“Just roll with it.”
That quick, reassuring sentence has become Casey Clark’s mantra over the last year, as she’s spent the majority of her evenings walking groups of women through their own personal masterpieces in a fun, group setting.
One evening in late April was no different. With 50-plus women anxiously sitting before her, Clark took a blank canvas, a medium-sized paint brush and a little orange paint. With a few instructions here and there, Clark said she released the women’s “inner artist.”
“They all have their doubts,” Clark said of painting. “But they are all doing it. They will all leave with their own artwork. Happy. That’s the best part.”
After purchasing as many wooden easels as she could find roughly a year ago, Clark opened Off the Wall Arts, which offers paint and sip events. Paint and sips are painting parties or classes where women (and men) can come together for a relaxing evening that also includes a little wine or other beverage.
Women have been flocking to the increasingly popular paint and sip parties for a unique night out, to celebrate bridal or bachelorette parties or as a corporate team-building event.
While she supplies everything needed to paint, Clark said she does not provide the alcohol.
“I just provide the entertainment.”
Traveling from place to place, or offering programs out of locations in Greene County, Clark said she met some amazing people along the way.
Prior to parties or fundraisers, hosts are given a wide selection of paintings to choose from, and their choice is painted by everyone in the group. However, Clark said individuals are encouraged to differentiate from the main painting.
“Everyone starts out with a blank canvas. There is no stenciling,” she said. “I’m here to help if someone is struggling.”
And if someone is unhappy with line or dot, there’s always plenty of paint to correct the problem. The wine doesn’t hurt, either.
Diane Adams operates a similar program out of her Claysville art studio, having started Brush It On Painting Parties in April. She provides the snacks while participants are invited to bring their choice of beverage. As a professional artist, Adams said the painting parties are just another extension of her work.
“As I say, ‘No artistic talent needed,’” she said.
Some larger, better-known paint and sips are Paint Monkey, in Lawrenceville and Cranberry Township, and Painting with a Twist, in Robinson Township. Both appeared within the last two years.
With snacks and spirits on hand, Lindsay Piasecki said paint and sips make great fundraisers. That’s why she reached out to Clark for her April fundrasier to benefit the Bentworth Girls Community Softball League.
“It’s a new idea,” Piasecki, the president of the softball league, said. “It’s not your typical fundraiser. It’s easy and doesn’t take a whole lot to do,” she said of the event that lasts about two hours.
Clark, a mother of two who has a full-time job in mechanical design, feels blessed to be doing something she loves. “Artsy,” to begin with, Clark said friends and family encouraged her to open a paint and sip business. She said she jumped right in.
“I come home from work and get to paint my heart away,” the Carroll Township resident said.
It shows. Clark’s constant smile and positive attitude is infectious. While many of the women at the fundraiser were repeat customers, several were worried about their first experience – mainly the end result.
“I was nervous that it was going to be hard,” Krystal Lindley of Eighty Four, said. “But she explains it step by step.”
Marlina Hay of Bentleyville thoroughly enjoyed her first paint and sip experience.
“I’ve been wanting to do this as a girls’ night out for some time,” she said. “I love it.”
As the group was putting the final touches on their paintings, Rhonda Grabiak remembered she’d forgotten to take a photo of the blank canvas before starting.
“Last time, my husband said I traced it,” Grabiak, of Washington, said. “I didn’t even think I could do it.”
Grabiak was surprised with her first painting and is looking for a frame to hang it. She plans to do the same with her newest addition.
“It’s a fun night out with the girls, and you have something to show for it,” she said.
Clark, overhearing the conversation, laughed.
“If I had a nickel for every time someone told me they couldn’t draw a stick figure, I’d never have to paint again,” Clark said. “I get the best high from this.”
Off the Wall Arts can be contacted at 724-610-2900 or on Facebook. Brush It On Painting Parties can be reached at 724-344-3662 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.