We originally heard about these paint places from our friend Brooke. Apparently there's one in Cooper Young she's been to a few times where you go, pay a set fee (which includes all your materials), and you then choose what you want to paint from a wall of options. That place is more paint-by-numbers guided, I think (as in, you get a sheet handed to you with step-by-step instructions).
Well, we then heard about this woman, Lisa, who does "paint parties" most Thursdays and Sundays of the month. With her parties, there's only one painting per class that everyone does. And she paints along with the class, offering a step-by-step tutorial. There is a set price that includes all materials (the canvas, paint, paintbrushes, aprons, etc.). And she advertises it as a fun get-together for groups, and encourages people to bring snacks and wine.
So Sunday night, a group of girlfriends and I attended one of these parties! None of us (except for one, who was an art major in college
Even if the final products hadn't turned out so well, though, I think this still would've been great. We all brought food and wine to share, and we were all at one long table, so we got to chat throughout the whole thing. One surprising aspect to me was how relaxing I found the actual painting. I don't think it would be relaxing if I just sat down in front of a canvas and tried to think of my own idea, mind you. But with the guided environment, it was low-stress. And the teacher was definitely encouraging to those who had some more natural talent, basically emphasizing that she was just showing one way to do it, and you could do absolutely anything you wanted on the canvas.
I highly, highly recommend this! In fact, I'm anxious to go back soon (although some of the parties in December are holiday-themed and a little kitschy, so I might have to wait for the new year).
Here's my masterpiece (Birds On A Fence, if you will):