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Last night I had the pleasure of attending one of Spirited Art‘s super fun DIY painting classes.  The concept for this particular class was “paint your house,” which was quite intimidating.  I haven’t voluntarily painted any form of picture or design since I was in elementary school, and even then, it was a forced practice.  I was really looking forward to trying something new, while understanding that it might be a total train wreck that will get hidden in the depths of the attic.

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If you aren’t familiar with Spirited Art, it is an amazing little venue located in the Short Pump area of RVA.  (They have locations in many Southern states as well.)

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Walking in the door, you are immediately immersed in a colorful world of creativity.  It is evident the fun and imagination that is fostered in this studio.  Inspired by amazing teachers, peers, spouses, and friends, the work displayed on their walls is sure to get you motivated to try your hardest at your particular chosen masterpiece.

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Set up at the classroom tables were pre-sketched outlines of all of our houses.  We had all emailed pictures of our homes ahead of time so the instructor could sketch them onto canvas for us.  Below each canvas is a printed out copy of your picture as well to help you with coloring.  They really do make it easy for you.

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They provide you with an apron, a basic palette of acrylic paints,  a small tipped brush and a large flat brush, a water cup and paper towel to clean your brushes with as well.

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Now the real fun begins, ordering off the amazing short menu from The Wine Loft, located next door, who’s friendly staff serves you delicious food and drink inside the studio while you paint away.  I ordered the Fig and Prosciutto Flat Bread and a glass of Pinto Grigio, and they did not disappoint. I would have never imagined the combination of flavors would be so absolutely delicious, but let me tell you, I am honestly disappointed I didn’t eat the entire board.

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Once everyone had time to order, the teacher – in my case the amazing Kristie, got us started working on the large areas of our pictures, the sky and grass.  She instructed us on how to mix colors, add pretty little clouds, and texture to our landscape.

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Once we completed those areas, we focused on the larger areas of our homes, the basic colors of the siding and stone/brick of your house now become the most complicated and frustrating lessons in mixing.  Using whites and mustards, browns and blacks, red and oranges, we all set to find the perfect combination to represent our houses.  The best part about using acrylic paint is that it dries very quickly, so if you didn’t like what you had painted, you could wait a few minutes and try again.

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I think by the time I had finished my house, I had painted the “cream” areas at least three times in my attempts to get the color just right.  The thing about art is that it is all coming from your personal interpretation of whatever object your are replicating.  As my ever so clever husband advised before I started, you need to use your “third eye” to guide you to create a piece that you will love.

Once we got the large areas of our homes finished: the siding, the stone, the driveway, etc. we started working on the finer details: doors, trim, windows, etc.  This was very challenging for me.  While I found it easy to create the texture of stone by lifting paint of the canvas and using several different colors, having a steady hand to paint a straight white line was not my forte.  I found myself getting a little frustrated because I was trying so hard to paint a perfect version of my house, but I had to take a step back and realize that this was my first attempt to paint any sort of picture in my adult life and it shouldn’t and won’t be perfect.  That would take away from the value of the experience.  I let go and allowed myself curved lines along the roof and imperfections throughout the structure.

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When it came time to wrap up,  and add some happy little landscaping details, I really let myself have fun.  I didn’t worry about the fact that I made my tree a color it may never achieve, I just added small details that I wanted to represent as my idea of our beautiful home.  I appreciated the colors that we painstakingly chose over our building process even more so, and fell in love with my house all over again.

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While certainly no Monet or Picasso, I am tremendously proud of my work.  My three year old son knew exactly what I had painted and that’s really all that matters, right?  Not quite sure where we are going to hang this in our home, but it will certainly make an appearance on our walls very soon.

I had such an amazing time at Spirited Art and cannot wait to go back.  I think next time I will choose a class where I have a little less invested interest in the subject of the art, so I have a chance to be more free with my work.  I have picked up a “bug” for painting and cannot wait to start on my next masterpiece.

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If you are looking for a fun night out with the girls, a date night, or even a fun class for your child, I highly recommend checking out Spirited Art.  They hold classes almost every night of the week and are a great place to host a private party.

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