The KOI painting by the original artist, Laura Gerry. Our paintings were supposed to look like this!
The KOI painting by the original artist, Laura Gerry. This is the painting they taught us to paint @ ART PARTEE

The other night my mother and I had the opportunity to snag a spot at an ART PARTEE event. The bottom line is, at ART PARTEE; you follow a simple step by step process to paint a 16×20 acrylic painting. Even if you are the most unartistic person on the planet, you are guided the entire duration of the party by one of the owners/artists. Plus, the owners totally calm your nerves about the whole process. (: When you are finished, the painting is yours to keep and hang in your home!

Now–I am not sure we would hang up what we both painted–I mean–two bad painters and a bottle of wine is a recipe for disaster–but it doesn’t matter our imperfect Koi fish (see below) are unique. And if I do place this in my home, it is a guaranteed conversation starter!

We gathered at Cafe Metro, in Denville, NJ as a storm was approaching. There was an abundant amount of natural light in the room we were in, and the most amazing breeze was coming through the windows. It was very relaxing. I never painted an actual “painting” before, and after the sketching part was over (which was hard!) the painting part was SO therapeutic and relaxing (like yoga!). It was really cool. As mentioned above, we painted a Koi fish. Mine turned out OK ( with the help of uber-artist/owner, Colleen Gallo) but my mothers looked more like a sting ray. We were totally unaware of the symbolism behind a KOI fish, but the artist, Laura Gerry, shared with us the story and meaning of the KOI fish.

This made the whole experience even more meaningful.

My sister and I (; and our finished paintings
My sister and I (; and our finished paintings

We learned that in the wild, koi are cold water fish who gain strength by swimming against currents. The story goes like this–many years ago, in a time before recorded history, a huge school containing thousands of koi swam up the Yellow River. The colors of their muscled bodies flashed in the sunlight making them seem like a million shiny jewels. All was well until the koi reached a waterfall. Immediately, a large number of them grew discouraged and turned back, finding it much easier to simply go with the flow of the river.   Yet, a determined group of 360 koi stayed on. Straining and leaping, each koi strove to reach the top of the falls. Again and again they flung their bodies into the air only to fall back into the water. All this splashing noise drew the attention of the local demons who laughed at the efforts of the struggling koi. Adding to their misery, the demons sadistically increased the height of the falls. Still the koi refused give up!   Undeterred, the koi continued their efforts for one hundred years. At last, with one heroic leap, a single koi reached the top of the falls. The Gods smiled down in approval and transformed the exhausted koi into a shining golden dragon. He joyfully spends his days chasing pearls of wisdom across the skies of the vast and eternal heavens. Whenever another koi finds the strength and courage to leap up the falls, he or she too becomes a heavenly dragon.   The falls have become know as the Dragon’s Gate and, because of their endurance and perseverance…

Koi have become symbolic of overcoming adversity and fulfilling one’s destiny.

With that said. I am not sure my mom’s fish would have made it up the falls, although it actually looks like it is undergoing its transformation into a dragon already. I think mine is pretty good! Sorry mom (:

All in all, it was a great night. If you like to laugh, drink wine, be creative and learn….you will like ART PARTEE.



1 thought on “STROKES, SIPS, & SYMBOLISM

  1. Beautifully written Andrea!

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