By Courtney Haile, Photos by Molly Kiely
For some reason I look like someone who can paint. Perhaps it’s my usually vibrant wardrobe and penchant for large earrings. I can’t paint—but, thankfully, painting classes of the social variety only require an open mind and willingness to try. Always game to venture out from the usual downtown scene, I discovered Art Bar at The Station.
If you have yet to visit The Station, perhaps you’ve noticed their adorably hip exterior and vintage “station wagon” on that industrial patch of Higuera Street. More than a bar, they function as a thoughtfully curated wine and fine goods shop and cultural event space. The vibe is sophisticated yet approachable; and their Art Bar was the perfect place for my first watercolor session since kindergarten.
I met instructor Andrea Olivier, born and raised in former Czechoslovakia, whose work ranges from watercolor still life to acrylic abstract. It was an international evening in a small town as my table included a fellow SLO High alum and his British wife and in-laws. We exchanged pleasantries and created our color pallets; gawking at examples of beautifully painted peacock feathers. Half the table was anxious about lack of skill, but that anxiety produced chatter and small talk, which took the edge off any reluctance to socialize with strangers.
Olivier led us through a pencil sketch of the feather, starting with the eye. She gave us easy instructions to follow: draw an avocado with an encircled kidney bean at the center. Easy enough. She encouraged fine strokes for wispy, delicate feathers. We had the option of painting one or two and I went for the deuce. Oops, I soon realized that meant twice the work. She demonstrated the entire process and educated us on the details of watercolor paint.
I chose my colors and felt pretty good about myself. I started with the kidney bean, and my gradient was on point. Once I moved on to the “feathers,” however, my brush strokes began interpreting otherwise. We began the inevitable comparing and boy did I have peacock envy! My final product, which my boyfriend proudly displays in our home, resembles two avocados dancing on their way to Mardi Gras. I call it Avocados Gone Wild.
Art Bar is a fabulous choice for a date or fun night out with friends—and seems like a great place to bring one’s in-laws. Serving up art and culture along with fine wine, The Station is a welcomed addition to San Luis Obispo. Learn more at thestationslo.com.
Stop in at The Station located at 311 Higuera St. in San Luis Obispo.