Like Watercolor for Chocolate

Lei Chic The last time you created a piece of art worthy of display, you needed your stuffed bun-bun and an afternoon nap.

Now? Well, let's just say your skills haven't progressed much and your parents' refrigerator is long out of commission.

That's unfortunate.

Especially since you've been craving a creative outlet to help you unwind. Good thing we found French Easel of Manoa, an intimate watercolor class, taking reservations now.

Picture your third grade art class. Now, replace your Crayolas with a full tray of pigmented watercolors, several high-quality brushes, and thick sheets of 140 lb. watercolor paper. Add in a Makiki-based gallery artist for Kuloko Arts of Hawaii who is also a board member for the Hawaii Watercolor Society. Move everything to the quaint setting of Le Crêpe Café in lush Manoa Valley, and finish off with a fresh, flavorful crepe of your choice (it comes with the class).

Okay, so this is nothing like your third grade art class. Instructor Rebecca Snow was actually inspired by Parisian artists who line the streets with their easels and paint throughout the day. Her goal is to foster that same love of art here in Hawaii.

Lei Chic Basically, all you need to do is show up. Snow provides all the materials, then walks you through simple techniques, like keeping your paints and paper wet to create blended washes of color. Using clean water to diffuse harsh lines. Going in with contrasting colors to add depth and contrast. Adjusting your strokes to create textured rocks or leaves.

The most important lesson of all? Have fun and don't worry about making everything perfect.

In the end, you'll leave with a full stomach (those crepes are delicious), a list of supplies to help you paint on your own, and a series of watercolors that actually resemble sunset landscapes or rolling North Shore waves. Paintings that may even be good enough to tack on your refrigerator or possibly frame.

Also looking pretty darn good right now: that afternoon nap.

French Easel of Manoa, $60 per hour for a two-hour class. Be among the first 25 to mention "Lei Chic" and pay just $79 total. Classes located at Le Crêpe Café, 2740 E. Manoa Rd. Click here for more information. To sign up, contact Rebecca Snow by email or call (808) 286-5909.