Members of the community recreated a painting from a well-known El Paso artist Thursday, Oct. 10 in the east El Paso location of “I Painted That!” a sip and paint studio.
Attendees of the session sipped on wine and took shots of alcohol as they tried to follow the instructions of studio manager, Ebonie Adame.
Adame led the class in trying to recreate “The River Li,” a painting by the famous World War II artist correspondent and native El Pasoan, Thomas C. Lea III.
“It’s for people to come relax, have fun and learn something new,” Adame said.
The event was a partnership between the Tom Lea Institute and I Painted That! to help celebrate “Tom Lea Month” and raise donations. All sales from the $10 tickets were donated.
“Since Tom Lea was an artist, we wanted people to actually experience what it would be like to actually paint one of his paintings,” said Christy Gonzalez, the marketing and events manager of the Tom Lea Institute. “It was a seamless pick to team up with I Painted That! because they have the same vision that we do. There’s not a whole lot of businesses that encourage art and creativity and give the ability for someone to express themselves.”
This was just one of the many different events the art studio hosts. From family-friendly classes and open-studio sessions to bachelorette parties, the company offers a creative and fun space for anyone looking to have a good time.
Participants are only required to make an online reservation for the scheduled class of their choice, as listed on the company’s website. They are also asked to bring their own drinks or snacks, with the studio supplying wine and beer openers and cups.
“Drunk people paint better,” joked Adame, who has been working for the company since 2016. “It’s very much about the social aspect of it. It allows people to be more loose and comfortable and do something that they would not normally do, like painting.”
Adame thanked the company for providing her a platform to express her artistic talent and for all the fun and special moments she has experienced.
Adame said her favorite memory was when she helped a couple get engaged.
A boyfriend had originally told his girlfriend they would be attending a regular I Painted That! class, but had actually rented out the entire space for just them so he could propose.
Once the couple arrived, Adame, who was in on the plan, pretended to receive calls from clients canceling their reservation. Adame then told the couple it would be just them two taking the class.
Adame taught the session as a regular class. The couple drank and completed their paintings, then in the end, Adame showed the girlfriend a custom painting she created that read “Will you marry me?”
“Everyone cried,” Adame said. “It was a really nice way to commemorate their life together. I still have the video on my phone.”
That was not the only couple Adame has painted with. The Tom Lea class saw three couples painting and sipping wine together.
One of the couples was Jessica and Trey Jackson, both 26, who got married less than two months ago and have since established weekly dates.
“I scheduled this for us today,” said Jessica, who is in the Army. “It’s fun. I think the wine makes it a lot interesting, too.”
I Painted That! has three different locations throughout the city, in the west side, east side and the northeast.
Prices also vary depending on which class one would like to attend. “Canvas & Cocktail” classes start at $35, while “Wood & Wine” workshops, where participants build, stain, stencil and paint their own wood signs, start at $45.
The Tom Lea class ended with 15 paintings of “The River Li” and empty wine bottles scattered across tables covered in paint.
The fun will continue for the entire month of October as the studio will host various events onsite and offsite, including a Maleficent–inspired art class Oct. 18 at the Alamo Drafthouse and a “Halloween Paint Your Pet” class Oct. 30 at their Westside location.
For information regarding I Painted That! events, visit ipaintedthat.com.
Anahy Diaz may be reached at [email protected].