When I was thinking about writing a blog about our Vin Gogh-go events, this song popped into my mind.
On the Road Again, by Willie Nelson
The second lyric says it all.
"On the road again
Goin' places that I've never been
Seein' things that I may never see again
And I can't wait to get on the road again"
When I am given a "GO" assignment, there are times when I know very little about the location or occasion and I kind of like it that way. I've gone to Banff, Canmore, Cochrane, and to all quadrants of Calgary, taught as little as 10 people and up to 85 teachers. It's a wide range of events and personalities.
On my way over to a GOGH site, I start to menatlly prepare for the coming hours, meeting the host, hostess, or the event coordinator, I also wonder about the size of the space and how close I will be to a water supply. A big deal!
When I arrive and unload the carefully packed containers of blank canvases, paint brushes, easels, paints and plastic table covering, along with the original painting, the most important piece, I start to feel the vibe of the location and begin to get to know this new, temporary, studio space. There is always a buzz in the air, a nervous giggle, a guest expresses to another, how stressed out she will be trying to paint, she hasn't since she was 5 etc etc. Lots of banter back and forth and some express interest and are intrigued by the mystery of the process. "How can I possibly paint that Mountain Scene?" my reply "Don't worry I will be there every step of the way."
Once we are set up and everyone has found a spot, perhaps a glass of wine, (it is a lot about the sipping you know.) Normally, the first step is I take up the big brush and begin the process of painting the background in very loose broad strokes, explaining along the way that this gets us relaxed and in the groove for the rest of the session. I say, "Don't be shy with the paint, load it up on that brush and let it do what it was born to do!" (The last part I have never said before, but after writing this, I may try it out tomorrow night.)
Being a Vin Gogh Artist, is a training ground for stand up comedy and performance. It's about loosening up the crowd, getting your audience comfortable and also being willing to receive whatever they come back at you with. I love having a mixed crowd of men and women. The men are usually the ones that get INTO IT! I had one gentleman say to his wife, I think I found my calling and will be switching professions. Her comeback was, honey I don't think so, I am accustomed to this lifestyle.
There is a thrill every time as I see the paintings take shape, there is comfort in these spaces as there is usually a connection not found in the Studio experience, these new found artists are friends, relatives, maybe community members and this makes for much laughter and sharing. I tend to lift paintings to show the rest of the group to get the unsurprising and charming oohs and aahs.
As Willie keeps saying, "I just can't wait to get on the road again."