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January 30, 2015

Painting With a Twist - Uniquely Inspiring Fun

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I've been keeping a cautiously curious eye on Painting With a Twist for well over a year now. Why "cautious", you ask? As intrigued as I've been, I can ruin even the most elementary paint-by-numbers creation. I simply cannot paint... at least not something that's expected to be recognizable at completion, anyway. Perhaps a very abstract piece, from a very blurry eye. I would watch the monthly calendars get released with the most beautiful paintings on the agenda, but I just knew I couldn't recreate them. This experience is certainly for semi-skilled artists, at least... right? Wrong!! I finally got up the nerve to try my hand at a masterpiece - Van Gogh style, to be specific. 


The main classroom at Painting With a Twist is lined with past creations. Long tables are arranged in rows, with individual art stations set up for each pre-registered artist. Here, you'll find everything you'll need to create your own masterful work of art. Rest assured, if you need more paint, they aren't stingy! From the moment you walk in, you're ready to go! And, in case you're wondering what the "twist" is... they have an impressive selection of reasonably priced wines and beers to enhance your experience.



After you've settled in and familiarized yourself with the tools of your temporary trade, your instructor will introduce themselves, show you what you'll be painting, and go over the "rules" for the evening. I'm particularly fond of rule #5.

The entire evening is set to music, as a lively soundtrack fills the room. Songs like "Mambo No. 5", "Stayin' Alive", and "Kokomo" helped to get everyone ready for the party, and occasionally burst into song. I had a fantastic instructor - Alex, who readily encouraged "karaoke" performance, even joining in a time or two. In other words, if you're as nervous as I was, the atmosphere quickly helps to create a comfort zone.

From a slightly raised platform, instructors display the final product you're aiming to reproduce, beside an easel that they will be working from. It was described to me as being a lot like "Simon Says", and I found that to be a very accurate comparison. Every step of the way, you receive direction on the colors, strokes, and brushes (mama, papa, and baby brush, as Alex referred to them - based on size) to use for each part of the process, beginning with laying a complete background.

The instructor is supplied with a wireless microphone headset. This allows their instructions to be easily heard around the room, and enables them to walk the room, assisting those who may need help or encouragement. Alex was extremely attentive - even offering suggestions when I goofed a bit. Naturally, I was convinced that I was beyond saving, when a simple cover-up technique salvaged my work. 

On this particular night (much to my surprise), paint was not the only medium to come into play. Half of the room seemed a bit intimidated when we learned that we'd be drawing in the outline of our building with chalk. With a few simple lines, Alex demonstrated how the three-dimensional structure came to life against our dusky backdrops. 
After we conquered that hurdle, it was back to the paint - which I was starting to feel pretty confident with at this point. I greatly appreciated the approach toward our own individual vision in our artwork. We were encouraged to use the instruction and display as guidelines, enhancing it as we saw fit. It was stressed to us that there is no right or wrong to what we create or how we envision the art. Another practice that works well with those of us who aren't naturally artistically inclined. 
Around this time, Alex called for a break so that we could stretch our legs and free our minds for a moment. This involved a surprise contest involving "heads or tails" - with a twist, of course. Everyone would either grab their heads, or their "tails", as Alex flipped a coin. Round by round, players were knocked out of the game for erred guesses, but the last artist standing was gifted with their choice of paintings right off the wall. Nice touch, indeed! 
The final touches of the project came along swiftly and smoothly. At this point, everyone's creations had definitely taken a turn that demonstrated our unique styles and visions. While the end result was essentially the same, we each had a masterpiece that was very much our own.
There was a private party occupying an enclosed room off the main area. Painting With a Twist frequently hosts birthday parties, bachelorette parties, team-building events and more (with as few as ten guests per private event). The fun, combined with the confidence boost makes this a worthy option to consider for any group scenario. The fact that the price combines the experience and a uniquely-yours memento makes it an unbeatable deal as well. Even if you think painting is something you simply cannot handle, Painting With a Twist will prove you wrong. If they can make an artist out of me, there is no one they can't teach! I look forward to making this a regular stop on my amusement route. 
Painting With a Twist releases calendars to preview the scheduled offerings for each month, along with prices. Two hour classes are $35, and three hour classes are $45. They also offer classes suited for families and couples, as well as "paint your own pet" classes where you provide your own photo to duplicate in paint. Painting With a Twist offers discounts and "free class" prizes through their frequent painter punchcard program, and contests centered around social media. For more information on this fantasically original attraction, located in the Dr. Phillips/ Metrowest area of Orlando, visit Painting With a Twist Orlando on the Web and Facebook. Go with a friend, a group of friends, or even pop in solo and make some new friends, as I did! A fantastic night away from the Orlando "norm"!