If you thought 4Cats Art Studio was new to Kamloops, you’re not alone. It moved from Seymour Street to Victoria Street in January and, as a result, has seen an increase in traffic.
Though it has been in the River City a few years, art instructor and 4Cats Kamloops owner Jennifer O’Brien said in its former location, it might as well have been on Mars.
The studio offers children’s and adult art workshops and is part of a franchise that started in Victoria in 2005.
Classes vary in mediums and themes. There’s clay sculpting, water colour painting and holiday and family activities.
Above all, 4Cats touts flexibility for newbies to the art scene — all skill levels are welcome, O’Brien said.
Testing that premise, KTW reporters — and amateur artists — Jessica Wallace and Jessica Klymchuk dropped in for an adult workshop, an Andy Warhol-inspired silk screening class.
Class description: “Silkscreen and paint using professional acrylics and inks in our Marilyn Warhol inspired workshop. Art is for everybody. All levels of experience welcome.”
When I learned 10-or-so 4Cats students would create silkscreen portraits of Marilyn Monroe, I thought they’d all come out looking the same.
The process seemed so streamlined: Inking a perfect outline of Marilyn onto a canvas with a screen, filling in the picture with colourful touches and silk screening again to add shading and features.
The end result was far from my initial inkling. Each finished Marilyn was unique, from backgrounds of solid colour blocking to wispy, multicoloured blends and her powdered skin was in every colour imaginable.
This realization best summarizes my first time workshopping at 4Cats: The studio provides the basic framework and you take it in your own unique, personal direction.
The class had a light atmosphere fit for inspiring creativity from the background tunes to the splattered paint all over the room — on the floor, benches and walls — to the blank canvas hanging upon arrival that screamed unlimited possibilities.
It was interesting learning history about the technique of the night, Andy Warhol’s “factory-style” artwork, and I appreciated the “it’s no big deal” approach to things like spilling paint and asking for help.
I felt lost when it came to choosing paint colours but our teacher said “there’s no right or wrong colour for Marilyn.”
Students shared a laugh over the epiphany of being able to mix the basic paint colours together and, when painting the background, I stumbled onto what I deemed a “happy accident” when my yellow and green partly blended together.
Though my portion of the painting looked childish at best, I was delighted to see it transform into Marilyn after the final screen was inked.
I was even more delighted, still, to realize we weren’t required to clean up our mess.
Perfectionism isn’t well suited for art. And, while I’ve never considered myself a perfectionist, there’s something about physically creating something that brings out my inner critic.
As I painted within the stencil of my Marilyn, I apparently had much to be critical of. First, I didn’t like the colour I chose for her hair. I didn’t like how my amateur brush strokes showed on the canvas.
The shape of her earrings, lips and eyeshadow were all wrong after I finished them.
Although I liked every colour I chose, I didn’t like how they looked next to each other. It all brought back memories of making an animal mask in Grade 4 when I, for whatever reason, chose to replicate a turtle and it was pretty much just a human face sans the nose, painted green. It looked like crap and I wished I had chose to make an elephant.
Oh yes, the stress of elementary school art class was rushing back to me through one multi-coloured Monroe.
I also tried to paint a pot over the summer which did not make its way to my work desk because I have no children on whom to blame it.
But, no matter, this time I forged forward with my brush and put my cynical side to bed. The room was bright with splattered paint and the music was mellow. We were laughing at how our Marilyns resembled Ronald McDonald and how they were really all masterpieces in their own right.
Then we got to silk screen Marilyn’s true features over our work and see her come to life.
They all looked great and I realized what our instructor had been saying all along — there’s really no wrong way to make art, even if you are the ultimate amateur.