Preparing is a huge part of being an art instructor. Do I have enough brushes? Easels? Paint? I run over my supply list a hundred times before a class. I take notes. I take inventory. Almost like packing for a trip, planning for paint class is crucial. Though I've never forgotten an essential, there are always situations where I have to improvise. Sometimes it's immediate choices like leaving out a step based on the time frame. Other times, it's something done in advance for the students to have a better experience (at North End Market, I added some additional instructors/painters to help guide us through steps).
Possibly the most important part of getting ready has little to do with the actual supplies. For me, preparing starts long before packing when I create an original concept. I carefully plot the composition and plan colors so that the design is scalable for an audience of 10-60 people. I'll agonize over every detail and step, painting something three times before I'm satisfied. If it makes the cut, it becomes part of a portfolio for future use. The finished product might have evolved from a trending color or idea in home decor or fashion, a suggestion from a client or something I dreamed up on a walk. No matter what the focus of the painting, I always find there are on-the-spot changes that make the finished products from class even more interesting than I expected.
In the case of a 58-person class at North End Market in Hudson, owner Elaine was interested in the classic wine-glass-grape combo. One would think since wine makes and appearance at most of my group painting classes that I would have such a canvas on hand. Yet, I'd not produced such a theme to date.
It was a high priority to make the steps minimal but impactful since we had a big crowd. I was delighted when I looked around the room and saw swirls of exquisite, plump grapes. Everyone had done such a fabulous job blending, shading and taking advantage of the initial steps that set the stage for our detail work. However, I hadn't planned for our white wine friends. Since acrylic paint is so user-friendly, both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir fans filled their glasses on the canvas with the color of choice without a hiccup. I'm always excited to see the results when people take some risks and do things a little differently.
Elaine and the staff of North End made the night a joy, as they showered guests with excellent service. It was a pleasure to guide the group as we laughed, painted and dined together.
I'm excited to return to North End in mid-August and September. Interested? Just contact Elaine and we can spend some time together: http://www.northendwinefoodfun.com/ or (330) 342-1400. Special thanks to Brian Schuller and staff of East Hudson Living Magazine for involving the surrounding communities!