By Jerry Zezima
As a painter specializing in bathrooms, bedrooms and cats, who used to get splattered when I was painting the first two, I will never be mistaken for van Gogh (when I go for a haircut, I still get both ears lowered) or Picasso (my wife would kill me if I painted a nude model instead of the hallway). I can’t even draw a good salary.
But I recently exchanged walls and fur for a canvas of glass when I took a Paint & Sip class at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead, New York.
It was the first time I had ever painted wineglasses, but I was assured by the very nice and very talented instructor, Maggie Carine, that my artwork would be worth toasting.
“It may not end up in the Louvre,” said Maggie, 22, a steward at Martha Clara and a graduate of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, “but it will hang proudly on your wine rack at home.”
Each attendee in the 30-person class, which cost $35 for wine club members such as yours truly, was treated to a glass of either Solstice Blanc or, my preference, Syrah, because red wine is not only good for the heart but, as Maggie noted, “good for the art.”
She also gave me several kisses (of the Hershey’s variety) to add to the palate, if not the palette.
As I took my seat at one of the tables, I noticed that everybody was given two wineglasses to paint.
“If you mess up,” Maggie told the class, “you have an extra chance.”
Also in front of each attendee was a clear plastic plate with dollops of red, pink, purple and white paint, as well as two paintbrushes, one small for delicate work, the other large in case I got carried away and, fueled by wine, painted the entire vineyard.
In addition, we each had two sets of stencils with the shapes of lips, hearts and the letters XO, all of which signified love. We also were given foam-tipped stampers so we could festoon our glasses with polka dots.
“Tape the stencils to the inside of your glasses and trace around them on the outside,” Maggie instructed us. “Then color in the shapes. Be creative!”
That was all I needed to hear. Like van Gogh, I painted a self-portrait on my first glass. Using my stamper, I dotted two white eyeballs. I dabbed my small brush in red paint and made the eyes bloodshot. For the finishing touch, I painted a pair of purple pupils, which isn’t easy to say when you’ve been drinking wine.
Then I stamped a big red nose under the eyes. Under the nose I drew a purple mustache. Under that, I traced white lips. I topped it all off with purple eyebrows.
“That’s genius!” exclaimed Dianne Sykes, who sat at my table with her sister, Cat, and their mother, Suzanne, all of whom got into the spirit of things with creative paintings of their own.
Cat, for example, wrote “Girls rule, boys drool” on one of her glasses.
“How much wine have we had?” she asked, to which Dianne and Suzanne answered in unison: “Not enough!”
Maggie also was impressed with my artistic creation.
“Awesome!” she declared.
Thus inspired, I finished my first glass with a red heart, a pink XO and a series of multicolored polka dots. I used my stamper and small brush to create a dotted and striped base.
On my second glass, I flipped the letters and drew a pink, red, white and purple OX. “I’m as dumb as one,” I explained to the ladies, who politely disagreed. I also drew a red heart with an arrow through it, stamped some dots, painted the base red with my big brush and, with my small brush, put the finishing touch near the top of the glass by autographing it with a red “Jerry.”
“You did great,” Maggie told me when the class was over.
“Thank you,” I replied modestly. “As Picasso might have said, I’ll drink to that.”
Copyright 2018 by Jerry Zezima