Van Gogh I Am Not

I’ve always wished that I was an artist. As a kid, I had the drive and desire but not the talent. My mom is the artist and has spent pretty much her whole life doing it as her career. It took a backseat to raising my brother and I but once we were in high-school she was able to spend more time on it. In fact, when I moved out at 19 my mom converted my childhood bedroom to her art studio.

Sadly, I did not inherit her talent. My creative juices flow more easily with words. Despite that I decided to give painting another try. Just for fun. I bought a Groupon for The Loaded Brush; it’s a studio here in Portland where you BYOB (whatever you choose to drink) and some snacks and they provide all the supplies and instruction on how to create your masterpiece. Their calender is posted each month with the painting for that evening and we signed up for the Van Gogh Starry Night.

I went in with zero expectations and just the desire to hang out with friends and do something fun.

Michael and I had a very light dinner after work and then went to the class with a small cooler packed with (gluten-free) crackers, salami, smoked Gouda cheese and a bottle of red.


Gouda is my favorite cheese ever! Second would be goat cheese. We opened the bottle of Bogle Merlot that was a Christmas gift and settled in for our class. They provided glasses and aprons/shirts. We channeled our inner-Bob Ross and got ready.




We met our friends Ember and her boyfriend Craig at the class. It was nice to see them; we hadn’t really hung out since last summer. They got busy buying a house and getting a puppy and I am just always busy. Always.

The class was packed and we were instructed to get our paint; he explained the techniques and brushes and we got started.


The instructor/owner, Aaron, was AWESOME. It was like a stand-up comedy act in combination with art lesson. He explained how to do things step by step and gave everyone time to kind of stretch their creative muscles. There was no judgment attached, it was just fun.



I felt encouraged and tried my best, even though I knew it wasn’t really my strength. We went with our friends Ember and Craig with the intention of hanging out and catching up but we were all so focused on our painting that we didn’t talk much!



We started with the yellow base and worked from there. It was sort of like paint by numbers, where the instructor would give instruction on what color to use, how to mix the colors and what brushes to use. It was very helpful.



The instructor explained that with impressionist paintings like this we shouldn’t expect to like what we see up close, but that once it was done and we stepped back, it would look better. It was definitely hard to SEE anything good while I was in the middle of it.



There was also the cutest dog there! His name was Bob Marley and he was sweet and lovable and hilarious. Bob loved to bite down on peoples aprons or shirts and then shake his head and pull. Too cute.



Bob Marley found his favorite spot by Michael’s feet and took a nap. Michael and I shared the bottle of wine and ate (too much) cheese with salami and painted our masterpieces. The finished product wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be:





I ended up buying the $20 frame because the frame really did make it look pretty darn good. I plan on giving it my artist mom for Mother’s Day. 🙂

It was such a blast! I had a great time. It was fun, inspiring, and it made me want to try again. Michael felt the same way. While we’d gone in with lackluster feelings and no expectations because neither of us have artistic talent, we both left feeling like it was a fantastic experience. If you’re in the Portland area this is a GREAT idea for a date night, or a girl’s night out, whatever! There were also people there alone and they had just as much fun. Everyone became friends by the end of the class.


QUESTION: Do you have artistic talent?

34 Responses

  1. I do not. My eldest son keeps trying to make it big in the art field. He’s has some small projects where he got a paycheck, illustrating children’s books, but no big payload like getting hired by Pixar. He has 10’s of thousands in student loans to pay off. My son-in-law’s grandmother (on the other hand) just picked up a brush and started painting. She had no formal training, just a gift, and has created and sold hundreds of paintings in her lifetime. A couple of her paintings are hanging in our State Capitol building and a couple court houses. I guess you either got it, or you don’t.
    Marc recently posted..10 miles (16K’s) walked today

    1. That is really cool about your son. And I agree, some people just have the gift and others have to work hard at the gift and then there’s the others that work hard and just never get better! Like me. 🙂

  2. OMG, how fantastic!!! Such a great idea. I’m a non-artist. A few years ago I took a watercolor painting class, thinking I’d create a masterpiece. Um…it was so far from masterpiece. But..I did enjoy the exercise of creating. (and I aww’d out loud at the pup!) Have a wonderful Thursday.

