Write: Paint Nite in Pennsylvania bars pairs art with fun / by Sonya Paclob

isa Middendorf, Paint Nite instructor guides her participants in painting the "Decorative Wine" on canvas at Bogey Macaws. The event encourages non painters to come together with friends and have a drink, Middendorf said. She holds sessions at the restaurant every Monday that can host at about 40 participants in a private room. Photo by Sonya Paclob

isa Middendorf, Paint Nite instructor guides her participants in painting the "Decorative Wine" on canvas at Bogey Macaws. The event encourages non painters to come together with friends and have a drink, Middendorf said. She holds sessions at the restaurant every Monday that can host at about 40 participants in a private room. Photo by Sonya Paclob

Paint Nite is not your typical art class. For one thing, it's for adults. For another, it takes place in a bar.

Across southcentral Pennsylvania, painters of all levels gather to create art, drink and be merry. At the end of the night, they have a 16-by-20-inch artwork to take home.

Instructor Lisa Middendorf recently taught her 100th class. She's been teaching since March for the national organization that has the slogan, "Drink Creatively."

"It's so gratifying for me," she said. "I have helped someone achieve something that they're proud of."

Last Monday at Bogey Macaws American Grille in York Township, about 44 participants gathered for an evening of fun.

Each lime green apron-clad participant sat in front of a tabletop easel with water-based acrylic paints. They listened to Taylor Swift and Usher as they painted. Chatter and laughter filled the room.

Naomi Munkittrick from Dillsburg paints on her canvas with a brush and holds her burger in the other hand during Paint Nite at Bogey Macaws American Grille in York Township. Munkittrick admitted she was starving and said, "When you are a mom, you learn to multitask." Photo by Sonya Paclob

Naomi Munkittrick from Dillsburg paints on her canvas with a brush and holds her burger in the other hand during Paint Nite at Bogey Macaws American Grille in York Township. Munkittrick admitted she was starving and said, "When you are a mom, you learn to multitask." Photo by Sonya Paclob

For two hours they followed Middendorf's step-by-step instructions, sipping cocktails and eating appetizers. They took a 15-minute Drink and Dry break to let the paint dry, buy another drink and admire one another's work.

Everyone's techniques are unique, Middendorf said, "You have about 30 people and 30 different paintings."

Jennifer Hull, licensee of Paint Nite, brought the events to Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland last year. She conducts classes around the county and has seen an increase in popularity among women. She understands not everyone is a painter but wants people to relax and start with the basics.

"It's like Bob Ross in a bar," she said, referring to the popular PBS TV painter.

There are five Paint Nite instructors in Pennsylvania, according to Middendorf. Tickets are available for 34 classes in November with venues in Chambersburg, Mechanicsburg, Gettysburg, Hanover, Camp Hill, New Cumberland, Carlisle and Etters.