Creativity Through Home Art and Camaraderie

About a year ago three friends and I attended a Paint and Sip session. When you attend such an affair you pay a small fee and then receive a blank canvas, a tray of paints, a glass of wine (or two) or other beverage of your choice, and the opportunity to participate in 2-3 hours of “copy art”. In copy art, the instructor tells you what to do, then s/he demonstrates and you copy. It is interesting and fun, especially for a novice painter such as myself, but it can become tedious if the instructor works at the pace of the slowest painter (not I!) and everyone waits and waits until each attendee is at the same point before the lesson continues. For a speed demon such as myself, this sluggish pace did not lead to creativity but rather the fatigue of non-participation and so I simply abandoned my leader and moved along at my own pace. With a finished product to replicate and occasion listening, I ended up with a fairly decent wine bottle representation with added touches, dashes, and flourishes of my own.

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The instructor, unfortunately, was not a teacher. She knew some techniques and she had obviously led this lesson several times in the past, but she was not attuned to her students. We plodded, she yapped; we waited and she yapped some more. It was clear that the slowest painter was never going to finish but we patiently killed time just the same. During this “free” time the instructor filled any empty spots of air with criticism to her fledgling artists: “Too much color”, “Stop trying to fix that mess”, and “Please quit” were just a few of her remarks. Really makes you want to paint, doesn’t it?

But the class was still fun because I was with friends and dibbling around with colors is entertaining and critiquing non-teacher types is even more so. As a result I decided to host my own paint and sip with no pressure applied. Ten friends gathered at my home one evening excited to test this activity. Each easel was loaded with a clean canvas, water and brushes were at the ready, and an array of paint drops filled each pallet. I had a finished example to share so that I could explain what I had done, when and how, and also clarified some important steps like having a damp canvas, how to cover errors with white, tools available for special touches, and so forth. For those who were too nervous to self-launch, I led them step-by-step through the process. For those who just wanted to plunge, I let them go with maximum freedom.

As my friends painted, I wandered, offered advice, looked up other bottle shapes and backdrops on the Internet, and commended their efforts. While some replications were a bit on the mysterious side, like the command “draw a bottleneck approximately 1-inch wide” produced tiny traces and thin lines instead, but the idea was creativity and that was just how some translated my work to their canvas. Others, with amazing vision, added dogwood blossoms, fancy wine bottle labels, and intricate designs with delicate shades. The inner personality was exposed along with imagination and magical conceptualizations in each painting. The finished products were fantastic.

I recommend that you organize your own painting party soon. While first-time expenses are high because you will need to buy easels, paints, and brushes, the second go-round will only require more canvases. Practice the design first so that you have a good idea of what to paint and when, and then let the creative juices of others flow. Within three hours, everyone will have created a special masterpiece to take home, plus all will sense accomplishment and camaraderie through meaningful interaction and great laughs.

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The Pedestal: A Misunderstood Art Form

As Hercules says in the Disney animation version “Rule number 15: a hero is only as good as his weapon!” A hero is strong and great on his or her own but without a weapon they are weak. Weapons give a hero a potent edge over enemies. Like a hero, a piece of art is strong and beautiful on its own but with a pedestal it can be accentuated to a further degree that audiences will not be able to resist looking at.

A pedestal originates deep into the catacombs of history. Beginning as early as the Grecian time period, pedestals supported chiseled statues of gods, rulers, and other distinguished people. Pedestals continue to hold objects of great worth, value, creativity, design, and artistic prowess.

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Many artists agree that a work of art is only as good as its frame or pedestal. Paintings that lack beauty and a sense of design can be ten times better than usual if mounted to the right frame or balanced on a flattering pedestal.

Choosing the right pedestal to go with artwork is an extension of the art itself. A pedestal offers viewers the privilege of enjoying your art while, simultaneously, a pedestal functions as the final touch to your artwork; it makes your artwork complete.

For example, quality watercolor paper is frayed and uneven on the edges. Artists usually cover the edges with masking tape about a half inch to an inch to avoid painting in those areas and to remind them of where the frame will be placed. It will give an artist an idea of the best spot to put their focal point on their painting adjacent to the frame. An artist even begins planning what frame colors go best with the painting he or she is working on.

This same example can be applied to sculptures and pedestals as well. A sculpture is designed to sit on something. The bottom surface on a sculpture is flat in order to be placed on a flat surface. An artist intends for his or her work of art be placed on a pedestal and not hung from the ceiling (unless they are specifically designed to be hung from a ceiling). As an artist sculpts, a general abstract idea is shaped into a physical and magnificent piece of artwork. An artist has to decide whether a pedestal is needed or if the art will be tall or large enough to stand on its own and not need a pedestal. Before an artist begins sculpting he or she will consider the color and design of their sculpture and pedestal and decide how they would best compliment each other.

An artist relays a message through artwork and a pedestal completes that message. A pedestal flatters the theme of a sculpture. If a sculpture has smooth edges and is delicate an artist might consider placing it on a cylinder pedestal. If a sculpture is rough and has hard edges, an artist might lean toward a square pedestal. Although, this is not a strict rule every artist should follow. Deciding what pedestal goes with what sculpture is dependent on what message the artist is trying to reveal.

Neutral colored sculptures can be contrasted with a rich shade of brown or black pedestal, and in reverse a dark colored piece of art can be placed on top of a neutral colored pedestal. Again, it is dependent on what message the artist, or the buyer of the artwork, wants to relay to an audience or how they want that sculpture to fit a theme of a room.

A piece of an artist’s memory is captured in their art. An artist molds an idea into a canvas with strokes of paint or constructs a sculpture with creamy clay. It is as if an artist’s imagination and creativity will live longer than he or she will and other individuals will enjoy their artwork for generations. A pedestal puts art on display to show full appreciation of the piece’s value.

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