Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Painting the Pups at Marmalade Skies

Phoebe and Joey get Lichtenstein-ified

Well, look at that. We made us some art.

Last Friday, R and I took a painting class for adults at Marmalade Skies here in Austin. The class is called Pinot Picasso and it’s geared toward people who have never painted before. People like R and me. Actually, I have painted a few houses and I’m pretty good at it, but I don’t think it’s the same thing. At all. For one thing, this was fun.

The instructor was great, letting us explore and helping us out of holes all while talking about Roy Lichtenstein and his technique as well as general painting technique. We started with photographs—everyone else did people but she let us try dogs, which was new for her. In the end, much to our surprise, R and I had a couple of cool looking paintings of 2 of our favorite people (though I’ll need to go back and do one of Simon some time before he gets jealous).

What amazed me was how quickly the time went. How lost we both were in what we were doing. The instructor said, “We’re closing in 15 minutes,” and I looked around saw that it was dark outside and I had a nearly finished painting and an empty bottle of TopoChico in front of me.

I love making things, and even more, I love the act of making them. Most of what I make comes out in the form of pixels or food, but it was a thrill to make something I can hold and hold on to as I don’t do enough of that.

It’s the most fun I’ve had going out on a Friday night since I can remember, and I couldn’t wait to get home and show the dogs who weren’t interested once they realized they couldn’t eat the paintings.

The Pinot Picasso classes at Marmalade Skies at 183 and Anderson Mill in northwest Austin are held every Friday from 7-9:30, and each week they teach a different style of painting. We’ll be going back.



  1. That’s terrific!! I love the paintings. There’s nothing so absorbing for me as doing art – the time just zips by. Glad this was such a positive experience for you.

    • Thanks, Beth. It really was wonderful. I wish I had the skill to go around sketching and painting my town as you do so well. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. Those are brilliant paintings, very vivid both in colour and how you’ve caught the dogs’ expressions

    • Thanks, Crafty Green! The instructor did a great job helping us see the details that would capture the subjects’ expressions.

  3. Howl? Woof? Dude, where’s the Roo? Still, cool paintings though. Go back next week and do it right.

    • Ironicus, At the risk of suggesting my greys aren’t real greys, they don’t roo. Woof and Howl are their favorite words. When the GPA adoption coordinator saw Phoebe after we’d had her almost a year, she exclaimed, “Phoebe! They’ve turned you into a lab!” So, no roo in the interest of being true to their quirky personalities.

  4. Those are darling tributes to your pups. Did they each open one eye to examine their painting and then immediately go back to napping? Love ’em. Oh, and you say you’ve never painted before? Could have fooled me!

    • Thanks, Heather. They showed no interest. Can’t eat it? Can’t ride in it? Can’t tear it apart? It’s nothing to them, those canid philistines.

  5. These are great, good for you! It’s good to have a place to go and do painting and drawing too and get encouragement, or good intentions can evaporate.

    • I agree about encouragement and intentions. Right on. I left wanting to do more and learn more. Maybe someday I’ll try it at home without an instructor’s supervision 🙂

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