If I had a toonie for every time I have heard someone utter these words, “I can’t paint, I’m not creative,” I would probably have four thousand toonies!
Have you ever said this? I’m sure as you read this statement, you could probably relate. In fact, you have probably at one time or another in your life, made this very bold and untrue statement about yourself…”I am not creative….all I can draw is a stickman!” I know I had said this many, many times, up until a couple of years ago, when I actively set out to prove myself, and now you, wrong.
It was a warm Autumn afternoon, in 2013, when I first thought, “it might be fun to host wine and painting events in my gallery! I mean, I love wine, I love to have fun, and I know lots of artists, so no brainer right?”
Right… except I had very little business experience, absolutely no art background, and was horrified about how others would judge me. However what I did have, was bravery, drive, and an insurmountable amount of passion about wine and fine art! (At the time, I also lived with an artist and gained much of my arty inspiration from watching him paint)
With this new found idea I was both apprehensive and excited about, I gathered up a few neighbours and friends, and the wonderful Fiona Neal (another major inspiration for me) as our abstract art instructor, and we attempted a trial run to get some feedback from “non-arty” people to see if they had fun, what their emotional and mental experience was, and if they would be interested in doing it again.
The feedback was more positive than I had originally thought it would be! We all had a great time, myself included, we all let go of some stress, and most of our paintings turned out pretty great! (except mine, it ended up muddy and I painted over it several times.. because… I’m not creative, I can’t paint!)
In October of 2013, Pinot and Picasso was born! I decided to try a local promo to get some additional feedback on this concept, and how Kelowna would receive the idea and low and behold, over 100 people purchased a ticket in less than a week to try their hand at wining and painting… not bad considering there was very little awareness at this point! I was overjoyed with the thought that this is actually my job now… to hang out with likeminded people who also love wine and are open to the idea of trying something new. What could be better?
And then it began… my realization that as a whole, we beat ourselves up a tremendous amount. We downplay our brilliance in many areas, but in the topic of creativity, we are convinced because we never spent any time going to art school, and we haven’t painted since elementary school, that we must not be creative! Huh? This is simply untrue, and it is my mission to prove this to you. Like any skill, art-making can be learned and enjoyed by everyone, not just by children and professional artists. Sure, maybe your nephew Johnny was “just born an artist” and maybe all you can draw at this moment is an average stickperson… Maybe that is true for you. But maybe the reason you feel this way is because you have never spent any real time just playing with paint or drawing at all! Little Johnny isn’t just good at art without ever practicing it… he has probably logged hundreds of hours developing his skill! We all excel at certain things because we have spent some actual time doing them! Go figure… an easy concept, but one that is commonly misunderstood when it comes to creativity. Just take me for example…3.5 years ago, I said these same words (I’m not creative, I can’t paint!) that now causes me to cringe, yet now I even teach some of our workshops!
For the first hundred or so Pinot and Picasso workshops, I was the hostess with the mostest, and my “skill” was pouring wine and showing my guests a fabulous time. This is my jam… the girl who is always entertaining; but somewhere along the way, I felt a strong pull to start “playing with paint” and take my mind off of the stresses of being an entrepreneurial mom.
The feeling I had when I was pushing and mashing the paint around the canvas was so liberating for me. I had no other thoughts at all (including whether or not my family needed to be fed ;)) except how this blue might mix with that yellow, and so on. I quickly became addicted to painting because of the refreshed sense of wellbeing I experienced. And… after a few short sessions of this so called “just playing with paint,” my abstracts started to look pretty decent! I could see a style or two starting to emerge, and that was really exciting to someone who was “not creative” and “couldn’t paint!”
My mindset started to shift around accessible art-making and I soon discovered that I was downplaying my role in my community and my business with this ridiculous statement of how I wasn’t creative, and that wasn’t serving anyone. If I could have this incredible transformation around what I thought of myself and my own creativity, then it is my duty to all the so-called “non-creatives” to share this with them too. Art should be highly accessible to all of us. There shouldn’t be a gap between us and the artists out there, but an infusion of inspiration, experience and skill-sets that connect the community in a stronger way. Bonds are created, and made stronger, encouragement is fostered, and collaboration and kindness are instilled.
To me, art-making has a similar effect to the mind, body and spirit to that of yoga, or meditation… it is truly a moment captured in time just for you, to connect with yourself more deeply, to give yourself a little self care, and to foster productivity and creativity in the other areas of your life; both at work and at home. It is a time where you can let go of your own self-judgment, and just enjoy the process no matter how your painting turns out in the end.
Although I have thoroughly enjoyed the last 3.5 years of growth and building the Pinot and Picasso brand through workshops, I am so excited and inspired for this next phase of “Social Painting.” To coincide with and support my mission to make painting and art-making super accessible to our community, we will be open 5 days a week (to start) for drop in “social paint sessions.” Come in and choose your canvas size, make yourself a coffee or tea, (beer, ciders and wine served in the near future) load up on paint and be inspired by our idea centre. Relax and enjoy your own arty journey in our beautiful heritage digs overlooking Bernard and experience the magic behind the process of tapping into your own creativity!
From one “non-creative” to another, come paint with me and “get your mind right!”
I bet you’ll surprise yourself too.
See ya soon!
Check out these awesome artists and my sources of inspiration:
Fiona Neal http://fionanealabstracts.com
Jolene Mackie http://jolenmackie.com