Painting the Day Away: Splash Studios

by Kristen Tracy, Contributing Writer


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From the moment the door opened the ambiance was clear; Bruno Mars blasting and friendly faces everywhere set the tone for this Saturday afternoon adventure. Inside were rows and rows of easels, each with their own little post-it note designating which canvases belonged to each party.

When my sister first told me she wanted to take our mom to a painting bar for her birthday, I had no idea what to expect. My first thought was that I have the artistic ability of a hamster and there’s no way I can create something even halfway decent, but after doing a little research I was quickly intrigued.

This past Saturday my mom, sister and I attended a three-hour painting session at Splash Studio in the heart of Milwaukee’s historic Third Ward. Each session highlights one particular painting and participants are taught how to create their own version of it in a step-by-step process led by one of Splash Studio’s painting instructors.

We recreated a piece called “The Islands,” a painting of a skyline, mountains, islands and crisp, blue ocean. With each step, we had the opportunity to add our own unique touches to the painting while still having the same overall concept. I went for more of a sunset/nighttime ambiance while my mom and sister took on a brighter, daytime setting.

Following these steps was only part of the experience; we had the opportunity to mix paints to create different colors, observe other participants’ versions of the painting, enjoy a few drinks and chitchat with friends.

The three hours seemed to fly by as we added a little more red or a little more blue here, or another island or mountain there.

At end of the session the three of us were pretty proud of our creations. None of us have any artistic backgrounds, so we were thrilled with how they turned out.

My dad’s comment when we showed him our finished paintings sums it up the best. “How did they teach you how to do that? You don’t know how to paint!”

Even though they share a common concept, we each added a different spin to our masterpieces that make them unique, just like us.

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