  3. Chris is really the artist in the family though I was a muralist for a brief period of time. I can copy like nobody’s business, but I can’t come up with anything unique. That sounds super fun – let me know next time they have a Groupon!

    I also want to go Gouda tasting. Let’s get our cheese on!

  4. We have one of those in my city. I have always had a blast. The best part is seeing everyone’s interpretation of the painting.
    I love anything crafty – making jewelry and anything else I have seen on Pinterest.

    Keep on painting!!

  5. Very nice!!! I love Gouda, too! Cheese is my weakness – it was also my first word! (I was a chubby little kid…).

    I have always wanted to do one of these paint and wine classes. They look like so much fun and everyone I know who goes to them (even if they don’t have an artistic bone in their body) always come back with something impressive!
    Logan @ Mountains and Miles recently posted..Life with a Puppy

  6. I’m so glad you wrote this post! I have a friend that was trying to talk some of us into doing a similar Groupon for an art studio here in Kansas City. I was very skeptical. Now that I know how much fun it is and that it is great for nonartists like myself (I AM an accountant, after all!), I’ll have to take her up on it!
    Jill @ a Girl in Progress recently posted..My Food Journey – Part IV

  7. oh that looks like so much fun! sometimes being an artist isn’t just about being “good” its about the desire to create something, and you did that! I always wanted to be a singer but i never had a good voice, oh well we have to use the talents we are given i suppose 🙂
    Robyn recently posted..The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

    1. Good point! It’s the same with writing. I write a lot and most of it isn’t something I’d ever think about publishing but sometimes I just have the desire to write SOMETHING!

  8. Lisa, I just found your blog and I must say I am thoroughly enjoying it!

    I, too, am not the dream artist I wish I was. I always have these great ideas, and once in a blue moon I will put it on paper and realize that it’s just not going to work. Ha.

    Such a great style of class though, I hope to find one in San Francisco. A Starry Night happens to be mine (and a million other people’s) favorite Van Gogh.
    Tara recently posted..Farewell, Danielle!

  9. I love that you are going to give this to your mom! That is so sweet! A shop opened up like this close by that we might try. It’s called Sip and Paint or something like that. They sell beer and wine and do a class like this.

    I am actually one of those really creative people LOL. I am a musician, plus I do other things like making soap and beaded jewelry. I took a watercolor introductory class that was so much fun and something I want to do more of.
    Lori recently posted..Taking the plunge

    1. Isn’t it strange how some things just don’t translate? Like I’m pretty good at photography (sometimes) and writing but art…not so creative. 🙂

      You should check out the place that opened near you. I bet you and John would have a blast!

  10. What a fun date night!

    I love a Van Gogh quote that I saw a while back…

    If you hear a voice within you say, “You cannot paint”, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.

    I borrowed it and slightly altered it to say:
    When I hear a voice that says, “You can’t run”, I will keep running and that voice will be silenced.
    Julie recently posted..The New Lunch Lady

  11. I used to be able to copy stuff pretty well in terms or drawing/painting. But I do not have an ounce of creativity to be able to draw or paint something right in front of me. I am just not good at visualizing having always been more of a left brained/numbers sort of person.

  12. Hey, cool painting!! I used to paint when I was in high school – mostly water color and pastels. I never went too far with oil paints, but was getting there. Wasn’t too bad at it, and wish I had continued. It’s like my singing…I took lessons because my parents thought it was a good idea, but hated my lessons. Now I wish I had kept on with it also, because I regret not being able to sing anymore!
    I ❤ 2 Eat recently posted..Lazy Bones Saturday

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge