Finding My Inner-Artist — Martha’s Vineyard Art*Island Festival

Paint & Champagne with Traeger DiPietro, part of the five day Art*Island Festival did not disappoint. It was one of the most fun and rewarding events I have gone to in awhile.

Picture the scene, a sold out crowd, sitting in Water Street Restaurant at the Harbor View Hotel. Traeger in the front of the room with an easel, in our hands we have champagne, a blank canvas, paint and brushes.  A group of 30-plus people eager to find their inner-artist.  Surrounded by old friends and new friends, we began our journey.

In addition to our tools and bubbly, we had a picture of three tomatoes with two green cups.  Traeger provided it to us for inspiration if needed, and that was what he was going to paint.

Myself and my fellow artists at my table, Karolina and Skylar, knew that we were going to paint something for our children. Karolina was going to paint a shark, and Skylar was going to paint an owl.

After a sip of champagne and a little thinking, I decided I wanted to paint flowers for my daughter, Charly.  I chose Dahlias.  I love how complex they are, with layers of petals.  I thought this was rather brave of a novice painter.  I knew I wanted to use red and yellow, so they would be really bold and fun.

All of us stared at our blank canvases for a bit, and then dove right in.  Well, first I found a picture of a Dahlia on my i-phone and then got started.  Thank goodness for technology when you’re artistically challenged.

With Traeger’s help, we learned how to set up the background, how long to let it dry, and how to layer the acrylic paint we were using. We also learned how to mix certain colors to get the ones we wanted for our masterpieces.

The hardest part was waiting for the paint to dry between colors and addition of layers.  Though only a couple of minutes, it felt like an eternity. Also, I think everyone there was excited to continue painting.  There was a lot of laughter and energy in the room.  We seemed to have such joy and ownership of our work.

The night was winding down, and after a lot of paint and trial and error, many of us finished, with big smiles on our faces.  We did it. We all created something unique, that was ours.  Granted, there were a couple amazing artists in the crowd, even bringing their own paints and easel, but most of us were first-timers.  It was so much fun.  We walked around admiring each other’s work, celebrating our accomplishments.

To be honest, I would love for this to be a monthly event.  Perhaps something that Featherstone Center for the Arts could do?  I saw some great friends I haven’t seen in awhile, made new friends too, and we all really enjoyed ourselves.  I left Water Street Restaurant with a little extra spring in my step, and my still damp masterpiece (I use that loosely) in my hands.

The best part of the whole event was giving my painting to my daughter the morning after.  She was really excited about it.  She makes me beautiful artwork all the time, and for the first time, I made something for her.

Now I hope she lets me hang it on her room.  Two year-olds can be picky.  On a side note, there has to be another event like this. I have to do a painting for my son, have to be fair now.

Thank you Traeger for your inspiration and help.  Thank you Art*Island Festival, and all who helped make this event possible.  Visit the Art*Island Festival website to find out about more great events.

Also, thank you Anne Caldwell for your photos.  I couldn’t have done this post without you.  My photos were lost somehow on my camera.  Also, Rose Ryley — your painting was my favorite!

Thanks for reading On Point – I hope you enjoyed it. If you want to find out a little more about this great event, check out Bubbly and Martha’s Vineyard Painter, Traeger DiPietro – A Winning Combo.

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