When I graduated from chalk piece to pencil in school, the vibrant colors fooled me and I thought it was a snack. The wood part was difficult to chew but I liked the lead part of the pencil. My mother was happy that the length of the pencil decreasing everyday mistaking that I wrote a lot. Then came the drawing. I was a nightmare for my craft teachers. They were kind enough to let me go to the library and read than letting me draw something which would harm their eyes.
My mother is a wonderful artist. From my craft notes to assignments she took care of the drawing part. Ever since I graduated I never had a need to draw anything. It was a brave decision on my part to attend the “Doodle in the Bottle” workshop. The Art Room Chennai, had invited me.
Located in a calm street filled with trees The Art Room Chennai, had me in awe since the moment I set my foot in it.
The reception was spacious and well decorated. The trainer Poornima gave us a tour of the facility. I can’t help but notice the artistry vibe in the space. Anybody could rent a space and do a workshop. But it is difficult to have a place which emanates such a positive vibration. The others joined us and we were all set for the workshop
We were free to choose the bottle we were going to paint. There were wine bottles and beer pint bottles. The bottles were empty, so it didn’t take much time for us to select one and get ready for the workshop. Before even the class started I started liking it. It was well organized. Anything and everything we needed were within my arm’s reach. And the great thing was we didn’t carry a thing. It was all provided by Poornima
First, we took a color and used it as the base, covering the bottle with it. Before getting into that, I told Poornima about my total inexperience in things related to arts and crafts. She said it didn’t matter. I went for the safe option of white while the adventurous of the lot went for Gold. Since we were using acrylic paint it dried quick. After turning a green bottle to a white one, I thought I did a pretty good job until our trainer gave the next task. She wanted us to doodle over the base colour with a market or a pencil.
You see, doing something like that requires imagination, creativity. It is not as easy as sitting and typing things. I drew a long string with two nooses over and over. The trickiest part came next. We have to fill in the doodle. I chose the best possible colours, red and orange, which couldn’t go wrong. I could hear the giggle of my friend who sat beside me. She was actually surfing the internet to get an idea for her doodle. I was far ahead of her. Laying my doubts to rest I started filling the nooses with the colour. It was not easy. For me. But those moments when I was trying hard to fill the holes with the colour I gave all my focus to it. Nothing else mattered (except for the colours which were spilling out of the nooses I had drawn).
When I finished coloring it, the bottle looked like the ghost in horror movies. If I take it home, even I would get scared looking at it in the night. For a fleeting moment, I felt like Frankenstein who created the infamous monster. Poornima came to my rescue. “Brags! It is shaping up well she said” I chose to ignore the laughs around but I couldn’t control mine. “Shaping up? I think I am done”
“No. You can use one more colour” she said. She hadn’t given up on me. Why should I? I picked up the brown colour because nobody else used it. I didn’t want it to feel bad. One hour into the session and I already was sensitive to non-living things. I guess that’s what art does to you.
So with my new colour, I gave another coat to the base colour avoiding the nooses. Still no good. “It was already a joke, why to stop now,” I thought. I dipped my right thumb into white paint and pressed it around the neck of the bottle giving an impression. It changed the whole thing. Poornima was the first one to notice and gave a nod. She also asked me to just add small dots with whatever colour I liked.
I couldnt believe my eyes when I finished it. The final product turned out to be this. If you notice the dots, it will be in inverted heart shape as it approaches the noose. I was inspired by the famous Salvador Dali. (Psst… I came to know about him only yesterday)
I looked around to see what my friends were doing. One of my friends was working on Samurai Jack theme in the bottle, which was coming out pretty well. Another was putting all her artistic skills into the bottle turning it to a work of art. She didnt look like a beginner at all. I didn’t want to disturb both of them. So I engaged in a conversation with Poornima.
Poornima has more than fifteen years experience in arts and crafts. She tries to bring various art forms and artists to The Art Room. She even has a space available for rent for artists to work on their work. (Somebody do this to writers too please). She offers discounts for students. She has students ranging from 4 years to 70 years. Good news is, she has kept aside second Sunday of every month for adult workshops like the one I attended. I have already enrolled for the next one.
So here are the things to keep in mind if you want to try doodling in the bottle.
- Wine bottles are the best. While you are at it, buy red or white wine. Give the sparkling wine a miss since most of the manufacturers has their logo embossed on it. (And it tastes yuck).
- Whisky bottles are fine too
- Signature and Morpheus bottles are strict no no.
- When you buy red wine go for Bordeaux.
- I can help you empty the bottle and then let’s take the bottle to the workshop.
- When you work on whisky bottles at home, especially red label or Glenfiddich, we can work it for a while. The advisable method would have few rounds and then start doodling in the bottle. We might surprise ourselves the next morning.
Jokes apart, I found out that the outcome was not the point of the workshop. It was the moments of concentration when we tried to do something and immerse ourselves in it. It gave me a great deal of satisfaction and made my week.
You can visit The Art Room website here . You can also like their page on Facebook to know more about the upcoming workshops. The next one is going to be epic. I got the feeling when Poornima explained it. She is also bringing ceramic painting and pottery to the place. Exciting days ahead.