As I'm sure you've gathered from the Musée page on this site, I'm a lover of beautiful works of art. If I adore anything, it's the fleshy realism of a Bernini sculpture, the sharp ideological contrast of a Magritte image, the unspeakable heft of a Menzel, and the unparalleled usage of chiaroscuro in a Romantic era painting. Ever since I was knee high to a high knee (yes, my Southern colloquialism game is strong), I've been fond of beautiful things that help me make sense of the world. Combine that ardent love with my undying affinity for a nice glass of wine...and you get The Ideologue painting under the influence at The Paint Bar's Boston location.
A few months ago, I had the good fortune of attending Young Women in Digital's "What's Your Side Hustle?" event. One the panelists, Jackie Schon, also happens to be the Creative Director and Co-founder of The Paint Bar's two locations (Newton and Boston). I completed a write up of the YWD event and sent it along to the good folks at The Paint Bar, who then oh-so-graciously invited me (and my +1!) to participate in a complimentary night of libations and artistic licentiousness. And do you really think I'd say no to that?! Nay it is, y'all. I was there with bells on.
The lower level space is cozy and bright, with walls lined with art by particularly proud creators. I popped in a few minutes early so I could get a feel for the space and do some sleuthin'. I was greeted by Jenna Sherman and Ari Forrester, the wonderful folks providing us with drinks and instructing that night's class. And true to my narrative loving nature, I asked about themselves and what brought them to The Paint Bar. Jenna is an artist and student at the Boston's School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Ari is an artist as well and attends the SMFA's arch-rival, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, lovingly referred to as MassArt. Jenna told me about her DJing and artwork while Ari and I bonded over a shared hometown (shout out to the ever-lovely Chicago).
Little by little, the other attendees trickled in and we got settled. While I admire beautiful art, I'd never really gone to town on a piece of my own before. Apparently, this is a common concern as Ari reassured the more rigid folks in the room that there's grace - and that we shouldn't worry if our colors mixed or if our tree happens to look more like a head of lettuce. My tree (which I have since named Sasha of Guildenstern-Rosencrantz, a lovely hamlet in Oceania) started out very much like the little round fella from the Flomax commercials. I began to fill in my Flomax oval with dots of paint and soon had quite the aesthetic. I slathered healthy amounts of paint on my canvas to achieve the "novice" look I was going for and got a refresher course in the color wheel of my elementary school days. While we were all painting the same image, I was so tickled by how folks chose to bring theirs to life - there were tree trunks with a teardrop base, and treetops that were more linear than my lil' nod to the masters of Impressionism.
Ari made the rounds while we let our paintings rest, so I took the opportunity to get in another question. This is a favorite of mine that I like to adapt: "If you could watch (or play a role in) the creation of any work of art, which would it be?"
In all fairness, this is an incredibly difficult question to answer...why is precisely why I ask. While it's nice to admire a thing, an idea, or a person, getting at the heart of why we love what we love just might be the hallmark of my philosophic heart. After taking a moment to consider, he offers Wassily Kandinsky's The Yellow Sound (1909), which absolutely blows me away. I have my favorite works, but I'd never be able to choose only one. Artistry is a communion of sorts, a way for the self to convene with the soul; the "I" with others, the ingenue with the forbears of a respective canon. Art (and liquor to boot!) in its highest form draws us near one another or ourselves. At the very least, it enables us to render into language something we once thought was unspeakable. Good stuff, all around.
During the break, we'd been instructed to flip our works so we wouldn't be tempted to make any changes while they dried. After a few minutes of schmoozing and stolen glances at our neighbors' art, we all went back to our paintings. Row by inebriated row, we revealed the final product of our labor. It was a fantastic night filled with laughter, charm, and levity. I encourage you to pop down to one of their locations and have an experience that's sure to brighten your day.
You'll be in great company. Tell 'em Sasha and I said hi. ;)