall at work (and the Surface is in its dock so you can kind of see my three screens):

gallery wall

The best part about these paintings?  I’m adding color to an otherwise all white office.

Tell me, dear Fitters, do you ever attend paint nights?  What do you think of them?  If not, what is your creative outlet and what else should I do?  What do you think of my paintings?  Where do you hang your completed works?

Until next time…

2 thoughts on “Outside of My Comfort Zone

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