Paint It Up – The Duxton

Hello hungry peoples,

Today we are going to multitask, combining creating *art* and shoving food down my gullet. Let’s start by making things clear, I have never ever finished a proper painting. I do enjoy putting things on the canvas but never reach that miraculous bit where you decide it is done. I think anyone with perfectionist tendencies (e.g. a bit crazy) probably struggles with artistic endeavors of this kind. My friend Sophie introduced me to the concept of Paint It Up and frankly I love everything about it. They have a series of art classes where you work on creating your own version of a specific painting in two hours. The style and type of painting varies between each class significantly. Some days you are painting Edvard Munch’s ”The Scream’, others you will be trying Monet’s “Waterlily’s”. Awesome right?

The instructors take you step by step on how to create the painting so you get a bit of basic training in how to bring the piece together. Lastly, and most importantly, the classes are held in different food venues throughout Canberra so that you get to paint, drink and eat. I don’t know about you but a few glasses of wine definitely gets my artistic juices flowing. They also provide all the materials so you just have to show up. All kinds of awesome.

The Duxton
The Duxton

I must have made my enthusiasm for the concept very clear as Sophie and Jacqui surprised me with a class for my birthday. It took us a couple months to come to an agreement about which painting we wanted to do, coupled with when we could get away from the kids. Being a parent can be very socially limiting. We finally decided on a painting called ‘Dreaming up the Future’. Essentially a tree silhouette on a night sky classified as ‘easy’. The class was held at The Duxton in Cook, a pub that has replaced the site ‘All Bar Nun’ used to occupy.

A gorgeous stop light of wines @theDuxton
A gorgeous stop light of wines @theDuxton

The Sunday we went it was drizzly and rainy, which made an indoor activity all the more appealing. Everything was set up, with rows of tables with canvasses ready to go. We decided that step one was to get wine, so before we had even put brush to canvas we headed to the bar. We are serious wine connoisseurs. I picked a Pinot Gris because it had a cool name, Sophie picked a Pinot Noir because the bottle had a cat on it and Jacqui went the fanciest, with some French rose because it was pink. Buying wine at the Duxton is a safe option financially as nearly everything is around the $9 a glass mark.

Paint It Up
Paint It Up

The art class was fabulous. The instructor Kavina gave really clear instructions and was available if anyone struggled with anything. They broke everything down into small chunks so that you could really see how it was going to work together to produce a finish product. They were also very relaxed about the whole process, which was lucky as we spent a significant amount of the time drinking wine and giggling up the back. Best students ever!

Unfortunately for my piece I also went rogue pretty early on. I don’t paint fast, and abandoned the idea of finishing something in two hours very early on. Most people moved on quite quickly from doing their background, adding the stars, a tree and finally to adding people. In fact I think everyone finished except me. This could be partially due to the fact that I took a meal break in the middle of everything. I was starving people.

The Duxton serves up the usual pub favourites of pizza, burgers and fish and chips, albeit fancy versions. Given the cold weather, some fish and chips sounded amazing. The serve was huge, with two full barramundi fillets deep fried. There was also a massive pile of chips, with some green stuff and sliced tomato on the side. I was a bit tipsy by this stage and demolished everything. Delicious! Sophie and Jacqui were a bit more restrained and ordered the polenta chips. These were massive lovely golden chunks, served with a mayo for dipping. They were also much easier to eat while balancing paint brushes.

Fish and chips @theDuxton
Fish and chips @theDuxton

So how does this story end? Did we finished our paintings? Weeeell Sophie and Jacqui did. I am exceedingly happy with my moon. I think that tiny bit of corner is finished. It was pretty funny when people came round, commenting on how lovely Sophie’s and Jacqui’s paintings were and then saw my barely even started version. I didn’t care, I was tipsy and full of deep fried things. Best rainy Sunday afternoon ever!

The result!
The result!

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