When Janet Doe retired early, at age forty-three, she envisioned a life that was characterized by adventure and self-realization. But after less than a year traveling the world, she found herself stuck in a daily routine, back in her hometown, without the inspiration to take off on another trip. In short, she was in a rut, in need of a passion or hobby that would fill the time that was previously taken up by work. That is when she came across an advertisement for a new company: Paint n’ Sip.
The advertisement stood out in part due to the image of women her age with champagne in hand, clearly in a celebratory mood. However, her primary focus was on what they had apparently accomplished. Wearing paint-stained smocks, each woman stood before an easel, in front of what Doe saw as masterpieces. The paintings seemingly reflected an array of moods and oeuvres. But above all, they were unique.
Seeking to express herself and find an identity, Doe showed up at Paint n’ Sip for the first time about six months ago. She still remembers the initial mistake she made, showing up empty-handed. Paint n’ Sip is a bring-your-own-beverages (BYOB) business in which the focus is simultaneously on artistic development and community. However, as part of this latter emphasis, it was not long before Doe’s artistic peers offered her a glass of chardonnay. In fact, the paintbrush came afterward.
The founder of Paint n’ Sip, Amy Smith, wanted to use drinking (alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages alike) as an entry-point into a close-knit community. Her idea was to bring people together over tea, coffee, wine, or any other beverage in order to facilitate conversation and closeness. Once intimacy developed, it would be easier to delve into what can be deeply personal: art.
Paint n’ Sip offers art lessons of all levels and in multiple mediums. Participants are not constrained or forced to paint along the lines of any particular subject. While it is common that suggestions are offered, with models often being present for the class to utilize, Paint n’ Sip seeks to promote artistic freedom. For Doe, this was especially welcome. Once she was embraced by Paint n’ Sip’s warm community, she felt encouraged and inspired to begin a process of artistic self-exploration. This was undoubtedly helped along by input from a number of experienced artists.
Even though the company has a vibrant feel, brightly painted while featuring an otherwise New Age ambiance, all manner of art is welcomed. In general, “creative arts can play in promoting positive mental health and well-being” (Heenan 179). It can even be used as “art psychotherapy” (Moon 78). In fact, many artists at Paint n’ Sip use the space to come to terms with the difficulties they have faced in their lives. Regardless of the subject matter, Paint n’ Sip seeks to provide a safe and encouraging space for all prospective artists to find their talent.
In the end, Doe realized that she was not necessarily meant to be a traveler. Traveling may have been what she envisioned leading up to early retirement, but the greater idea was to explore who she was and who she wanted to be. Paint n’ Sip played a pivotal role in her self-realization. The company’s mission is “to awaken the inner artist within us all,” and this is exactly what happened with Doe. Moreover, she has since had the pleasure of welcoming others to the Paint n’ Sip community. Only last Tuesday, another retiree showed up to Paint n’ Sip for the first time empty-handed. Doe fittingly offered the community’s newest member a glass of chardonnay.
Heenan, Deirdre. "Art as therapy: an effective way of promoting positive mental health?." Disability & Society 21.2 (2006): 179-191.
Moon, Bruce L. "The tears make me paint: The role of responsive artmaking in adolescent art therapy." Art Therapy 16.2 (1999): 78-82.
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