Category Archives: art

Make Something

On my Google calendar on Tuesday nights, I have a recurring event: Make Something.

And unless I’m not home, I normally try to oblige. Maybe I’ll make dinner that’s more than just a pot of rice and steamed veggies. Maybe I’ll put a few more stitches in a scarf I’ve been neglecting. Maybe I’ll doodle while watching TV. And hey, maybe I will just do nothing. But I do try to do SOMETHING.

It is so easy just to not make something. Life and inertia has a spectacular way of making it much easier to just binge watch “Bob’s Burgers” and fall asleep upon returning home from work rather than drag out your art supplies and go to town. And hey, “Bob’s Burgers” is awesome, and sometimes you need that sweet, sweet TV time to rest and recuperate; this is not a rebuke against a good Netflix binge.

But too often, I think a lot of people don’t make things because they think you have to be a capital-A Artist to make things. Or maybe they get “blank page paralysis” and can’t get a thing onto the page. For whatever reason, there are a lot of people out there who are not making things simply because they think they can’t or they shouldn’t.

Amanda Palmer’s “Ukulele Anthem” puts this better than I ever could: stop pretending art is hard.

Obviously it takes years of study and no small amount of natural aptitude to paint/draw/knit/play something that is objectively “good”. Making art that requires real technical skill is definitely something that is learned through endless repetition, practice, and improvement.

But just making art? Putting a pen to paper, stringing a bead on a wire, brainstorming a short story? Making art is for everyone. Whether it’s the first time you’re ever picking up a paintbrush or the five-hundredth, you’re making a thing that didn’t exist before with only your imagination and some tools.

That’s pretty awesome!

So maybe next time you’re at home and feeling a little bored, think about making an art. You’ll probably be glad that you did.

New To Do: Take a Painting Class (#2)

My finished painting!

In the ongoing theme of 2013 being the year of the “new to do”, I have something to confess.

I went JUST A LIL’ BIT CRAZY on Groupon three weeks ago. You know, when they were having all of their “New Years’ Resolutions!” specials? Yeaaaaaah.

I won’t go into the specifics (that’ll be for another blog post, I’m sure), but of the many, MANY Groupons I Cumbersnatched™ from the Internet, I was the most excited about the one I got for a program called Colors and Bottles. Their tagline? “Drink. Paint. Socialize.”

Done and done, Colors and Bottles. Done and done.

Pictured: Colors and Bottles Pint Glasses

I had already resolved to try to engage creatively more often this year, and with the exception of one watercolors primer on a college outing, I had never taken a painting class before. And now I find one that not only sets you up with paints, brushes, and instructors but also actively encourages you to drink? SOLD.

Know what the best part was? It wasn’t that the instructors were amazing, or that I had a good friend to chat with while I painted, or even that, in the spirit of eternal laziness, the bar in which this class was held is both a) one of my favorites and b) like two blocks from where I enjoy free employees-only parking, even though all of that is also true. No, hands down the best part of this evening was that this class just also happened to be held on Full Pint tasting night.

The finished product, and me trying to do something cutesy with a paintbrush. (Failure.)

You know that fun cocktail of creative stress relief, fun chats with friends, and tasty beer? Add “free beer samples and a Full Pint pint glass souvenir” to that. You know what you get? BEST. NIGHT. EVER. That’s what you get. And bonus: I found an IPA that I like! Pittsburgh beer lovers, if you haven’t tried the Chinookie IPA, I highly recommend.

The verdict? Colors and Bottles is pretty much a guaranteed great night out (check your city to see if there’s an event near you!), Full Pint is DELICIOUS, and I would definitely do that again, if only because I’ll get more wall art for my bare-ish apartment. But let’s be real–that’s DEFINITELY not the only reason.

Have any of you taken a painting class? Or are painters? Let me know in the comments!