Over the past four months, as we’ve traveled around Burlington on our 100 adventures quest, a common question has been: “Have you visited 4Cats yet?” Admittedly, at first, we didn’t know what 4Cats was.
A visit to their website revealed that 4Cats is “The Best, Most Fun Art Studio Ever.” It’s named after a place where Picasso once hung out — the 4Cats Cafe in Barcelona, Spain.
After Jr Burlington came home from school one day telling us that all his friends were talking about 4Cats too, we knew we had to make it one of our adventures.
When we stepped through the front door of 4Cats for the first time, we were surrounded by bright, vibrant art covering every inch of every wall. We had left a dreary April day behind us and had entered a world of sunshine, happiness and peace.
At 4Cats, kids get to work in different mediums, taking inspiration from the works of famous artists. If the topic of the day is Andy Warhol, the group will silk screen and make ink blot paintings. If they are studying Picasso, they’ll create cubist paintings and ceramics, and if artist Frida Kahlo is in the spotlight, the class makes paper-mache and paints acrylic on canvas self-portraits.
For our adventure, we chose 4Cat’s popular Family Splatter Painting workshop. When Jr Burlington entered the Splatter Room for the first time, he was in awe of what he saw! (I think he was thinking, “wow, look at the mess I can make!”)
Taking inspiration from abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock, we got to take over the 4Cats Splatter Room and drip, splatter and throw paint to our heart’s content!
First we had to decide the colour combinations we wanted for our painting. Owner Christine, helped us to decide on a selection of blues, greens and purples.
The paints were mixed in small jars and I was surprised at one of the unconventional tools we’d be painting with — syringes.
Christine then asked us to think up an inscription or dedication we wished to write on the back of the canvas. Hmmm…
Our first chance to get messy came as we painted a background “wash” on our canvas in a rich shade of blue.
Before long, we squirted our first stream of purple paint through a syringe. We started off a bit cautious with our paint and brushes but Christine advised us to let loose!
As we painted, I realized something I had once known long ago. Art is a great “escape” from everyday worries — career, to-do lists, problems, etc. While we were painting, we didn’t think about any of these things!
We tackled the work from all sides with each of us using a different colour. Throughout the session we rotated around the canvas and switched colours in an effort to achieve balance.
At some point we all stood back and agreed — “it’s perfect!” — we decided to not add anything more.
The painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through. ~ Jackson Pollock
Christine told us that the she’s always amazed at how every splatter painting project is a bit different in colour, style and mood. She showed us some photos of other families splatter painting and we were amazed at just how different each one was. But, what they each had in common, were the bright smiles of happy families having fun together!
On the way out of 4Cats, I was impressed again at the vibrant decor and spoke with Christine about the possibility of having a birthday party for Jr Burlington there. She explained that 4Cats birthdays are quite popular and often book up months in advance. There are many different party themes ranging from a splatter party to a pop art party to a party inspired by Star Wars.
We also discovered that 4Cats hosts week-long Summer Camp programs in June, July and August. Each week, students focus on creating art in the style of a particular artist or in keeping with a given theme. Degas, Monet, Van Gogh and Klimt are some of the featured artists in the summer sessions while Stop Motion, Abstract Expressionist and Mixed Media are some of the broader themes.
A week later, we returned to 4Cats to pickup the stretched and varnished canvas. It looks fantastic! As soon as we got home, I hung it up in a prime spot. Usually the splatter painting projects are made on a rectangular 6′ x 3′ canvas but we liked the idea of a square piece of art so we chose that instead.
Splatter painting workshops are by appointment only and are $150 for an hour of splattering (including the stretched and finished canvas). In addition to the Splatter Painting workshop, there are other scheduled family events as well. For example, in the Spring Family Portrait workshop, participants sculpt a Family Portrait using polymer clay against a painted background.
Introduce your family to 4Cats Arts Studio where “art is good.” Go on, express your creative side!