When I was first told about the painting workshop, I really debated whether I wanted to go or not. I have no natural drawing ability and I had never been to any of those “paint and wine” things that are offered about town. This one intrigued me though because it was going to be painting flowers on barnwood. I love barnwood! I signed up for the workshop, knowing that I would know two women there (I can get social anxiety in new situations so this was tremendously helpful in going out of my comfort zone).
When I pulled up to the studio, I was mesmerized by its exterior. It was an old cabin with a rocking chair front porch and a cozy porch swing. There was a fire bowl surrounded by chairs in the front yard; the smoke of a freshly lit fire wafting up to the sky. When I met the instructor, Tonya, she said that the cabin was 120 years old!
The main entrance area was set up with a table that had seating for eight. The room beside had seating for three, and the kitchen sat between 4 and 6 (next time I’ll pay closer attention). The decorations about the place were amazing and most, if not all, were for sale. There were wooden bowls and vases, some of which were beautifully inlaid with turquoise. There were antique and estate sale items. The friend who had told me about the workshop makes jewelry and it was on display (I was kicking myself for not bringing a checkbook or more money, but I had no clue about what to expect).
After we got settled into seats, we picked which of the two floral scenes that we wanted to create. I chose the dandelions. The other was pretty but looked much harder. Plus, I love that dandelions represent wishes and dreams. I’ve seen numerous representations of them being blown away and turning into birds. I love this concept. It especially reminds me of my children. We pour all these hopes and wishes into them, blowing gently as we help shape who they’ll become. Slowly, they drift toward more independence until they are set free like a bird in flight.
Tonya instructs us on how to dry brush our background. We used a chip brush dipped lightly in paint and wipe the excess off on a paper towel so that just a light amount is going on the board. I was very nervous because I tend to have a heavy hand when writing. I don’t know if this a lefty thing or an Amy thing. I am pleased with how it turned out. The wood definitely soaks in the paint, so I would be a little more nervous about my ability to replicate this on a canvas.
This class was at noon, so there are brunch and mimosas. The evening classes have dinner, wine, and dessert. We are served a french toast bake, sausage balls, and an egg casserole. Shhh… I ate wheat after not having it for four months. I’m not so hardcore that I ask how food is cooked in a restaurant, so I’m pretty sure that I’m not fully gluten free anyways. Plus, it was tasty!
Off of the kitchen was a greenhouse. It was so warm and inviting. It looked like the perfect place to haul out a chair when the snow is two feet on the ground. The project for the following workshop was a terrarium so various items were being housed in here. After lunch, the paint was dry enough to move forward.
Next, it is time for the flowers. We had a sample piece of barnwood for practicing a flower. First, we drew the stem in chalk. For the dandelion, you would angle out from the top of the stem to where the center of your dandelion would be located and place a chalk mark there. The thought being that the center is more compact. My practice puffball looked horrid and made me really concerned for the end result.
I painted my stems on the board. They came out a little thicker than I originally wanted, but the grooves in the wood have a mind of their own. You can see the chalk lines here and my chalk mark for the center of the puffball. Tonya said that after they are dry you can go back with a little paintbrush and the chalk just brushes away. I made an attempt at my puffballs and decided that I could not create a round shape working from the inside and moving outward. I can’t cut a straight line either (lefty problem?? Amy problem??) but that’s for another day. I decided to loosely create the exterior of the puffball and work my way inward.
Part of the issue was also that being too close skewed the overall look. In the end, when I stepped back, I was happy with the overall painting. It’s kind of like life. When we’re going through something we might just think it’s an ugly mess. When we get through, sometimes we are able to step back and think, “that wasn’t so bad”.
I moved outside of my comfort zone and was rewarded with an enjoyable experience. I won the door prize (and I never win Anything!) for a free class. I’m looking forward to going back and trying something new.
Let your light shine!
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