Painting in Public at Pinot’s Palette

Booze and paint go well together and is being capitalized on in a new paint-and-sip industry.


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In my freshman year of college, I engaged my inner Picasso by enrolling in a figure-drawing class. A big part of it was in-class instruction, where we learned how to use charcoal and Conte Crayons and delved into perspective and shadows by sketching student models and objects.

I remember agonizing over a bust of George Washington; an overflowing bowl of fruit; a guy wearing an impossibly complicated hat; and a barn scene with a wagon wheel, pitchfork, and plough. The class required solo studio time where we art students were expected to hone our drawing, crosshatching, and pencil-shading skills.

The big, blank pages in my sketchpad intimidated me, a shy artist whose talent was overshadowed in elementary school by my best friend. Her mother was a recognized local artistic celebrity; mine was a poet who dabbled with Cray-Pas. As a second-grader, my bestie painted a lifelike portrait of me and even realistically produced animals holding a child’s interpretation of a kangaroo court. My most notable work of art was an imaginary Martian waving hello. That tattered piece or art—black tempera applied over and then scraped off the Crayon figure—toured my home state in the Art Mobile and today hangs in my hall. My husband framed it as surprise a few years ago. He likes it much more than I do.

But it serves as a reminder of what art, or rather what doing art, has meant for me. My mother, who loved Picasso, Klee, and Gauguin, insisted that I keep my college portfolio and the art supplies, and I did for a long time. When I pawed through the work, I was surprised at, and maybe a little proud of, my concrete artistic evolution and improvement over the trimester that came from practice.

Now I have a new “masterpiece,” produced in just a few hours at Pinot’s Palette Alameda during a media night gathering in August. Pinot’s Palette is part of the sip-and-paint phenomenon sweeping the country. The idea is that people of all sorts come together and create art in an environment overflowing with camaraderie—and fueled, perhaps, by a drink or two.

With a bit of wine and step-by-step instruction, it’s amazing what you can do with acrylic. See what it’s all about in this month’s Curator article, “Your Blank Canvas Awaits,” p. 73. If the studio setting seems too formal, try a Bay Area Paint Nite event, which is more akin to painting in your favorite pub.

Go ahead; paint your heart out. It’s fun.

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