Jlee’s Review – Vino van Gogh

About a month ago my friend asked me if I’d be interested in going to Ivy Restaurant in downtown Wheaton for an evening of Vino van Gogh.  I’m definitely not artistic, but anytime there’s wine involved you don’t really need to twist my arm.

What is Vino van Gogh?  It’s just what it sounds like!  Wine and painting!  I think the slogan Paint, drink & be merry! says it all.

For $38 they bring all the supplies – canvas, paint, brushes and aprons.  You just bring yourself and money for wine and/or food.  You take your painting home with you that night.  The event is held at different venues so you can review their calendar at http://www.vinogogh.com/ to search for your area.  They also showcase different paintings so you can choose your event by location or by painting preference.

We chose Ivy Restaurant for its suburban Chicago location.  I had never been there and will definitely be going back this summer – they feature a wonderful outdoor area that I must check out!  I walked in and found the ambiance to be very warm and inviting.  The event was held upstairs so I walked up the circular wooden staircase not sure what to expect.  I was a bit nervous walking in alone, my anxiety kicking in a bit.

I entered the small room off the upstairs dining area, which would be the perfect place to host a gathering!, and saw two long tables filled with a little kid’s dream!  Paints and paintbrushes and blank white canvasses.

BLANK WHITE CANVAS?  Wait, I’ve never painted in my life.  Well, sure I’ve painted in like 5th grade art class, but this?  Wtf?  I seriously can’t even trace my hand!  I look at B with shock and fear.  This is gonna be a GD mess!  I put my apron on and sit across from B.  Now I definitely have anxiety.  As soon as the waiter comes by I quickly order a cab, practically knocking him over to place my order. Maybe with a buzz I won’t care that my painting looks like a train wreck.

The blank canvas was extremely overwhelming, but the class instructors show you step-by-step how to create your own painting.  They are also very encouraging and constantly remind you throughout the class that your painting is to be your own, be proud of it, this is something YOU did. 😀

I kept reminding myself of exactly that as I got started.  This doesn’t have to be perfect.  Just do the best you can.  You are here to have fun, not to paint the next Mona Lisa!  My perfectionist nature can be quite overwhelming, but for once I was able to put my perfection aside.  I’ve honestly never painted a canvas in my life, so however it came out I would be excited and proud of myself for trying something new!

During our break we took the opportunity to check out “our competition” – lol j/k.  It was so interesting to see others’ interpretations of art and how different the paintings can turn out.  If you made a mistake the teachers referred to them as “happy mistakes” and would show you how you could correct it – add shading, add white paint, etc.

As I painted I found myself in a zone…I wasn’t even reaching for my wine glass.  I was intently working on my painting, which I decided I was painting for the Chiquita.  I kept thinking, someday the Chiquita is going to love this.  She’s going to show this to her grandchildren and say, “Look my little grandchildren, look at what my fabulous mother painted for me!  Look how talented she is!  Here is a picture of your great grandmother, isn’t she gorgeous?????” lol, seriously I thought this.

As these [weird] thoughts are running through my head I continue to paint, paint, paint staring at the canvas feeling like my eyes are about to pop out of head.  And my contacts were getting supppperrrr dried out.  OK, take a break.  Chillll girl, I tell myself.  I guzzle the cab [I splurged on the $10/glass cab, too] and take a deep breath.

This is oddly cathartic and stressful all at the same time!

Time flies by and as my painting nears completion I’m so proud of myself!  I can’t believe I painted this!  I did this.  Wow, who knew I could do something like this?

Now, I have to give props to our teachers because it’s not like I could go out and buy a blank canvas and create a masterpiece all on my own.  That’s why I’m telling you this – You can do it, too!  They are so helpful and encouraging, they tell you exactly which brush to use, what colors to use, how to put your brush in the paint…they don’t say draw a frickin’ elephant, seriously?  No, they break it down for you. Draw a line here…draw a half circle here….and remember, there is only happy mistakes!

Take a look at the pics:

Our example painting
YIKES...blank canvas!
Our lovely instructor
Getting there!
B and I had a blast
The finished masterpiece!

You can view more photos or “like” Vino van Gogh on FB by clicking here.

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