Colors and Bottles | Midwest Living

Colors and Bottles

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Midwest Living Recommends

Midwest Living Review

Sarah Routh
Grab your beret and head for this painting-class-in-a-bar, where laid-back lessons will have you feeling like Monet in just a few hours (especially after some good drinks and bar food).

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.

March 1, 2013

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