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Event review: Pinot & Picasso Brighton

The Sussex business networking group for women which prioritises joy alongside success recently paid a visit to one of Brighton’s newest entertainment venues. Meeting at North Laine’s Pinot & Picasso, the group caught up whilst learning the true art of fun. Co-Women’s Co-founder, Becky, shares her thoughts on the evening…

One of my favourite things about Co-Women is that the group regularly offers me the chance to do things way outside of what I get to do in my work as a personal trainer. From aerial yoga and pottery making to silent discos and tarot reading, I’ve managed to try a lot of new things!

Pinot & Picasso wasn’t new to me – I went twice in 2023! – but the nature of the experience was. My first trip to the studio was a solo date, and for the follow up I was with my Mum and sister, as I was lucky enough to win a competition. This was my first time attending with friends, and from the moment we booked it way back in November I was excited: Leap Day plus glow in the dark (something I hadn’t tried before) as well as adding a canvas to my collection which dovetails nicely with one of my previous efforts AND means I can catch up with my friends? What a great day!

It nearly wasn’t a good time had by allThe weather did us dirty. And alright, that’s a weak excuse, because this is an indoor activity. But, as I moaned at Jo and Beth whilst I was en-route, “I’m sick of planning outfits for nights out around waterproof footwear!”. The UK winter has felt more than long enough for my solar-powered heart, and I wasn’t really in the mood to socialise. But I had been so looking forward to it and there was no way I was missing out, so I kicked myself along to the studio.

I was first to arrive so nabbed my preferred seat, and the others weren’t far behind me. We exchanged weather grumbles, fetched ourselves drinks at the bar, and settled in for a painting session.

The Art of Fun

I love Pinot & Picasso’s line about, “learning the art of fun”. I often talk myself down when it comes to opportunities to be artistically creative – drawing and painting were never my favourite activities during childhood, and I didn’t become accomplished at them. I very much saw my talents as falling into other categories. Whilst I’m pretty comfortable with smartphone photography, that’s generally where I see my skill as beginning and ending, and people regularly (and rightly!) tell me not to do myself down.

Because art doesn’t have to be about being “good”. That’s just something we’ve picked up along the way in our achievement-focused competitive culture.

It’s totally ok to just fucking do it.

So I chose to be pleased with my first two canvases I created, and settled in to complete a third.

Paint and sip

Pinot & Picasso’s sessions are all tutored to one degree or another. Fairly obviously, the more complex designs involve a greater degree of tuition, and the ones which are simpler and more open to interpretation are much more freestyle. We were booked to paint a canvas which was very freestyle.

The person leading the session talked us through how to create our outline using a pale yellow paint, and we did this with the studio lights on. Once this was in place, we were encouraged to fill in our design pretty much however we wanted using the neon paints. And, before we knew it, the studio lights were down, the UV lights were up, and we were kind of painting in the dark. All of us briefly panicked about “getting it wrong” before settling to the task. And that’s when I learned I’m not as good at multi-tasking as I thought!

Apologies to Jess, who I was sat next to, and struggled to hold a conversation with, as I got so lost in my painting.

But, at the third time of asking, I was pleased it had finally happened! I’d added some specifics to my outline: I’ve got a scar on my abdomen that I wanted to include as a bold outline, so I worked around that as well as all of the usual body parts.

With the music on, and drinks at our side, we all painted, sipped, sang and chair-danced our way through our pieces, each creating a unique interpretation of the design we’d been shown.

And it wasn’t just me…

When I asked the others how they’d found the night, Jo shared that she was pleased we’d all agreed that we could so easily have stayed at home on a gloomy, dark night, but all felt better for going out and making the effort to socialise. It did us all the world of good, and painting was a perfect accompaniment to meaningful conversations, as well as being such a relaxing and mindful activity. She also loved how each of our paintings were the same but so very different, and all totally cool in their own way.

In true Co-Women style, we left the studio laughing. Bundled back up in our coats and cautious of our paintings not yet being fully dry, we made a quick dash to our respective vehicles. As we made our way past several pubs in North Laine, paintings held carefully in front of us so as not to smudge, I shared that I did feel like we were giving the world a free preview of our bodies, no fucks given.

Stress melted away, social lives charged up, and new artwork for our homes – what more could you want from an evening?

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