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Painting with a Twist Makes Amateurs Artists in One Night

No artistic skill? No problem. A new franchise promises to help you paint a masterpiece (or at least a painting that you won't be ashamed of), that you can take home, in two hours or less.

Painting with a Twist was the brainchild of Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney in 2007. It was born as Corks N Canvas and grew into the current franchise just two years later. When asked about their initial inspiration, Deano and Maloney had this to say, “Initially friends, devoted to our kids and our community, we (Cathy & Renee) decided to start a business that transforms a fun night out with friends into a work of art (as seen in photo 1)."

"We also wanted to do something to lift the spirits of people where we lived after Hurricane Katrina. Not only was New Orleans ready for a change, but so were we. Inspired by the experiences and stories of step-by-step painting instruction turned fun social gathering, we created an art studio devoted to just that. Corks n Canvas opened in Mandeville, LA in 2007. Three additional Corks n Canvas locations soon followed in the New Orleans and surrounding area. Requests for more kept coming.”

Now, anyone would be skeptical about the concept. Create a nice looking painting in just two hours? Even if you've never painted? Tedra Franklin, the owner of the Painting with a Twist in Sherman, Texas, says that she's never seen anyone take home an awful painting. Since students are encouraged to bring their own alcoholic beverages, this may be hard to believe. Franklin explains that it's all in the teaching technique, "If you can play Simon Says, you do this."

It all starts with a painting. The instructor (who is an established artists) uses the company database to choose a painting to demonstrate during the one-night class. The database lists over 2,000 works of art created specifically for the franchise and is added to on a regular basis. Once a painting is chosen, the instructor can use instructions from the database to learn how to replicate the painting in a class setting (as seen in photos 2 - 3).

During the class, students are given their paints on a paper plate, a cup of water and brushes. The instructor demonstrates each step of the painting and the students follow along. At the end, the instructor and assistant help students one-on-one with their paintings and encourage the students to add their own special touches. Though each painting turns out to be unique, every student ends up with something that looks very similar to the instructor's finished painting.

The instructors also make sure that each painting is dry, so it can be transported home without smudging. The paints are acrylics, which dry quickly, "and then we have hair dryers for rainy days and wet paintings," says Franklin.

After a flurry of students blow-dry their paintings, the instructor gathers the students together for a class picture to be posted on Facebook. If Painting with a Twist is a breakneck-speed art class, then the class picture is the graduation. Very few students seem to dislike their painting, and most are eager to hold their creation up before the camera.

While Painting with a Twist would surely bore professional artists, for those who have never picked up a brush, the franchise seems to be an ideal way to try painting and dabbling in the arts in a fun and non-judgmental atmosphere. Franklin affirms, "It's a feel good class. That's what I like."

All photos courtesy of Alina Bradford.