It's an artsy night out concept spreading quickly across the region, with sessions taking place in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Lexington, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee and Minneapolis. Colors and Bottles offers a playful twist on the PBS instructional classic, The Joy of Painting; instead of Bob Ross plowing through a landscape in 30 minutes, you get step-by-step instruction from a local artist and enough time to grab a snack, make a break for the bar and chat with fellow artists. Classes are taught in bars, restaurants, museums and other unexpected venues; the one we visited was in the back room of a local craft brewery. Students feel more like they’re hanging out than taking a class.
Each three-hour class focuses on a designated painting, but if you’re in the mood to paint something else, no one will mind. Absolutely no artistic talent is required, although there’s a good chance you’ll feel like an artist by the time you’re done. Once you’ve secured your favorite beverage, grab a seat, slip into the disposable smock and grab a paintbrush (don’t worry, your instructor will tell you which one). The artist running the class walks you through every step: from what stroke to use to mixing colors on your paper-plate palette. Fast-forward a few hours and you’ll have your version of a masterpiece. There’s a 10-student minimum for each class; more popular locations (or paintings) can swell to more than 30. Our class was in the middle. Our teacher said Sunday classes routinely sell out. Find a class and reserve a spot online, where a picture of the featured painting is posted on the corresponding date, so what you see is what you’ll paint.
It's not only fun; it's pretty affordable. Classes are $35 per person, including all materials; extra for refreshments. Keep your eye out for Groupon offers. It makes a great date night or evening out with the girls.