April 1, 2023


Meditation and painting. What do they have in common? People got the answer at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery on Jan. 22 at an event called Paths to Improved Creativity.
Karoline Varin, interim public programs co-ordinator at KWAG, was the organizer for this event. Along with Shaina Lehan and Mindy Alexander, facilitators of Sustainable Happiness Art Workshops, Varin invited guests to relax, meditate and create some art with water colours.

After the meditation, attendees were given a step-by-step guide and positive reinforcement to help them learn how to do it. Each guest was given a card and a cup for water, and took a seat at a table where supplies were waiting for them.

The hosts used a slideshow to help guide the guests through the activity. The process of watercolour painting was broken down into six simple steps. For the first step, everyone was given their cards and some tape. The tape was applied randomly across the cards and then painted over along with the rest of the canvas. At the end, guests had the choice to remove the tape if they wanted to add some interesting patterns to the rest of the painting.

The rest of the steps were pretty straightforward. The second step was to choose their colours and the third was actually putting the tape on. After that, everyone was introduced to different watercolour techniques such as adding more water to make paler colours, blowing on the paint to direct its flow, and using different amounts of water/paint and pressure to create thinner or thicker lines.

One of the final steps was adding some extra colour to the works if participants thought their piece could still stand for some improvement, and they were introduced to the concept of Wabi Sabi. It was a complex explanation, but what it boils down to is there is beauty in imperfection. Wabi Sabi is a Japanese concept that might, for example, glue a pot back together using golden glue to show the pot’s beauty in its cracks.

And speaking of beauty, there are two awesome things about KWAG worth mentioning. The first one is how they determine the prices of events that will be held there, and the second one is about people. Varin said working with the gallery was “an enriching experience because you work with all sorts of different people with different skill sets … It’s a fun and challenging experience.”

Regarding the prices, Varin said they are determined by how much it costs to host an event. In this case, there were two instructors, seven guests and most of the resources were already available in the museum, so there were only instructor fees and some pens she needed to buy, hence the low price of $25. If you’d like to attend your own event at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, you can always find a list of events on their website at kwag.ca. If you have trouble finding any, remember there are multiple categories such as adult classes that can be found at www.kwag.ca/en/programs/Programs.asp.

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