By Arthur Gonick
Photos: Dev Dinon
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Forgive the first of many puns, but you would be well advised to not brush this one off.
On Wednesday, January 11, over a dozen future Van Goghs and Rembrandts came together for a relaxing vibe and artistic experience as Bailey’s Café hosted a unique social event: Paint and Sip night, co-presented by Saratoga Paint and Sip, whose studio at 80 Henry Street is often packed since opening over four years ago. Owners Catherine and Mark Hover have caught the wave of a phenomenon which has led to them opening Paint and Sip’s throughout the Capital Region.
The next step in their evolution and growth is what ultimately brought them to the cozy, heated patio on the corner of Phila and Putnam Streets – mobile Paint and Sip! In which they bring the canvasses, oils, and brushes; Bailey’s brings the beverages, and for a modest fee, your artistic instincts are brought forth, with both encouragement and technique.
Take it from someone who can’t draw a pathetic stick figure on a dare: This was an eye-opener on several levels.
I was aware of the Paint and Sip phenomenon. But seeing it play out at Bailey’s, I noted a few important things.
– People communicated with each other! Since their hands were filled with either a brush, a beverage glass, or frequently – both – there was not a cell phone in sight. No texting, and yet plenty of live LOL on a human to human scale. In that sense, this progressive idea is really retro: Harkening back to the family dinner table (albeit more liquefied) where people talked about their day, etc. That alone makes it worth considering the next time you see this traveling art class scheduled for an upcoming event.
– You can learn some great technique, and take it as seriously or not, as you wish. Shannon, one of Bailey’s great bartenders, has been to about three previous paint and sip soirees, and I have to say I was impressed with the very serious way she went about her painting – often jumping up to get a better view of the instructor’s demonstrations. As far as the finished product: let me say that I would certainly be happy to hang it on my wall! But, even more so, it was a pleasant surprise to learn about a new dimension from a person who I have known for a little while.
– Nearly nothing surprises me anymore about Bailey’s co-owner Sam Bottini. I learned long ago to suspend disbelief about anything about this one. He had me at a three-martini-pour maneuver when he was bartending up the street several years ago. Since that time, he has shown enthusiasm for everything he does: The Giants and MMA; pasta sauce; and, now- painting.
– But the biggest eye-pops went to the ringmaster of this evening’s festivities. That would be paint and sip instructor Katherine Gauthier – AKA the poster woman for the word STAR! One look at Katherine, her energy and enthusiasm, show biz theatrics and just plain glam-smile self, and you know you are in for a great time. Oh, and not so by the way – this lady can paint! And teach you how. Worth the price of admission alone, which is how I define STAR!
Owner Catherine Hover commented on Social Media: “We are loving the partnership between Paint and Sip and Baileys! Yayyy! A community that paints together stays together!”
Indeed, I’m a believer. Perhaps there’s a masterpiece inside of me, ready to burst out. Perhaps the United Nations, Presidential Cabinet, and NYS legislature should start painting, sipping and communicating. Like the President-elect said: You could do a lot worse!
Baileys has already scheduled their next Paint and Sip event on Wednesday, February 22. The cost to attend is $35 pp. Reserve your spot by phoning 518.583.6060.
Or better yet, stop in and say you want to paint. You may, of course, start sipping immediately.