An Evening At The Paint Bar

I am an accountant. VERY left brain; not so much on the right brain stuff.

I can’t draw a straight line. I can’t even draw a crooked line.

But I couldn’t wait to try out The Paint Bar.

I’m sure you’ve seen these places.

Come drink a little wine with your girlfriends while we walk you through an art project. You will go home with a “masterpiece” to hang in your personal art gallery.

On my recent trip to Boston, I joined my daughter, Annie, and daughter-in-law, Lily, for a night of fun at The Paint Bar in Newton, MA. 

Holy Jackson Pollock was it fun!

The girls have made several trips to The Paint Bar so they knew the ropes. We arrived early, carrying in our dinner from the fabulous Cook restaurant next door.

Stepping up to the bar, we ordered our beverages of choice. I was delighted to see that Carnivor was one of the red wines offered.

Yes, please!

After chowing down and donning our painting smocks it was time to get down to business.

This was the goal for the evening.

Paint Bar Ducklings

Piece of cake, right?!?!?!

We would be painting a scene right out of a children’s story book – sort of. The Make Way For Ducklings mama duck and eight baby ducklings, strolling across the Boston Common in their Patriots gear.

First we gathered our paint as instructed. One pump of this, three pumps of that…

Paint Bar paint

I had my paint, I had my brushes, I had my wine.

Brimming with completely misplaced confidence I thought: Let’s do this.

Paint Bar clean canvas

The Paint Bar is owned by an adorable mother-daughter team. Mother Jill mans the bar and daughter Jackie patiently talks schlubs like me through the painting process. Jackie really, truly is a miracle worker as you will see.

Jackie gave us very detailed but easy to follow instructions.

“Make a mark halfway down on the left side and another an inch from the bottom of the canvas on the right. Draw a line to connect those two points and Voilà! you have a sidewalk!”

Slowly, methodically, step by step Jackie guided us. Before I knew it, my painting was taking shape!

Paint Bar first steps

At this point, sensing that I would need my wits about me to capture the essence of the ducklings, I put aside my glass of wine.

More paint, less bar.

Between our giggles, the girls and I carried on.

Time to introduce the stars of the show to my canvas.

Paint Bar ducklings

While not an A+ job, definitely a solid C or C- so far. With this kind of success under my belt I decided to go off script.

I’m a Chicago gal, not a Patriots fan. And I was in Boston for a Notre Dame football game.

I know, I thought to myself, I will dress the ducklings in green! Go Irish!

What could go wrong?

Note: When you go to The Paint Bar, DO NOT go off script. Jackie is a miracle worker but can only help you if you help yourself.

Jackie tried to assist me as I selected the right color of green. Except there wasn’t the right color of green because the goal was red, white and blue for the Patriots.

However, by now I was fully committed to my wayward plan. Green duckling sweaters or bust.

Thanks to Saint Jackie and my incredibly supportive fans, Annie and Lily (who were, of course, trying to complete their own “masterpieces” but had enough sense to follow directions), I created this:

Mo's masterpiece

Not too bad if I do say so myself. Not too bad except for one tiny thing.

In trying to add sassy pom poms to mama duckling’s scarf, I ended up with

mama duckling with jazz hands

Mama Duckling With Jazz Hands

That’s all you can see now, right? Yep…jazz hands…

Meanwhile, under the category of “this is what you get when you have talent and follow directions”, please let me present Annie’s

Annie's masterpiece

and Lily’s

Lily's masterpiece

beautiful finished products.

From start to finish Lily, Annie and I had a blast and are ready to go back. We just have to figure out where to best display our efforts.

The Paint Bar

Have you been to a place like The Paint Bar? Have you created a gallery in your home to display your lovely work? Is that “gallery” in a closet?

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Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Your painting is adorable…Make way for Ducklings was the first brand new book I received as a gift…I have always loved the book and anything to do with it….love it.
    Beemie recently posted…‘Tis the Season…My Profile

  2. What a riot!!!!! I love mama’s jazz hands, perfect!! Very brave of you to go off script, you a self-described pathological rule follower! Our church sponsored a paint bar recently. But my left brain laughed loudly at my tiny little right brain and so I chickened out. And I then missed out on what was a fantastic time. You have inspired me Mo, thanks!

