Putnam's newest bar is an art bar
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Putnam - posted Mon., Jan. 14, 2013
The newest bar in Putnam serves up burnt umber and titanium white paint rather than craft beer. It dispenses art classes rather than liquor. Artique, as it's called, is a “paint bar” located in downtown Putnam. Owner Lisa Andrews opened the doors to the 500-square-foot “studio” on Jan. 1. A graduate of the Art Institute of Boston and a children's art instructor at Silver Circle Gallery, Andrews leads paint bar classes for anyone aged 5 to 95. The “classes” are events in and of themselves.
On Jan. 13, Andrews stood before eight children ranging in age from 11 to 14. Three of the kids were JoAnn Suriano's. She thought a paint bar outing would be a perfect special event for her kids and their friends. So with pizza in hand, she brought the group for their personalized session.
Artique offers family paint days, paint bar nights and private events. The idea has taken off in cities across the country. Suriano went to her first paint bar on a business trip to Dallas. “It was a blast,” she said. She had trouble convincing her 13-year-old son Marco, but once he started working on his canvas, he came around. “I wasn't thrilled,” he admitted. “I told her I'd just stay home.” But staying home wasn't an option with mom. “It's fun,” he said. “I'll probably hang the painting in the house.”
Paint bar visitors spend two hours working on a painting that they pre-select as a group. Andrews leads them step by step through the process. Suriano's group chose a painting of a cardinal to copy. That painting stood on an easel at the front of the room. Participants are outfitted with aprons and provided with canvases, paint and brushes. Then using a blackboard, Andrews shows people exactly where and how to start.
The first order of business was painting the background. The next was painting in a branch. “You want to start in the upper right-hand corner,” Andrews said, showing them on the blackboard. “There's no right or wrong way to do this. And you can always go over it again.” She circulated among her painters, giving suggestions on how to hold brushes, how much paint to apply, and how to fix errant brush strokes. All of the birds were a little bit different, which was the point.
“Take your flat brush and color in the bird,” Andrews told the crew. “Now take the tiny brush and get some black paint. Blend it with the red.” The birds took shape and form on the canvasses.
Fourteen-year-old Megan Feragne enjoyed painting. “I like it," she said of the experience, "because if we didn't have her to lead us, we'd go through a lot of canvasses,” she said. “And we get encouragement along the way.”
“Whatever comes out is my own creativity,” said 13-year-old Sidney Feragne. Then she considered how to sign it. “I'll put it in the corner, little and mysterious,” she said.