Starry Nights- Van Goghs painting with Pennellino
Like most girls of my generation, I went through a fair few childhood phases where pastels, paints and paper decorated my desk, as I was determined that I would pursue a life as an artist. In my primary school leaving book, aged 11 I ambitiously declared that in 10 years time I would either be studying art at Cambridge or skiing in the winter Olympics. They say I set myself big targets.
And still like most women of my generation, I ended up pursuing studies, career and even extra activities that hit the criteria for a successful life. Art often does not fall in to these categories. I know that it didn’t for me, not that I didn’t enjoy the array of opportunities I have had.
A painting class had always sounded a little stuffy, life drawing a little too giggle inducing and knitting circles just a step too far in the wrong direction. Em stumbled upon Pennellinos paint along aperitivos, a perfect evening activity in Milan that somehow hits the mark of a sneaky glass of vino and an artistic outlet.
Em had already trialled the paint along Penellino with Monet’s Waterlillies, signing me up for the next Van Gough Starry Night evening with her. Canvas, paints and even dinky aprons are provided, whilst Polina gives a calming step-by-step explanation. Of course a few strayed from her instructions, which hit a pleasant balance between painting by numbers and ‘how the hell can I recreate a globally renowned masterpiece’. A little clichéd but it was simply delightful to be totally lost for 3 hours (and the perfectionists could have easily doubled that number!) in the meanderings of a paintbrush on canvas and mixing colours on a palette. I can certainly see where the colouring book fad of 2016 came from.
Dashing for the last metro with 4 fellow canvas carrying Italians, we were catching the attention of a few amused travellers with our matching yet varying creations. The concept of Polina’s also offers an intriguing insight into the different interpretations people made of the Van Gogh classic- some brighter, others more mosaicked and some highly detailed. Two elderly women had piqued a particular interest on the metro, enquiring if we were art students. No no, us amateurs can do this whilst eating a pizza, having a beer and catching up with a friend.
Check out the next one, it’s the best alternative therapy for a stressful working week in Milan.