Wine and art have a lot in common. Each is creative, as both winemakers and artists put trademark style into their finished products. Each is subjectively judged, since different people have different tastes. And, each is a labor of love.
These similarities may explain the rise in popularity of sip-and-paint nights.
For the non-artist (me) who enjoys wine (ME!), the chance to create a masterpiece while sipping on a nice glass of red wine sounded delightful, so I rounded up three friends from work – Allie Bucher, Heather Valudes and Hannah Walters – who agreed that even if our paintings weren’t museum-quality, we’d still have fun drinking wine and enjoying each other’s company.
The first step was determining what we’d like to paint, so we checked out the websites of two businesses – Art and a Bottle and Painting with a Twist – and the website for Paint Nite, a company that hosts roving painting classes at local locations. We ultimately decided on North Star Tree at The Vineyard at Grandview in Mount Joy, led by Paint Nite. A 35% discount offered by The Vineyard at Grandview brought the cost down from $45 to $29.25.
Painting started at 7 p.m., so we had dinner before heading to Mount Joy. Allie arrived at the winery early in order to save us seats together. The plan worked beautifully – we arrived to discover a crowd of nearly 50 people all talking, laughing and drinking wine. Since the event was being held at a winery, it was not BYOB, as are the classes at Art and a Bottle and Painting with a Twist, so we got in line to purchase wine. Heather chose a glass of the Blushing Ambrosia, Grandview’s semi-sweet rosé (she later went back to purchase a whole bottle). Hannah and I decided to share a bottle of cabernet franc, my favorite Grandview wine. (Allie was a bit under the weather, so she stuck with water.)
Each participant was provided with a 16×20 canvas, three paint brushes of varying sizes, cups of water, paper plates topped with globs of several different paint colors and paper towels. We were outfitted with lime-green aprons. Our instructor, Jason Schlossman, introduced himself and laid some ground rules. He encouraged us to relax and have fun. He also discouraged us from speaking negatively about our works of art (a recommendation I didn’t obey). He let us know we could customize the colors and said that if we didn’t want to do a step, we should just skip it and drink some wine. He was funny and personable and helped ease my nerves (of course, the wine helped with that, too).
North Star Tree was the topic of Paint Nite on the evening that Kristy Aurand and her friends took up brushes at The Vineyard at Grandview.
We started by wetting our canvases with the “papa” brush – the largest of the three. Then we painted the entire canvas blue to create the nighttime sky. For some reason, this took me an inordinate amount of time. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I wanted to make it just right. But, before I knew it, Jason was moving on to painting the black mountainside. My sky was nowhere near complete, but I figured I’d come back to it later. The jagged mountainside rocks were fun to paint with my “mama” brush, and we were encouraged to add snowy highlights along the ridges. This took me less time, so I went back to fussing with my sky and eventually got it to a decent place.
As I suspected, Hannah – a hobby painter and photographer – was the true star among us, effortlessly putting all the right details where they belonged. Meanwhile, my painting looked a lot better when I squinted my eyes. But, the greatest part was everyone in attendance seemed to be having a great time.
We took a break so folks could get refills on wine and came back to start working on our trees. I’m not entirely sure what happened, but my tree’s trunk, which was supposed to be effortlessly wispy, came out thick and bulky. Heather quipped that it looked like something out of Dr. Seuss. Adding branches didn’t really help.
The next step was to take our “baby” brush and create a puffy white flower canopy on the tree. We all had a different technique – Allie’s came out bright white, Heather’s was irregularly shaped, Hannah’s was more uniformly shaped, and mine was smaller. We then went in and created a cascade of falling petals.
The final touch was adding the North Star. Initially, Heather and I left that detail off, but after taking pictures of our star-less works next to Allie’s and Hannah’s star-filled works of art, we quickly went back and added them.
From a distance, my finished product isn’t terrible, but then again, it isn’t fantastic. But, I did try hard. And, I laughed a lot. I decided I would definitely sign up for another sip-and-paint night.
The best part of the entire evening was standing up at the end and looking around the room at everyone’s paintings. At the table across from me, a gentleman painted the sky, the mountainside sans snow and a yellow-and-black Batman signal instead of the tree. (I later learned his son’s room has a Batman theme, and he painted it for him.) Others had lighter and darker skies, more and less snow, and larger and smaller trees.
The folks from Paint Nite took our photo to share on social media, and we left with our canvases. When I got home, my husband was complimentary and said he’d like it for his office, but then my daughter said she wanted it in her room. For now, it’s sitting in our dining room awaiting a permanent home. Hannah’s and Allie’s paintings are displayed in their respective bedrooms, while Heather’s is in her husband’s office at work.
We can’t wait to see what we’ll be painting next! It seems the possibilities are endless. In looking over the calendar for May and early June, Paint Nite and venues such as 551 West (Lancaster), Hennigan’s (Mount Joy), Hurricane Pizza Grill (Columbia), Riviera Pizza & Italian Restaurant (Reamstown) and The Vineyard at Grandview will be hosting sessions devoted to flowers, beach scenes and other spring/summer themes. Events are also held in York, Reading, Hershey, Lebanon and the Harrisburg area. Paint Nite can also be contacted for private functions, corporate events and fundraisers.
The schedule for Lancaster is as follows:
May 4: Whimsical Blue Gerbera at 551 West
May 8: Sunset Merlot at Hennigan’s
May 10: A Mother’s Love at Hurricane Pizza Grill
May 11: Life is Beautiful at The Vineyard at Grandview
May 15: Whimsical Blue Gerbera at Riviera Pizza & Italian Restaurant
May 18: A Mother’s Love at 551 West
For details, visit paintnite.com or Facebook.