My first Corks & Canvas experience

by Jessica Vedas, Marketing Intern

On October 20, I had the pleasure of attending my first paint and sip class at The 567 Center for Renewal. I’d done a few marketing things for the numerous classes before, but had no real knowledge of what I was promoting. Let me tell you: I was missing out!

For anyone living under a rock, Corks & Canvas is a paint and sip class in which people are led through recreating, and often personalizing, an artist’s (the instructor’s) original work. Generally, the classes offer 11 x 14 canvases for painters to work on, but last night there were several people who chose to work on a larger, 16 x 20 canvas.

The October 20th class started a little late—which I am thankful for because of my own punctuality issues—and after getting the materials dispersed to everyone, we began. Our instructor Beth Smith and teaching assistant Deonna Belcher officially began by introducing themselves and the work we would all be recreating. Both women were very friendly, between themselves as well as with the familiar faces at these events, and made me feel like I had known them forever. Our tables, which sat consistently four people, were open and joking amongst ourselves as we followed the advice of Deonna and Beth in getting our paints on correctly. Our class was sold out, so we were all pretty cozy with one another by the end of the night.

 My "masterpiece" in progress. Sometimes I had to look at my painting from a different angle.

My "masterpiece" in progress. Sometimes I had to look at my painting from a different angle.

Additionally, I want to note the lack of intimidation I felt throughout the experience. Cue the PSA: Artists, you can be pretty terrifying to people who are not artists. Being around a mixed-experience group of artists was encouraging. Although several “classmates” obviously had skill and were in attendance, there wasn’t any atmosphere of competition; I had a truly great time figuring out how to “work” my brush next to people who come out every week, or who were as inexperienced as me.

My Corks’ featured work was an autumnal color-schemed landscape emboldened by a large, bushy, colorful tree. The most prominent technique consisted of just building color on the canvas. Beth took us through establishing our background (a beautiful blue sky), our transitioning ground, and the horizon on which we built our tree (whose appearance and even quantity was painter-specific). Creating these features, it seems to me, was relaxing—almost a tutorial in brush strokes. The most fun, however, was planning and applying the tree’s foliage. Beth told us how, and we decided the rest using a combination of colors on the palette provided. Some of us more un-savvy learners also asked advice from Beth or Deonna about contrasting dark values with bright paint to make some beautiful treetops.

 Everyone with their beautiful finished paintings.

Everyone with their beautiful finished paintings.

If you’re interested in trying your hand at painting in a homey, safe space, I’d recommend Corks & Canvas. The relaxed, fun atmosphere is a great habitat for sprouting a new hobby. Check out the events page on The 567’s Facebook page, or check the calendar at www.the567center.org/art-classes to get started.