The instructor of Pop Up Painting going through the process.
The PopUp Painting events, launched in 2013, aims to bring the creative experience of canvas painting to anyone interested, with a brush on one hand and a drink on the other.
It wants to provide a fun time to those who have never painted before, and a relaxing evening to those experts of watercolours and brushes.
On the 28th of November they came to collaborate with Salford’s Seven Bro7hers Beerhouse in Lockside Lane, so the opportunity to paint, and drink while at it, was freely given to anyone. The theme of this particular event was Michelle Shore‘s Van Gogh-inspired Starry Night over Manchester.
The focus on local art, with the canvas being more of an homage rather than the actual masterpiece of Van Gogh’s ‘starry night’, made the painting phase comfortable, and the friendliness of the staff helped, without ever having pressure from the instructor. Even if this lack of pressure or reminders from the instructor did lead to the missing of certain steps, it was something that was quickly fixed when touching up the details in the last steps of the painting.
The event does a great job to remind itself of these facts:
That you could buy a drink on the bar, to accompany your experience through the delicate colouring process.
And that “This is not a class, but rather an experience.”
The final fact is something that is easy to encounter and remember while painting, rather than the instructor telling you step by step on how to proceed, it will leave huge gaps of information. By the end, you will only remember what they said first and last, and even if this is not preferable to some, it results in an astonishing piece of work of your own creativity, which makes the canvas feel more like its own unique piece.
The non-judgmental attitude that the staff and other visitors usually have, the comfort of the non-crowded bars, and the always tending staff, encouraged visitors to shape and change the painting however they wanted, with no worries about how the painting looked like in the end, which made the experience feel different from any other.
However, as PopUp Painting moves around the country, their placement of chairs and canvas’ in small rooms change, and for this particular event, the position of the tables with the instructor in the centre blocked the view to those on the sides and also possibly the back.
Moreover, with the lack of tips on how to use certain equipment or suggestions on how to mix certain colours properly, beginners might end the session feeling like their skills have not improved in the slightest. In this specific event, there was a lack of communication about simple things at the beginning. For example, a napkin that could be used to clean the brush was missed.
This, on the other hand, could offer a challenge and a rewarding gratification to those who encounter and learn the facts on their own, but it adds a bit of frustration to newer creatives who might have this as their first time painting. These errors do not represent the foundation of the experience but may detach one from it.
Nevertheless, the staff of PopUp Painting make these frustrations disappear, interactions and stories of how they got into painting, or how much Van Gogh’s art has meant to them, their stories made talking to them more comfortable, plus the stories of other visitors, made the act of simply colouring feel like a fulfilling and meaningful form of art.
Any setbacks are bound to change depending on location and approach, but in its foundation PopUp Painting delivers on its promise to unleash people’s inner creativity.