I was excited when I found out my husband had signed me up for a sip and paint class as birthday gift. It was something I’d been wanting to do for years but just recently found there were ones nearby (to see where click on this previous post.)
What to Wear
When they said they were using acrylic paint, which stains clothes and surfaces, I worried even with the apron they gave me, because I wore regular clothes, but I never got a drop on me or anywhere. It doesn’t seem to splatter at all. So you can wear whatever. However, next time I’ll wear clothes that I don’t mind getting dirty just to eliminate the potential issue entirely.
Finding a Spot to Sit
I got to Tip Top Pottery in White River Junction early so I looked around while the staff set up.
There was a lot of artwork displayed from previous painting classes and I sat there wishing I could’ve painted so many of them. These paintings I kept being drawn to: the fox is my favorite, followed in close second by the moon and night sky.
Then I wandered over to the pottery section and marveled at all the options. A few really caught my eye: the cat, dinosaur, and cup and saucer. I looked at the price and was excited, $10-15 bucks. This was another fun experience I could do and could make a great gift!
Soon they were done setting up and I found a seat. I recommend if you’re short like me to not sit in a corner because it’s hard to see over the canvas and you can’t really see between canvases. I had to stand to see the instructor, but it wasn’t a big deal and didn’t affect my fun; plus, eventually everyone was standing and painting.
The Painting Process
In front of me was a blank canvas on an easel, a jug of water to rinse my brushes in, three different sized brushes, and a rag provided by Tip Top Pottery. I added to my workspace some caramel popcorn, kettle corn (which I didn’t end up eating) and my hot tea (in a sealed container). I was ready to go!
I loved how the instructor took us step by step. She showed us which colors to mix and how to paint the first shape. Then she let us try it.
When she felt everyone was ready she told us how to create and blend the layers of the sky.
Then we got to learn how to add details to our canvas. My stars looked more like dots, but that’s okay.
As we were painting she would go around the room and answer questions of painters, providing feedback or tips. As she was walking around she would find a tip that would benefit everyone so she would go to the front of the room and say something like, Don’t forget we’re going to the outline here so make sure to… I never felt rushed or restrained. I could add as little or as much detail as I wanted. The instructor provided ideas on how to add your own creativity to the piece if you wanted: Your sky could be horizontal, not a ring around the moon like mine. A staff member told me in one of her painting sessions some participants added whole pieces to the artwork that weren’t even on the model like trees. So there was great balance of guided instruction and independence, and plenty of time to just paint and enjoy.
A Supportive Environment
As we were painting, music played in the background, which I couldn’t help but sing to, adding to the relaxing ambiance. People were quietly talking or focused on their painting. One student gave another feedback: if you paint your edges it’ll look better if you’re not putting it in a frame. Oh good idea, I thought, and started painting my edges. The instructor also painted along with us, showing us how you could turn your canvas over or take it off the easel for a different angle. Creative!
I heard the instructor encourage participants to wander and look at the paintings of others, appreciating how each person had a different take on the original. I loved how one lady made her stars come alive, and another incorporated purple into her painting which added a depth to the sky I hadn’t thought of. Cool, I thought as I wandered. My painting neighbor had struggled early on by painting too much black into her sky but with the problem solving suggestions of the instructor she ended up with a striking image, with the white added into her tree. She really liked it in the end too. So don’t fret if you make a mistake, there are people to help you work it out. Tip Top Pottery makes sure to help you have a successful experience. They provided paper transfer stencils for more difficult and detailed images. Just painting inside the outline was tricky enough for me, so I was glad to have something to help me.
Lots of Fun for All Occasions
As I was painting my fairy I noticed one of her legs was a bit chunky because I wasn’t using a thin enough brush. I think my fairy’s been working out, I commented. My painting neighbors glanced at my canvas and laughed. One chimed in, That’s okay mine has a big booty. So make sure to laugh at yourself. It adds to the entertainment.
As I was painting, I felt like this would be a perfect date idea. I could picture two people on a date quietly working then stopping to compliment or give each other a hard time. Doing a fun activity in a relaxed environment, and you get to take something tangible away from the date; can’t go wrong with that date idea!
A staff member said a family came in and were competing. Maybe to see who could paint the best or the fastest? Either way, I thought it sounded like something fun to do as a family fun night or a yearly holiday tradition to do to give as a gift to someone. In my class a mother and teenage daughter painted together, which I thought was so special to share and create a memory like that together.
It also makes a great group gathering. Apparently one group of about ten signed up for a class and had a whole table of food to munch on. Yum! I bet it would make a fun birthday party activity for middle schoolers or high schoolers, in lieu of gifts, or painting pottery together would work too.
A Feeling of Success: The Finished Product
We were done in two hours, though most take around three. It all depends on the speed of the participant and the speed of the group as a whole.
I cleaned up and admired my work. I painted that.
I was hooked. I’m already registered for another class to give to someone as a gift.
Check it out! I know you won’t be disappointed.