When I was a kid I spent a lot of time making art projects. In middle school I would get out the oil or acrylic paints and lose myself in a detailed paint-by-numbers piece.
Somehow, as an adult, I have spent much less time on creative pursuits and am much more concerned about how others will view the finished project.
So while I was excited to join my cousin Rebecca Himmelspach and friend Laurie Hanson for a painting lesson at Arte in the Village, I was a bit nervous the exercise would be beyond my talent level. To lower the bar a bit, I picked a date when the piece chosen, Kandinsky's Circles, looked easier than some of the others.
Kandinsky's Circles is a work created by Russian abstract painter Wassily Kandinsky. While the multicolored circles are what typically catch the eye, the painting actually starts off by breaking the canvas down into a number of squares, according to our instructor, Emily.
Everyone in attendance - about 20 people on Nov. 8 - was taking a class at Arte for the first time. Emily immediately put us at ease and often reminded us that our work should not be perfect, because that would be boring. This was our interpretation and whether we wanted to change the color scheme or make a circle into a square - or even into a Christmas ornament, as one participant did - it would all be OK.
A short while after I began mixing paint colors and filling in the squares, I started to relax. That feeling might also have been helped along by the bottle of pinot grigio the three of us bought to drink as we worked. Arte sells beer and wine by the glass and bottle, a charge that comes on top of the $35 supplies and instruction fee.
The entire class lasted about two hours, and the time flew by. Each of our pieces turned out differently, and we were told to sign them before ending the class with a group photo for Arte's Facebook page.
I probably am the toughest critic of my own work; I prefer the ones that Laurie and Rebecca made. But after some initial teasing from my family, my finished product has grown on me. While I don't plan to hang it where everyone who visits can see, I think it could serve as a nice piece of creative inspiration in my home office.
Besides, I consider this my practice piece. I will go again and try a different design - Arte offers a range of classes, from replicating masterpieces like Munch's "The Scream" and Monet's "Water Lillies" to recreating pop art coffee cups and holiday themes.
During each class, the instructor paints along at the front of the room. The pieces they create will be auctioned off during a charity art sale to benefit Hunger Task Force from 5 to 10 p.m. Nov. 30. The event, called Party 4 Good, will complement the city's tree-lighting ceremony, taking place outside the shop in the Root Common that night. In addition to the sale, Arte will offer mini-canvas paintings and live music.
Stefanie Scott, former Wauwatosa NOW reporter, is happy to stay involved in the city's happenings. Have an event you'd like her to attend? Email her at ReporterStef@gmail.com.
If You Go
WHAT: Arte: Wine and Painting Studio
WHERE:7511 Harwood Ave.
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