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​Painting classes an outlet for creativity in Ho Chi Minh City

Sunday, December 31, 2017, 10:40 GMT+7

An increasing number of people in Ho Chi Minh City are opening wallets for painting classes where adults can get lost in their childhood world, and children can be themselves.

The painting classes, which typically comprise only one session lasting a few hours, provide learners with relaxation and serve as outlets for their inventiveness and artistic passion.

Recently making their debut in the metropolis, the classes have appealed greatly to people of different age brackets, particularly youths. 

On a weekend morning, a group of youths joined a class organized by Tipsy Art at a lavishly decorated café in the downtown area.

Phi Hung, 28, who works at an advertising company, and his friends showed their thrill learning they would work on a landscape painting similar to that hung on the wall.

“It’s my first time in such a class. I’m surprised at the striking décor and thorough preparation. We felt like we were professional artists,” he said.

The instructor gave a brief introduction about the painting layout and how to blend colors.

Provided with aprons, brushes, paints and a drink of their choice, more than 20 eager learners made their first strokes for the skyline, a row of trees and the road.   

Hung’s group giggled while others were intent on how to apply colors properly.

After three hours, the ‘artists’ finished their works.

Some laughed out loud at how different their works were from the model, while others relished the relaxing time.

My Anh, 31, shared she and her younger sister joined such classes every other week.

The class members all went home contented, each with their finished work as souvenirs or gifts to their loved ones.

Tucked away on Dang Dung Street in District 1, another painting tutorial group, Paint Corner, welcomed art enthusiasts every weekend.

The class, run by Nguyen Phuong Dung, 38, was quite a draw with a wide array of categories, ranging from landscapes, still lifes to portraits.

The instructors and learners, who were just like family members, discussed how to create the paintings and were free to change details from the originals as they wished.         

Cao Thi Phuong Thuy, 32, one of the instructing artists, patiently showed Thanh Thao, a 19-year-old student at a local university, how to wipe out paint off her brush while she was trying to depict a bud in a work in the making.  

After a session that last three hours or so, some learners were reluctant to go home thinking they could have improved their works had they been given more time.

Meanwhile, at another class called PPA on Dien Bien Phu Street in Binh Thanh District, enrollers can move freely, including putting the easel on the porch.   

The sessions, held twice monthly, are packed with learners who come in different age groups.

Tuition costs around VND400,000 (US$17.5) each session, according to Nhat An, the class administrator.

A foreign boy is intently working on his painting at a class in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A foreign boy is intently working on his painting at a class in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Painstaking preparation

Inspired by the emerging relaxing art model in some countries, Tipsy Art is considered among the pioneers in holding group painting classes in Vietnam.

Following their successful debut in Hanoi two years ago, the group continued to open classes in the southern hub in 2017.

Luu Trieu, 34, overseer of the Ho Chi Minh City branch, noted unlike the model in other countries in which learners mostly come to unwind with simple drawings, such classes in Vietnam offered art buffs opportunities to create visually striking, more intricate paintings which will be brought home.  

While several art classes start with rules and how-tos, others begin by encouraging their students to trust their instincts and have fun.

The classes’ content and methods are constantly modified and updated to ensure diversity and learner interest, and the instructors and learners keep learning from and inspiring one another.

Tipsy Art organizers also make it a point to change the class venues after some weeks to maintain novelty, Trieu added.

Dung, who runs Paint Corner, revealed her center keeps updating photos of the paintings learners will work on one week and takes enrolments prior to the sessions.

Each session receives approximately 15 learners and can last another one or two hours so that they can stay on to finish their creations.

A young artist or art graduate and four or five assistants, who are art students, are typically in charge of each session.

Model paintings, most of which are created by the instructors, must meet certain requirements including upbeat themes and moderate complexity, Thuy, one of the instructing artists at Paint Corner, disclosed.

The classes provide founders and participating artists with good incomes.

The artists noted each group should have their competitive edges to lure enrollers and also limit the number of students.

Tipsy Art has made connections with apartment complexes and companies and hold classes for residents and staff. 

Other painting groups also target learners in a wide age bracket, including children, youngsters and expats living in Ho Chi Minh City by offering riveting self-exploring and self-expression experiences. 

A woman gives finishing touches to her painting at a class called Paint Corner in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A woman gives finishing touches to her painting at a class called Paint Corner in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Learners can take art courses at professional painting centers that generally last two months or more if they are to become proficient painters.

A course costs around VND2 million ($88), which excludes use of painting tools.

Children and adults alike can indulge in their art passion with coloring books which are widely available at bookstores throughout Ho Chi Minh City.

The books, which sell for VND50,000 ($2.2) apiece, comprise pictures in black and white on a variety of themes as well as riddles to better intrigue the colorers.

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Tuoi Tre News


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