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Paint, like nobody's watching

Adults take up the brush after school at a workshop that doesn’t judge you for doodling

When was the last time you picked up a paintbrush? For most it would be school, when art was a mandatory subject. The craggy hills, flock of birds and orangey sunsets we sketched might just make a comeback in our lives with Paint Spa, a guided painting session launched by city artist Ruchi Chheda. The two-hour-long art class offers adults the opportunity to paint without fear of judgment.

What began as a private session by Chheda five months ago, with a group gathered at a friend’s home, will now become public with a Paint Spa session at Andheri West, later this month.

Ruchi Chheda conceived the sessions after hearing about Paint Nites in Boston
Ruchi Chheda conceived the sessions after hearing about Paint Nites in Boston

The 25-year-old borrowed the concept of the Paint Spa from Paint Nites in Boston. “My fiancé, who is studying MBA in America, told me about it. He’s not an artist, but attended a session and couldn’t stop gushing about it. It was a stress buster for him,” says Chheda, who comes from a family of art lovers but has no formal training in art.

While Paint Nites, which first launched in 2013 in Canada, is about having fun as you paint, accompanied by glasses of alcohol, Chheda prefers to have the class sans liquid inspiration. “Instead of alcohol, I provide munchies and soulful music,” she smiles. Along with food, Chheda also offers the supplies — paints, apron, easel and canvas. “All I demand from participants is enthusiasm,” she says. “I decided to take the session to a public platform because I feel the interest in art is diminishing. I want to ignite it,” she hopes.

Ruchi Chheda
Ruchi Chheda

The class, with a maximum of 15 participants, will begin with Chheda — who works as a programming executive with a cartoon channel — selecting a theme. “I choose five pictures, each with a background and a foreground. For instance, the foreground has an object like a tree or a bird and the background is always a mélange of colours,” she explains.

The theme is flexible and participants are allowed to choose colours of their choice. “I do not expect them to copy the picture as is. The objective is to help you work your imagination,” she adds. Chheda plays the instructor, where she first gives a demo of the painting, followed by guiding participants from start to finish — picking the right brush, mixing colours, using the right quantity of water, getting a shaded effect etc.

Chheda first experimented with this idea in April, choosing six couples. “I realised I see a lot of my friends and their partners spend time at the movies or in bars. This, I thought would be a different experience, a chance to discover new aspects of each other.” The session involved the couple sitting face-to-face, where the painting would be shown to them only after completion.

Priyank Gala, a Matunga resident, attended the session with wife Nimisha. Initially reluctant, he says, “I don’t like painting. I used to paint in school because it was compulsory. But, once I began working on my canvas, it transported me into another world. The session proved to be therapeutic and rejuvenating,” says the 26-year-old businessman.

Another participant, Sumit Ranka, says he had to show his parents a video of the making of the session to convince them that he had made it. Ranka, who owns a motivational merchandise store, Thinkpot, says, “I used to be downright bad at painting. But I ended up exceeding everybody’s expectations.”

Chheda says the experience is usually positive. “What I like is nobody ever gives up. They make it to the finish, no matter what.”

Where: The Little Door, Plot B31, Shree Siddhivanayak Plaza, Andheri West
When: Sept 26, 4 PM – 7PM
Entry: Rs 1000
Call: 9819887668

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