Sitting at home as we embarked on another weekend at home during lock-down, I reached out to Aisling from Paint Club for a catch up & to talk through her business venture I had learned about during pre-covid times. Girlfriends of mine had posted some photos of beautiful starry nights on their Instagram, of quality paintings they had produced while sipping on prosecco in a bar in Limerick. It sounded like an adventure to me & such a great idea so I kept it wandering through my newsfeeds.
In a world where we are more and more focused on our screens, stepping away and doing something that flexes that creative muscle is well needed. Equally, it’s good for morale. A dopamine hit that’s focused on colours on a page rather than likes popping up in the corner of our screen sounded well, wonderfully enticing.
Fast forward to 2020, still browsing on Instagram & I learn that Aisling & team are doing virtual Paint Club sessions on a weekly basis. They’re covering a range of paintings with different artists to suit various tastes. The term Paint Club Fairies is one that I immediately fall in love with & with a focus on Irish businesses needed now more than ever, Paint Club continued to have my curiosities rising. Naturally, as I had been eyeing up businesses on Instagram that have been inspiring & crushing it during such a weird time, I was keen to talk to her.
Zooming on a random Wednesday evening, I wanted to learn as much as possible from this lady. Not only has she been running a business started herself, she’s managed to have it thriving during a Pandemic. Pretty epic, right?
Aisling is an absolute lady to speak to. Greeted by her with a wonderful smile, sense of humour and approximately 1 million paintings in the background, Aisling lifted my spirits from the moment we engaged. She was clearly excited about what was to come & gave so much insight into her business & the art industry as a whole.
It was interesting to hear that, during this pandemic, there has been a global shortage when it comes to art supplies. This means that well, more & more people have been turning to art to get their juices flowing and/or to rekindle their love of once practiced talents. It has equaled to longer wait times for orders made online & suppliers are needing to work even faster to meet demand.
It’s not a surprise that this is the case when you understand the turn-outs for Paint Club’s sessions & the boom of art posts trending on Instagram. People have been exchanging swipes on Tinder for swipes of a paintbrush. Meanwhile, using art to rejig their minds while they try to make sense of what’s happening in this Narnia that is 2020.
‘I can’t believe I painted that’ is a common response from PaintClub artists. As they ascertain their skillset while staring lovingly at their paintings & how they moved from having a blank canvas to a wonderful art piece they can hang in their living room, it’s hard to not feel great about yourself. Multiply that painting by 3-4 if you’ve decided to engage in the online session with your family or housemates & you’ve got yourself an art collection.
Since taking part in PaintClub in June, walking into our living room here in Dundrum is quite the adventure. My house mate & I keenly ask every visitor ‘guess who did which painting’ as we proudly point to our ‘In the Deep’ jelly fish leaning against the bookshelf. We had sat on a Sunday afternoon creating them with a friend as we pulled string across canvases, speckled acrylic colour for an ocean effect & compared our different styles with the exact same instruction.
As Aisling taught me during our chat, art is like hand-writing – everyone’s is different. Like our minds, personalities & ways of life, variety is the spice that makes it. This is what renders these Paintclub classes extra wonderful – each is made your own. Visit Paint Club’s Instagram here.
Paint Club sessions are run on a weekly basis up to 4 times with a mixture of paintings to choose from. With the original paintings inspired by Irish culture & geographical landmarks, browsing through the options is recommended. You’ll also get access to a Facebook group that will allow you to rewatch the recording & get support as you navigate your best painting.
More recently, Aisling & co have introduced a new pricing structure with Bronze, Silver & Gold tickets which determines access level for you. Learn more here.
A massive thanks to Aisling for her time & for sharing insight on her business, the art world & herself. Be sure to pop by & see what’s happening.
They said we needed to pack up our stuff & adapt to a new work from home life. Going through the motions while running around like the headless chickens we felt like, we barely had a moment to think of how surreal & strange a life we were about to start navigating. When it came to moving forward, we were told – hey! keep going & we’ll get back to normal at some stage. This is immediately met by those who don’t want that normal back. The ‘what is the new normal?’ debate brigade come out in full force and reminded us that indeed, we have more work to do.
