Painting for Control Freaks

So this Thursday I accidentally double booked myself. My knitting peeps had decided to do a cooking class before we got together to knit and I, of course, was all over that idea. As the time approached, however, I realized that I had already signed up for a class in Brushless Painting. Quite the conundrum.

Food vs. art.

I have to say, I only chose the art class because I thought it would be “good for me” and after all, I’ve been to a lot of cooking classes already.

And the art class was serving lunch afterwards, so I still got cake.

The class was held on the second floor of Origins Restaurant located in the lovely shopping area of Taikang Lu. I had to be there at 9:15 am which meant traveling on foot during rush hour.

The herds of people crossing the street on the way to the subway

The workshop was led by Stephanie Vallee, a warm and enthusiastic French Canadian artist

These were our tools: masking liquid (the white jar), yellow, red, and blue paint, q-tips, a spray bottle, a water bucket, and toilet paper (which was better than the stuff in our apartment--I considered filching it)

Stephanie told us there were 3 rules:

1. Water does everything

2. Relax and enjoy

3. You can break the first two

Basically the process is this: The masking liquid is splattered or stroked on with a q-tip. (you can also use a stencil if you’d like a more formal design).

Splatter, splatter. Sybilla was the professional artist amongst us who does Chinese ink paintings so she has lovely splattering technique

This has to be dried. Actually each step needs to be dried, so I’ll only demonstrate this once.

You can let it air dry, or if you're in a hurry use a hair dryer. For the masking liquid you can stand around and pretend to be menopausal women having a hot flash

Spray the canvas with water and let sit for a minute or so to absorb some water and then drain the excess in the bucket.

Throw some yellow paint at the canvas and see what it does! (Use the toilet paper on the edges to wipe off the excess paint)

So far I'm still smiling

Next red is added. You can use the spray bottle to move the paint around.

After the blue is added you can use a straw to blow the colors around. This is fun, but it almost made me pass out!

At this point I was pretty happy with how thinks were looking. Should have left well enough alone.

Stephanie told us we could also spray red and yellow onto the canvas to add depth. I thought, “yeah, I want depth!” So I sprayed and I got mud. I also spray painted the restaurant’s tea cup. (Sorry!)

That’s also when I started blowing like crazy with the straw and nearly passed out.

And ended up with a mud puddle in the middle.

Some of the other's

After a final dry you can rub off the masking liquid to create areas of white and if you want you can use a toothbrush and water to smudge areas some more.

I kept wanting to make mine look better, so I kept messing with it and everything I did made it look worse. I was determined to beat it into submission, but it just refused.

Stephanie talked about the things people learn about themselves through art in her classes.

So I guess what–I’ve learned I’m a control freak?

Ben, Andy and Meredith, you do not get a vote!

Not what I'd been hoping for

Here’s a link to Stephanie’s website if you’d like to see how a pro does it: (Sorry, the link button isn’t working in WordPress–you’ll have to cut and paste)

I did buy the supplies to try again in the privacy of my own home. Maybe it help to calm my inner control freak.

Coming out of the restaurant I came upon some guys taking pictures of this model:

What might she be selling?

Even though she is lovely, the panel on America's Next Top Model would vote her off for this shot

I will sign off with some real art. Thanks Kelly–it’s a relief for the eyes!

Envelope art


About DECRYPTKNIT: knitter on the loose in Shanghai

Hi, I'm Marisa Newhouse, a former pharmacist (for a brief time during the Reagan administration) who's real calling was probably anything that has to do with cooking, plants, literature and especially knitting; hence my last and favorite job, working at Woolyminded, a wonderful yarn store. But now, I have moved half a world away to Shanghai where my husband will be working. Lots of people are interested in what we will be doing here and I have always kept journals of our travels, so I thought I'd do it the modern way and keep a blog.
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3 Responses to Painting for Control Freaks

  1. Linda Mahoney says:

    I am enjoying reading your blog. Loved the Propaganda Museum entry – I, too, read Shanghai Girls and the pictures you took reminded me of different parts of the book. You are so kind to share all of this with us! Thank you, Marissa!

    • My pleasure Linda! Have you read the second book after Shanghai Girls? I think I liked that one better. However, it was fun to read Shanghai Girls because I am actually here and know where the places are she talked about.

      • Linda Mahoney says:

        Yes I did read the next book. My favorite was Snow Flower and the Secret Fan – I loved it. The others have been good, but that one was my favorite. Hope you are feeling better.

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