    • I did note the irony of me refusing to take pictures at the Boston Pops concert but willing to cast the painting rules out the window. I’m an enigma. You should definitely give paint bar a try. We should do it on our next girls’ outing!
      Mo Lux recently posted…An Evening At The Paint BarMy Profile

  3. I love you green ducklings!! What a fun way to spend time with your girls!! Hope you are enjoying the season, Mo!! xoxo

  4. I tried a sip and paint once. The result wasn’t ANYWHERE as good as yours!
    Kathy G recently posted…It Shouldn’t Be This Hard!My Profile

  5. My daughters and I did something like this and it was fun. I am right brain all the way, but not artistic at all. I was amazed how the instructions result in a reasonably good painting.
    Vicki recently posted…Sweet and Simple Christmas TableMy Profile

  6. Oh this is so much fun! I’ve not been to on of these but my sister has and loved it. I love that you guided us through the unfolding of your masterpiece – most cherished I think will be your memories of the night everytime you look at your ducklings with their jazz hands mother.
    Barbara recently posted…The Paris KeyMy Profile

  7. all of your paintings look fantastic! it sounds/looks fun in theory, but anything artsy makes me queasy! i can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.
    catherine gacad recently posted…Holiday Photography SessionMy Profile

  8. Omg – I literally laughed out loud at the jazz hands. This is me. This is so me. I’d have gone off script as well and created jazz hands. So funny, Mo. It is a delight. How fun. Would love to do something like this and I do thank you. I’ll check it out as something to do with my daughter when she comes home for Christmas. Wheeee – she arrives tomorrow. And yes, go for the framed giclee numbers. Your two girls will love them.
    Kelly L McKenzie recently posted…Skating on Thin IceMy Profile

  9. great job! I think your green is perfect! I went to a similar place with a group of girls from work – what a riot. turns out one of our co-workers actually has a FINE ARTS degree. Sheesh!! We spilled our wine on her masterpiece…in our minds…
    Laura Ehlers recently posted…HO Ho Ho….I need some helpMy Profile

  10. One of my favorite childhood tales! I visited the statue of the ducks when I was in Boston! I’ve been wanting to attend a group painting class soon. Your incredible talent and delicious snacks are encouraging!
    Leslie Anne recently posted…Comment on I Wish for Gayfers by ConnieMy Profile

  11. Kathy (Go Irish) L. says:

    First of all, your first painting is great! You will get better each time you do it.
    The day after Thanksgiving, I made reservations for my family (even my reluctant husband) to paint during open studio time at a nearby paint bar – and by “open studio” I mean you each chose a painting and replicate it yourself with “light instruction.” We all had such a good time, even my husband’s painting turned out reasonably well. I am having them all framed (with ready-made frames at the local frame shop) for xmas gifts.

  12. Good on you for going for it! Loved the jazz hands!

    I’ve been told I’m creative like an accountant. Plus I don’t drink. I come up with crazy holiday costume ideas that I pull off, but I don’t know that a painting/drinking event would be something that would be a good match for my abilities.

  13. I really liked going to one of those once. Our painting was more abstract = more room to be clumsy and have it still look good! Yours turned out awesome!

    My problem is where to put the masterpiece. It’s in my garage.
    Katy recently posted…Christmas Cheer from Experienced Bad MomMy Profile

    • I’m thinking I might just collect all of the paintings (including the ones that the girls created on prior trips) to create a family gallery in my unfinished basement. It would be the perfect complement to the wine cellar, right?
      Mo Lux recently posted…An Evening At The Paint BarMy Profile

  14. I didn’t know you were an accountant! So is my husband. And I think that way too, so my experience at a similar paint place was way out of my comfort zone.

    Mama Duck with jazz hands – that’s all I can see now. I love it!

    Jackie and Jill? Hehe.
    Dana recently posted…I rocked the 2015 Reading ChallengeMy Profile

  15. That DOES sound fun– forces everyone (well, those of us who are NOT visual artists) to get a little uncomfortable.

    Wishing you a Happy New Year!

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