As adults, lines can blur - beneath layers of paint or after a few sips of wine. But Stacey McConnell thinks that's OK.
McConnell moved from Louisiana to York County last year. She loved to entertain and socialize in her old home, so she decided to get creative about making connections in her new one.
Her business, A Splash of Art, focuses on bringing people together over wine, snacks and a painting class.
No art experience is required; McConnell doesn't have any. She sought local artists to teach the classes, which started in June in the New Freedom Community Center.
The instructor selects a featured painting and re-creates it using a step-by-step process. Some are seascapes, abstract flowers or themed for certain groups. Others are local landmarks, including the York County Rail Trail, Lake Williams and the Golden Plough Tavern.
Participants start with a blank 16-by-20-inch canvas, various brushes and acrylic paint. They follow the artist's instructions to make their own painting. People can come alone or with friends. They can bring snacks and a bottle of wine, which can come in handy to calm uncertain nerves, McConnell said.
The end result might not be a masterpiece, but it can strengthen friendships and a sense of inspiration. Laughter is encouraged.
On a Saturday night last month, Margaret and Laura Woods came to class with a bottle of sweet rosé and the goal to try something new.
The mother and daughter are from Louisiana - a few hours from where McConnell used to live. They were visiting family in the area and decided to create their own souvenir from the trip.
Art instructor Becky Smith selected to teach "Wine Trio" - a painting featuring three wine bottles and a setting sun in the background. A Delaware College of Art and Design grad, Smith said she has more experience doing portraits, both in charcoal and bright hues. She only recently started to teach through A Splash of Art.
"It's a process," she said. "Everyone learns differently."
Smith said her goals are to pick a painting that participants can complete within the two-hour class and to keep instructions simple.
First, she had the women sketch the painting. Her technique involved mixing paint to create colors and working in small sections.
The students were tentative at first. They used small brushstrokes and asked Smith for help. The wine went mostly untouched.
"Oh my gosh; what am I doing?" Margaret said with a laugh.
"Don't be afraid," Smith assured her. "If you don't like it ... you can go over it."
Smith encouraged both women to broaden their strokes and not worry about using the exact colors shown in the sample painting.
"Some of my bottles are deformed," Laura said, making all the women giggle.
McConnell observed and refilled glasses when the wine got low. Attendance, she said, varies. Some nights, she's had more than a dozen participants. She had several men show up for a recent Baltimore Ravens painting session.
Her goal is to expand classes: Daytime sessions will cater to kids and nondrinkers. Private events can serve community groups and charities. McConnell is also starting to partner with wineries to host A Splash of Art at local wine shops. Eventually, she hopes to open her own storefront in the area. Until then, she plans to continue to supply artistic opportunities and any necessary cleanup.
"We haven't had spilled paint, but we have had spilled wine," she said with a laugh.
- Erin McCracken,
If you go A Splash of Art is held in the New Freedom Community Center, 150 E. Main St., New Freedom. Classes cost $35. For details and to reserve a spot in an upcoming class, call 717-759-8387 or visit www.asplashofart.net.
5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday: Special painting event at Allegro Vineyards & Winery, 3475 Sechrist Road, Chanceford Township
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday: "Water's Edge" painting - Adult art and wine session
7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 29: "Starry Night" painting - Adult art and wine session