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10.17.17

How to Tuesdays: Creative Techniques

“How to Tuesdays” is a series of colorful and educational videos that highlight the most common creative techniques used by Painting with a Twist artists. We made them just for you! Sometimes the idea of entering a studio in hopes of painting a piece of art can be intimidating. (Pro Tip: Wine helps!) These are some great Twister Tips if you aren’t accustomed to picking up a paint brush. We are here to show you the basics of the painting materials and move on through the different creative techniques so that you can create art at ease –  inside and outside of the Painting with a Twist studio!

“Every artist was first an Amateur.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Paintbrush Families

We like to work with two different brush families: Round and Flat. Each brush allows you to practice different creative techniques, so it’s important to get familiar with each one. The round brushes have rounded edges and the flat brushes have cornered edges. You can see the difference in the brush shapes below. Watch as our artists  talk about the How to Tuesday:  Round Brush Family and the How to Tuesday: Flat Brush Family of painting supplies.

Round Brush Family of Painting with a Twist brushes
Flat Brush Family of Painting with a Twist Brushes

 

Brush Strokes and Colors

Eventually, every artist discovers their own personal treasure trove of creative techniques to use with their favorite brushes.  Until you’ve gotten into your own paint and sip groove, please indulge in some of our classics. In the How to Tuesday:  Different Strokes, Painting with a Twist artists explain a variety of fun, easy, and creative techniques you can use to make a beautiful painting. Thin lines, thick lines, broad strokes, and messy dabs! When it comes to painting, the possibilities are endless. All you have to do is stay optimistic and curious! Did you know you can make almost any color from the three primary colors: Red, blue, and yellow! Watch the How to Tuesday: Mixing Paint where our artists teach you how to mix up the perfect palette for any painting. 

 

We have plenty more How to Tuesday’s to share with you so stay tuned for the next round of Twister Tips!

10.03.17

5 Ideas for Date Night with a Twist

It’s date night again and you’ve got a standard lineup of ideas circulating in the conversation- Cocktails? Dinner? A movie? Date nights are there to help us reconnect. We want to feel that spark of excitement in our romantic relationships. We want to indulge in experiences that we can happily reflect on and tell stories about later. So why do we stay in the same redundant pattern? Albert Einstein once said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun!” Change it up every once in awhile and do date night the smart way: Painting with a Twist! According to Bustle, couples who attend paint and sip classes together are less likely to break up. With all the fun and diverse options, there’s no reason to pass up the chance for bonding with your bae. Here are 5 ideas to help you spice up your date night with Painting with a Twist. 

1. Paint Your Pet Date Night:

If you and your boo are animal-obsessed, then this is the fun and interactive class for you. It’s what your walls having been missing.  Send your local studio pics of your beloved pet and let an upbeat instructor lead you on a step-by-step creative journey painting a portrait fit for kings! Below is a dose of puppy love brought to you by Painting with a Twist in Mobile, AL. 

Bonus: Get ready to swap heartwarming + hilarious stories about your furbaby with everyone else in the class.

 

Paint Your Pet at Painting with a Twist Eastern Shore in Mobile, AL

2. Zombie Date Night:

Ghouls and boys unite for this spooky class! You and your date will paint portraits where you “Zombify” yourselves in every creative and icky way imaginable.  It is so fun – we’re dead serious. These two twisters from Painting with a Twist in Mason, OH did a creepily amazing job “Zombify-ing” themselves!

Bonus: Dress up as zombies when you attend the class- you can even make zombie themed refreshments! Who knows, maybe there will be a costume contest?!

Zombify Yourself at Painting with a Twist in Mason, OH

3. Game Date Night:

If anyone has trouble getting their guy through the doors of a paint and sip studio, then this is bound to solve that. Ladies and Gentlemen… Introducing… Game night! Sometimes our studios partner with local teams for a truly exclusive experience celebrating your favorite team. Other times, studios host “Paint Your Own Jersey” nights where you get to paint your team’s colors while going head to head in friendly smack talk amongst rival fans. Join the winner’s circle like these guys n’ gals at Painting with a Twist Kingwood in Houston, TX. 

Bonus: Amp up date night by sporting your favorite team’s gear and bringing a cooler of tailgating goodies!

