When Howard County schools are off, painting classes at Pinot’s Palette of Ellicott City are an awesome staycation idea for a winter afternoon with the kids. Owned by a local couple, Jim and Lisa Noss, Pinot’s Palette employs local artists and helps residents learn fine art, while enjoying good company. Conveniently located in the Turf Valley shopping center, the company is walking distance to several restaurants as well as a spa and a salon. For a mother-daughter day, the area is ideal. Since I had MLK day free and my daughter had the day off school, I stopped in for an afternoon of painting. While my daughter Samantha was excited to paint, I had an incredibly rewarding experience.
Pinot’s Palette of Ellicott City
Best Staycation Idea for a Winter Day in Howard County
Showing up twenty minutes early, I was surprised to see several people already seated. When the class began, the room was almost at capacity with kids, parents and a couple grandparents. Participating in a local event that had earned such a buzz around town was exciting. An employee came by and put my daughter’s name and my name in front of our painting stations. As we got our smocks and sat down, Samantha quietly sang along to her favorite Frozen songs playing through the speakers.
As the teacher explained how to create the painting, she gave a clear introduction to the tools. My daughter and I learned how to use the three different paintbrushes, the two paper plates and the paper palette. With the first step, the room became busy creating a blue sky with a swirly paintbrush move. Perfection was not the goal, but rather to fill the canvas with blue. The last time I painted was in 2008 when I studied under a late Russian artist, whose painting I always admired for having a beautiful interpretation of the world, an interpretation of how the world looked to him, but that was not perfectly realistic. Since it’s been a while, reconnecting to painting was a great experience for me.
My daughter also had a fantastic time. She’s only four years old, so she had this beautiful, free spirit with a relaxed idea about how the painting could look. Because years ago, I studied art in college before I majored in history, I always bring so much more stress to painting, focusing intently on the composition, but never getting it right, and still imagining what a criticizing professor might say. It was so adorable to see how proud Samantha was of what she created. Just getting to create new colors on the palette was exciting to her.
With a teacher coaching the crowd, learning to paint was simple and non-intimidating. The class provided a wonderful introduction to painting shapes. After listening to the teacher, I led Samantha in how to do each step. Although the room was packed with kids, the instruction stayed focused and clear. As a certified teacher, I was impressed with the instructor’s ability to coach so many excited kids. Leading a crowd of kids to complete a task can be challenging, but the instructor was excellent. Looking around the room, I saw so many awesome paintings of penguins sunbathing on the beach. Some people got really creative and added scarves, cool hats and football jerseys.
Visiting Pinot’s Palette of Elicott City was such a success. My daughter and I learned a lot, while having fun. Getting to walk away from the experience with a keepsake created by my daughter and me meant a lot to me. I have the paintings displayed in the playroom for everyone’s enjoyment. In the future, I can’t wait to visit again. Check out the company’s online calendar where you can see a visual of what the painting would look like for each event.
Tips for Visiting Pinot’s Palette of Ellicott City
- Bring food. The company allows you to take your own food. Snacks are great to keep kids happy. Midway into the class, the teacher gave us an intermission break, which was a great opportunity to snack. If you go with friends, check out some of the restaurants in the Turf Valley shopping center. You could get a tasty appetizer to go and eat it there.
- Arrive early. Parking was filling up in front when I arrived almost twenty minutes early. There should be more parking in the back, but to get the prime parking spots, aim to arrive fifteen minutes early.
- Pack light. Your belongings will go in a cubby.
- Wear clothes that can get dirty. Even with the smock on, you might drop some paint on your clothes.
- Keep your electronic devices in your bag in the cubby. When I kept my cell phone out to take pictures, I got a white dusting of paint on it. Although getting the paint off was simple, going to a painting class is a great reason to put your devices aside and spend time with friends anyway.
For more art tips, check out Kids’ Art Room Guide: 3 Inspiring Ideas for Making Your Art Space Prettier and 4 Must-Try Kids Room DIY Crafts. You can also follow Theresa’s Reviews on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flipboard and Youtube.