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Sip and paint

By on July 25, 2017 in Arts with 1 Comment

Ann Reynolds looks up from her nearly complete project.  “The reason I get such a kick out of the Paint and Sip experience is that it is crazy fun to paint in a relaxed situation with other people having a good time,” said Ann, who is an artist. “We artists spend so much time alone working on a painting just as writers do, it is so joyful to not take it so seriously. There will be no heavy expectations of a masterpiece here.   It’s simply refreshing to paint what someone tells me to do, no pressure to perform, sip some wine, and laugh at the running commentary surrounding me.  I absolutely love the giggles and patter going on as we paint.”

By Mary Gallagher

I first heard about “Sip and Paint” on Facebook.

Friends and family were posting smiling faces, a drink in their hand and colorful paintings they claimed were created in a span of a few hours. Some were with their spouses, others with friends and even one who shared the experience with her young daughter.

I was skeptical but curious. A blank canvas and brushes, working with acrylic paint, creating a painting intimidates me. Doing it with others, all of whom I am sure will be better than me, sounded scary. The sipping part sounded the best.

In April, I was asked by my friend to attend a local sip and paint at Mountain Springs Lodge in Plain. Another neighbor was inviting all the ladies in the neighborhood to get together and learn more about each other while being creative and drinking wine. What harm in that?

Eleven of us from our neighborhood and several others showed up. The night was filled with giggles and silence, focus and sharing, as Amber Zimmerman, the professional artist, guided us step-by-step from a blank canvas to a completed painting.

Wow! I enjoyed it much more than I thought AND I wanted to do it again. Looking online there were many available options. Hard to choose, I was attracted to the paintings not only on canvas but also on rocks or wood. Locations varied. Finding an open evening on my calendar was the deciding factor.

On June 12, six friends and I joined 13 others to once again try a sip and paint. Just so happened this one was also at Mountain Springs Lodge and once again led by Amber. We all had a copy of the picture we were going to paint. We were all given the same blank canvas, the same assortment of brushes, the same palette of colors, the same directions from Amber and a cup of water.

I decided what to sip and snack on. But, once again, I was intimidated by the blank canvas. Amber began by calmly saying, “Pick up your big fat brush, dip it in water, and mix white in with your blue. We will start with your sky and your stream.”

My sky and my stream. Time to paint my painting. I took a deep breath, tried to focus and picked up my big fat brush.

We each held the same brush, mixed our colors with water and followed the directions as we interpreted them. We each were painting our own unique version of the same painting.

Amber walked around the room, answering questions, observing our progress, picking up on hesitations, sharing ways to handle a brush or mix in the water, always encouraging us and calling out directions.

“Pick up your medium, round brush and scruffle in your green meadow.”

Giggles and muffled laughter from around the room followed Amber’s words.

“Mix a black-green or a blue-green. Shadow in with black for your riverbank. Then we will work on your trees.”

“Trees are hard,” several participants exclaimed.

Amber’s response, “Relax and breathe.”

Mary Gallagher paints “my sky and my stream” with neighbor and friend, Julie Burrage smiling across the table.

Time went too fast, no one was ready to leave but we had to finish.

“Dot your meadow with flowers,” said Amber.

I went for yellow, pink-purple and red. Buttercups, lupine and Indian paintbrush. This was my meadow.

I felt confident and relaxed. I felt closer to my friends and the others I didn’t know. A shared experience of being “artists” together for a few hours.

Getting up and walking around the room, seeing each other’s progress was quite rewarding. We all had painted the same picture but with our own hands and through our own eyes and own color choices. A shared experience with individual results.

Confidence and creativity were enhanced by all being in the same room at the same time, painting the same picture, led by the same professional artist. Truly one plus one can equal three.

Today I am posting pictures of myself on Facebook, with smiling friends and a completed colorful painting in my hands.

I have no plans to go out and buy blank canvases, brushes or acrylic paints.

I will participate in another sip and paint. It is a fun way to allow my inner artist to come out and strengthen my confidence.

Creativity with guidance while hanging out with others for a few hours is a great way to enrich a good life. It has enriched mine.


About the sipping…

The “sip” part is optional, non-alcoholic beverages are also provided.

The “paint” part is not optional. Everyone starts with a blank canvas and finishes with a completed painting. No experience is needed. The only things you need to bring are clothes you won’t mind getting paint on, your camera and an openness to being creative.

To find an event near you try to Google “Sip and Paint” or “Brews and Brushes” or “Class with a Glass” or “Paint Nite.”

In Leavenworth area: www.sipandpaint.org.

In Wenatchee: www.classwithaglass.com.


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  1. Melinda Gallagher says:

    Love this article!

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