A social art class for visitors to experiment with painting
By Virginia L. Clark
Take a break from skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, museum hopping and well, working so hard at having fun here in the Land of Enchantment for another “Why Taos now” experience.
Those mountain vistas, cool forests and scintillating desertscapes can also be rendered in full living color or black-and-white paint and graphite at Art ’n’ a Glass, a night of beginning painting with a pint or glass of spirits at your side, for anyone and everyone, no art experience is required. It’s a kicked back and relaxing evening at the KTAOS Solar Center, 9 State Road 150, north of El Prado on the road to Taos Ski Valley.
This art social get-together happens every Wednesday at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20, and includes canvas, paint, brushes and extended Happy Hour pricing, with hand-selected special wines weekly. Local guest artists and their examples are provided as a guide and/or for inspiration. This is just an introduction, just the basics.
Art ’n’ a Glass was the brainchild of Taos photographer and painter Jim Cox, which moved its venue to KTAOS from El Monte Sagrado Resort & Spa this year. Solar Center Venue Manager Brent Plaster has taken over the reins, although Cox is still involved. Plaster aims to get an artist to commit to host two or three times in a row for some consistency. This not only benefits the participants, he said, but helps introduce local artists and galleries to the public.
“This approach gives a deeper glimpse not only into painting, but into the artists themselves,” he added.
Past host and Taos artist Ken “Crookedman Studio” Feldman dropped into a session in May and found the atmosphere congenial and relaxing for all concerned.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Feldman said. “This is good because as you grow older, you’re more self-conscious about not being good enough, so this is a great way to get over that.”
The look and vibe of Art ’n’ a Glass gets you up close and personal with professional painters.
“I wasn’t exactly sure of what to expect,” said guest artist Melody Romancito, “But it was way fun. There were a lot of people who were regulars and a lot of visitors, people just passing through town, who came out.”
It’s a fun, unique social experience painting alongside your friends (or maybe making new friends) with a glass of wine and a killer view of the mountains.
Templates are provided for people who may be timid about getting started. They are index board, cut-out shapes so you can trace the outlines.
“It gives you a place to start. A lot of people are very timid. They’re afraid to mess up the canvas or make a mistake,” Romancito said.
Romancito brought some canvases to give the painters-to-be an idea of what her work is like and encouraged them to memorialize the Taos they love in a painting.
Cox introduced Art ’n’ a Glass five years ago “because most people who come to Taos want to take something home with them.”
People are sometimes so stressed out on vacation, Cox said. He recalled one chief executive officer from Los Angeles who said the art evening was the best thing of his whole trip.
He complained that he came to Taos to relax and all he ended up doing was working – all the rafting and hiking, etc. “He said, ‘I’m working my butt off!’
Plus, they have something to show for their trip. I’ve had a lot of people who are just driving through from New York, California and Arizona. I think it’s the most successful class we have in Taos,” Cox said.
A wide range of ages attends, he added, remembering an 8-year-old boy he taught during a summer class.
“He was so good. He did the (Río Grande) Gorge template, and then he looked up at me and said, ‘OK! I got it!’
There are 16 stations set up, but the room can hold up to 20 people. It’s a first come, first sit event. Because space is limited, it’s a good idea to reserve a spot as soon as possible. You can sign up online at ktaos.com.
For more information, call Plaster at (575) 758-5826 ext. 213.
— Scott Gerdes contributed to this article.