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“Something for Grownups” Features Paint Nite at Bellingham Library

Oct 31, 2014 06:00AM ● By Marjorie Turner Hollman

Catherine Mazuroski displays her painting

“How many of you have painted before?” Kathy Wotten, owner of Artworks Studio in Hopedale, asked the adults gathered at the Bellingham Public Library. “No one? Oh, good!”
Really? It was a good thing that we were all novices? Twenty adults sat in front of blank canvases. We had all come to the Bellingham Library’s first program of a four-part series “Something for Grownups.” Children were not invited—this was strictly for grownups, a chance to have fun and try something new.

Wotten offered a little background on herself and then explained, “I’m not an entertainer; I’m a teacher. You have tools to use. Don’t try to paint or draw from memory. We’ll be painting a chickadee, and we’ll use transfer paper to sketch out the outline of this little bird onto the canvas. I’ve also provided pictures of chickadees for you to look at.”

We then received the most important instruction: “Remember to breathe. It’s OK,” Wotten smiled. We all took big breaths.

Wrapped in well-used aprons, we approached the bottles of paint and put small amounts of blue and white paint onto paper plates. It was time to get started on those empty canvases. Blue-mixed-with-white paint soon covered the canvas, all but the outline of the chickadee. I roamed the room taking photos and was struck by how each person applied paint differently, even after we’d been given the same basic instructions.

Throughout the evening Wotten made suggestions and supplied all the tools we needed to work with acrylic paint on canvas. After applying each layer of paint, we headed to the hair-dryer station, where we dried our canvases. Drying the paint between steps assured that the paint remained firmly set rather than mixing into a muddy mess.

“I love watching people really looking, studying the pictures of chickadees that they have to work with,” Wotten said.

At the end of the evening we had all finished our paintings. Amazingly, we produced twenty different versions of the same idea—a chickadee perched on a pine branch. Some had sprinkled snow throughout the pine branches. A few chickadees appeared grumpier than others. But no one had given up, and everyone left with a smile on his or her face.
Bellingham resident Kathy Fortin held her finished painting up to show off. “This was tons of fun!” she announced.

Newcomer to Bellingham Erin Sullivan agreed. “I’m new to the community and don’t have kids. I’m still trying to figure out how to meet people. This was great.”

“What a great group of brave people,” Wotten said. “No one here had painted before, and they learned skills that they can take home with them and continue to paint at home.” Wotten continued, “I was so pleased to be invited to teach this class, since I live in Bellingham. It’s nice to be able to give back to my own community.”

Paint Nite was just the first in a series of programs that are “Something for Grownups.” The Library will host the 2nd in its series on Wednesday night, November 19, 6:30-8: “Legacy Time Travel: Using Family Stories and Pictures to Create Your Own Time Machine.” You’ll receive information about digital tools to organize and make your family pictures accessible, and learn about documenting and sharing your family stories. Come prepared to have fun! The entire series is sponsored by the Council on Aging,  Bellingham Public Library, and personal historian.
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