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Alternative Ways to Give the Gift of Art 

A great alternative to giving a gift is giving an experience—a way to make time for family and friends and to do something fun. One offering that can incorporate groups of friends and family: a painting class with Karen Eland. This is not a typical painting class, however. Eland only paints with either coffee or beer—and so will participants.

"This is less of a watercolor painting class and more of a chance to get your feet wet and be amazed that you can paint with coffee or beer," says Eland. The class is suitable for any number of people. Eland hosts classes in her studio at The Workhouse and also makes house calls.

Karen Eland, right, gives instruction to a student at The Workhouse. - COURTESY KAREN ELAND
  • Courtesy Karen Eland
  • Karen Eland, right, gives instruction to a student at The Workhouse.

Eland starts by providing students with a pre-drawn sketch they can work from. Students can also choose to paint their own subject on a blank paper, but the guide can help. And of course, Eland also provides the libations students are painting with, so they're literally sipping and painting.

Eland says most people walk away feeling amazed they're able to make a realistic painting.

"I like seeing people go from being nervous to being proud of themselves," shares Eland. It's the perfect effect of art.

Karen Eland
Beer and Coffee Painting Classes
beerpainter.com

In last week's Artwatch, I mentioned some lovely illustrated books by Oregon artists. I was excited to find out this week that Sisters painter Paul Alan Bennett is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to produce his own book from his paintings. Titled "Night Skies," the book will contain 44 paintings Bennett has created over the last 30 years. You may think 44 paintings is a lot, but when you're inspired by the night skies of Central Oregon, it kind of makes sense.

"I think that the simple act of looking up regularly at the stars and learning a bit about their mythology and positions is a healthy activity for the soul," Bennett states in his Kickstarter description. And while the book won't land in time for Christmas, wouldn't it be a really nice holiday treat to get this artist funded, so the region's beautiful skies can get the recognition they deserve?

"Night Skies"
By Paul Alan Bennett
paulalanbennett.com


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