Canvas Meets Cabernet
“50% Off BYOB Paint Class,” read the subject line of an email from one of the many daily deal companies that blast my inbox every morning. I was tempted to purchase, but decided there were other places to bring my own beverage that didn’t involve posing as Van Gogh. I decided to hold out for a pizza coupon.
The following week, the same deal popped up on my Blackberry as I was brushing my teeth. I humored myself by reading the fine print and realized that the deal included a canvas, paint, three hours of instruction and the promise that even if I didn’t know how to paint, I would take home my own masterpiece at the end of the night. I thought of the blank walls in my new house that had been haunting me for weeks and clicked the purchase link for a coupon for a class at The Wine & Easel in Brentwood.
I visited their website to view the studio’s calendar, and I learned that each night offered a different opportunity to create a martini glass, a peacock, a trio of pears, a city skyline, a garden of tulips and other potential masterpieces. As I tried to visualize what would look best in my house, I came upon a fish painting. I shuddered. (I had just donated several bass fish prints of my husband’s to Goodwill and wasn’t about to bring back that decorating scheme.) I settled on a forest of birch trees and booked my reservation for a Thursday night class.
When I arrived for the class, I brought a bottle of cabernet and my friend Sheila. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I imagined it had to be like painting along with PBS legend Bob Ross and his “happy trees.”
We walked in the studio and found the room had already been set up with easels and trays of acrylic paints for each student. Luckily, the canvas wasn’t completely blank, but had a pencil outline that divided the white space into four sections (not that I was suddenly any wiser about what to do). I needed a glass of wine.
Our instructor introduced himself as Marshall and explained that we would be painting an impressionistic piece.
Marshall instructed us to pay attention to the pencil-drawn lines on the canvas, because they would eventually be trees. He told us to paint over each line with brown paint to prevent the lines from being covered during the artistic process. Our next step was to cover the canvas with a mixture of red and brown paint and water. This would be the base of our painting, though Marshall assured us that it would be buried beneath several layers of color.
As we began to add sections of yellow, red and green, Sheila and I caught up on each other’s lives. “This is therapeutic,” she said. I agreed; the experience was providing some much needed “me time.”
We continued to add layers and after a while I could see the beginnings of leaves. Having Marshall describe the purpose for each step gave me a new appreciation for the time and attention to detail artists put into their paintings.
After a few glasses of wine (and layers of paint), it was time to add our trees. I stepped back and took a look at my painting. My trees were too thick.
“Your strokes look really nice,” Marshall said as he looked at my canvas. I told him I thought my painting looked better from a distance. “That’s what impressionism is,” he reminded me.
Even though we had all painted the same thing, everyone in the class had taken artistic ownership over their piece. Each canvas looked a little different from the next.
After class was over, I couldn’t resist asking Marshall if he had ever has students who walk away something less than a masterpiece. He laughed. “On occasion we have people who leave with paint on them and a few empty bottles of wine.”
There hangs a painting of birch trees in my kitchen. It has already received compliments from friends and completely impressed my husband. “I’m kind of surprised you did that,” he said.
Masterpiece or not, I walked away with much more than a painting after my evening at Wine & Easel. It was a fun and relaxing experience that gave me the chance to realize new abilities within myself. It was also a great girls’ night out that provides a story behind my painting.
Are you ready to paint the town red (or white) wine? Check out all of the studios that offer BYOB painting classes:
The Wine & Easel
91 Seaboard Lane, Brentwood, TN
8005 Church St., East, Suite 103, Brentwood, TN
Sips n Strokes
103 International Dr., Suite 114,
Franklin, TN ,
112-C Saundersville Parkway, Hendersonville, TN
Paint Plus Canvas
6913 Lenox Village Dr., Nashville, TN
Photo by Michael W. Bunch
It was just an average Saturday morning back in April 2009 when Kelly Jent's life changed forever. Kelly, a Springfield resident and 33-year-old mother of three, was helping a friend with a yard sale when she suddenly felt the uncontrollable urge to go to the bathroom.
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