“Art [like travel] enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

by Thomas Merton

Blogging about travel gives me the lens to see just about anything as a traveling experience. Anything that reminds me of distant places, cultural immersions or glimpses into life beyond my own daily bubble stretches my life view. Writing about hometown activities is part of Change Your Scenery...Change Your Life.

Whether going with friends or family, part of a social, workgroup or on your own, an evening at Paint Nite producing an original painting, somewhat resembling the original as advertised online, is a fun, relaxing way to spend a weeknight.

Paint Nite, now Yaymaker, gives me a few hours of stepping out of everyday responsibilities and joining like-minded people whose inner artist wants to shine. Sometimes known as Paint and Sip, the events are held at restaurants, wine bars or art studios. Most apron-clad participants enjoy a glass of their preferred beverage, alcoholic or not while following the host artist who conducts the sessions. Participants are encouraged to come early and dine at the restaurants and to purchase a beverage, but there are no monitors to be sure you patronized the sponsoring location.

The demonstrator starts the group by leading a chorale response of, "I promise to not my picture to others, say that mine is ugly, give up because I think I messed up, etc." There are no mistakes, everyone and every picture are unique, and color choice is completely up to the artist/participant.

The evening then proceeds with step by step directions using only the acrylic colors squirted on your paper plate, three brushes, a stretched canvas frame, an easel and a cup of water for brush washing. Upbeat, sing-a-long music plays and the chatter begins. After each instruction and modeling, the artist roams the room answering questions an oohing and aahing at each station.

Time floats away, wine flows, laughter increases, and masterpieces emerge at each easel. Group, pair and individual photos are taken afterward to post a Paint Nite webpage. Our creations are immortalized, or at least digitalized, forever! And, I take the canvas home to admire and move around the house to see where it looks best. After a while, I admit, my garage became quite a gallery in itself!

  • My first piece of foamy sea waves, a mountainous horizon and wine glasses on a beach took me back in my mind to many awesome beach adventures. Although I fought those "no-no" terms in my mind, I focused on learning techniques, and Costa Rica, Pacific, and Atlantic shoreline trips. Perspective was not really in play, but hey, it was fun!

  • My four seasons painting reminded me of living in New England as a kid where each season was very pronounced. I liked the gallery look of the four trees/four seasons look and being able to play with the colors a bit.

  • My last piece with the tree and the birds is filled with all kinds of adaptations from the original. I tried to copy a bird pattern from my shower curtain and lost all sense of proportion. Oh well, the journey was worth angst of imperfection!

Now I can add Artist as a new skill to my Writer, Photographer, Teacher, Librarian, Mother, Grandma, Friend status! Being a Lifelong Learner, Adventuress, Traveler and Travel Blogger is simply my way of pushing past comfortable boundaries and trying new things. “Creativity takes courage,” Henri Matisse.

Note: Now Yaymaker has Candle, Mosaic and Terrarium making classes as well. Find one in an area near you!


Maria C. Heberling

San Diego, CA 


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