Summer has finally begun. And what better way to celebrate than to spend a few hours with good friends, good wine, and a room full of people making the same painting!

My bestie Kellie takes Summer very seriously and has packed her family calendar full of fun activities: pottery making, kayaking, botanical gardens, San Diego, Irish fairs, quilt runs, hiking — you name it. Summer is serious business. And because I’m her bestie, I get to ride on the coattails of her BOGO deals! Yay!

So she and her two beautiful girls took me to the Purple Easel, in Rancho Cucamonga, California, where we commenced to make the art…and man, was it fun! (Did I mention yet you’re allowed to bring booze? Well, YOU’RE ALLOWED TO BRING BOOZE!!…and drink it too!)

When you walk in, you’re escorted to a table by their courteous staff and set up with a blank canvas, a smock to protect your couture, all the necessary paintbrushes (color-coded for ease of use), jars of water, palettes, paper towels…and, of course, paint. They make it so easy…and fun!

IMG_9838Eric (up there on stage in the purple shirt) was our Bob Ross last night. He did a fantastic job of guiding us through the African landscape, explaining how to mix colors and make grass and how to turn a football into an elephant. What’s really great about the whole thing is you don’t have to be good at art! It’s very basic, very doable, and cuts out all that angsting one normally has to put oneself through before art-making can begin.

Eric broke it down like a boss:

First, you make three stripes…deep sky, low sky, and something for your animals to stand on.



A blob of red, a blob of orange, and a blob of white gets you Thousand Island clouds. A blob of yellow and a blob of white gets you a drowsy sun amid distant clouds. A light touch gets you grass and vegetation. I said a light touch!



Now to give it some life!!! (There’s Little D on the other side making her own magic.) 🙂


They played really great music too. Everyone was sort of humming and singing along to classics like Van Morrison, Blind Melon, and even a little Rihanna. And while I was hoping we would have a Magic Movie Moment where the whole room breaks out into united song and precise choreography…this didn’t quite happen because everyone was concentrating so hard. It took me the entire session to drink one little ‘ol cup ‘o celebratory Moscato (courtesy of Ninja S…so good!…thank you!).

"Music of the Savannah"

It’s a crazy simple sort of thing. Walk in with a bottle of wine, walk out having made art. That’s really the best feeling, having just made art. If only this were a mandatory civic obligation…like taxes or jury duty. When you receive your Art Summons, you have to report to your local town square with a good attitude and clothes you don’t mind getting messed up. Crime rates would collapse to the bottom of all bar graphs across the board. People would spontaneously hug each other in the street. Litter would simply not exist. When I become Queen, we’ll all be rolling, eating cake, and making art. 😉

Anyway, I give Purple Easel two thumbs up and a bag of tater chips for a job well done. It was a great experience. Everyone had a smile on their face…. Great fun! And the fireworks bursting over our heads as we left clutching our creations was the cherry on the top of a sweet time. Thanks, Purple Easel…and thanks, Kell!


* I must confess, this painting gave me the worst Lion King earworm since the original movie came out. I even woke up the next morning to the sounds of, “NANTS INGONYAMA… BAGITHI BABA, SITHI UHM INGONYAMA…!!!!” coming from my left ear. A little disturbing. Especially when you can’t help but join in. My poor neighbors.


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  1. Renée says:

    I want to go there so badly. Purple is my favorite color. And I love art. AAAARRRTTTT.

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