Jane Gritmacker of Hebron works on her painting while attending "Paint & Sip" event hosted by Heather Muse at Java Planet in Woodstock Wednesday, June 4, 2014. During the event participants are encouraged to bring their own favorite adult beverages and paint a featured painting instructed by Muse. (Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com)

Grab a drink, some friends, a brush and an apron and take a seat. Unleash your inner artist, and take home your personally hand-crafted keepsake at the end of the night.

Paint and sip classes are quickly becoming the new night out for couples, friends and parties of all ages and genders. They are held in local restaurants, studios and even the comfort of your own home.

“It’s entertainment. It’s an experience with yourself and with others,” said Heather Muse of Wonder Lake.

Muse is owner and artist at Muse Art and is scheduled to open Muse Art Studio in Crystal Lake this summer. She has a long history of artistry, teaching after-school art classes at Harrison School in Wonder Lake and previously teaching at the former Art Ventures in Crystal Lake.

“Some people say that they haven’t picked up a paintbrush since grade school and wouldn’t think to do something like this on their own, but there really isn’t any experience needed,” Muse said.

Classes, which range from $30-$35, last about 2 1/2 hours and consist of local artists armed with all of the needed supplies and step-by-step instructions to successfully paint their own masterpieces.

Many who attend the painting events become repeat attendees. Johnsburg resident Terry Matthiesen has become an advocate for Muse and the events she leads.

“It gives us novice people a chance to create a 'masterpiece' to proudly display in our home,” Matthiesen said. “I was so surprised at how easy it was to do. I am shocked at how everyone paints the same thing and yet each of them are so different as we put our own little flare into these wonderful pieces. For people who have never had this wondrous experience, they are truly missing something fantastic.”

Cary resident Elisa Bonkowski has attended multiple Muse Art events in the area for the social aspect and stress relief.

“I've gone to five classes so far with friends and coworkers.  It's a nice way to unwind after work, and I don't need to bring anything.  Heather has everything set up: paints, brushes, canvases, towels, water and aprons. I don't even have to worry about dinner because when I go to Duke's or Two Tails, I can have a bite to eat there," she said.

Muse holds monthly painting events in Richmond, Crystal Lake and Woodstock and takes reservations for private painting events.

“We have a lot of men starting to come to the events, and they’re great for date night, team building and bachelorette parties – or any event really,” Muse said.

Pen and Mouse Design House owner Julie Kukreja also has jumped on the paint and sip band wagon by way of hosting children’s parties.

“I love teaching art,” Kukreja said. “It started with kids, and the adults just sort of came into the picture.”

Kukreja hosts painting classes Art Attack! at locations in Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills and Algonquin and is continuing to branch out to other cities in the area. Kukreja also hosts parties through area park districts and Creative Arts Inc.

“I love the reactions at the end,” Kukreja said. “So many people that attend these events are like ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe I painted that!’ ”

For those who are leery of the abilities of their inner artist, no experience is needed. So grab a canvas and start to create.

Muse Art

Muse Art Events

Paint & Sip – Duke’s Ale House – Crystal Lake – every 1st Tuesday of the month

BYOB Paint & Sip – Java Planet/Two Tails – Woodstock – every first Wednesday of the month

Coffee & Canvas

Conscious Cup – Crystal Lake – every first Sunday of the month

Off Broadway Coffee – Richmond – every 2nd Tuesday of the month

Muse Art “Create” Canvas Mini-Camp – Mixin Mingle – Woodstock – 6/16 – 6/18

For event and private party information and registration information, visit www.museart.info

Pen and Mouse Design House

For Art Attack! Information and upcoming events visit penandmouse.co or email contact@penandmousedesign.com


By Lindsay Weber - • editorial@nwherald.com