Lockdown Hobby #231: The Complication of Group Painting Sessions

Lend an ear to the latest episode of Hobbies Attempted During The International Collapse Of The Human-Pangolin Relations. Get out your brushes, it’s time to paint.

My mate hurt her back in a freak bending-over-to-pick-up-something accident, so we all decided to cheer her up with a surprise painting morning. This included eating breakfast food such as bread, cheese, fruit etc, which I was completely on board with, but also this painting morning came with painting. Sneaky buggers.

It turns out that painting get-togethers come with complicated steps. Adhering to them means you will have “fun”, or so I was told. So, let it begin, the ten stages of painting with friends when you can’t paint for shit.

  1. Everyone establishes with each other that no one can paint. We even go as far as confirming who is the worst painter in the room, fighting for last place. It’s the most pathetic title you may ever fight for. Andreas, the best painter in the room, can’t fathom ever calling himself the worst, but can read the room well enough to know that there’s no place for arrogance, so says something like, ‘I’m okay,’ and just shrugs it off. Be wary of Andreas. He’s going to kick your ass later on.
  2. The paints come out, the canvas put before us, and the theme set (“seasons” in this case). The room is split by creative thinkers and critical thinkers – the creatives close their eyes and gently massage their muse, while the critical thinkers scroll through Google Images recalling what snow looks like.
  3. Complex jargon like ‘acrylic’, ‘oils’, and ‘colours’ are bandied about the room as though it’s words we use all the time. Those truly out of their depth will try to make a joke or say pointless sentences as a way to fill the vacant space where knowledge should be.
  4. We get down to business and after a few initial quips, things get pretty serious. No one’s saying it, but everyone suddenly genuinely believes they have become Van Gogh, will produce a masterpiece, and sell their painting for millions. This feeling does not last for long – enjoy it.
  5. About twenty minutes in, those who are genuinely shit realise that the remainder of the session will be nothing short of a salvage mission. The weaker artists eye up each other’s creations, hoping theirs is not the worst, even though they apparently wanted the title of worst artist before starting – they lied. Andreas hasn’t looked up. For him, this is not a social event anymore. It’s business.
  6. What’s worse than creating a crap piece of art in a painting session? Creating a crap piece of art in a painting session and everyone waiting for you to finish it. Now it’s a battle to not finish last. Andreas will complete his with seven minutes to spare – ample time watch his pathetic competition flounder while putting the kettle on.
  7. We’re coming to the end of the session. People are adding the finishing touches to their work, a.k.a an anxiety-fuelled overdoing of brushstrokes, triggered by an unmanageable lack of confidence.
  8. We come to the end and share our work, laughing heartily at what we have produced. We desperately hunt for compliments from peers to recover such damaged egos. We say shit like, “my snow is too purple, don’t you think?”, or “Maybe I should have added shade, even if it’s night-time, don’t you think? Don’t you think!”. We continue to laugh. But laughing on the outside doesn’t mean we’re not crying on the inside, because we are.
  9. We take a photo together and post to Instagram, telling the world how much fun we had and that we’d love to do it again sooooo soon and that everyone should try it and it’s brilliant and please like our paintings.
  10. Andreas separately posts his masterpiece on his private art gallery Instagram account with the hashtag #sellingmysillyartLOL. He has received three offers. He tells no one.

Verdict: if you are looking to host your own painting session with friends, make sure the breakfast is good, and don’t invite that arrogant prick, Andreas.

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