Manchester artists Heidi Pearson and Julie Anderson are introducing a stress free approach to art classes with the area’s newly opened Paint Here with Heidi.
“It’s less of a formal art lesson, and more of a social painting class. It’s a relaxing creative outlet,” Anderson said.
At the heart of the class is what the women call a “sip and stroke,” a class for grownups that includes two glasses of wine (or soft drink, if you prefer) and refreshments.
“They usually have a couple of glasses of wine, and then Heidi leads them through the steps of the painting,” Anderson explained.
“It’s a marriage made in heaven. If you’re nervous about painting, the wine relaxes you.”
Pearson, an accomplished artist who regularly donates art to area charities, brings a painting for the class to emulate.
“I bring in an example and set it up…then take a blank canvas and I paint with them step-by-step.”
The students are free to follow along or to branch out in their own creative ways.
“There are no mistakes in painting,” Pearson often says. “If you do something you don’t like, let it dry and paint over it.”
The first step is to choose doable subjects that can be painted in two-hour class times.
“We try to offer a variety of subjects,” Anderson said.
Paint Here recently held a Valentines Day date night class. Couples painted matching works, a glass of wine with an arcing background that together forms a heart.
“That was one of the bigger classes,” Pearson said.
“It’s something that couples can do together. There were several in that class who had never painted before.”
Pearson said that the wine glasses were a bit tricky for a new painter, but all of the painters did well.
The team also offers classes for children. Additionally, Pearson taught after-school art last year to students at Hillsboro Elementary School.
“Children are more comfortable with their paintings, Anderson said. “With adults you have to coax it out of them. You have some who are open to [the process], but others [worry] that they are going to do it wrong,” Anderson said.
“They put themselves in this little box, and we have to relax them and remind them there are no mistakes in painting.”
Anderson said that before she joined with Pearson, she had never been creative.
“I started painting and realized it was really fun. I think there are a lot of adults who are busy being adults and don’t do anything creative.”
Pearson, on the other hand, has always had an interest in painting. But it was not until a long and messy divorce that she started painting regularly.
“That was like her therapy,” Anderson said.
“Not that I got better,” Pearson added. “I just [painted] all the time.”
Soon after Pearson started holding a few informal classes at area wineries.
She recently joined with Anderson, who handles the business and Internet side, to officially startup last month.
“Now that we’re official, we want to hold classes on a more regular basis,” Anderson said.
Paint Here regularly holds Paint Your Pet classes and donates a portion of the class fee to No Kill Manchester pet rescue program.
For Paint Your Pet, participants submit a suitable picture. Pearson does a sketch before the class on a 16×20 inch canvas.
“They would send us a picture a close up, high quality picture of their pet,” Anderson said.
“We trace the outlines… do the shape of the pet, the eyes and do lines where the colors change from one to another. When the [participants] come in, we help them get their paint shades and help them get started.”
First the aspiring artist would fill in the background, then the pet’s outline.
“Both of us would circulate around the class, sort of troubleshooting. Giving help where it’s needed,” Anderson said.
She said that some pets are harder to paint than others.
Ten dollars of the price of class goes to No Kill Manchester. The pair said that last month that amounted to $170.
According to its Facebook page, No Kill Manchester is a “group of citizens working to help the dogs at the Coffee Co[unty] and Manchester City A[nimal] C[ontrol facilites] along with all animals in Coffee Co[unty] via rescue and networking.”
A Paint Your Pet class will be held April 5 at Jones Studio, 701 Matts Hollow Rd.
Anderson said that currently the class has seven of 16 spots filled, “but as long as there is demand we plan to do one per month at Jones Studio. We should have a May date open for registration on the website to accommodate them.”
Paint Here will hold a Date Night Sip and Stroke class April 12 at the Brew. Other classes are planned for the McMinnville Country Club.
For more information, contact Paint Here by calling (931) 581-0939 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to paintwithheidi.com.