No worries, they weren't huffing it, but applying it to small canvases as art instructors roamed from table to table, pointing out how to hold the brush for a stippling effect, or which colors to mix on a palette to achieve a more muted shade of pink. In between adding leaves to trees and clouds to skies, participants tossed back mouthfuls of chardonnay or cabernet in a bid to unleash their inner muses.
The event -- the launch of a franchise called Bottle & Bottega -- was just one of dozens of such "paint and sip" nights across the metro area each month, combining social drinking with a bit of art instruction in malls, restaurants and studios.
"A lot of people are interested in trying something like this without having to commit to extensive study, and this is a fun way to do that, " said
The group of about 50 would-be painters at Spill the Wine included technical developer
"I like the mix of just a bit of guidance, enough to push you off the deep end to then do your own thing," said Wainstock, busily embellishing a rotund little sci-fi creature set against a swirly background on his canvas.
Jumping on the trend
At least nine small companies in
The most audaciously named outfit, Cheers Pablo -- a not-so-subtle nod to Picasso -- is opening a second location next month in
The routine varies. It can be as simple as one instructor in a classroom-style setting, teaching a group how to paint one image, such as the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. The Bottle & Bottega structure, by contrast, gives customers dozens of images to use as inspiration, but encourages freestyle imagination as well.
This may prove to be a flash-in-the-goblet fad -- or it might taper off when no more cutesy names pairing art and booze can be dreamed up. But the concept's appeal for both customers and small-business entrepreneurs is readily apparent. For the tippling dilettantes, it's a way to think while you drink.
"It's something else to do rather than just go get bombed with your friends," said
For the owners, it's a relatively easy, low-cost setup.
The trend began several years ago in the South, where shops like Corks n Canvas in
"It's mostly a social thing, but the painting is a big part of it," Forbes said. "Some people find out they really have a knack and it shocks them."
"I was quite amazed when my painting actually turned out the first time," she said, adding that the social and art aspects of the experience held equal appeal for her.
An artist's-eye view
"Any activity that brings people together for an interactive experience away from the digital world -- and on top of that gets them to exercise creative muscles -- is a good thing," Gage said. "It saddens me when I hear people say they're not creative, because I believe everyone has that capacity."
The paint-and-sip promoters also point to the jobs they provide local artists. Bottle & Bottega pays its 11 artists between
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