On a somewhat overcast Sunday morning, my daughter and I ventured out to Bottle & Bottega in Berkeley Heights for a girls’ painting date. My daughter, a self-professed artist, was super excited about painting with her mom, who never…I mean NEVER paints.
Luckily, she had enough energy and excitement for the both of us and I took a deep breath in as we entered the building. It was quiet, so while my noise sensors were relaxing, my eyes got a 1-2 punch from the vibrant and vivid color all around me. Loads of paintings, created by the instructors, line the walls. Most of them are for sale. Pops of color, like electric light bouncing off the walls, kept my eyes engaged as we wandered in.
Upon entering the studio, we were greeted by a super sweet gal named Val (our instructor as it turned out) who had us sign in and then gave each of us an apron and asked us to pick our seats. It was a small group, myself and my nine year old daughter, two twenty-somethings, and another mom and her 6 1/2 year old daughter.
Val started explaining what we were going to be painting (an elephant), and how we would go about it. We would start by sectioning off the small canvas, then sketching each part of the elephant with pencil, then the trees, and finally, painting the piece, which involved color mixing and the use of different brushes.
All of our supplies were set up waiting for us when we walked in, with the exception of the paint, which Val divvied out as she told us about herself and the studio.
It was so interesting to watch the blank canvas turn into various shapes, which turned into the shape of an elephant, and then trees behind it, and then sky and grass and lots and lots of color.
Val was very patient with the kids, and stopped when they needed to catch up or had a question, and let them chat and sing as we produced our mini masterpieces. She answered their questions about the paintings on the wall, who painted them, how long did it take to paint them, which belonged to Val, and many, many more. Val answered every question as she continued instructing us. She even found the time in-between that to tell us everything Bottle & Bottega has to offer.
Bottle & Bottega began in Chicago in 2009. In 2011 they began to franchise. With locations in California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas, they are definitely making a name for themselves.
Their motto is “Art Uncorked”. Bottle & Bottega is a great place for a ladies night out, a couples night out, or an alternative spot to host a fundraiser. You bring the drinks and the snacks; they provide the glasses, paper goods and silverware to make you feel comfortable while you paint.
If family time is more your fare they have family sessions where the family all paints the same piece, but with different colors. They have drop in paint times, as well, or you can register for a class online.
Bottle & Bottega is a great spot for a bachelorette party, a baby shower, or a kid’s birthday party. Or, if you prefer to have them come to you… that’s fine too. They will bring the paint and the party to you as long as you have a minimum of 7 adults or 10 children in attendance.
They even offer a “Paint Your Pet” session where you can come in with a picture of your favorite pal, and paint him or her. They really have something to offer everyone.
If you come in for class or a party but don’t finish your piece, you can come back any time, at no charge to finish it up.
Corporate team building? Bottle & Bottega provides team building for corporations large or small. They can recreate a logo up to 25’ long, that the employees get to paint together.
Most classes are two hours which is just the right amount of time to get your creative juices flowing, but not have you overthinking like you’re the next Rembrandt.
After we finished, we were only responsible for cleaning up ourselves and letting Val take a few pictures of all of us and our pictures. By the time we were ready to go, our paintings were dry.
No surprise that my nine year old’s piece was far better than mine, but that was fine by me. We had a great time together without screens, and by using our hands, something we are doing less and less of these days with technology so readily at our fingertips. It was also really special to sit someplace and just listen. To make something out of nothing, and do it with one of my favorite people by my side.
Bottle & Bottega is located at 472 Springfield Ave., Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922 – 908.376.6440, or at bottleandbottega.com. You can also look at a calendar of their upcoming painting dates (including an image of the painting they will be doing!).