By the time we reach adulthood, many of us tend to think of art as something other people make — professionals in solitary studios, working for months meticulously crafting each piece.
These days, some art centers are trying to make the process of creating art a little more accessible, fun, and even social by hosting evening workshops where people can sip wine and finish a piece in one sitting.
“It’s kind of the thing that’s going around right now,” said artist Dar Brooks, one of the instructors of this summer’s Wine & Designs workshops at the Lakeville Area Arts Center.
“It’s very popular because people only have to commit to three hours,” said Brooks, who has taught similar “Art Pub” workshops at the Owatonna Arts Center.
“I don’t consider myself an artist at all,” said Kristina Murto of Lakeville, who took a Wine and Designs workshop this spring. Murto hadn’t done watercolor since the age of five, but she signed up for the class with some friends.
“It sounded like fun,” she said, “and they were serving wine, and that helps, too.”
“Most of the time,” Brooks said, “they get relaxed, and they go home with beautiful pieces.”
In the Lakeville classes, the workshop often involves recreating a painting while the instructor guides them through a step-by-step process.
“Every one turns out different,” Brooks said.
In Murto’s class, students painted a snowy landscape with a barn. She said she actually finished early and even turned out a second painting, which she gave to her mom for her birthday.
“The class was really enjoyable,” she said, “a lot of fun, not intimidating.”
Brooks said that generally the majority of people in her workshops don’t consider themselves artists and often haven’t even painted.
“If people are afraid,” Brooks said, “I go, ‘don’t be afraid. You can do it. Just get the paint down.’ It’s very spontaneous. There’s no mistakes.”
Brooks, an experimental mixed media artist, will teach two Wine & Designs classes this summer in Lakeville. The July workshop, she said, will involve creating a Georgia O’Keeffe-like image. During the August class, she will demonstrate techniques of nature printing.
In the center’s June workshop, on Wednesday, watercolor artist Tina Sheppard will conduct a class on creating a sailboat silhouette.
Tom Barnard, manager at the Lakeville Area Arts Center, said the center started holding evening workshops last year that focused on etching and beading on wine glasses. “It just became very popular,” he said. “It became kind of a social event.”
They expanded the classes this year to include instruction of various painting techniques. He said they plan to continue the Wine & Designs workshops into the fall, and future sessions may focus on sculpture or pottery.
“Any type of art project that we think can be completed in one session,” he said.
Liz Rolfsmeier is a Twin Cities freelance writer.