How come nobody told me!

PaintBar, Madison, Wisconsin, October 15, 2017

PaintBar, Madison, Wisconsin, October 15, 2017

The other night I parked in front of PaintBar. It's a place I've driven past a thousand times. Walked past it too without ever really looking inside. 

I assumed it was a community art center of some sort. I assumed they used the word "Bar" in the same way that Apple uses it in "Genius Bar." If you've ever been to the Genius Bar, you know it's not a bar at all. Nor is it especially genius. I'd have suggested "Apple Condescending Nerd Table" as a more accurate name but, you know, marketing.

Anyway, I was parked in front of PaintBar and I glanced in the window as I passed. What's that I spy? With my little eye? A bottle of Citradelic IPA next to an easel? Can it be that PaintBar is an actual bar? A woman saw me standing outside like a dope and waved me in. And just like that, my painting career was underway.

For 15 bucks they set me up with a canvas and as much paint as I wanted to slather. It was late, on a Sunday, so there were only a few of us there. I have to admit I was a little uncomfortable when the woman who got me started came back to see "my work." I am, I know, a shitty painter. (Or at least I was the last time I checked in middle school.) Her response? "I love how you're taking it in an abstract direction!" She seemed to think I had some sort of choice in the matter. But it made me feel good anyway, or at least good enough to continue.

The fact is, I really enjoyed painting. The whole time I was there, I kept thinking "How come nobody told me!"

Except: I've always known painting existed as a thing. And I knew PaintBar, based on the name alone, was probably worth some additional investigation. I just never gave painting, or PaintBar, a try.

The reasons are familiar: I was too busy to look into it. I was too cool to look stupid. I was too focused on what's next to look at what's right in front of me. None of these are good looks.

But long story short, I gave it a go. Now the world has one more shitty painter. I have one more thing I'm shitty at. And that all sits just fine with me.