That’s right. Last night I attended the first annual [alcohol-fueled] paint-by-number competition. I already can’t wait for next year. A colleague of mine in the department came up with this incredible idea, and, inspired by the problematic and inappropriate depiction of a native woman (complete with spirit eagle, wolf, etc.) in this kit, planned a competition between two teams: Pocahontas and John Smith, with the prize (of course) of a map of the state of Virginia, as well as bragging rights associated with having the winning creation hung in the office of said colleague, who shares her office with a friend (also present last night) who works on issues of race and gender, and the representation of native women in early America. If we can’t eliminate these representations, I guess we might as well do the paint-by-number…
First of all, this was way more complicated than the paint-by-number kits I remember. This involved 18 colors, as well as mixing colors 1-18 to create shades labeled A through X.
Yours truly, working on the spirit eagle’s wings.
Here you can see a bit more of the “competition.” Timed, side-by-side painting for each color, complete with painter’s smocks and penalty drinks for the painter to complete less of his/her color. (Ginger beer for me, as I was driving.)
Team Pocahontas’ creation: in a re-writing of history we all could appreciate, they won Virginia. (And continued to paint, filling in missed areas from earlier rounds to finish off their masterpiece.)
Everyone brought deliciousness: homemade bread*, tater-tot hot dish, peanut-butter cookies, and our host made pasta with broccoli raab and fancy mixed drinks. I brought my mom’s artichoke dip. Despite the competition, it was a laid-back, relaxed night of mostly history-department folks, and a chance to be a little silly among friends.
*Delicious bread — and all of the photos in this post — supplied by my dear friend K.