Painting and wine. For centuries this inspiring combination has been a quintessential pastime for artists around the world. Today, painting and wine is being marketed as an alternative night on the town, combining leisure and creativity. My friends and I signed up for one of the offers available in Barcelona and this is what we discovered.
Following the success of many painting and wine franchises launched in the US in recent years, the phenomena is spreading around the world. Most recently in Spain, Salir con Arte is organizing events in major cities such as Madrid, Valencia, Zaragoza and Barcelona.
The concept is simple and fun. Whether you’re alone, on a blind date, or with a group of friends you can get out on the town, have a couple drinks and take home your own reproduction of the night’s featured painting. You don’t need any experience and the entire process takes just two hours.
After browsing the painting events available in Barcelona, we chose Pablo Picasso’s infamous Guernica (we only painted a small section of Guernica as the original is over 3 meters tall!). The event location was at a sandwich shop called Sandwhichez on Floridablanca with Ronda Sant Antoni.
There was plenty of room and privacy for our painting group on the lower level of Sandwhichez, however a “fast food” sandwich shop is definitely not my first choice for a fun night on the town. Let’s just say this wasn’t the social “bar atmosphere” I had seen in friend's photos and was expecting for our painting night out.
We walked down to the lower level and the easels and painting material were all set up and two friendly instructors greeted us with a smile. After a short introduction to the class, we jumped right into the task of painting at 8pm. Incredibly punctual by Spanish standards!
During the next two hours we followed the instructor’s every brush stroke as she led us step-by-step through the process. There was one 5 minute break in the middle, but otherwise there was no time for distractions. At the very end we were given a few minutes to make any quick fixes, additions or alterations to our paintings. Everyone in the class finished with a good-looking reproduction, some decided to add a bit of color or personal touch to their paintings.
All-in-all our evening of painting and wine was a fun experience, however we did have constructive criticism. We felt rushed throughout the evening. There wasn’t any time to grab a drink or get to know other people in the class. If you did stop for a quick break, you would have fallen way behind. I think an additional hour for painting and socializing would have made the night more enjoyable.
We were also a bit disappointed not to have learned anything new—about the painting itself, the artist, or any artistic tips or techniques. The copy/paste teaching style is effective for these types of “no experience necessary” painting events, but it doesn’t allow for learning and creative exploration.