Tonawanda News

June 9, 2013

Watercolor teachers incorporating wine, snacks into classes

By Danielle Haynes
The Tonawanda News

NORTH TONAWANDA — Watercolor artists Beverly DiPalma and Jody Ziehm are convinced that all it takes is a little bit of wine and they can make anyone an artist. 

The pair, who have backgrounds in teaching watercolor at North Tonawanda’s Partners in Art, got the idea to do an amateur painting class accompanied by some liquid courage from Ziehm’s son, who attended a similar event in Florida. 

DiPalma and Ziehm banded together and decided to form Painting Uncorked, a business that provides the “painting” portion of an evening of wine an art. 

Those attending a Painting Uncorked event are asked to just bring themselves and favorite wine and snack if they want. Paints, brushes and even pre-drawn design are provided for you.

It’s a paint-by-number without the numbers, for the most part.

“There’s no talent required, no experience necessary,” DiPalma said. “People get so excited, saying, ‘I never thought I could do that. It’s so easy ... when they paint with us they get so excited to see this white piece of paper transform into something beautiful.”

In fact, Zeihm encourages those who have absolutely no experience painting to try out the classes.

“It’s kind of a good thing (not having any experience)” she said. “They just do it and they’re not afraid or apprehensive because they just listen to what we say and they have these vivid, gorgeous paintings.”

Each student will be provided with their own set of watercolors, brushes and other assorted tools needed to complete the painting. Each session will be for a specific design — the first was a wine bottle and glass, the second will be a sunflower. The designs are pre-drawn on watercolor paper for the students and as Ziehm paints her own version of the painting, she explains how students should make the same swoops and swooshes to create the same effect.

Both Zeihm and DiPalma take time between each step to walk around to the different students, helping them along. DiPalma might suggest more or less water to dilute a certain shade of blue, Zeihm might help you fix that mistake you made earlier.

“We are so compassionate and helpful and it puts them at ease because we’re right there,” Zeihm said.

The two said they don’t think the added benefit of a few drinks will cause the paintings to get too sloppy. If anything, it might help the process along.

“They’re not intimidated ... I think the wine probably helps that,” DiPalma said. “When we first did our test group, I told the students, ‘No. 1, pick up your brush, No. 2, pick up a glass of wine and No. 3, have some fun.”

For now, the two are holding Painting Uncorked events at Partners in Art, but are open to taking their services elsewhere for private parties. Each class costs $45 per person, and at the end of the lesson, each student goes home with a complete, matted watercolor painting.

Contact Sunday Lifestyle editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 4116 or follow her on Twitter at @DanielleHaynes1.

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IF YOU GO

• WHAT: Painting Uncorked

• WHEN: 6 p.m. Thursday -- sunflower; 6 p.m. Friday -- boats; 6 p.m. June 20 -- stylized shoes

• WHERE: Partners in Art studio, 75 Webster St., North Tonawanda

• COST: $45, materials included. Bring your own wine, drinks and snacks. Pre-registration required.

• MORE INFORMATION: Find "Painting Uncorked" on Facebook, email mypaintinguncorked@gmail.com or call 731-4856.