The holidays are upon us and that can translate into a lot of to-do lists. Well take a deep breath because have I found a treasure for you. It's a trifecta my friends. You can tap into some holiday cheer, creativity you probably didn't even know you had, and cross one gift off the list for someone special. We're getting out and about tonight at the Art Bar at the Granada Hotel in in San Luis Obispo. Leave it to the creative folks at the Granada Hotel to come up with this two hour escape that combines creativity...with cocktails. Art Bar is part happy hour, part art class. "I'm going to start with the ocean back in here." explains artist Chris Pederson as he shows one of his paintings to patrons of Art Bar and begins the process of re-creating it on a blank canvas right next to it. 'So I'll start to work that, and then I'm going to add in this little land mass here." Art Bar patrons start with a cocktail, then attack the blank canvases in front of them, following the suggestions and guidance of the featured artist of the evening. "Start with the sky on the piece, where we go light to dark...." Pederson explains to a first-time Art Bar patron as she attacks the sky in her piece. "So mix up a light color, so say like white, yellow and a little bit of that brown." Pederson suggests to her as she begins to mix colors. Chris Pedersen owns his own studio "forever Stoked" in Morro Bay, but he's one a stable of local artsits who plays part time instructor at Art Bar. Artists like Chris bring one of their pieces and aim to show Art Bar patrons how to re-create them, should they chose to do so. "I also encourage them to do their own thing, use their own colors, or they can even paint anything they want." he says. Most opt for some form of imitation. "I like the colors he used but I like more the pinks and dark blues rather than oranges and yellows." says Kathryn McKinney. "So I just decided to switch to that and try to make it work." By choice or by chance, everyone's is a little different. Chris called mine a little "impressionistic" when he took his first look at my work. It wasn't exactly what I was going for, necessarily, but the fact it looked like anything other than a random finger-painting made me happy. We all have own eye, our own style, and own level of artistic experience and talent. Though Chris urged us all not to be scared, I can't help but be, a little. "It already doesn't look like yours!" I worry to Chris. He does his best to ease my worries. "It will by the time we're done." Most in my class hadn't tried to paint a picture since maybe the first grade. Most come more for the cocktails and camaraderie than the creative side of the deal...at least the first time...but find themselves absorbed. "Now that I'm here, I haven't really talked at all." says McKinney. "I've just been focused on this painting." And that is what is so awesome about art. Before you know it, you're into it, and all that chaos and clutter that may have been on on your mind when you walked in disappears in the creative process. And no matter what you're skills, you leave with new frame of mind and something special to remind you of your two hour escape. "All the people who come in here are so fun and have a great attitude and that's what makes it fun for me to do. The fact their paintings come out good, that's just a bonus." says Chris. Cheers to that! Art bar happens most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at the Granada. $40 includes canvases, paint, brushes, easels, aprons and your first cocktail. Even though you are wearing aprons, you probably don't want to wear any clothes you wouldn't want paint on. It's amazing how it finds it's way to sleeves, laps and lapels, especially if you are enjoying the "Bar" side of Art Bar.For more information and schedules, click here. Chris Pederson is also hosting some paint parties at his studio, Forever Stokes, in Morro Bay. There's one on December 21st, and one on December 27th. They are $40 for paint, easel, and instruction. For more information, click here.
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