Under the influence

A vintage bicycle parked in front of a red colored structure—an old building or a barn perhaps? The ground beneath it, littered with brown-yellow grass, hints the fall season was in full effect. Positioned directly to the right of the bicycle is a glass window, whose age is made evident by its frame, covered in a yellowish-green substance.
The location of this scenery is on the art canvas mounted at the front of Saturday night’s painting class at Pinot’s Palette.
Pinot’s Palette, located at 7959 Broadway in the Alamo Heights area, is a studio that hosts unusual painting classes for the San Antonio community. Here, painting with a glass of wine, beer or other beverage is encouraged.
A franchise of the original Pinot’s Palette (formerly Pinot & Picasso), which opened in 2009, the Broadway location fully replicates Pinot’s Palette’s unique studio design of art stools and tables in a brightly lit room, fully equipped with a snack area, restrooms and large sinks.
The company’s logo (its name) is artistically splattered on the wall in blue and yellow paint. Tonight’s class, called “Vintage Ride,” features a bicycle resembling a shire velocipede from the mid-19th century at the forefront of an old structure.
Pinot’s Palette hosts painting classes three times a week on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, which people can attend for $35 per person for a two-hour class and $45 per person for a three-hour class. The cost includes all necessary materials such as canvases, easels, paint brushes, paints and aprons.
Incorporating the BYOB (bring your own beer) concept adds to the fun the studio offers as participants are encouraged to bring any drink (either alcoholic or non-alcoholic) and snack of their choice.
At the beginning of class, each attendee receives an apron and is seated in front of his or her own blank canvas, with painting materials within painting materials within reach. There are typically two artists leading a class: a lead artist and an artist assistant.
Lead artist, Lisa Mack, enthusiastically shows the class how to replicate the painting step-by-step. Her assistant, Luis Rodriguez, walks around the class assisting attendees who are having difficulty with a particular step. Breaks are taken intermittently to allow the paint to dry and to give attendees a chance to mingle and socialize.
One of the owners, as well as a studio manager, Cristina Canales, is also present, flashing warm smiles at attendees throughout the session. The studio is filled with laughter, singing and chatter, as some attendees amuse over tiny mistakes, while others sing in unison with the music emitted from the studio’s sound system.
Time passes quickly and soon the three-hour class is over. Eyes roam over one another’s paintings with kind compliments, which only add to the positive aura of Pinot’s Palette. At the end of class, attendees leave the studio with a sense of pride as they stare in amazement at their own masterpieces.
The Alamo Heights location of Pinot’s Palette has two owners, who head a staff of five artists; Sonia Garcia, Karen Arredondo, Matthew Ritchie, along with Mack and Rodriguez.
When asked about the most popular night, Canales responds, “It all depends on which painting we’re doing. We have some family painting days on Sundays, and we are hoping to add an additional class on Wednesdays starting in May.”
The studio easily holds forty-four attendees, enough space available for nights when it is booked beyond the usual amount.
As the studio’s website states, “Pinot’s Palette is the upscale ‘Paint. Drink. Have Fun.’ destination in San Antonio where anyone can be a Picasso. No art experience required!”
Classes are either two or three hour sessions depending on the difficulty of the painting selected for that evening. Additionally, the studio does offer private parties for events, ranging from birthdays to corporate get togethers.
A calendar highlighting the dates and times of public classes is accessible on the studio’s website and displays each scheduled painting.
If you love art and painting or if you would love to learn how to paint, then sign up for a few of the classes at this studio. Pinot’s Palette will definitely help you turn that blank canvas into a masterpiece, all in a fun environment.

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