Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Painting Your Pet in Aksarben (& The Inagural Appearance of CHEWBACCA-BOP)

Before 2014 closed out, we were wandering around the winter open house at Hot Shops, when a painting of a pet caught our eye (I know you guys, you're real shocked). We started talking with a woman who told us that Aksarben's Village Canvas & Cabernet hosts a monthly 'Paint Your Pet' night where you paint a pre-sketched portrait of your pet and a portion of the registration fees going to local pet rescue organizations.. OBVIOUSLY, we were in.

The night had finally arrived (these classes fill up quickly, so if this something you're interested in, register now). On our drive over, we chatted about our expectations for the night. We wondered what the other paint your pet attendees would be like (were they as enthusiastic as us to walk away with a our very own pet portrait?), if there would be any men in attendance, if we had chatted with our dogs about how we were going to spend our evening (Meghan had, Kerry had not). Walking into Village Canvas & Cabernet, our hearts were elated to see all of the white canvases with pets sketched on them. We pretty much squealed when we spotted our very own Oliver and Bebop.

We had read on Canvas & Cabernet's website that while they had to provide the drinks, we were more than welcome to bring in our own snacks since we would be there from 6:30 - 9:30 that night. Kerry was nice enough to stop at Trader Joe's on her lunch break that day to grab the sustenance we would need to get our creative juices flowing.

Overall, our experience at Canvas & Cabernet was a very positive one. The space is just big enough and he location is definitely convenient in relation to where we live, however I thought our workspaces could have benefitted from a little more elbow room. Of course, when you're there with a friend, you don't necessarily mind the close quarters, but if I was here for a work event or something, I'd probably want a little more space.

The staff was extremely helpful and friendly. Having a little experience teaching these types of classes - in high school I worked at a custom jewelry/bead store where I often taught bracelet making classes - you're always going to have attendees who can't quite let go of their control and just go with their creative force, causing them to need extra help from the staff. Case in point, there was a woman on the other side of our table who came over and introduced herself. She admitted her presence there that night was part of a gift she had received over the holidays from her daughter. She was hoping to gain some closure, as the cat she was there to paint, had recently passed away.

Herein lies the beauty of an event like this. It's extremely personal. You're not there to paint a flower or a moonscape, you're there to translate the personality of your pet and your love for them in paint form. The staff was very cognizant of this and extremely helpful when it came to the general lecture outlining each step we were taking, answering questions and suggesting techniques to achieve the 'look' the artist was going for.

Kerry and I are somewhat different when it comes to artistic endeavors. She really gets into every detail whereas I kind of just let whatever is going to happen, happen. I'm a student of chaos theory I suppose while she takes time to really figure 'things' out. I think you can definitely see that over the process here. Kerry has a lot more shadows and highlights whereas I kind of wanted my Bebop to look a little flatter and one-dimensional like pop-art.

At the very end, we learned how to paint in the eyes. This is where I lost control of my painting. I couldn't get the brown quite right and had to give it a few tries, which again is the beauty of using acrylic paint, you just wait for it to dry and then you can paint over it. Bebop's eyes kept looking so comically crazy, I just kind of said 'Fuck. It.' and left them as they were. Whenever I would look back at my painting, I couldn't stop laughing. I think I did my artistic talents and Bebop's personality justice in the final product. And Kerry's Oliver looks like a GD super-hero and it's amazing!!

This event gets two huge thumbs-up's from us. It was so much fun, we loved the class, and now we have more of our own personal art in our homes.


  1. Ahhh I had no idea that this was a thing!! I need to go and paint a picture of Albert. What I really need to do is go every month and start an all-Albert home art gallery. Both of your pieces turned out fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing :)

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