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Let the champers and the acrylic paint pour freely
First, the champers flows and your creativity does too. Then it's the paint that comes pouring - quite literally - onto the canvas in this Brisbane workshop.
Every piece is a one-of-a-kind beauty Image: Montana Art Project
At Montana Art Project's free-flow acrylic pouring workshop, everyone goes home with a stunning work of art. With this abstract art form, you really can't go wrong. Even those who've shared a bottle of wine as they go. I am no artist and the kind of art where you "mix a whole bunch of colours together and see what happens" is exactly my sort of art.
First, we gather in the Montague Hotel downstairs for a complimentary glass of bubbles. Then we head upstairs for the main event.
Tonight's class is bigger than the usual group with 52 keen artists. Most have come in pairs and groups though several arrived on their own and are warmly welcomed by the others. As you would expect, many are women but I would guess about a third were men. It's a fun, friendly and relaxed environment. Ideal for enjoying the process without worrying about creating a "perfect" outcome.
First up is the "flip cup" technique. Yep, it is what it sounds like - fill a plastic cup with up to 5 colours of acrylic paint and upend your cup onto the canvas. OK, there's a teeny bit more involved in terms of technique and tricks, but that's the gist of it.
Walking around the room, it's fascinating to see the variations created by all of us newbie paint pourers. People who used the same colours ended up with completely different paintings, such is the random beauty of paint pouring. There are truly no bad paintings.
My first piece using the 'flip cup' technique
Showing us how it's done
For our second artwork, we give the swipe technique a go. We pour paint onto the canvas and swipe the bottom layer up over the others. Thanks to the magic of chemistry, (and the use of heat), the other colours bubble up through the top layer to reveal the final image.
The steps in the 'swipe' technique for painting #2
I think the beauty of this workshop is that everyone can produce a good result. At the same time, experienced creators can still apply their knowledge of colour theory and balanced design (and whatever skilled artists know about - as I said, I'm no trained painter). However, in keeping with the inclusive Friday night crowd, there is not much technical information shared, which may be disappointing for those keen to know the ins and outs of the medium or how to use it at home.
Expect paint on everything
Now for some practical tips. This is a messy workshop. You will be pouring paint everywhere and it will be dripping off your canvas, so keep the dangly jewellery and fancy clothes at home. The aprons only cover so much.
Your paintings will still be very wet for maybe 24 hours afterwards, so if you can leave them there and come back to collect them, it's a good idea. I took mine home straight away and all was well, but it was a slightly hairy drive home.
Drinks are BYO upstairs, food is not but can be ordered from the hotel's menu. And the pizza smelled amazing. It was definitely a fun night out.
The funky creative interior at the Montana Art Project
At the time of writing, workshops are coming up on the following dates but check the website for more dates: