I have previously written about my creativity, my lack of and how I vowed to be more creative. This led me to Pints and Painting, held at a very trendy pub/bar in Leeds ‘The Nation of Shopkeepers’, worth visiting if you like cool decor and alcohol! Labelled as a ‘Give it a Go’ session, it allowed myself and two friends to attend and dip our paint brushes back into the paintpot if you pardon the pun.
Despite it being a casual affair, I noticed the nerves and apprehension that surrounded the table of about 10 of us before we started. The nerves perhaps centred around the expectation of most (including myself) of being able to pick up the paint brush and suddenly have skills competing to those of Picasso (obviously ended up not being the case- sadly, wouldn’t have minded that). The apprehension of what we were going to paint as well, which consumed some people to the point of not actually being able to start. When I say paint, there was also the option of felt tip pens, pencils and watercolour. My nerves made me reach for the felt tip pens, perhaps that’s that child artist in me overriding my aims of creativity. With two friends, we started off by trying to draw each other, this lead to laughter of the failed depictions and hiding our first attempts in our bags so no one else could see them. We then moved onto the mini canvases they had provided and tried our best to make the most of them. Whilst the people who organised the event (artists doing their degree show) were sitting decorating their canvases with the most intricate designs, we sat their trying to apply paint without it turning into the classic brown mushy colour- the result of an overly eager paint mixer.
One thing that struck me during this pints and painting session was that fact that someone pointed out it was not a competition to my friend who started comparing anothers painting to her own (jokingly). Being stuck in the moment, to me it turned into a competitive thing ‘who is the best artist’, ‘who’s canvas looked the best’, this comment about the non-competitive nature of the session sounded out to me like a blaring ship signal. I had approached Pints and Painting with a subconsciously competitive mind-set, others perhaps did this too, resulting in the sense of nerves at the beginning. In my mind, I was wanting to be the best (who doesn’t want to be the best) but in actual fact I should have been more relaxed, more accepting of the fact that everyone was literally ‘giving it a go’ including myself, I should have given myself kinder expectations.
Although I didn’t walk away with an artwork comparable to the Mona Lisa (my expectations have been slightly exaggerated, I’m not that unrealistic!) nor a piece of art remotely representing anything, I ended that session with a new approach to my promise to be creative. The realisation that the attempt to be creative would not be measured against other people’s creations, that being creative doesn’t mean being amazing at art instantly.
Sessions like Pints and Paints are amazing at getting the extremely amateur artist (myself) involved, in a relaxed and informal way. While the pints help with the confidence, it was a chance to chat to different people, find out why they decided to start painting again and as a way to start painting again without the pressure of painting anything in particular. I would recommend joining in with ‘give it a go’ sessions as a way of starting again or even starting for the first time at painting, it allows you to try it without committing so that if you don’t enjoy it, that’s okay! After my experience I would say, remember it’s not a competition!
Next up, Life drawing…