REENFIELD — There is no wrong in art.
Not the way Christie Haywood sees it, at least. It’s a mantra she passes along to students of all abilities at Let’s Paint 4 Fun, a new painting studio that recently opened in Greenfield.
Let’s Paint 4 Fun is a painting studio that creates an opportunity for customers to experience the joy of being an artist without judgment or criticism of their craft.
On any given night at Let’s Paint 4 Fun, you will find a group of people in paint smocks sitting at their easels and creating matching landscapes, still lifes or paintings with a seasonal theme under the step-by-step guidance of an instructor.
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Haywood said she began thinking about a paint-for-fun-type business even before she was downsized from her job in the health care industry.
She had a close friend in South Bend who had opened a paint-for-fun studio three years ago, and it did well. Haywood participated in a couple of sessions at the South Bend studio, and she saw how customers responded with brush in hand.
“It’s a business that brings joy to people. They come in and walk out with a finished painting that they created,” Haywood said.
Haywood’s studio, located at 876 S. State St., is brightly-painted and comfortably seats 40 people at tables with enough room for painting supplies.
The walls are adorned with dozens of painting examples for the would-be artists who come in to try their hand at the craft Haywood so enjoys.
Let’s Paint 4 Fun opened Aug. 29 to a packed open house that included the Chamber of Commerce and the mayor.
Since then, Let’s Paint 4 Fun has been open five nights a week with sessions that Haywood calls painting events.
A visit to the color-coded schedule calendar on the website details painting events for adults, children, families and teens, with spots for private events and fundraisers.
Each event lists the time, the instructor and shows a thumbnail of the painting each group will do.
Haywood has been busy, with budding artists visiting from all across Central Indiana.
“It’s our selection of paintings,” Haywood said. “People look online through the variety of pictures they can paint, and they come here.”
With more than 300 paintings to choose from, there are a lot of options. The calendar shows the painting for each open event, but private parties can choose anything from a variation on Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” to a painting of a frog in a Santa hat.
For a few dollars extra, painters can sip wine and beer and enjoy snacks while they paint as well.
Haywood currently has five instructors on staff who walk the aspiring artists step-by-step through recreating the painting. Part of the job interview includes being able to recreate one of the sample paintings hanging on the wall of the studio. Haywood’s instructors come from a variety of backgrounds. One is an art teacher from an area high school; two others are tattoo artists.
Tattoo artists make good instructors, Haywood said. They pay attention to detail, and they have a knack for helping people relax.
“Once in a while, someone walks in who is afraid to put the brush to canvas,” Haywood said. “The instructors talk and joke with them a little, and once they get started, they relax.”
Though Haywood hires instructors to lead the classes, there was one evening when none of them were available for a private party. Haywood realized she’d have to lead the class herself.
“I am not an artist,” Haywood joked.
But she was up. And so, with a little practice ahead of time, she was able to lead the class through the picture.
Haywood said people often want to personalize their paintings with different colors or, if there are words on the painting, sometimes they change them to better fit their personalities.
Take the painting of pink flowers, she said.
“One group changed one of the pink flower petals into the shape of a pink breast cancer survivor ribbon,” Haywood said.
Haywood personalizes the atmosphere, too, with the right kind of music for each group. Right now, of course, it’s Christmas music, but she’ll play whatever kind of music each group wants.
“People like to paint while listening to music,” Haywood said. “It relaxes them.”
Haywood has lots of plans for the future. The types of painting sessions offered on the website calendar tend to be seasonal. After Christmas, the snowman and winterscape paintings will be put away, and the painting event schedule will include Valentine and beach scenes as people look forward to warmer weather.
A newly hired male instructor will offer paintings suitable for display in a man-cave. She also has plans for kids camps over winter break, spring break and the summer.
Haywood admitted the paintings look complicated, but she promised they’re really quite simple.
“Let’s Paint 4 for Fun is meant for somebody who is not a professional to come in, relax, enjoy the evening and create something,” Haywood said. “People walk out surprised because they didn’t know they could do what they did.”
Let’s Paint 4 fun
Address: 876 S. State St., Greenfield
Cost: $20-$35 a person, depending on the size of the artwork
Hours: Evenings and by appointment; see event schedule on the website