Sip n paint, Sippin’ and Paintin’, Painting with Wine, whatever the moniker, seems like for the past year or so pairing a couple of glasses of wine with novice painters has been taking the Groupons and Living Socials of the world by storm. And believe you me, I’ve wanted to get on that bandwagon from the beginning.
Act I – “I’m Not Even a Little Bit Artistic”
My efforts to find a partner-in-crime were repeatedly rebuffed with the polite but firm, “I’m not artistic, not my thing.” Turns out, plenty of people just want to drink wine without throwing paint and brushes into the mix. What’s that about?
Act II – The Co-Worker Frenemy
Enter the co-worker who kept saying she would go without ever actually committing to a date. Over and over and over again. Multiple cycles of nonsense did not endear her to me. I may or may not have responded to her (consequently) last faux invitation with a strong dose of the stink eye.
Her unsuitability as a partner-in-crime was cemented, however, following an unfortunate water club incident. Note to those unfamiliar with the inner workings of government agencies where water coolers are not provided for free (that pesky matter of using government funds to purchase water equating to misappropriation of taxpayer dollars): employees band together and form water “clubs” and some unfortunate soul is responsible for badgering people for “dues” then coordinating water delivery and payment. Suffice it to say that, if you are a) already a recipient of my stink eye, but b) trying to get me to take over the undesirable role of water club coordinator, then c) an email summarily stating, “so you have to take over the water club” is not the way to go. You don’t know from stink eye.
Act III – Alas, Another Scheduling Snafu
At last! I found not one, but two! prospective partners-in-crime who were not dissuaded by a potential lack of artistic ability and/or are sufficiently motivated by wine-related activities in nearly any form. Unfortunately, we did not manage to connect about dates before everything sold out.
Act IV – The Universe Smiles, a Testament to the Power of the New Experience Project
As I once again grappled with the harsh reality that sip n paint was not to be, partner-in-crime Anne sent an impeccably timed invitation, “I don’t suppose you’d be interested in doing sip n’ paint with me?” (little did she know, eh?)
She thought of me because I’d randomly run into her at happy hour a couple of weeks earlier (love happy hour; love the random run-in) and discussed the new experience project with her and her husband. They immediately embraced the concept and suggested another fantabulous future new experience, now slated for June.
I’ve been loving how many people are embracing my new experience journey, by the way. I’ve encountered so much enthusiasm and support, willing partners-in-crime at every turn, and a steady stream of new experience suggestions, invitations, etc. In sum, I am blessed. What’s the opposite of the stink eye? I’m totally sending that out to you all right now.
Also, sip n paint finally on the books, bam! Thank you, universe. Thank you, Anne.
Act V – And the Universe Laughed. As it Does.
We arrived at the sip n paint site with giddy with anticipation. Anne ‘s prior experience there had been fabulous, due in large part to an amazing artist in residence who had led her class. He was apparently of the cool, laid back, “art is beautiful, art is everywhere, everyone is an artist” school. Anne had hoped to book our class with him, but all of his dates were already full.
Early on, we sensed that the artist-in-residence teaching our class was, shall we say, less enthusiastic. Our first hint came just before class when Anne and I introduced ourselves with eager smiles and she responded with a stricken and pained expression. (I know! I don’t get it either.)
Her teaching method consisted of directing lengthy recitations of instructions to her canvas rather to us, all beginning with, “mix a little bit of this color with that color then…” I never caught the rest because by the time I got a color mixed I had missed everything else. Before you blame it on the wine (I may or may not be known for my pathetic tolerance), I wasn’t the only one. Most people coped by alternating walking up to the instructor’s canvas to see what she had done with asking questions like “What? What did she say? What are we doing?” Collectively we were usually able to piece enough together to move along. The instructor also wandered about as we worked. I found that she generally ignored me unless I specifically asked her whether I was doing something correctly (I was not), at which point she would direct her pained expression to my canvas, sigh, then just paint something for me and quickly move on. Anne may or may not have frequently uttered “the other instructor was so much better, cooler, happier to be here,” etc. (hm, maybe that’s why she didn’t like us?).
Okay, okay, maybe I’m being a little hard on our instructor. She did give us a pretty expansive out, telling us not to expect too much of ourselves because the paint brushes they provided were crap.
But also, we had to paint a freakin’ baby panda. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some baby pandas. The National Zoo’s baby panda cam was genius. But who wants to paint a baby panda? No one in our class, that’s for sure. To a person, the reaction upon seeing pictures of the panda taped to our easels was, “oh, we’re painting that?” Hey, do you think the instructor picked out what we were painting? The overwhelming underwhelming response to the panda at the outset could certainly explain her persistent pained expression. In any event, it didn’t help that paintings from previous classes were displayed around the room. Vibrant, colorful, wall-worthy paintings of koi and funky pigs and colorful landscapes. Anne and I briefly discussed going rogue (she really wanted to paint the koi; I, the pig) but we didn’t think we had the right paint colors. I now know differently. Next time…
Yes, there will be a next time. Lackluster instructor and sub-par subject matter aside, Anne and I had a blast. Anne was the greatest of PICs, ready to giggle and snark and judge with the best of ‘em.
Speaking of judgment, I think a woman in the class described my panda best when she said, “Oh. Your panda is so …. fuzzy.”
Maybe my panda is a bit evocative of my family’s sweet dog, Scruffy, may he rest in peace, but if you stand back and squint, I think you can at least tell it’s a panda vs., say, a baboon, like one guy’s.
What does one do with a grudgingly painted mediocre panda? Display it in my office of course. After someone stole a lamp I’d brought in, I’m no longer decorating my office with anything that I would be sad to lose. So, my … fuzzy … panda is perfect.
But I still have my eye on that pig.