Our Bolton reporter, Carole Ogden, took part in a Painting in the Pub art session with Bolton Over-50s Culture Champions. Here she tells us all about her experience – get ready to be inspired to pick up a paint brush!

On Friday afternoon, at 2pm, I found myself filing into The Grapes Inn in Farnworth along with a chattering group of others. A little early in the day for me, however we weren’t going in for a leisurely pint, but to learn how to paint! Even though the room was full of happy discussion throughout, I was surprised to find out that this wasn’t actually a band of regulars, but a group that had never met each other before. Even the landlady joined in, between serving drinks.

The session was led by Mark, who is a keen amateur painter and one of the Bolton Over-50s Culture Champions, and our group challenge was to recreate a landscape of French lavender fields. We started by covering our canvases with a yellow ochre base, then used a darker colour to do a very basic outline of mountains, fields and trees. Mark explained that we were using acrylic paints because they dry quickly and you can paint over the top of them if you make a mistake – something I think many of us appreciated as we tried to copy what was in front of us.

There was a great atmosphere, with everyone helping and encouraging each other, and it wasn’t long before all our pictures started to come together – in fact, the bigger challenge was making sure we didn’t wash off our brushes in our drinks! I was chatting to Frances and Ann on the next table, who were having a whale of a time, and they gleefully admitted that they had never painted before, but were really enjoying it. Ann was a complete rebel, insisting that she didn’t like waiting so went on to do her own thing ahead of the group – we agreed that this was artistic licence!

When I chatted with the whole group after, I was surprised to find that all but two of the group were new to painting and drawing, but here we were, finishing the session with completed artworks, all of which were refreshingly different, despite (the majority of) us all working together step-by-step.

All in all it was a great afternoon and everybody agreed that they would love to do it all again. Ann happily said: “I’d do it every week if they’d let me!”

More taster sessions are planned, so watch this space for a report on the next one, which will be ‘Poetry in the Pub’.

For more details about Bolton Culture Champions’ activities, contact Gaynor Cox on 01204 329706 / 07979 705123 / gaynor.cox@boltonathome.org.uk