Audrey Martin has been teaching painting classes for 10 years at venues like Urban Olive & Vine and Pitchfork Brewing in Hudson, Wis., as well as for parties and team building events. Martin says, “I find it hugely rewarding to see people with little or no painting experience walk out of one of my classes thrilled with what they’ve learned and the beautiful painting that they can look at and say, ‘I did that.’ I remember that feeling as a child taking my first painting classes and I’m very pleased to pass it on.”
Martin has a home studio for small gatherings but has mostly operated as a local pop-up artist. “I would show up, set up and go,” Martin says. But, when COVID-19 prevented Martin from hosting her usual 6-10 painting classes per week, she pivoted to offering kit classes to the community. “I’ve always wanted to do this,” says Martin, “but I was unable to get started because I was too busy. Then, for the first few weeks [of the pandemic] I wasn’t doing much of anything and a lightbulb went off to try to do the kits since I had the time.” Martin did a lot of research into all the proper materials to include in the kits, the correct shipping boxes necessary and the logistics involved. She’s since perfected a process that works well.
At first, Martin experimented with both live and recorded painting lessons. “I’m a hands-on artist and people are used to getting my help during a step-by-step instruction method,” says Martin. But, Zoom classes proved to be too complex and chaotic. Participants would get interrupted by phone calls or children and miss portions of the instruction. So, Martin opted to pursue recorded video classes that participants can access at their leisure.
Martin devises lessons for three new paintings for each of her bi-weekly sessions. She describes the style of the art she teaches as loose abstract realism and she advertises her classes through an email list of previous clients as well as through her Facebook page. To be part of a class, participants go online to sign up and make their painting kit selection. Martin’s virtual painting classes include delivery or porch pick-up of the kits, each of which include all the necessary supplies along with exclusive links to pre-recorded step-by-step instructions that viewers can pause, rewind, fast forward or even re-watch as many times as they want to learn and create their painting at their own pace.
Martin says the experience has been eye-opening for families that were previously too busy to consider doing these types of things together. Recent circumstances have caused many people to slow down and experience activities together in a new and special way. For those looking for an at-home creative outlet or even an opportunity to host your own virtual painting party at home with your small group of family or friends, be sure to check out Audrey’s Canvas Parties.