This year, the EmptyChair team decided to take on Halloween a little differently; still getting our creativity going, but not into crafting costumes and trick or treating. Instead, We went along to one of our most popular workshops: PopUp Painting! We share similar visions for the people of London – we both want to encourage and inspire those that are looking to discover something new. The founders, Phyllissa and Gareth, were there throughout the night ensuring each of the guests was having a great time (and had enough paint!).
To fit with the seasonal theme, we were painting a mixture of Edvard Munch’s The Scream and Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night. The woes and anxieties of the Munch’s world were nicely balanced with the celestial serenity of Van Gogh’s vision of the night sky, so nothing that ended up being too terrifying! Paired with the art for the evening was our resident artist, Anna Tveritinova, who expertly led us through the intricacies of tackling the painting.
After settling down at our easels, donning our aprons, and fetching our palettes, we were ready to begin. Anna got straight down to it; explaining our colours, the three different brushes we had at our disposal, or how to water down the paint to help the brush glide across the canvas. As someone who has rarely ever had any sort of paintbrush in hand, having this sort of guidance most certainly steered the EmptyChair canvases clear of disaster!
Once we’d arranged the deeper colours throughout the background and most of the canvas was covered in paint, we were invited by our hosts for a glass of prosecco to let the backgrounds dry. Urban Meadow served as an excellent location for our evening of painting, with our workshop set aside in a semi-separate area of the cafe-bar. Once we’d finished our glasses, we were invited back to our paintings, replete with new paint, clean brushes and some liquid confidence to bring our canvases to life.
The 15-or-so of us worked our way from the stars of the sky down to the anguished face of the figure in The Scream, every once in a while peeking at the person next to us to see what they were able to make. Some were clearly accomplished painters, others it was their first time ever holding a brush – so it was exciting to see, despite the level, everyone had a smile on their face, a drink in one hand and a brush in the other!
As our paintings received their final touches, we signed them and gathered around for a group photo. As we did, it quickly became clear that there were some paintings that were far better than what EmptyChair was able to produce! But as Phyllissa, Gareth and Anna emphasised throughout the evening, it was about having a laugh, getting things wrong, and trying out a new skill that was important – not leaving the workshop with a perfect copy of The Scream!