Muse Paintbar on Commercial Street in Portland. Shannon Bryan photos
Stan Finch, left, co-founder and president of Muse Paintbar, and Vanessa Leigh, co-founder and lead artist. They're holding two paintings that fit together as one (perfect for couples, no?).
You can paint that. An artist instructor at Muse Paintbar can show you how.
Some of the paintings that guests will have a crack at.
The tables at Muse Paintbar are made from recycled bar wood from Maine bars.
Muse Paintbar co-founder and lead artist Vanessa Leigh painted this portrait (which hangs on the men's room door). Unfortunately, it's not one of the paintings being taught at Muse (portraits are hard, folks. Let's work our way up to it).
Empty paint cans make for fine apron hangers.
The bar is against the bag wall. There's no beer or wine there in this photo, but there will be.
The set-up: A canvas, easel, paint, brushes. All this photo is missing is the all-important drink.
"You don't have to be afraid of being messing here," said Vanessa. And Muse Paintbar sure has plenty of supplies for you to get messy with. But try keepin' it on the canvas.
It’s amazing what you can do with a canvas, paint, and a glass of wine.
The wine (or beer) isn’t required to paint something amazing at the new Muse Paintbar in Portland, but it sure helps a novice painter’s confidence.
Muse Paintbar is about to open on Commercial Street (in the space formerly occupied by Color Me Mine), with classes starting June 5. Here’s the gist: You sign up for a class online (you can also see what you’ll be painting on the calendar, so you can choose your class based on the painting you like best). The $35 cost includes all the supplies – canvas, easel, paint, brushes, apron – as well as step-by-step instruction from an artist instructor. Of course, it is a paintbar, after all. So buying a glass of wine or beer is a welcome part of the experience (besides, your inner artist can sometimes use some help relaxing).
Think you can’t paint? “You absolutely can,” said Vanessa Leigh, co-founder and lead artist of Muse Paintbar. “We design the paintings and instruction for everyone – whether you’ve painted before or you haven’t.”
The instructors paint right along with the class, offering pointers and helping painters out when needed.
“You can interrupt us. You can get up and get another glass of wine if you think that’ll help,” said Vanessa. “Most people come and are very, very surprised by what they can do.”
But the bottom line, she said, is that it should be fun. No worrying about getting paint on the table, no panicking over getting it perfect. And when the evening comes to an end, people who “don’t paint” will discover that they might just be painters after all – and they’ll have their own small work of art to prove it.
Muse Paintbar will have a bar selling beer ($4-$5 a glass) and wine ($5.75-$7.50 a glass) and a menu of easy-to-eat-while-painting dishes like cheese plates or hummus plates. Painters can also bring their own food or non-alocohlic drinks.
The paintbar seats about 50 and is available for private parties. They offer evening classes most nights of the week, including Friday and Saturday nights, as well as classes for kids on the weekends (although children are welcome at any class).