‘Didn’t you used to want to be an artist?” I asked Patrick as I dragged him out the door.
“At least I’ll get a drink,” he grumbled.
We were on our way to a Painting and Vino event in Little Italy (619-246-3448; paintingandvino.com). “It’s a fun painting class where you can have some food and drinks and socialize and walk away with a piece of art,” explained owner Chris Muylle. “You just go to our website and look at the events calendar. Peruse the paintings, pick the one you want to paint, and attend that class. When you show up, you’ll check in, and everything will be set up for you — the 16˝x20˝ wrapped canvas, table-top easel, paints, brushes, protective clothing. An instructor will then offer step-by-step instruction. And besides the instructor, we also have artists’ assistants available to help those who are having issues. We get people from 21 to 70, but most folks are in their 20s or early 30s. Some mothers come with their daughters. And it makes a great date night.”
Muylle explained how Painting and Vino chooses particular paintings to teach: “We try to choose paintings that will transcribe well to being taught. We do a lot of paintings that people will recognize — famous masterpieces by Van Gogh or Picasso. And we choose things with a fair amount of detail, works like Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss or Matisse’s The Goldfish. But our instructors are all trained professionals and local artists, and sometimes they’ll create their own material for class. That helps to keep it fresh.”
The setting, of course, is key. “We reserve three hours at whatever venue we’re in; two and a half hours are for instruction, and the rest is for short breaks. We tried to avoid paintings that keep you glued to the canvas — we want socializing and fun. We have classes in 98 Bottles, off Kettner in Little Italy. They have a great staff, jazz, and a big open space. We can fit 50 people in there comfortably. Plus, they do food and drink specials. We also use Village 631 in East Village. It’s a coffeehouse/wine bar with high, vaulted ceilings, and the front opens up so you get a nice breeze. And if you can’t come out at night, we have Saturday-afternoon events at Roppongi in La Jolla. You can get a mimosa or a bloody Mary or just enjoy the sushi.”
Painting and Vino “offers enough support to make it worry-free, so that people can enjoy themselves. The instructor is there to guide you, but we also realize that what you are doing is creating your own interpretation, your version of whatever we’re painting.” They charge $45 per class, but clients who use code READER2013 when signing up during the month of February can get a class for $25.
Jeff Remmer of Paint and Vineyard in Scripps Ranch (858-504-7128; paintnvineyard.com) offers a similar deal in a set location. “We do different themes — landscapes, cubists, flowers, etc. We can fit 47 people in our studio. We have good lighting and music playing. Our instructor is up on a stage with a PA system, so everyone can hear and see. The atmosphere is fun — people relaxed and laughing. People enjoy seeing what the other folks are doing. Most of our clients are beginners, and we take the guesswork out of it by showing you how to mix colors, what brushes to use.” Cost for a two-hour class is $35.
Bonnie Stomer of Xpressive Arts Center in Poway (858-679-2787; xpressivearts.com) offers a BYOB painting class on Tuesdays. “It’s very intimate, only about five or six in the class. It’s held in a little stone cottage. People bring their favorite wine or beer or nonalcoholic beverage. It’s very relaxed. You bring in the picture you want to paint or sketch it out ahead of time. We have the canvases and all the supplies, and you get step-by-step individual instruction. Even people who have never painted before can leave with a picture to put on the wall.” Cost is $50; mention this article for a discount.
Other places around town offering painting and an evening out: Wine & Canvas, various locations (619-207-9431; wineandcanvas.com), $35; Paint and Palate, various locations (760-500-0383; paintandpalate.com), $35.