“Would you like a glass of wine?” were the first words out of The Painted Vine owner Stacey Stahl’s mouth when I stepped inside to join a painting class on a Monday evening. The Painted Vine is a new art studio in Truckee where locals and visitors go to enjoy wine and create a painting with step-by-step guidance from an instructor. The Painted Vine carries wine ranging from a dry Italian red to crisp sauvignon blanc, including wines from Truckee River Winery. I ordered Truckee Winery’s Chicago Park Merlot and waited at the bar for the rest of the class to arrive. I was alone so I was happy to see four women walk in laughing and celebrating all — yes, all — of their birthdays. Everyone began introducing each other and quizzing Stahl on the wine selection. “You can try anything,” she explained, “because whatever you don’t drink, I get to sample later.” Immediately, I knew I was with a fun group of women.

Stahl explained that she got the idea to open The Painted Vine after she attended art classes in Reno. “[I was] incredibly reluctant at first since stick figures are a challenge for me, but I had so much fun learning the techniques the first time that I had to go back,” Stahl said. “Next thing I know, I was completely hooked and realized how perfect such a venture would be for Truckee.”

After she poured glasses of birthday wine, Stahl began prepping our painter’s pallets. Huge dollops of paint, different-sized brushes, water, and everything else we’d need was laid out next to blank canvases on two pine art tables near the front of the room. Taught by Stahl and a group of local artists, all classes have a theme, often a subject that relates to Tahoe, whether it’s painting a brightly colored cruiser bike or the rocks near Speedboat Beach. Tonight our focus was painting a beautiful sunrise over Emerald Bay with mountains in the background. Initially, I questioned how we were going to get all the dots connected, but Stahl began to show us a distinct order in which we painted on the canvas and slowly the beautiful blend of an orange, red, and purple sunrise appeared and the midnight blue of the lake took shape.

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“You can take a wine break anytime, or get up and walk around. It helps to look away from the painting and then look back at it,” said Stahl. This was surely true, but I couldn’t tear myself away from my canvas. My classmates Claudia, Kristen, and Michelle all commented that painting was therapeutic. Stroking the brush back and forth across the canvas and watching the colors blend felt calming, and as the painting began to take shape, I felt my determination kick in to really make something out of my canvas. I outlined mountains, brushed in trees, and I gave everything some dimension by adding a few more colors to create shadows and light. Katie lamented that her painting didn’t look anything like a lake, but more like a uterus. We all got a chuckle out of that one, but of course her painting was beautiful.

You can walk into The Painted Vine solo or with friends for a birthday, bachelorette party, or just a fun night out. And you walk out with a personalized painting that — regardless of how funny or weird you think it looks — is something to be proud of. Stahl proclaimed that she doesn’t consider herself an artist, but her enthusiasm for her business shows. She emphasizes that the best thing about owning The Painted Vine and teaching classes is “watching people who experience the full range of feelings I did when I first started — doubt, fear, anticipation, excitement, euphoria — and watching them skip out of the studio, masterpiece in hand.”

There was a strong feeling of community in the room as paintbrushes swished away and moved across the canvas methodically. The mood was happy and light, our subject was something we could all relate to, and everyone in the room was chatting. By the time I left, I not only had a new painting, but I had memories of a fun night filled with four women with whom I had shared wine, laughs, and paint.

To find the schedule of classes, book a private event, or to check out more photos from past classes, visit painted-vine.com or find them on Facebook.

Author

  • Briitni Kern

    After moving to Tahoe to pursue skiing and the freedom of the West, Briitni found true happiness. She is proud to call Tahoe her home and loves hanging out with all her amazing friends. The art column is one of her favorite things to write because of all the interesting and unique people she gets to meet along the way.

    Connect with Briitni

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    10317 Riverside Dr
    Truckee, CA 96161

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