These are but two of the texts I received from a couple friends, both women, when I told them I’d signed up for a session at Painting with a Twist.

“What time does your mom-jeans class start?”

“Are you drinking red wine?”


For the record, there is nothing inherently funny about Painting with a Twist, but it does appear to be a lot more popular with women than it is with men. Apparently this lends itself to certain female stereotypes (wine, daisies, teal-hued cowboy boots), so much so that I’m half-surprised Cathy Guisewite didn’t dream up the business model.

If you’ve never been to or seen one, Painting with a Twist is the largest brand in the burgeoning “paint and sip” industry, offering painting classes paired with a BYOB policy in more than 200 locations across the country. An report last year gave us that number, and something like 10 of them have numerous franchises. Clearly, these places have found a niche, at least enough to inspire a minor canon of gender-specific snark.

To my friends’ credit, the class I took was two-thirds female. Mostly moms. All drinking wine. It was white wine, though, and only one of them had jeans on. And she was an aunt! Not a mom! So in your faces, Sarah and Kathleen! The other dude in the class was her nephew, who was about my age and was apparently a regular. He mentioned wanting to fill up an entire wall of his home with his PWAT art. So. There’s that.

While it may have been more convenient for me to take a class at the locations in Fort Worth (2605 Cherry Ln.), Arlington (4001 W. Green Oaks Blvd.), or Burleson (104 E. Ellison St.), I know the owner of the Denton store and promised her a year ago that I’d check out her place. My mom has a birthday (like other moms, as I’ve been told), and rather than send her socks or a card depicting Maxine having a hot flash or whatever, painting her a birthday present provided me with a convenient pretext for going.

For the next three hours, I made my way through a six-pack of Fireman’s 4 as an instructor named Megan, funny and affable with an art degree and penchant for singing and dancing along to the Elton John and Journey songs coming from the speakers, led us in mixing and applying tempera paints to canvas.

[box_info]Painting with a Twist
208 W Oak St, Denton.

Having a good time is the ultimate goal of a Painting with a Twist party — the art is almost a secondary. Between booze, a Pandora station of classic rock and pop, and a call bell rung whenever the party’s energy flags or someone says something negative like, “My painting sucks,” the classes are designed to keep people positive, fun, and upbeat. But even without the amusement of getting buzzed and murmuring along to “Tiny Dancer,” the physical act of painting on canvas is enjoyable. I doubt anyone will walk out the door carrying a bona fide masterpiece, but blending colors into basic shapes that resemble a real thing was surprisingly therapeutic. Your fee ($35 for a two-hour class, $45 for a three-hour one) covers instruction and materials, and you’re allowed to bring your own food and drink. Some locations are licensed to sell beer and wine, but the Denton spot is BYOB. Like any place that allows alcohol consumption on the premises, they don’t want people getting hammered and/or being difficult.

I might have had to endure a little bit of wise-ass ribbing, but Painting with a Twist is at least as fun as I made it to be. The next time I go, I’m going to bring my mom — she loves red wine. –– Steve Steward


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