There’s a recreational hot spot in downtown Joplin with a curious name: RSVPaint.
What do the letters stand for?
R = Relax. Ahh, sounds great.
S = Sip. Count me in!
V = Visit. Actually spend time in person with my friends rather than texting them? Sounds awesome!
P = Paint. Um, painting?
I do not have one artistic bone in my body (ask my kids about my attempts at drawing stick figures and I guarantee you’ll elicit some hearty laughs).
But paint-and-sip galleries are popular now among people, both with and without creative talent. They are filling a new recreational niche. Rather than meeting at a noisy bar, people are looking for alternative places to socialize with their friends, and RSVPaint is one of these places.
And, you know what? I found out that you truly you don’t have to possess any artistic skills in order to have a good time there.
Here’s how things work at RSVPaint?
First, you browse through RSVPaint’s online calendar to see which piece of artwork appeals to you. Make sure you select the Joplin location (there’s an RSVPaint in Springfield, too).
Themes change according to the season, so the choices are always fresh. The photo above shows some examples.
Once you find the piece that you want to paint, you can immediately reserve your space for the session online. While you don’t have to do this, I’d recommend it because the sessions fill up fast (remember, these places are popular now!).
On the night of your lesson, you can bring a beverage of your choice (alcoholic or not, it’s all good) or purchase one at the bar in the studio, then find a spot in front of one of the blank canvases at the tables.
After a few minutes of relaxing and visiting with your friends, the lesson begins. The instructor breaks everything down for you, leading you through the process one small step at a time.
Usually, all the students in class work on the same image for the night. However, I went to RSVPaint on one of the monthly Paint-Your-Pet nights, so while the process was the same for everyone, we all were painting different images.
Sounds intimidating to paint a portrait of your pet, right? Well, RSVPaint made it so simple.
First of all, everyone who registered for the session was asked to email personal pet photos to the studio. Here’s the photo of our golden retriever Micky that I sent:
And here’s what my canvas looked like when I arrived at RSVPaint:
Those artistic angels at RSVPaint had taken our pet images and sketched their outlines on the canvases. I was so relieved to see these lines because I certainly needed their guidance!
Coleman, our instructor, immediately put us at ease by explaining that the acrylic paint we were using was very forgiving, and that we could easily paint over our mistakes. (He was right – I successfully painted over several spots throughout the night.)
He began the lesson by showing us how to paint the background for our pet image, which consisted of green grass and blue sky. He said if you didn’t want that to be your background, you could do something else, but following Coleman’s technique felt like the safe thing to do for those of us with low artistic confidence.
Then we moved on to outlining the image. I started with the darkest color first.
Coleman’s instruction was so relaxed and encouraging, as was the atmosphere among the students in the studio. There was no judgement.
As the lesson progressed, I gained more confidence.
And while my finished painting is nowhere near museum quality, I feel satisfied by the fact that my kids didn’t laugh when they saw it.
I enjoyed this girls’ night out experience at RSVPaint because I was able to visit with my friends while also learning something new. (To see their awesome pet paintings, scroll down to the end of this post.)
My next task is to convince my husband to come with me to RSVPaint for a date night. On date night, each couple paints an image that extends over two canvases rather than each person painting the same thing. That way, there’s no competing with your beloved about whose painting is better. Brilliant!
By the way, RSVPaint opens its studio to younger painters, too. Painters of all ages are welcome during designated times (Saturday Family Paint and Walk-In Wednesdays), and children (13 and under) can also have their birthday parties there.
But it was grown-ups only on the night I went. And while I enjoyed relaxing, sipping and visiting with my friends, it was actually the painting part of the RSVPaint experience – the part that I’d originally dreaded – that made me forget my worries.
Because for a few hours that night, so much of my attention was focused on learning a new skill that my mind had no room for other thoughts, and my stress melted away.
Now that’s a great escape.
Here are the other pet paintings from our girls’ night out (courtesy of RSVPaint’s Facebook page):
Jackie and Erin (can you tell that they’re sisters?)
Carrie and Donna
Me and Julie
RSVPaint is located at 223 Third Street. Click here to visit its website.
To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.