Drink & Pour: Workshop review

Drink & Pour, hosted by Artmcr at Cass Art, Manchester

The way they are promoting this workshop is incredible – ‘What happens when you combine a glass of wine, a cup full of paint, some laughs, and a canvas? Well if you drink the wine and pour the paint the results can be amazing!’ Add music, meeting new people and hands on tuition and you really can’t ask for much more. We had a lovely night at the Drink & Pour workshop, and have come home with some decent paintings too. This is the first time I have touched paint (except Dulux magnolia) in 9 years, so thank you Art Mcr, I am pretty pleased with the results. However, I do have some suggestions that I think could really improve the workshop…

This workshop was good fun! I felt like Adam, the very friendly teacher, was the new Neil Buchanan. It took me back to the days where I would sit and watch Art Attack, eating a jammy Wagon Wheel, and going round the house collecting all the empty toilet roll tubes. We  literally poured paint over a canvas, we messed about with it, mixing colours, and even blew the paint through straws like I did when I was a kid. The paint is free-flowing and the class is too. There are no real rules, and you can mess about with different techniques, and do whatever suits you. The class is about teaching you the ‘fundamentals of pouring’ and the rest is up to you.

What I also loved about the Drink & Pour workshop was that it was only a small class, there were eleven of us in total. We went around the table and introduced ourselves, explaining why we are there and how ‘arty’ we all were. What was strange was that hardly anyone paints! So what a great way to get people doing something arty, something they wouldn’t normally do. Adam said, ‘shared knowledge is so important.’ So true! You don’t know something, until you know something – in my head that makes sense. Being a small class felt like you were getting a one-to-one lesson, Adam was right there to answer all your questions and chat to you about his work and his practice.

There were just a few niggles of the class that I think need tweaking. So the paint is obviously quite thin and runny, it has to be for the act of pouring. Once we had finished our piece, it had to be moved to dry, but because the paint was so runny, as soon as you moved it, the paint moved and changed how it looked. There were a couple of people complaining about this, which I understand. One of the hardest decisions to make – in the class and as an artist in general – is knowing when to stop, when is it finished? So when you are looking down on your pour, and then it’s moved and it all changes, it is a bit disappointing. Perhaps it needs some kind of huge board already on the table, some old MDF maybe. It needs something already very flat and larger than the canvas to make it easier to move to a drying place without disrupting the paint.

Also, in the advert for the class, it says ‘whoever queues the killer song of the night will win all of our affection forever.’ I am a huge music fan and pride myself on making sweet playlists, so I had loads of songs lined up! I had a chosen songs from different artists and genres, I wanted to see the room before picking my final choice, making sure I had the right one to suit the crowd. This never happened! There was music playing, but one of the class attendees (who I must say moaned quite bit) asked for the music to be turned down. We never got to choose a song, it was just never mentioned. On the flip side of that though, Earth, Wind and Fire was played, which was one that I had prepared, so I was happy.

I questioned where the money for the workshop goes, as at first £25 a ticket sounds like a lot. But I tried to break it down. The cost for the bottle of Liquitex (the thinning/pouring agent that mixes with the acrylic paint) is £24.99, and I reckon we went through two of these. The acrylic paint itself, I can’t imagine that’s cheap, and there were at least 12 colours to choose from (maybe more, I can’t remember). Then you have all the extras bits and bobs, shot glasses, plastic cups, wet wipes, paper towels, aprons, canvas paper, canvas board… And of course, Adam needs to take a wage too. The class was around 2 hours but I imagine he worked at least an extra hour prepping and then tidying afterwards. Oh! And there was a goody bag for the winning painting, that was probably worth £40 too…. All in all, you can start to see where the money goes and why you are paying £25, and as I said earlier, you are pretty much getting a one-to-one, hands on lesson.

For my paintings I liked using either two colours and a white or black. Adam recommend around 3/4 colours each time. You fill a little shot glass with the paint, and they layer up in the cup. It looks like the type of shot you would get from Baa Bar (is that even a bar anymore?) The fluorescent paints looked good too, really bright and eye-catching. Adam says he is working on a pouring paint class that uses UV paint! That would be sweet. At the end of the workshop we all voted for our favourite piece, and I came second with 3 votes, the winner got 4 votes. Well done to her. Not jealous whatsoever (insert side glancing, unamused emoji here).

There are a few bits to note if you do want to take this class:

  • Spirits aren’t allowed, so take wine/ciders/beers etc
  • Don’t forget a bottle opener! One girl in the class bought one in the shop, but I have one on my keys
  • Write your name in the middle of the canvas. The paint overruns and can get on the back of the canvas, hiding your name if it’s at the edge
  • Don’t mix your drink cup with the paint cup – it can be done
  • You can only pick up your painting 24 hours later so don’t forget to head back to Cass Art to collect them
  • They may not look the same and as bright once dried, as they do when first poured

I would recommend this class to anyone, arty or not. I do think there are some things that can be improved, but bear in mind this was only the second class in this series, so if you go to the third one, things may change! And there are more classes in the pipeline which I imagine will only get better from here. So what does happens when you combine a glass of wine, a cup full of paint, and a canvas? Well, you get a pretty decent weeknight out, you can get drunk if you want, and get to take home some work you made. Win, win, win! Except, I didn’t win, I came second, as I said, not jealous at all!

The next Drink & Pour workshop, hosted by @art_mcr is on 5th September at Cass Art. You can buy tickets here.

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