Market Basket: New Wine & Canvas business offers a creative night out
It can feel as paralyzing as a blank screen to a writer (this writer included). Only there is no backspace.
But a new locally owned business is reaching out to would-be artists across the region. It embodies much more than brushes, acrylics and palettes.
It promotes camaraderie, laughter and fun. Having attended one of the first area classes, I can attest to all three.
As the name "Wine & Canvas" conveys, these three-hour lessons encourage students to order an adult beverage and maybe an appetizer from the restaurant where the class meets.
It's a place where people can de-stress, create, and take home a painting.
"When I heard about it, I said we have to bring it here. You'll see everyone painting, but they're also singing and dancing," said Jeremy Bachman, a co-owner of the local franchise. "There's nothing around like it."
On Tuesday night, 40 would-be artists gathered on the second floor of Villa Macri restaurant in Mishawaka to paint a red Japanese maple tree scene.
Lesley Kirzeder and Debi Haug booked the class together, where they drank sangria, shared an appetizer and painted the night away.
"As soon as I heard about it, I knew we had to book it for a girls' night out," said Kirzeder, of South Bend.
"I took a class in Indy with my husband and it was so much fun. It's very relaxing," Haug said. "I think it helps to keep your eyes on your own picture, though, so you don't compare."
Participants sign up at www.wineandcanvas.com, where they can see the frequently changing local venue, and the painting, and book their class for $35 each.
Students are seated around a U-shaped table configuration and wear black smocks. It's not exactly paint-by-number, but you receive step-by-step instruction, guidance and encouragement.
Encouragement from the instructors. And encouragement from each other.
"This looks so dark," Connie Wollin, of Fort Worth, Texas, remarked Tuesday as she mixed black and white to create a gray background. "I used to paint with oils, back in 1988. I haven't painted much since, and I haven't been in a class situation in years. I'm nervous."
Her daughter, Teri Ohrazda, of Elkhart, put her mom at ease by reminding her that there is no right or wrong when you're painting.
"You're able to express creativity," Ohrazda said. "I also like the enjoyment of mingling with new people."
Art director Tamara Scott demonstrated how to mix colors and use a few different painting techniques. The class dripped black paint, for example, down the canvas to create a rainy backdrop for the bright blossoming tree.