Paint Your Own Jersey at Painting with a Twist Kingwood in Houston, TX

4. Couples Painting Date Night:

Many of our paintings are made to do side-by-side with someone. Combine your skills (and paintings) to make one big piece of art to hang up. Every time you see the painting, you’ll remember what a wild time the two of you had. Imagine it now: Scrunched close together on your stools. Cocktails in one hand and paintbrush in the other. Then, the announcement of a mustache contest… Get ready to LOL and make some date night memories!

Bonus: Make it a friendly challenge of who’s painting looks better! Winner gets a kiss and bragging rights.

Date Night Mustache Contest at Painting with a Twist Dewitt in Syracuse, NY

 

Date Night at Painting with a Twist in Middleton, DE

5. Holiday Date Night:

Tis the season, y’all! Winter is right around the corner and that means the holiday-themed parties are here. Whether you’re attending a public class or hosting a private party, bring a batch of mulled wine and sugar cookies to your holiday date night. Can you feel the holiday cheer coming at you from Painting with a Twist in Lexington, KY

Bonus: Spread the joy and bring a small gift to surprise your loved one in the middle of class (goofy Santa hats, reindeer antlers, etc.)

Celebrating the holidays at Painting with a Twist in Lexington, KY

 

 

9.25.17

Colorful Cocktails: Kahlua Frappe

On National Coffee Day, we want to celebrate coffee the best way we can imagine- cocktails! Really though- what would we do without our daily cup of joe? We depend on it to give us the strength to face the day. Our work days are split into coffee breaks with our peers. Our weekends are held together by long conversations over a full mug or grabbing a massive coffee to go before a new adventure. We drink it all day, every day. It’s delicious, after all. Coffee has found its way into our lives as a necessity. Thankfully, there is a great way for us to appreciate the uber-important beverage that fuels our hearts, minds, and bodies. Our recipe is a boozy frappe will transport you to a decadent dessert paradise!  The best thing about frappes is how they taste, but the second best thing is how easy they are to change up. Our personal favorite is this version: a no-frills recipe that takes you straight to flavor town. But feel free to get a little crazy. You could try a salted caramel version, like this recipe from The Cook Craft Love blog. It’s a lush retreat into a frozen paradise of french vanilla and creamy caramel. Add extra chocolate syrup in with the Kahlua and bring some mocha madness to your mouth. Drinkwire lays out a whole list of amazing frappe recipes(amazing as in… Pumpkin Spice Frappe!) Add Kahlua and voila… cocktails! 

Take “treat yourself” to the next level: Blend up a batch and grab a paintbrush! You and your friends seriously deserve an icy pitcher of frappe cocktails. Happy National Coffee Day, Twisters!

Ingredients

  • Ice cubes
  • 2 ounces Kahlua liqueur
  • 4 ounces milk
  • Spoonful instant coffee
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream
  • Whipped cream
  • Chocolate Syrup

Directions

  • Fill glass with ice cubes.
  • Add Kahlua, milk, instant coffee and ice cream.
  • Transfer to blender and pulse for 20 seconds.
  • Pour back into glass and top with whipped cream.
  • Drizzle chocolate syrup on top.
9.21.17

Art Spotlight: Celebrating the Summer Sunset

Well, Summer has officially come to a close. As always we’re sad to see the season go, but this was a big year for summer sunset artwork so at least we can still revel in the sunsets it offered! 

As Mattie Stepanek said, “Sunset is my favorite color, the rainbow is second.”

The dramatic sights have certainly been reflected in the artwork submissions from our Painting with a Twist artists nationwide. Sunsets in summer are so fleeting and so gorgeous that they demand each one be the most beautiful thing in the world, that is, of course until the next one comes along.

Here are some of our favorite sunset paintings from the Painting with a Twist art library.

“L.A. Sunset”

Painting with a Twist Art Spotlight: "L.A. Sunset"
Painting with a Twist Art Spotlight: “L.A. Sunset”

Remarkable, right? We are California dreamin’ right when we lookover this painting. It is brought to you from Painting with a Twist – Mandeville, LA but was inspired by a beautiful photograph taken in Sun Valley, CA. If you’d like to paint this stunner, here’s where to find a studio near you

 

“Lovely Lake Sunset”

Painting with a Twist Art Spotlight: "Lovely Lake Sunset"
Painting with a Twist Art Spotlight: “Lovely Lake Sunset”

This one is so sweet, so sentimental, and so striking. The colors grab you and draw you in from the start. It was painted by an artist in Painting with a Twist – Fort Collins, CO. This is the perfect painting for a date night! Here are a few studios where this charming painting is available this week. 

