By Bonnie Glidewell

Some people go crazy with basketball during the month of March. My goal this month is to go mad with my own NEW personal favorite, Wine & Art.

You may have noticed there are shops and galleries popping up all over the valley focusing on pairing Friday nights with some wine; beer or spirits which then are to be paired with … canvas art! This is a brilliant idea if you ask me. Ending your hectic work week with a girls’ night out or, if you are lucky like me, your husband. So far, I have been able to indulge in both.

To begin my March Mania, I did something I have never done before and may never do again. Abstract art! I had a great time with one of my best friends and was able to learn a few things by the intelligent and creative instructor, Miles. You see, I typically follow instructions and am creative but not artistic. I think abstract art needs someone who is both. I suppose I don’t know the meaning of success when it comes to abstract art but that night I did not feel I had met that goal.

Thankfully, the beauty of the canvas was not the goal and did not matter. What really mattered was the comradery between the other guest artists and the ability to relax and have fun. Or, shall I say “get down with your bad self?” Many thanks to Anna at Rogue Gallery & Art Center for giving your community a space to do all of these things and a full schedule of events for all ages.

My next stop for March Mania was the Grants Pass Museum of Art. I have visited the gallery during First Friday but never for any of their workshops. I got in touch with the new director, Hyla, and she gave me a warm welcome to join the next "Sip and Paint" with Judy Davidson. This workshop was similar to the one in Medford but instead of using an array of colors in abstract art we used only a few shades of brown and were given the option to follow a printed design or make up one of our own.

I was feeling bold this night because I decided to paint the head of Buddha. OK, so maybe I was cheating from a picture I downloaded on my phone but my confidence was in jeopardy and I was still able to create something I was proud of. HA! My husband and I had so much fun with the people around us, not to mention the local food provided from the delicious Goodness Gracious and award-winning wines from the Rogue Valley.

Three down, more to go. I am still on the hunt to book more painting workshops for my March Mania Wine & Art craze, and I just attended one last night, where I painted an acacia tree. Spurlock Art & Wine is located in Grants Pass and features amazing canvas art by Lissa Spurlock and others from Southern Oregon. They are also the home of Wine & Brush, a 2-hour adult painting event with a complementary glass of wine. Clearly, this is the one I attended. This is a fairly new art gallery opened by a local couple, Matt and Melissa Spurlock. The business has boomed so much that they expanded out to three nights a week, not including their kids and private classes, and are even opening a new gallery in Medford within a month. This class was more structured with step-by-step instructions as you try and paint the same piece as the instructor, Lissa, and I kid you not you will be more than surprised by the glorious outcome of your own piece of art. I loved this event so much and will definitely be going back. 

I love the variety of options these galleries give you from total individual creativity to everyone following the instructor’s painting and seeing how close you can match. I definitely will be going back and trying out some of the other events in the upcoming season. I encourage you to do as well! I mean, it IS March Mania with Wine & Paint.

Now for a philosophical ending that I don’t normally do … something that settled deep into my conscious which was said to me during my first March Mania event with instructor Miles. I asked how he felt about my painting as I could tell he was less than impressed. I secretly was fishing for approval (which was not actually important now that I think about it). The answer he gave me was astounding and actually can apply it to my life more than to an 8 X 10 canvas. He said:

  1. Did you have fun?
  2. Are you happy with the result?
  3. Did you learn something? 
  4. Could you have done better?

Since that day I have been asking myself these four questions. I always want to have fun, be happy and do my best. I challenge you to do the same.

Do you have an idea or event you want to share with Bonnie for her Out & About column? Send her your thoughts.