Since my last blog about being “schooled” in creativity, I did a bit more research into how instructors are sharing their abilities with the public. And did you know there are restaurants where a person can partake of “one of America’s latest trends.” It is often referred to as “Creative Social Art”. A group comes together at a location to experience painting and drinking wine. The sessions last between two and three hours and often happen in a place that serves refreshments/food.
One site online even suggested that any one could become “the hostess with the mostess.” All you need to do is bring in some friends, furnish the paints, brushes and canvas and maybe even the instructor if you can’t take on the responsibility of assisting your students to a finished painting. Either they bring their own wine or it is furnished at an additional fee. You are hosting your own painting party. Catchy names for these events include, Fear no Easel, Paint and Sip, Wine and Design, and a favorite, Creativity Uncorked! Note that all of these events involve wine. There is no other alcoholic beverage used to enhance the experience.
The key here is to stress that no artistic ability is necessary. Everyone is gathering to have fun while experiencing the motions required to get a painting done in a set amount of time. It does not matter that almost all the paintings look the same. What matters is that the result be a happy person who has made a painting more or less all by themselves. And maybe, just maybe will try this at home, unsupervised.
But this is what stands out to me. Almost without fail these “learning to paint” encounters consist primarily of female participants. What about those guys? How to they get involved in Creative Social Art? And then I hit on the answer. Beer.
We need to take it to them. Men already in attendance. Men already being sociable. In the pub. In the tavern.
So, being completely caught up in those catchy titles for “Creativity Time”, I thought of the following for those in a bar who would prefer not to watch a ball game.
Let’s Paint with Pints and Points.
There was help on this one. My friend, Patti, suggested darts in a bar with small balloons partially filled with paint. Others would be filled with water to keep things blending and dripping. The instructor we will call him, just needs to get the scene ready with a plastic sheet on the floor and the canvas fixed to a wall with filled balloons pinned in place. After a determined time the scores of hits are talleyed and the one with the most points is allowed to turn the canvas any direction he wishes. More creative drips and colors later, the time is up and the winner takes his new painting home. Believe me if patrons can find themselves involved in karaoke, they can do this. They can do this and learn about color and gesture at the same time. Sort of a social Jackson Pollock approach to abstract expressionism. I would do this in a pub in a nano second.
And how about a more intimate group adventure into social creativity. This one takes place sitting side by side at the bar and is called:
Portraiture with Beers and Smears
If the patron wants to play along, he asks for the 7 x 9 inch piece of paper and the paint. It could be a very limited palette presented in shot glasses. There are no brushes because this is going to be learning the art of finger painting. Each of them attempts to do a portrait of the bartender or each other with gentle blending and shading – all done using just his fingers. The cocktail napkin is for wiping away unwanted marks and his fingers before reaching into the bar snacks bowl. I have tried this after one Bloody Mary and before drinking down this nice dark beer…..and here it is! So pleased, I signed it!
I think that both of these pub/bar/tavern creativity courses might have a better chance of being a hit in Australia. Down under there is more of a spirit of adventure when they come together in their social groups. At one point in time they even tossed dwarves about in outback pubs when their gum boots came up missing. (I read about this in a book titled, The Greater Nowheres, by a couple of young adventurers working for National Geographic.
But anyone could take these ideas and turn them into cash. Get the ball rolling and get those students hooked on getting in touch with their creativity. I heard about a woman who actually has a following of people who for a whole week she can talk into sitting in the grass and communing with Nature. Evidently they can’t do this at home….it takes instruction. And I really don’t blame them if they live around here. Our grass right now is full of those nasty chiggers. No one is sitting there. I’m getting side tracked here, sorry. Back on topic.
I am still thinking about a title for my own workshop on creativity using the dot to dot method that struck my fancy last week. “Wine and Line” is the best so far. No paint necessary. Just a handout showing dots with numbers and a pencil with an eraser. I want to start out slowly and hopefully drag my students through long deliberate steps to creativity.
There is just one more idea I need to put forth. Our son, Patrick, has warmed to this whole concept of taking creativity classes on the road and for a short time only he will be offering a workshop titled, Creatively Caffeinated. These classes will be at the average cost of most Creativity with Sustenance events and be held in coffee shops. Offered in the greater Detroit area for limited time and only $47.50 per head the students can gather not only around their computers and iphones but a paint by number assignment sheet with a brush and brown watercolor. The pictured pile of coffee beans are to be painted according to a numbered system for light roast, medium roast, and dark roast. Just coordinate the color with its number. Easy and fun to do with the guarantee of a finished painting in no more than two hours.
We could now consider this subject of social creativity classes closed…..at least for now.