 

“Detroit Wine Down”

Painting with a Twist's Art Spotlight: "Detroit Wine Down"
Painting with a Twist’s Art Spotlight: “Detroit Wine Down”

Now here’s a sight we can all relate with. Stressed nerves unfrazzle just by seeing it. It’s the end of the day, shoes off, feet propped up, wine poured, and the only thing left is to let your stress drift away while you stare off into the sunset. This beauty was painted by Painting with a Twist – Ferndale, MI and inspired by a similar painting we have called “Montana Sunset.” Here’s a list of studios offering this painting this week.

 

“Mermaid Sunset”

Painting with a Twist's Art Spotlight: "Mermaid Sunset"
Painting with a Twist’s Art Spotlight: “Mermaid Sunset”

The inspiration listed for this whimsical piece of art was, “Mermaids are the bomb!” and you know what? I couldn’t agree more. Granted, our undying wish as children was to be transformed into a mermaid, the adult-us will settle with this fabulous painting hailing from Painting with a Twist – Lafayette, IN. As one of our most popular paintings, there are a ton of studios offering this gorgeous painting in their studio. 

 

“Smoky Mountains in Fall”

Painting with a Twist's Art Spotlight: "Smoky Mountains in Fall"
Painting with a Twist’s Art Spotlight: “Smoky Mountains in Fall”

You can almost feel the crisp air in this one. The night draws near, and then sun nestles against the blue mountain crests, breaking the sky into a song of bright colors and giving the autumn foliage a run for its money. Painting with a Twist – Sevierville, TN inspired this painting so that we may all be so lucky to take in a Smoky Mountain Sunset. Make this painting an addition to your fall home decor today! 

 

“Teal Skies over HB pier”

Painting with a Twist's Art Spotlight: "Teal Skies Over HB Pier"
Painting with a Twist’s Art Spotlight: “Teal Skies Over HB Pier”

California at its finest we might say. This sunset is straight from a storybook with that Tiffany blue and flamingo pink. There are multiple paintings of this pier in our art library but this one seems the most whimsical. This magical painting came to us from Painting with a Twist – Huntington Beach, CA. Create your own tonight at one of these participating studios.

Do you have a favorite summer sunset memory? We’d love to hear them in the comment section below.

9.18.17

Portraits: Artist of Painting with a Twist – Brittney Pelloquin

At Painting with a Twist, we have over 350 franchised studios nationwide. Each studio has about 5-6 artists working at each location. These are creatively talented in various ways. Some are painters. Some work with textiles. Some even focus on creating sculptures. Then, we have artists who have talents that are slightly less traditional… bringing us to body artist, Ms. Brittney Pelloquin.

Artist Brittney Pelloquin at Painting with a Twist - Lafayette, LA
Arist Brittney Pelloquin at Painting with a Twist – Lafayette, LA

See, Brittney has many talents – photography, sculpture, print-making – but her passion is in body painting. Brittney creates whole worlds on the skin of her subjects. Her art will dazzle and inspire you.

Body Artist Brittney Pelloquin, "The Pelican"
Body Artist Brittney Pelloquin, “The Pelican”

 

Body Artist Brittney Pelloquin collaboration with Deedee Lantzy
Body Artist Brittney Pelloquin collaboration with Deedee Lantzy

Brittney managed the Painting with a Twist studio in Lafayette, LA for three years before moving to Houston. There she explored the art form of body painting and never looked back. She even became a contestant on the show, Skin Wars!

Body Artist Brittney Pelloquin on Skin Wars Season 3
Body Artist Brittney Pelloquin on Skin Wars Season 3

Her talent is undeniable. Back in April, the art studio put on a show where a dancer morphed out of a 12-foot mural – and Brittney was tasked with creating the camouflage.

Can you find the dancer?

Body Artist Brittney Pelloquin collaboration with Dirk Guidry
Body Artist Brittney Pelloquin collaboration with Dirk Guidry

Can’t get enough of her work, right? Here are her website and the video where we featured her work. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.

