DID ACHOLA ROSARIO PAINT THE TOWN IN RED OR JUST PUT FLOWERS ON THE CANVAS?
(Posted 23rd February 2021)
Choice is a beautiful thing. You can choose what color to like and what not to and when, who to spend time with and who not to and when, and most importantly “Life” and “Love” may suck, but your Valentine’s doesn’t have to. Not unless you want it to that is…
Moving out of town for the day and playing with paint while drinking a lovely full-bodied red with friends and/or a date sounded like the ideal way to spend a day I traditionally alternated between hiding under the covers with movie series and lots of junk or out on the prowl with a skyscraper bust. Add to that, the challenge of finally learning how to paint Still Life (in layman’s language, that means flowers, fruits and things) from professional Impressionist painter Coster Ojwang, who is quite easy on the eye himself, and I was sold.
Standards of beauty are usually what hold us back from creating our own and that is why I thought this would be something worth trying out. I wanted to see how an event, set during a time when the expression of “love” has become mandatory and the color of love restricted, can break people free of their self-imposed shells and come out and play. We usually are afraid of mixing the colors in case it comes out wrong and does not look like our neighbors, and therefore a class where we go back to basics and strip the composition to its basic elements and build up what we see vs what it represents, is the ultimate social experiment. Kind of like The Cage. Buffeted by a good Rioja and a Koroga, the Kenyan equivalent of cookout, where some fragrant chicken was cooked by the male patrons themselves for the group, with ingredients, spices and choice of starch such as ugali provided by the hotel.
The setting for this social experiment was located just 30 min from the Nairobi CBD, a natural retreat in unspoiled Maasai brush but right next to Nazarene University Road with a river running through it. It is called Osoita Lodge, named for the surrounding rocks that built it, a totally rustic large circular boma for a main reception and restaurant, with lovely rock rooms out back, 26 of them, a pool and a spa that unfortunately is still closed during these COVID times. They, along with Event Organizer and upcoming painter Noella Wambui, set up a professional painter’s environment on the veranda by the river, all glowing green with the trees, fully equipped with strong mini-easels, well stretched canvas, a primed card, brushes and Acrylic paint, and for each paying client, a free glass of 4th Street, safe secure and easily drinkable all afternoon. The bar had a great selection and while the boys went to keep it company, the girls made like divas and kept the waitresses busy while completing their “oeuvres”.
Coster Ojwang, our gracious teacher, received a standing ovation for his ability to show us how to look at a composition and using blocks of color to build up what you see. People get stuck on thinking that you have to draw lines to faithfully represent what you see without realizing that those lines are made up of jigsaw puzzles of color, one mixing into the other to bring one forward or take one back, allowing you the painter to explain with your hand why your eye lends importance to one and allows the other a supporting role, without having to fully conform to another’s point of view. It is then that you realize that what you thought of as a mistake in Art, is what most describes it.
Hopefully the next edition will include Life Drawing. *hint*
Brushes and Wines is set to become a monthly event at Osoita Lodge Rongai, with spaces limited to 15 pax maximum for class management. Tickets cost Kshs2,500 per person for the full afternoon and places can be booked in advance. Management would like to emphasize that this is an adults’ event for relaxation purposes. Each booking includes use of 1 easel, 1 primed card and 1 primed stretched canvas for level 2, paints and brushes and a glass of wine/beer. Finished paintings are taken home by clients but brushes, paints and easels remain. Keep your eyes peeled for the date of the next edition on Facebook and Instagram.
To book contact Osoita Lodge and specify that you are booking for the Brushes and Wines monthly paint sessions:
+254 722 527 476/ +254 704 120 130
To watch The F.O.M.O. Travel Show Ep60: Valentine’s Brushes and Wine Edition:
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and mine is a freak.