Is the farthest you’ve gone with your artistic ability a family of stick figures? A square house with a bright yellow sun over it? A master at art you may not be, but by the time you leave Art n’ Vino, you’ll have a painting all your own that could actually look like a replica of a classic Van Gogh.
After all, when you throw booze into the mix, isn’t anything possible?
The “paint and sip” studio on North River Street in Plains Township was opened in October by artist Phil Krivenko and his wife, Kathy, and since then it’s had art and wine enthusiasts churning out their own versions of famed paintings, from red high heels and flowers to Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”
“It’s really art as entertainment, not so much a class,” Krivenko said. “It’s more of a party. People bring their bottles of wine or beer, or even soda and water, and whatever they want to snack on for the night and socialize.”
Krivenko, a self-taught artist who now teaches in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware, was so intrigued upon first hearing of the concept of such a studio that he hurried to try a class out for himself. He loved it and decided he needed to start his own.
Those participating are asked to provide their own wine or other beverage and a snack, and Krivenko takes care of the canvas, easels, paints, and brushes. The atmosphere is a relaxed, no-pressure one.
“Even though we usually start at 6:30, I encourage people to start coming around 6, so they can really settle in and talk to each other,” Krivenko said. “Generally what happens is people start talking amongst themselves and walking around and, before you know it, they’re sharing contact information and leaving as friends.”
The look of Art n’ Vino runs more along the lines of a wine bar than an art studio, with high top tables and plenty of room to move around and socialize.
“What I do is I walk everyone through the painting step by step, with lots of wine breaks,” Krivenko described with a laugh. “Every 10 to 15 minutes I’ll say, ‘OK, let’s let the paint dry, grab some wine, and we’ll come back to it.’”
Krivenko said people who actually have no experience at all with painting are ideal candidates for the events.
“People tell me that they can’t even draw a line, but that’s OK. Believe it or not, you really will finish the painting and have your own unique piece to take home.”
If you do need some help, it’s no problem. Krivenko travels the room and offers it to any who might need it, but he said the experience is really up to the artist.
“You don’t even have to paint what we are; if you want to sit and paint stick figures, go for it. Hey, even if you want to sit at a table, sip wine, and ignore me, that’s fine, too,” Krivenko said with a laugh.
The paintings that the classes cover vary and the schedule can be seen in the calendar section at artnvino.com.
Private parties can be arranged for birthdays, bachelorette groups, and girls’ night out as well.