Vino & Van Gogh: The Perfect Combination Of Wine & Art
First things first: I am not what you would consider a creative person. In fact, I’d rate myself somewhere on the scale between cave drawings and stick figures. So, when Adam from Cafe San Sebas asked me to review one of the Vino & Van Gogh paint nights I was equal parts terrified and excited.
Upon arriving both of these emotions were immediately confirmed. Rows of blank canvases started back with brushes neatly formed in a line beside each one. After taking a seat I was promptly served my included glass of wine, “Oh yes- this is going to needed” I thought to myself as I eagerly took a sip and started chatting with my fellow artists.
It was interesting to note all the different types of people that were there; men, women, teenagers- people who have been to every paint night and people, who like me, have never painted before. It was also interesting to know the reason behind why everyone was there. The general consensus was because it was something different, unique, an experience if you will.
As I took another sip of wine I asked Adam, the manager of Cafe San Sebas, why he wanted to create this type of event at the cafe, his answer was simple:
Because clients wanted us to do more evening events and there weren’t many unique restaurant events out there; it’s usually just a live band and a special menu. We wanted to create an experience for our clients.
“Touché!” The moment he said it I was in complete agreement. The norm for most restaurants really is music + special menu = event.
As I sat back down in front of my blank canvas I perused the menu in front of me- it was completely different than what the cafe usually offers. When I turned around to ask Adam about it he told me that each paint night he creates a new menu for the evening- I guess there is something to the special menu aspect after all! And trust me, after ordering both delicious thai spring-rolls and a farm house burger, I was one happy painter.
“If you never did, you should. These things are fun and fun is good!”
– Dr. Seuss
Shortly after getting settled, it was time to start the painting. Any feeling of calm instantly evaporated and I was back to feeling my initial nervousness, “What if I can’t paint, What if I mess up, What if it’s horrible?”
Enter Amelia– art teacher extraordinaire.
As soon as she started talking it was clear that not only was she knowledgeable (Art History & Fine Arts from UCLA & UCSB) she was also friendly and shaping up to become everyone’s biggest cheerleader. She started by explaining each one of our brushes, the painting we would be doing (in this case the iconic Cuenca domes) and what to expect during the process. This helped- ALOT with my nervousness.
To get started we began with “grounding” the painting- which is essentially to take out the “white anxiety” that a blank canvas presents. This step also helped us to get acclimatized to using, and moving, the brushes with paint around the canvas. Once our entire canvas was coloured with a bright yellow, Amelia started to break down the painting into steps. As she demonstrated different techniques, which is an important step in teaching painting, the focus was always on encouraging us to find the creativity within and to express our own style.
Amelia’s attitude to the process was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the evening. You can easily tell she thinks teaching art is fun. She goes through great lengths to create a relaxed group setting involving music and wine which takes the experience to another level. Sharing this experience is also social and becomes “Art Entertainment” if you will. The idea isn’t to become a master painter but to enjoy the process. I found focusing on the process was both relaxing and exciting- “What would happen if I stopped judging what I was creating? What if I just relaxed and actually enjoyed the process?” With each passing step I became more and more relaxed and started having fun- mind you, the bottle of wine I shared with my fellow artists didn’t hurt either!
Enter The Domes!
As the night progressed, the group worked together step by step, to create somewhat identical paintings- it really was remarkable to see how different each painting still turned out to be. One of my favourite things to do was pry myself away from my painting and walk around and check out all the cool and unique versions of the domes that were being created.
No matter your level of experience, Amelia was able to answer all the questions that the group had. If you needed individual attention or wanted some personalized advice she was quick to come over and offer suggestions. On the other hand, if you wanted to just do your own thing, and not focus on the technique lessons this was totally allowed – whatever felt right was encouraged and fostered.
Before I knew it, we were starting to finish up, making last minute adjustments and taking photos with our creations. All in all I was shockingly happy with my result. A work of art? Maybe not -but a fun time and something worthy of hanging on a wall? Absolutely.
Next time your itching for something unique to do, I highly recommend checking out a Vino & Van Gogh Night. Cafe San Sebas provided an excellent environment for the evening and it was cool to check out a favourite community location in a new light. Amelia was a great teacher who kept you feeling motivated and relaxed through out the experience and my fellow participants made for rounds of laughs and support through out the night. After the art class, I can confidently say that I now rate my art skills just above both cave drawings and stick figures!
Ready To Paint?
The next Vino & Van Gogh Night is on Thursday August 3rd.
Volume 4 will focus on “Color Wild Peacock”.
Tickets are just $29 and include all art supplies and a glass of wine.
Don’t delay as tickets are limited and sell out quick