Brittney Pelloquin Artist Bio

Brittney Pelloquin is an accomplished world body painter and fine artist. She is a tv contestant on Skin Wars Season 3, is ranked as the No. 8 body painter in the nation at the 2014 Living Art America in Atlanta, and placed 10th in the World Professional Brush and Sponge Category at the 2016 World Bodypainting Festival in Austria.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Brittney lives and works as a visual artist who paints on any surface that comes her way. She earned her degree in Visual Arts from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and now takes art to the next level by painting live art on the human body, known as “body painting”. For Brittney, living art is the most exciting and fulfilling work because it allows her to give a new meaning to the artistic beauty of the nude human figure in all its natural shapes and sizes.

Brittney’s passion for the arts began in her youth. Her strong family support fueled her interest for her to pursue this passion in life. She began to notice the great impact she made on others lives through her work. Bringing a sense of joy and excitement to others is ultimately what created her road for where she is today. She found herself pondering the question, “What is life without feeling any happiness or love, and what am I doing to achieve this?” Brittney focuses her attention on pouring her love into each piece that she creates and like most individuals, she struggled at times trying to find herself as an artist. She knew working directly with people is what gave her the most satisfying reward.  It wasn’t until she began the journey in body painting that she truly understood her purpose in life. […Read more here]

9.14.17

8 Nail Styles Inspired by Painting with a Twist

Okay, yeah, we’re a little obsessed with nail styles. Fancy tips just make a girl feel prettier. It’s such a simple way to build your confidence and we fully embrace it every chance we get. 

With a Painting with a Twist library of 11,000+ pieces of art, it only seems right to match the paintings up with some seriously creative nail art! This is nail inspiration at it’s finest.

1. A Pop of Red Nail Style

Painting with a Twist's "A Pop of Red" Nail Styles
Painting with a Twist’s “A Pop of Red”

2. Bubble Gum Beach Nail Style

Painting with a Twist's "Bubble Gum Beach" Nail Styles
Painting with a Twist’s “Bubble Gum Beach”

3. Dripping Flowers Nail Style

Painting with a Twist's "Dripping Flowers" Nail Styles
Painting with a Twist’s “Dripping Flowers”

4.  Frost Yourself Nail Style

Painting with a Twist's "Frost Yourself" Nail Styles
Painting with a Twist’s “Frost Yourself”

5. Ice Cream with a Twist Nail Style

Painting with a Twist's "Ice Cream with a Twist" Nail Styles
Painting with a Twist’s “Ice Cream with a Twist”

6. Purple Butterfly Nail Style

Painting with a Twist's "Purple Butterfly" Nail Styles
Painting with a Twist’s “Purple Butterfly”

7. Shop ’til You Drop Nail Style

Painting with a Twist's "Shop Till You Drop" Nail Styles
Painting with a Twist’s “Shop Till You Drop”

8. Sunset Leaping Dolphin Nail Style

Painting with a Twist's "Sunset Leaping Dolphin" Nail Styles
Painting with a Twist’s “Sunset Leaping Dolphin”

 

Want more ideas? Check out the “Looks & Nail Art” section on Essie’s website – we’re obsessed.

Which one are you dying to paint?! We’re can’t wait to see pics of all your fancy nail art too! Post them in the comments. The photo with the most likes may get a special prize!

9.14.17

10 DIYs to Decorate Your Home this Fall

It’s fall! Time for changing of the leaves and routines. Are you looking for different DIYs to bring some of that autumn spirit into your home, but don’t have the time to look for any inspirational ideas? We have got you covered! 

There’s no doubt you are focusing on getting reacclimated to schedules filled with school schedules, homework, and after-school games. It’s completely understandable if the time left to think about bringing warm colors of fall into your home has been given to coordinating time slots between soccer and football practices.

There are so many different ways to incorporate the season changes into your home, we thought it might be nice to give you some festive DIY ideas to help you create a cozy, organized decor for fall.

Which idea are you most excited to try? Each one is so much fun. Please post pictures of your projects below. We’re dying to see how your’s turn out.

1. Chalk painted Wooden Cutout Jar To Do List

Painting with a Twist's Chalkboard Wooden Cutout
Painting with a Twist’s Chalkboard Wooden Cutout

Turn list-keeping into a fun family activity! This charming wooden cutout adds a touch of cute to your kitchen and a fun place for everyone for notes and reminders to each other.

Join a Painting with a Twist class to make this!

2. Pumpkin Yarn Balls

Yarn Pumpkins Balls via Only Little Project
Yarn Pumpkins Balls via Only Little Project

These little pumpkin yarn balls are so simple and easy to create. They make a great weekend decoration DIY project for you and the kids!

Click here to watch Debbie Chapman break down the process of making these precious pumpkins step-by-step: http://onelittleproject.com/yarn-pumpkins/

3. Gourd Birdhouse

Gourd Birdhouse via Martha Stewart
Gourd Birdhouse via Martha Stewart

Did you know Fall is also prime time for Purple Martin Bird to make their annual visit? Since these birdhouses are man-made structures, not only do these DIY gourd birdhouses look neat, they also attract these birds.

Let Martha Stewart herself bring you through the process of creating your own: http://www.marthastewart.com/264245/gourd-birdhouse

4. Terracotta Pumpkin Candy Jars

Terracotta Pumpkin Pots via Real Housemoms
Terracotta Pumpkin Pots via Real Housemoms

This DIY project instantaneously made us fall back in love with candy jars. Take your Halloween Candy game up a notch this year with these incredibly adorable pumpkin pots!

Real Housemoms walk you through how to create your own in their clever post: http://realhousemoms.com/diy-pumpkin-terracotta-pots

5. Autumn Threshold Decor

Painting with a Twist's Family Monogram Wooden Cutout
Painting with a Twist’s Family Monogram Wooden Cutout

Your threshold gets an enormous amount of much this time of year. Why not make sure it represents your family in the best way possible? This family monogram is just one option to make over your door this season.

Create your own at Painting with a Twist today!

6. Painted Acorns

Painted Acorns via Home Stories A to Z
Painted Acorns via Home Stories A to Z

Sometimes the tiniest accents make all the difference in a room’s feel – wouldn’t you agree? These adorable colorful acorns are the perfect addition to any room this season and they’ll last!

Click here to learn how to make this simple addition: https://www.homestoriesatoz.com/fall-2/how-to-paint-acorns.html

7. Pine Cone Bird Feeder

Pine Cones Bird Feeders via Freebie Finding Mom
Pine Cones Bird Feeders via Freebie Finding Mom

Pine cones. They one of the most fun parts of Fall. This little DIY project is a perfect weekend activity for you and the kids. Spend some time looking for the pine cones, decorate them and then watch the fruits of your labor.

Here’s the link to learn how to make these step-by-step: https://www.freebiefindingmom.com/easy-fall-crafts-using-pine-cones/

Our favorite animal to watch dig the seed out of the peanut butter are the squirrels! Their little feet get all peanut buttery – it’s hilarious. What’s your favorite animal to spot?

8. Seasonal Pot Trivet

Festive Foliage Trivets by Martha Stewart
Festive Foliage Trivets by Martha Stewart

Doesn’t Thanksgiving feel forever away? With all those Fall schedules, we found it’s better to start planning the holiday season now – even your decorations.

Here are easy, step-by-step directions on how to make your holiday spread even more festive: http://www.marthastewart.com/273201/festive-foliage

9. Pumpkin Mason Jars

Pumpkin Mason Jars via The 36th Avenue
Pumpkin Mason Jars via The 36th Avenue

Quickly transform your guest bathroom into a place where your Q-Tips and cotton balls get a festive home as well! These cute little Halloween jars are the perfect touch to add a quick Fall splash.

Thanks to the ladies at The 36th Avenue, they are super easy to make as well: http://www.the36thavenue.com/diy-pumpkin-mason-jars/

10. Hand Made Seasonal Artwork

Painting with a Twist's "Winterberries & Copper"
Painting with a Twist’s “Winterberries & Copper”

A super quick way to spruce up your decor for Fall is to paint something yourself! Not only will you be proud of how glam the feeling in your house has become when your friends and family you can also be proud that you made it yourself.

Create this addition to your seasonal interior at Painting with a Twist.

9.13.17

Three Cheers for Ice Cream Dreams and Paint Brushes

As an artist, the creation process can be a struggle – as any of you who may have used paint brushes at a Painting with a Twist will fully understand. A rollercoaster of emotions that go into creating art. They range from totally excited, to totally defeated – over and over again. Sometimes, these emotions are so intense, it’s hard to remember to slow down, chill out, and just enjoy the process.

Portuguese artist José Lourenço encapsulates that concept by making the process his art. Even I forget to look at my brush that holds the same paint that will enchant me once it’s on the canvas. I’m looking at it now though… very closely.

Lourenço’s on going series is called “Ice Cream” and it is evident why. The color combos are spot on and light up my brain as I browse over each image. Take one glance over at his Instagram Account and you’ll be in awe of his creative techniques for applying the color. These brushes are gravely inspiring.

José Lourenço via This Is Colossal
José Lourenço via This Is Colossal

It’s hard to look away at the gooey rainbow mounds that resemble melting gobstoppers.  DesignBoom describes his work as “vibrant array of pigments and paints to create subtly swirling color compositions. the vibrant daubs are then heavily dipped onto paint brushes and photographed against both natural and colorful backdrops. the resulting forms look good enough to eat. ice cream-like shapes seemingly ooze strawberry swirls, orange essence, and a punch of pineapple, when these pictures are actually just paint heightening our hunger…” I’m enchanted by these colorful globs of creamy paint and even tried recreating a few at home during a little paint sesh.

José Lourenço via DesignBoom
José Lourenço via DesignBoom

 

José Lourenço via DesignBoom
José Lourenço via DesignBoom

 

José Lourenço via DesignBoom
José Lourenço via DesignBoom

 

José Lourenço Bio

Painter, draftsman, and graphic artist.

José Toledo Piza Lourenço Júnior studied drawing with Nelson Nóbrega at the Armando Álvares Penteado Foundation, Faap, São Paulo, between 1962 and 1965. In that same year, he traveled to Bahia, where he executed the series of Lavadeiras drawings. Between 1965 and 1967, he worked as a writer for Editora Abril in the publications Realidade e Conhecer. In 1987, he was chosen the best painter of the year by students of the Chapel School, in São Paulo.

9.12.17

Open Hearts & Welcome Mats: Creative Community in Cedar Park

One of the most touching elements of working at Painting with a Twist is the sense of creative community that surrounds you as a part of this organization. Within our system, we certainly feel it. Our franchisees, artists, and corporate employees are an extension of our family. The feeling of a creative community just the nature of our fabric… it’s truly who we are.

Many times this hits our customers – HARD.

One such customer, Jodi sent us an email at the beginning of January that sang through the bustle of planning for 2017. You see, her son, Zachary has autism. Therefore, not only does he have a service animal, but he has particular needs. Jodi was struggling to find an outlet for Zachary when she found the creative community at Painting with a Twist in Cedar Park, TX.

Zachary at Painting with a Twist Franchisee, Sylvia
Zachary at Painting with a Twist Franchisee, Sylvia

The studio owner, Sylvia and her staff welcomed Zachary and his service dog back in November 2014. Quickly they began to encourage Jodi to leave Zachary with them. He’s been painting with their creative community now [many times a week] for over two years and practically runs the show during class.

Zachary’s favorite painting is the hot air balloon. He liked it so much, instructor, Ginger painted him his own apron with that picture and his name on it. Really, it seems instructors have made the biggest impact. They have brought him into the fold of the community and met Zachary where HE needs them.

Zachary at Painting with a Twist Cedar Park
Zachary at Painting with a Twist Cedar Park

It’s incredibly warming to hear the creative spirit Painting with a Twist was built on continues to spread nationwide. We adore our customers and franchisees. Zachary’s story is exactly what we are trying to build – from coast to coast. 

*Thank you for sharing your story, Jodi.

**Sylvia, you and your staff continue to bless our entire system just by being part of it.

Zachary at Painting with a Twist Cedar Park
Zachary at Painting with a Twist Cedar Park

If you would like to read through Jodi’s entire email, it is below.

###

Original Email – January 11, 2017

Hi,

I just wanted to take the time to tell you how wonderful one of your franchise locations is doing.  

Sylvia is the owner of the Cedar Park (Austin), Texas location.  She and her staff have been so great with my son who has autism.  Let me back up and start at the beginning.  In November of 2014, we were looking for something that my son could do during the break.  After calling places and being turned down because of the autism and having a service dog, many places flat out told us no that he couldn’t come in.  They were concerned that things would be too hectic for him or that he and his dog would be too much of a distraction to others.  I happened to call the Cedar Park PWAT just because of its location.  After speaking with Sylvia she said it was no problem for him to come and his dog was definitely welcome.  

Summer of 2015, found us once again looking for something for him to do that also wouldn’t break the bank and would permit him to attend with younger kids because he was 17.  Sylvia came to the rescue again! He attended summer camp for one week and a day or two each week throughout the summer.  When Zachary first started attending, we had to stay with him for a little bit.  By the time he started for the second week, he didn’t even want us going to the door.  Sylvia gave us multiple discounts from giving us a free session to giving him gift certificates.  Without her doing this, there was no way that he would have been able to paint so much that summer.

When camp ended, Zachary had such a great time that he wanted to keep painting. He now paints twice a month, sometimes more.  Sylvia even let him paint in the evenings without us before he turned 18 because he and his dog weren’t a problem.  

There was a painting that had a hot air balloon that he wanted to paint.  That class was canceled and rescheduled multiple times.  Finally, they put it on the schedule and said that even if Zachary was the only one they would still do it.  We had our money returned to us for the cancellations, we were given a gift certificate because of how upset Zachary kept getting and he was able to paint it for free when the class was finally held.  Zachary liked the hot air balloon painting so much that the one instructor (Ginger) painted him his own apron with that picture and his name on it.

Sylvia and her staff also understand how a routine is necessary for my son.  Each time he paints, they have his usual spot for him ready: near the tv in the large room or on the end by the instructor when in the small room.  They also know how important it is to stay on schedule and not go over the allotted time.  He will tell them when the break is over or when they have five minutes left in class.  Each instructor is so understanding of him and his needs.  They don’t mind that he has to show up more than 15 minutes early and walk around all the studios. They know that this is just how Zachary is and are okay with it.

Finally, there are the instructors themselves.  Each of them had put me at ease and made me feel comfortable leaving him when he first started going there.  They are all very encouraging of Zachary’s painting attempts and like the dimension, he adds to his paintings (to me, it’s just paint applied too thickly).  While he likes all of the instructors that he has painted with, Ginger is by far his favorite.  There are times he might find a painting he likes but won’t sign up for it because she isn’t the one teaching it.  

All I can say is that as a parent of a child with autism, it’s great that Sylvia and her staff so willingly invited my son into their studio without giving it a second thought when so many other places turned him away.  I have friends who also have children with autism or Down syndrome and they have also said that the experience their child has received is exceptional.  

Thank you,

Jodi

 

9.12.17

Portraits: Artist of Painting with a Twist – Denise Hopkins

Not often does someone walk into your life and spark a little piece of your heart that you didn’t realize was dulled. Our Corporate Artist, Denise Hopkins is that spark. Her story is one of perseverance, love, and an unrelenting determination to follow a dream. We’re so proud of her, we thought we’d brag a bit…

Meet, Denise.

Denise Hopkins inspired by nature in Covington, LA
Denise Hopkins inspired by nature in Covington, LA

We all go through moments of loss and Denise’s story is no different. A few years back, she found herself divorcing with surmounting debt and a rocking little boy on the way. But, she also had a passion for painting and was determined to pursue a life that could be sustained by her talent.

She swallowed her pride and moved back home to be with her parents who could [thankfully] help her raise her baby boy while she found work. Then, Denise stumbled across a Craigslist post that would change the course of her life. She found Painting with a Twist… or rather, we were lucky enough to have her find us.

Denise Hopkins Painting with a Twist Corporate Artist
Denise Hopkins Painting with a Twist Corporate Artist

The moment Denise stepped into the studio the first time, she was a natural. Even though, being on the studio stage wasn’t a comfortable place for her at first. She overcame those feelings and showed a level of empathy for her painting guests that made everyone feel at ease. Her spark shone brightly.

Years later, Denise has helped us open numerous studios all over the country and continues to spread her joy and touch lives throughout the entire company.

Today, Denise still works with us part time as a traveling artist and picks up classes every now and then, but her full-time job is a commissioned oil painter. She grew her business through a program called, 30 Paintings in 30 Days and on day 15 she sold her first piece. Denise hasn’t looked back.

Small Bird Oil Paintings by Denise Hopkins
Small Bird Oil Paintings by Denise Hopkins

Her home is filled with paintings and she actively works every day on her practice. Denise also paints live at events so she’s got her hands full. Last year, she bought her first home… all by herself.

Denise Hopkins working with Oil Paints
Denise Hopkins working with Oil Paints

Passion, determination, and the will to win. Her spark. We adore you, Denise. Thank you for being part of our PWAT family.

You can watch the entire feature on Denise and her business here!