GREENFIELD — Rachel Holmes looks forward to the Couples Night Paint Party. It’s one of her favorite events to host at the Indie Art Studio. Couples who attend the Feb. 13 gathering each get a canvas and work side-by-side with a partner to create a whole painting.

“Half of the people who come are reluctant to be there and only do so to humor their significant other,” Holmes said with a smile. But by the end of the evening, they’re both so into it, they start getting a little bit competitive, she said.

“One will say, ‘Well, I don’t know, honey, I think mine’s starting to look better than yours,’” she laughed. “They get so focused, they end up having a blast.”

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A couples paint night is only one of the classes Holmes, owner and instructor of the Indie Art Studio, offers to budding artists.

Located in the Creative Arts and Event Center at 2 W. Main St., the monthly agenda includes classes for toddlers, elementary students, teens and adults, as well as open studio time and scheduled private parties.

For her young artist classes, Holmes chooses a theme for each month and designs projects and activities around the theme. February’s theme is tie dye, she said, pointing at a collection of several multicolored butterflies hanging on the wall. The butterflies will be the toddler art project, the elementary students will make a tie-dyed scarf and the teens would be working to create tie-dyed tennis shoes, she explained.

January was monochromatic art, that is art that focuses on light and dark shades of one color, and next month will be pointillism, an artistic style made famous by Georges Seurat.

Adult classes at the Indie Art Studio include painting, calligraphy and wood burning.

Holmes, 31, is a native of Greenfield. She went to school to be a teacher but ended up following her passion, which has always been art.

Holmes mother, Jan Thomas, knew her daughter had talent from a young age.

When asked to pinpoint the telltale moment in Holmes’ development as an artist, Thomas recalled entertaining her daughter by drawing stick figures for her.

“She erased parts of my stick man and redid it,” Thomas said, and that’s when she knew.

The motivation to open a studio came from Holmes personal artistic motivation. She thought about what kept her from painting when she was feeling creative.

“It came down to not having a good space, not having all the materials and not wanting to spend a lot of money on materials,” she said. Holmes thought if she could provide that opportunity to others, her business model would be a success.

“Come here,” she said, “use the studio supplies, leave the mess here. You don’t have to worry about getting paint on your dining room carpet.”

Encouraged by her family and friends, Holmes saw her chance when another business moved out, opening up a space that included sinks and storage. It was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

“I’m not usually a risk taker,” she said, “but just for once, I’m going to take the risk.”

Holmes did her research before opening in November. She talked with friends and family to try and get a feel for what was needed in Greenfield. People are looking for things to do with their children or on their own, she was told. As a result, Holmes continues to add to her class offerings and to fine-tune her vision.

“I wanted a space for anybody,” Holmes said, “any skill level, a place for someone who’s never held a paintbrush could come in, or someone who’s been teaching [art] for years.”

Kayla Kidd and her husband Tony are big fans of Holmes. Kidd, along with her mother and sister, had taken a guided painting class with Holmes and enjoyed it so much, she signed up her and her husband up for the couples painting class.

“He was a little hesitant because he doesn’t think he’s very artistic,” Kidd said, but Rachel talked them through what they were doing, and they had a great time. The Kidds are signed up to participate in the Feb. 13 painting class.

Holmes reflects on the difference between art with children and art with adults. Adults are very hard on themselves, she said.

“They just beat themselves up,” Holmes lamented. “Learning to manage the self-criticism or how to get people over that was the hardest part in moving from children to adults.”

“Kids are happy with everything they do,” she said. “They don’t care; they’re just enjoying the experience.”

If you go

Couples Night Paint Party and other classes available at the Indie Art Studio, 2 W. Main St., in Greenfield.

Visit indieartstudio.com, call 317-912-0282

Pull Quote

“Come here,” Holmes said, “use the studio supplies, leave the mess here. You don’t have to worry about getting paint on your dining room carpet.”

Author photo
Christine Schaefer is arts editor and editorial assistant at the Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3222 or cschaefer@greenfieldreporter.com.