Under the expert guidance of artist Colin McGuire, wine and appetizers are consumed while pictures take shape on canvas almost as if by magic. McGuire selects a painting by a master—this past week it was Van Gogh—and uses that masterpiece to teach participants about color, light, and form. “I break it down into its simplest form,” he explains. “We start with three or four big shapes and work in from there.”
It’s not a new concept, and is often done en plein air (McGuire himself has done similar classes in Puerto Rico), so bringing it to the outer Cape, home of American plein air painting, seemed an obvious choice. And Terra Luna, with its inviting atmosphere and lovely garden, is ideally suited for the event. Visitors looking for an alternative to beaches and museums, locals looking for a break from the traffic and fatigue of working too many hours—there’s something here to de-stress everyone. Even yours truly: I’ve always held to the firm belief that as a visual artist, I’m an excellent writer; and I’m not sure that opinion has changed radically—but what I will say is that I had a lot of fun.
McGuire begins by introducing the main shapes in the painting and inviting participants to find those shapes on their own canvases. From there he moves on to start talking about light. “Is the color next to this one warmer or cooler?” he asks. “Always keep examining those relationships.”
There’s nothing that participants need to do besides show up. Everything is set up for them: the paint palette, the easel and canvas, brushes, water, paper towels … the only decision that has to be made when you arrive is whether you prefer your wine red or white. So you show up empty-handed … and you leave with a completed painting.
As you paint, you talk. To each other, to the teacher, to your painting (okay, so maybe I was the only one talking to my painting…). Colin keeps up a commentary as he works on his own piece, then wanders around to give individual comments and guidance. He is extremely supportive of effort and finds something positive to say to every participant … and encouraging them to move toward completion. “It doesn’t become your painting until there’s color on every part of it,” he warns.
Oh, and it’s not just wine you’ll be tasting: chef Tony Pasquale sends out a stream of amazing appetizers to accompany your art: swordfish skewers, striped bass sliders with peri-peri aioli… the temptation to stay on for dinner after the event is strong. (I confess: I succumbed.) It’s Terra Luna at its best: great music, a comfortable and dynamic atmosphere, beautiful food and wine… with the added plus of spending two hours learning how to create art from a master: Colin McGuire’s work is already on the walls at Terra Luna—and is also in the Provincetown gallery he shares with his father, Michael McGuire.
And at the end, everyone has something to show for their efforts, a memory of a vacation—or even just of a pleasant afternoon—that will linger long in the memory. “A painting is just a color next to a color,” says McGuire. “When you can learn something from it—the time of year, the time of day—that’s when you’ve really found something.”
It’s well worth the time to find something brilliant and beautiful—or simply fun!—at Terra Luna’s Paint and Sip every Thursday from 3 to 5pm with Colin McGuire.
Jeannette de Beauvoir is the host of Arts Week on WOMR, a contributing writer to Provincetown Magazine, and a novelist, editor, and marketing writer. More about her at linkedin.com/in/jeannettedebeauvoir