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Paint and Sip events are becoming more and more popular. Whenever we visit Facebook, it looks as though friends and acquaintances are displaying their most recent works of art with pride. What are the thoughts of art educators, who emphasize originality, about these situations in which participants produce similar works of art? I went to a Paint and Sip party with pals to find out. In the end, I spent just as much time thinking back on my teaching methods as I did on my painting. This is what I discovered.

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The Class Begins

The mood in my class was the first thing I noticed. People were excited to spend time with friends, and the atmosphere was laid back and enjoyable. When I got there, my paint and brushes were waiting for me, along with my canvas. I could see why this kind of class is so popular. It’s similar to receiving creative catering. Although the painting being done at these gatherings isn’t as unique as it might be, it isn’t all that dissimilar from what goes on every day in art classes. As a matter of fact, a lot of art professors employ directed activities that resembled the events at my party. Look up “birch tree art lesson” on Google.

We began by painting the backdrop of our paintings. The lecturer instructed us to use large brushes and apply the dark paint on our palette in a jagged manner. I wasn’t sure how what we were doing fit into the finished artwork, so this seemed bizarre to me. It wasn’t a pleasant sensation. I came to the realization that I treat my pupils in the same way in an effort to pique their curiosity or create suspense. Perhaps I’m just creating discomfort for my kids when I don’t give them the whole picture.

We then painted over the damp dark paint with white paint. I felt a little like I was violating the law because my painting instructor in school was absolutely against mixing on the canvas, but I pushed that emotion aside and continued to use my broad brush to create jagged strokes. After adding warm and cool yellow to complete the backdrop, we stopped to allow the paint to dry. Everyone kept up their pleasant conversation, laughter, and enjoyment. The tone shifted as we began to work on putting trees in the foreground.

Trees and Stress

To assist the students in duplicating the quantity and arrangement of birch trees in the sample painting, our instructor provided detailed instructions. I was somewhat aback by how demanding this painting stage was for a lot of the artists.

“Where is it going?”

“I’m not right.”

“Show me once more.”

It was clear that trying to recreate the example trees made my students uneasy. Even in adulthood, there is a genuine fear of failure when the task involves replicating an example. Every student in the class was fretting that their work was inadequate since they were comparing it to the example. When we display a model to our pupils and ask them to copy it, do we treat them the same way?

Not cruelly, but gently, our instructor advised the students to “take a sip of your drink and keep going.” We added value and the recognizable black lines of birch trees. Even though we were given several chances to try out our own ideas, everyone in the class ended up with paintings that resembled extremely similar variations of the example. We were given examples of innovative things we could do while painting.

“You’re welcome to switch up the colors.”

“Incorporate as many trees as desired.”

“Decorate one of your trees with a bird.”

None of the above were done by anyone. Activities with instructions reward following directions rather than encouraging originality. Trying anything new is risky when everyone is producing the same dish. Students require time to consider concepts and opportunity to practice technique before implementing it. Regardless of the pupils’ age—5, 15, or 50—this is accurate. Giving students these kinds of chances and guiding them through the process of creating an artwork in a constrained period of time is challenging.

The Conclusion

Paint and Sip events are enjoyable and convivial, but they may lack originality. They are popular because hanging out with friends and creating something is enjoyable. For grownups looking for a little art-related enjoyment, they are fantastic. However, following instructions doesn’t foster creativity, and it might be difficult to follow a teacher’s lead. When presented with a prototype, children and adults alike just want to “make it right.”

My artwork wasn’t the main takeaway from my Paint and Sip experience; rather, it was a fresh perspective on the connection between directed actions and dread. In informal adult classes, following the stages is OK, but as educators, we have a greater responsibility to our pupils. Let’s endeavor to develop pupils who are courageously creative and do away with the teacher model in our art rooms.