We all know this could be a long time away. That’ll be the night, though! When we find our way back to Copperface Jack’s with a Yagerbomb in one hand & signaling the dj to play the latest cringy pop tune with the other. We’ll lie on our sitting room floors nursing our hangovers the next day & check in with ourselves reflecting on what it was like during pandemic when we couldn’t get that drunk or wild because of the limits set on us.
Our hopes of finding a clear next step makes us anxious at the thought of identifying our future path & oh my, the amount of future paths we can take.
Which one are you contemplating today, by the way?
No need to be overwhelmed though, we’ll figure it all out. Or if we don’t, we’ll keep seeking & searching while having redundant ‘what if’ conversations about our futures.
Speaking of ‘what if’ conversations, oh how I wish I’d been told this in my earlier years, there’s a Pandemic on the way & it’s going to be mega WEIRD. Somehow, the possibilities about our futures didn’t encompass this as a possibility.
Mary Schmich was right.
“Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.”
Fast forward to post-covid times. We’ll all talk about how weird it is & how this time in our history will make some school books in years to come. Meanwhile, we’ll be lying on some beach with people sitting less than two metres away. We’ll stop randomly during conversations to go and wash our hands yet again and highlight to our friends that well, things haven’t gone back fully to the way they were before.
As we move into Winter-time, the evenings will get shorter, our energy may drop & indeed, we’ll reassess all the things two or three more times. It’s a great time to be opportunistic. What can we learn? What does this mean & how lucky are we?
Watch this space as I talk through ways of managing through Pandemic times in our Winter world.
Time flies, Time is of the essence & time waits for no man are all phrases that have been uttered in some blog post or deep meaningful conversation, once or twice. When do these words really resonate and how often do we say them so flippantly that it actually sinks in? On our birthdays? New year’s eve? Or, when we have some time during a Pandemic to over-think on it?
There were messages popping up in my college WhatsApp group this week highlighting that it’s been eleven years since we packed up our cars and headed to our family homes as we vacated our University accommodation for the very last time. That day marked the end of random Tuesday nights in the Lodge, ditching classes during Rag Weeks and cramming for exams over red bulls in the library . It meant that the times of actually having to figure out our next moves could no longer be put on the long finger. We needed to make decisions on the next phase of our lives that hadn’t been pre-planned for us.
With the end of a milestone come reflections and thoughts of whys, whens and what ifs? Certainly as I look back to who was a 23 year old June without a notion of her next move, I realise how clueless I really was and how I didn’t know what was ahead of me.
Firstly, the job I’m doing now has little to do with my studies. During the adventure of my twenties, I ventured into a few different career paths to eventually land on people management. Of course it’s super relevant and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world but certainly, that was a path that came through discovering what I enjoyed and being given opportunities to progress.
An added two continents later, I can safely say that the idea of traveling more has gone the way I’ve wanted and hasn’t stopped there (watch this space).
I have travelled quite a bit more & have grown in more than one way. I’m in a totally different relationship and indeed, have had to reinvent myself two or three times over. When I consider those in my life who were around then, some friendships have stayed strong while others have fizzled out. I’ve needed to say goodbye to one or two people for reasons out of my control and serendipity has re-introduced me to people from UL as we were meandering along random journeys.
There’s none of it that I’d change for the world.
The reasons for posting about this are many. When we look back on time, it can be easy to go into a rabbit hole of thoughts and reflections. That’s a good thing – we need to look at where we’ve come from to set intentions for where we’re headed.
My tips here are plenty.
Journal, journal and journal some more. This means deliberately writing about particular times in our lives, our respective days and what we are grateful for. As we look over our journals, this helps to guide us on how far we’ve come. This article by Jame Clear outlines the impact of journaling to the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Virginia Woolf to their success. Start with just a sentence a day and watch how that adds up to lots of content in the archives.
Make every day count with your most important relationships. It can be easy to take people for granted and not put in the little touches to their days in order to thrive. Remember, it’s better to stay consistent rather than attempt a big gesture once per year. Be present. This video by Simon Sinek is a wonderful reminder that it’s the little things that matter in every relationship.
Regularly check in with yourself on how you’re doing on your path. Life is short and actually asking ‘is this right for me now?‘ goes a long way in guiding you toward what’s meant for you. It won’t always be perfect but acknowledging what isn’t perfect will help you get or stay on the right path.
Here’s some reflections of mine from 2019. So much can change in even a few months – including this Pandemic. Keep moving forward but don’t forget to look back and see how far you’ve come :).