Grab a paintbrush, and maybe a drink

Art school looks to spark creativity in Winnipeg

Winnipeg Art and Wine has brought their low-pressure brand of painting lessons and drinks to the online livestreaming world.

The painter has the universe in his mind and hands.

— Leonardo da Vinci

Although she may not be the great Renaissance painter inspiring unimaginable creativity, Winnipeg Art and Wine director Kathy Johnston wants the community to realize the latent talent for painting in everyone. Of course, it can be a little easier to realize this with a drink or two, responsibly.

Winnipeg Art and Wine is a paint-party company that has been offering services for five years to Winnipeg and surrounding areas. Now, the company hosts virtual paint parties online.

Johnston says the biggest hurdle for beginners to overcome is stress. However, as a painter of 43 years, the seasoned director says her methods are aimed at solving this and helping participants create masterpieces in a respectful timeframe in a more relaxed atmosphere.

“When most people begin, they are so stressed and nervous and do not know what to do,” she says.

“However, we are going to (teach them) in a fun way where there is no stress, and we are going to walk the participants through it simply. The classes are a little more basic, where they can have fun, grab a beverage, listen to some music and complete an actual painting within the three-hour time slot.”

Fellow teacher and artist Jessica Beaugrand says when non-essential businesses were closed in March of last year, there was uncertainty over the future of Winnipeg Art and Wine. After all, the business is based on in-person teachings and known for its community atmosphere. 

She turned to social media and started free Facebook and Instagram livestreams, and the idea for virtual paint classes was born.

“I needed something that helped me to have a creative release, but also to share that with other people,” she says. 

“However, this quickly expanded from my page to the Winnipeg Art and Wine page, and so many people started to join and share them.”

Beaugrand points out the open, communicative nature of her classes and encourages active participation.

“When people have questions or have trouble mixing the right colours, they do have the option to turn on their camera, unmute and ask any questions that they have and show me specifically what they are having issues with,” she says.

“So we are still able to have that community. Meeting over Zoom is closer to what it would be like in real life.”

Beaugrand says that although 2020 was a time of both testing and evolution, she is optimistic of the future.

“Even when things go a little bit back to normal, having those options of being able to do it from the comfort of your home as well as in person is something that I would really like to explore,” she says.

The next virtual class is Feb. 10 at 6 p.m., and it costs $12 to attend. Anyone who needs a paint kit should visit winnipegartandwine.com.

Published in Volume 75, Number 16 of The Uniter (January 27, 2021)

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