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Paint and sip offers a moment to relax

Teresa Hennigar waits for the Paint and Sip to begin. Pictured front is current events paint project.

Teresa Hennigar waits for the Paint and Sip to begin. Pictured front is current events paint project.

By Audrey Sparks

On Jan. 29 the entry of Salveson Hall was converted into a painters paradise with 46 canvases, paint brushes begging to be used, upbeat music playing in the background, the sound of friendly laughter, and the occasional glass of wine. Kristi Osheim, manager of athletic operations at Waldorf, describes the event as “paint by number for adults without the numbers.” The founder of Creative Spirits, Barb Clayton, explained, as she cracked open her bottle of Guinness Blonde, it’s actually called paint and sip. Once a month Waldorf hosts a paint and sip event where individuals from throughout the surrounding areas pay $35 to create a painting they take home.

Osheim and Dyanna Quisling, Waldorf head cheer coach, put together the first paint and sip in May 2014 with only a couple in attendance. “By the time we scheduled it again in the fall we had full classes,” Osheim said. The group now has 278 members on their Facebook page, Let’s Paint-Forest City, and almost always has a waiting list for each event.

With no experience necessary, the painting class appeals to many types of individuals, but for the majority it serves the same purpose, a moment to relax. “It’s something fun for people to do away from the bar scene. It’s a social activity where you don’t have to bring your kids. You don’t have to bring your husband. You can bring your best friend and for two hours you don’t have to think about what’s going on outside,” Quisling said.

In fact it was in a moment of relaxing that Clayton found the inspiration to begin the Creative Spirits business. On a visit to Colorado, Clayton and her daughter, Mykal, attended a paint and sip event and she knew she had to bring the idea to Iowa. “My trip was to decompress, to relax, and to figure out what I was going to do next. From the moment we walked in Mykal said Mom you could do this,” Clayton said.

In May, 2012 Clayton opened the doors to Creative Spirits in Okoboji with just two artists. The business has grown to employ over 60 individuals and they put on 15-20 traveling events each month throughout the winter. “We’ll go to communities of like 250 people and we will have 40 people show up to paint,” Clayton said. The events have become so popular the business now offers a frequent painters card for returning participents. “You paint 6 times and you get the seventh one for free. You can’t even get a cup of coffee that fast,” Clayton said.

Teresa Hennigar attended her first paint and sip at Waldorf because a friend told her about it. She has been to every one since. With no painting background she was a little intimidated at first, but quickly found it was easier than it looked. Her frequent painter’s card is nearly full and she intends to continue participating. “I’m already booked for February and March. I have a great time when I come here,” Hennigar said. “It’s relaxing.”

February 12 is the next paint and sip event and there will be two on March 7, a 9:00 a.m. session and a 1:00 p.m. session. To be added to the invitation list or for more information about upcoming events join the Facebook page, Let’s Paint-Forest City, or email Osheim at