It seems as if I’ve been writing about businesses, restaurants and residential prospects which are “coming soon” or “coming eventually” in some cases for most of this year. Many of the businesses have deliberately targeted late summer or early fall with the idea opening as close to the return of UT students as possible. I’m happy to finally be able to welcome some businesses which are actually to the point of opening in the city.
Last April I wrote about Ashley Bell and her plans to open a branch of Painting With a Twist at 121 S. Gay St. This past week the new business opened with an open house and ribbon cutting. It featured a very cool and appropriate cake as well as lots of food and wine. The walls of the studio are lined with paintings just waiting for you to emulate.
Later in the evening she offered a class to which she invited Urban Woman, myself and a couple of friends. I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical. My artistic output has been primarily restricted to doodles which I honed over the years to spare myself the tedium of long meetings. My repertoire was so limited (a woman’s face and a bearded guy) that I mostly made lists and doodled words. I can draw a cube. You get the idea.
I have to say the class, which included about thirty “students,” was fun from the start. It started with wine. This night the wine was provided, but typically the wine is BYOB. Our instructor introduced, she presented the painting for which we would strive. It looked pretty much impossible but, the wine stoking our courage, we dove in.
The rules posted on the wall seem easy enough, but I have to tell you it takes some concentration to keep your brush out of the wine and to avoid drinking the paint water. Otherwise, the emphasis is on fun and it was. Contests ran throughout the evening for best body painting and more. Great music played over the sound system and the crowd spontaneously joined in to sing “Bohemian Rhapsody,” among others. The instructor and assistants broke into a line dance at one point.
The art? Well, an example painting of the desired end product sat on the stage with our artist instructor, who guided us through the entire exercise step-by-step. A canvas, two brushes and paints provided, our novice painters were set up for success. Large screen televisions on each side of the room showed closeups of the artist at work and assistants wandered about offering more paint or advice, if asked.
In the end we all covered a canvas with something passably resembling the desired end. But it really isn’t about producing world-class art, as much as it is about having fun with friends, family or new friends. It’s another option for downtown entertainment, and I think its a good one. The cost for a two-hour class is generally $35 and when you consider materials, instruction and two hours of entertainment, you could really do worse. It would be great for a group of friends, a party or just a way to have fun on the town.
Classes run seven days a week, with one class each week night, an entire afternoon and evening of classes on Saturday and several classes on Sunday afternoon. Some are a bit shorter (an hour-and-a-half for $25) and some a bit longer (three hours for $45) and each offer something a little different to paint with different artists rotating through the studio. You can find a complete calendar of the classes offered along with times and cost and registration information here.
We did realize at the end of the class that we were left with a dilemma: What to do with the painting? Mine was brilliant, of course. I think you’ll readily see the high quality in my effort and you’ll see I’ve signed it. This is not only a one-of-a-kind work of art, it’s probably the only work of art the world will ever see by Knoxville Urban Guy. And it can be yours.
I’ll give away my brilliant work one of two ways. Goodwill has already confirmed they will accept it, so I know it will find a good home, but if you would like to hang an original acrylic painting by Knoxville Urban Guy in your very own home, you can: Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) telling me what you will do with it or why you think this is an important work to add to your collection. Second option: buy it. You can send me an email telling me how much money you are willing to give to a charity of your choice (I will verify the actual donation). Money talks. The deadline is midnight tonight. I’ll sort through the hundreds of emails and pick a winner. Man, I’m going to have a busy day.
As you wait to see if you were selected, go to the Painting With a Twist Facebook page and give Ashley a “like,” and follow her feed. And go to the calendar and plan your fun night out with friends. You’ll have fun, amaze yourself with your hidden abilities and produce a work of art sure to be cherished by your family for generations.