I cannot recall the last time I tried something new or something that took me outside of my comfort zone. Well, all that changed when I attended the Pinot & Picasso painting class over the weekend. Hosted at various location around Australia, I attended my local gallery space in Malvern for a Van Gogh inspired evening of painting, drinks, music, and fun.
Simply put, Pinot & Picasso is a painting class that spans about two hours. You can attend on your own, with a partner (like I did), or with a group of family or friends. Attendees can BYO drinks, including alcohol and you can also bring your own snacks. There is also a grazing platter that you can purchase to snack on as part of the experience.
Upon arrival at the Malvern studio and admiring the beautiful mural on the back wall by Malvern store co-owner and artist Danielle Weber, we were greeted by our lovely host and art teacher for the evening, Ranita, and shown to our seat. At each station, there is an easel with a blank canvas, a paper plate with a selection of acrylic pain colours and a few different sized brushes. We are also each given an apron to wear. As the class of about 20 got settled in, we were ready to get stuck into some painting.
Now, aside from painting the odd wall or fence whilst helping around the house, I have not artistically painted since I was in school. Despite this, I like to consider myself a creative person, but I was nervous heading into the evening on whether my skills would be up to scratch. Not only was the painting class in the style of Van Gogh, but it was the famous Starry Night painting with a twist. If you have seen the famous artwork before, replace the tree in the foreground with a giant castle, and that was what we were painting.
When we were ready to begin, my nerves and creative anxiety began to creep up, however, Ranita quickly put my worries at ease. With a finished painting for reference on the wall, Ranita walked the class through the process step by step and how to mix the colours. She started out by directing the class to mix yellow and white to make a very pale yellow that we could then use as an outline to essentially sketch out the design. Ranita then gave the class time to catch up to her own example she was creating with us, before proceeding to the next step.
As we all got the hang of it, I started to feel more confident in what I was trying to create and a lot of this had to do with the guidance from our wonderful teacher. The music got pumping, the class got into their drinks more an everyone was having an enjoyable evening. Ranita even offered song requests and I was not disappointed by the class’ choices. Quickly the playlist became a bunch of classics and had everyone happily singing along, but especially when my fiancé and I requested Time of My Life from the movie Dirty Dancing. That really got the voices going!
Whilst the experience is a painting class, there really are no rules. You can essentially do what you want and there is no right or wrong way to bring the blank canvas in front of you to life. Myself, being the perfectionist that I am, followed the example pretty closely. The group behind us googled an image of the original Starry Night on their phones and replicated it. Quite impressively too I might add. Others added their own little creative flares, like a Shrek, Fiona and Donkey sitting up in the castle towers, or my little penguin poking out from the castle gates below. My fiancé even decided to just create the night sky and it looks amazing! Stack it on top of my one and we have a wonderful pair to hang on the wall!
The one thing I learnt about the experience is that it does not matter your skill is or what you want to do with your painting. Everything is okay, and your teacher will graciously guide you through it from start to finish. They will even help you fix any mistakes you might make along the way and give you tips on how to achieve something if you are unsure.
I genuinely had so much fun on the night and I hope to return to do it again with a group of friends sometime. One thing is for sure, I will come more prepared with snacks and drinks. I was extremely hungry afterwards, especially after seeing all the delicious food that other groups had.
Pinto & Picasso is a national franchise with several locations in each state. As mentioned, I attended the studio in the inner south-east Melbourne suburb of Malvern and cannot wait to go back.
For more information on painting themes and locations near you, visit: