Multimedia Journalist

Painting brings locals together

Karen Wood works on the background of her painting Jan. 31 at the Paint & Sip event.
Danisha Hogue/Democrat photo

Karen Wood was looking for an activity to have a fun bonding experience with her friends. Typically, she can be found giving her time to California Girl Scout Troop 71420.

Jan. 31 was reclaimed as ladies night. Wood was joined by Alicia Nokes, her fellow troop leader, and Becky Steelman, her friend of 18 years, at Sip & Paint at The Gathering Place.

Although none of them had painted before, they soon learned how with guidance from Brushing Up owner and artistic director Christy Proctor.

“My favorite part is people’s satisfaction that they can actually paint,” Proctor said.

A dozen ladies gathered with drinks, snacks and acrylic paint and left happy. Proctor has loved art as long as she can remember. By day, she works as a dental assistant. Her other time is filled with events like this.

Bringing all the art supplies, she said providing “affordable fun” is something she enjoys about her business.

With a rainbow wheel of paint on a paper plate, everyone covered their canvas. While mellow music floated through the room, Proctor told the artists to use a large brush to fill the canvas.

Beginning with a yellow base, it quickly transitioned to a barely blue sky.

After each layer was set a blow dryer was used to speed up the drying process.

There was no mistake that couldn’t be fixed. A glob of the wrong color or a thicker wave than intended was easily blended. Adding white paint proved to be the perfect solution.

“I’m here to support anything that happens in this town that’s any fun,” Carol Birdsong said.

She and two friends brought more life to the room. Laughing and embracing their inner artist, ‘the French Impressionist’ said they were happy to hear about this type of event being in California.

Each artist was given a choice through the lots of love theme to paint a radiant colorful heart, a tree complete with two love birds or both.

“It’s just relaxing for me and I needed some relaxing time,” Nokes said.

Friends were not the only ones bonding. Pairs of mothers and daughters enjoyed creating together.

After hours of crafting, no canvas looked the same. Some wrote messages like “Smile” and “Choose your love, love your choice.”

Owner Chelsea McGill said she was pleased with the turnout. She plans to host more community events at The Gathering Place soon.

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