The Perfect Painting Party

pinots1Painting was one of my very favorite activities from a time before I can remember to some time in my early 20s. Once I could compose images on a computer, I found it hard to turn back to any media that could cause a potential mess. Last Friday, my girlfriend and I spent most of our night in front of canvases at Pinot’s Palette trying to create our own renderings of a Christmas tree painting. The task looked remedial, but it served as a reminder of how much order and control goes into such a simple rendering. It was also fun keeping up with all the steps, making happy accidents and sipping on wine.

Oh yes, wine. Someone came up with the winning combination of running a studio where people can take a painting class while enjoying a comfortable beverage. Pinot’s Palette is a sprawling franchise offering various classes ripe for socializing aided by a pleasant bartender serving wine, beer and bourbon (we enjoyed the local Old 502 Winery’s Bourbon Barrel Red).

This Houston-based business has only been around since 2009 and already has 153 studios spread throughout the U.S. and Canada. The Louisville franchise has been open for three years now, and Kathryn Baker took over the St. Matthews location as owner/operator in June. She explained how local ownership carries a consistent experience over a vast network of locations. “… We all give feedback to each other and information and tips on what others are doing with their classes, and then we try it here,” she says. “There’s a lot of support. It’s like a big family.”

pinots4She also knows all too well what people often experience on their first visit: “When I decided to buy [the franchise], I had never done anything like this before … I hadn’t painted probably since kindergarten.”

Everyone attending the class sits side-by-side and is provided a canvas, preselected paint colors, brushes of three sizes and an apron. What follows is an instructional experience similar to a cooking class: Everyone’s trying to get the same result, but the style of each artist’s work has its own character. Music from the 70s and 80s resounds throughout the room, setting a fun and festive atmosphere.

20780006The three-hour experience is ideal for a date night and probably better for group outings. Every class has a title and theme. Some nights offer bottomless mimosas, and every Thursday is half-priced bottles of wine night.

The whole space and its restrooms act as a gallery for the work produced over the past three years. Frames are also sold to complement the completed paintings. In the back, the “King Louie Room” is reserved for private parties. And, perfect for the holidays, they also sell gift certificates just in case you think someone you know might get a kick out of the fun offered here.

I’ll admit that I personally probably wouldn’t choose to paint a Christmas tree on my own, but the end result I created at Pinot’s Palette was wonderfully satisfying because I created it myself. I had the freedom of adding my own little choices to its completion and was able to incorporate flairs of my own style. My girlfriend, meanwhile, was having a blast just simply painting. We had plenty of time to chat, chuckle at the kitschy music and enjoy some good drinks. It was my first time, but I certainly hope it won’t be my last.

I mean, when you mix wine with anything, especially the whimsy and adventure of painting, can you really go wrong? VT

Pinot’s Palette is located in the shopping center at 291 N. Hubbard’s Lane. If interested in a class or gift certificate, go to or call 502.409.4572.

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