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When Art is a One Night Stand. Why Paint and Sip Sessions are the Antithesis of Artistic Expression.

Thomas Couture, Romans During the Decadence (1847). Courtesy of the Musee D’Orsay.

Thomas Couture, Romans During the Decadence (1847). Courtesy of the Musee D’Orsay.

After almost 2 decades of teaching absolute beginners - who are initially convinced that they can only produce a basic abstract or awkward stick figure - time and again I have witnessed the triumph of empowerment once the art creation process has been demystified for hesitant newbies.

Had these newbies started at a ‘paint and sip’ venue they would never have realised their true creative potential and art would just be a boozy one night stand.

Whoever carelessly declared that 'fine art was not fun art' clearly isn't an artist. 'One size fits all art' is hardly art at all, it's a business model created by non-artists and they aren't doing your creative potential any favours. Do we really need to be pie-eyed to have fun? Of course not! Can we all create fine art? You better darned well believe it!

So what is real/fine art? Real art is when you are so engrossed in creating that it shuts out all of that superfluous noise we call 'life' - it is essentially deep meditation without the uncomfortable pose, it is self love channelled through a paint brush or pencil. It is returning to that childlike state where pure joy and focus on play is the high. It is coming up with your own inspiration from the beauty of the world around you. Creative expression need not be sullied by alcohol.

Liu Wei, Two Drunk Painters (1990). © Liu Wei, courtesy of SFMOMA.

Liu Wei, Two Drunk Painters (1990). © Liu Wei, courtesy of SFMOMA.

Previously I have facilitated art programs for homeless people with drug and alcohol dependency issues. Many reported the benefits of creating art and how it took their minds off the need for a fix, hit or swig. Dulling the senses with a drink or two robs you of the pure thrill of embarking on a new challenge. Denying your individuality and comparing your effort to the 30 other paintings that look just like yours does nothing for your self-discovery. You are not just another brick in the wall.

I often wonder how many newbie artists walk away from a 'paint and sip' session feeling empowered and capable once the liquid courage wears off. Will art be just a tawdry one-night stand? What a shame to miss a truly passionate, long lasting affair with artistic expression to instead wake with the entrenched notion that one can only create a painting through boozy mimicry. 

Disclaimer: I judge not those who have flirted with the faux alchemy of grape and hue - instead I welcome you to discover the magic and your true capacity for creative expression by choosing a guide who will nurture your individuality and empower you with authentic skills.  

1 comment

  • Wow that’s so true. I tried those paint and sip places and personally felt like I was flying economy class.


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