Painting with a Twist
In Mandeville, Louisiana founder Renee Maloney and Cathy Deano came up with the concept of pairing art, friends, and alcohol. Makes sense, at least two of those items usually go hand in hand. The concept soon turned into a store called Cork’s and Canvas. Two years later, that store turned into a franchise and renamed to Painting with a Twist.
There are currently over 259 Painting with a Twist locations spread out across the US. Each store hires local artist to come in and teach aspiring students, first timers, or the simply curious, how to create a specific painting. The painting themselves are created by local instructors and then passed up to the franchises headquarters. It’s there were what gets taught in the various locations gets decided. This keeps the art direction of all the stores in sync. That said, each location can have its own uniqe flair. Here in Austin for example, a number of the painting include the Bat Bridge or downtown city line.
So far the company has produced over 3,500 original paintings that include cityscapes, floral, abstracts, and pets. Yes, you can take a class were you send in a picture of your pet and they will do a rough outline of the picture on a canvas for you to paint. Crazy? Maybe? Perhaps. 🙂
What Should I Expect?
Something a bit more advanced than painting by numbers, but also more fun.
Once you’ve decided to dab some acrylic on a canvas, you should head over to their website and find a location nearest you. Or not, maybe you’d like to drive for hours to that one in another city. You do you.
Each store maintains its own calendar which shows the painting being taught as well as the class time.
As you can see, they also do private parties where you can select what you’d like to paint.
When you show up for the class you’ll be directed to your stool where a canvas, plate of paints, and brushes will be waiting on a long table. Somewhere in the stores, usually along the wall, you’ll find aprons hanging to protect your clothes from the vicious wraith of the paint. Once the class starts, the instructor will go over the paints, brushes and answer any questions.
It’s important to note that like any class, the quality of the class largely depends on the instructors. That said, I’ve been to at least 15 different classes across 3 stores and have yet to anything but a stellar instructor.
Then, the painting begins! Each painting is broken into a number of steps. The instructor, whom is painting along with you at the front of the class, will demonstrate what to do. You simply follow along. Some steps are little more than mixing a color and painting a section. Others involve some blending, and some involve the use of a sponge or other unique tools. If you get stuck or mess-up, which you never do because you totally meat to put that green blob there, most classes have an extra helper on hand who walks around and assist. The classes are overlaid by music and hopefully the sound of laughter. I’m not saying that I took part in a class wide spontaneous sing-along to Jack and Diane… but it was awesome.
To cut you off before you say it…
But I Can’t Paint!
Neither could anyone when they first started! But I can guarantee that you are better than you think. If you are doubting yourself, then I would recommend going here. It’s one of my locals stores Facebook page. Scrolls through their pictures and look at everyone’s. See how awesome they are? That will* be you! My experience tells me that roughly 70% of people who take the classes are new to painting so you will not be alone.
But if you find yourself in the class doubting your progress or getting anxious. Don’t think, drink!
The twist part in Painting with a Twist is of course, alcohol. Feel free to bring a bottle wine and enjoy some liquid courage while you stumble, metaphorically, into the unknown world of the canvas. Ironically I find that just the right amount improves my paintings. About 1/4…1/2…OK fine, all of a bottle.
Each store has their own drinking policy so be sure to look that up before you go. As an example here’s the FAQ for the one closest to me.
To sum it all up. Go! Do it! It’s 35$ for a an awesome night. Maybe you’ll make some friends, maybe you’ll learn a new passion. Maybe…no, you will leave with an amazing new painting that you made yourself. Hang that sucker on the wall for all to see!
I think the poster at my local shop puts it best.
Ohh and one last thing. Here’s the one I did for the other night. Not to shabby if I say so myself.by