Walk into Tonia Hemme’s studio, and you immediately see walls covered with beautiful paintings. What is unique is that many of these paintings are examples of what she teaches others to do in just a few short hours. Several times a month she holds a paint and create event. For a small fee, anyone, including those with zero artistic ability, will learn how to paint one of her beautiful paintings in just a few hours. Recently I, an ALLmercednews.com volunteer, attended one of these events to see if the hype was true: could someone who stinks at drawing and has never painted anything other than a paint by number really recreate a work of art?
After spending some time talking with her and seeing the area while waiting for others to show up, she set me up with a blank canvas and a tray of paints. She has two large-screen TVs that show the steps of the painting. She also paints the picture again while walking you through the steps. Unfortunately, on the night I attended, the others who were going to come weren’t able to make it. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I basically got a private lesson in painting. And being a complete novice, I was grateful for the extra help.
All painting is done with acrylic paints, and all supplies are provided, as well as drinks (non-alcoholic) and snacks. There were a few painting techniques I was struggling with, and Tonia took my hand and guided the paintbrush so I could see and feel exactly what the brush stroke technique was. I would never have been able to figure that out by watching a Youtube video. Suddenly, I was realizing that my hours and hours spent doing very intricate paint-by-numbers as an adult were wasted! Though the paint-by-numbers I had done for many years were beautiful, they took hundreds of hours to complete, and if you look at them up close, you can see each individual color. Hemme taught me that I could paint something much more beautiful and blended in just a few hours, and her positive encouragement made me feel very proud of my accomplishment.
“I love painting so much and I love sharing it,” she told me. “I just want others to feel how fun it is and how relaxing it is. There was a woman who came the night we did the red umbrella painting, and when she was finished, she stood back and almost had tears in her eyes, like oh my goodness I painted that. There’s nothing like that. When they get so excited about what they’ve done, and that I’m able to help them do that, when you were able to share that with somebody…there’s just nothing like that feeling. That means even more to me, the teaching. It’s almost more special than the painting. The painting is relaxing and I enjoy it, but being able to share it with other people…that’s what it’s about.”
Her love of teaching was evident as she congratulated me, cheering me on like a proud mom every time I completed a step or made progress on my painting. After about three hours, I went from what I considered to be completely non-artistic to somehow creating a painting that I love enough to display in my home. When I saw her original painting that I would be replicating, I thought there was no way I would even come close. There were too many colors, too much detail, and it would be impossible. Tonia taught me that I was wrong…I could paint (though I am nowhere near being able to attempt this on my own), and if I could do this, then anyone else could too.
Tonia’s love of teaching others to paint is why she opens up her studio for paint and create events several times a month, as well as weekly drop-in open sessions and private lessons. She also does private events, parties, and fundraisers. There are several paint and create events coming up, and with ALLmercednews.com’s attempt to promote and support local small businesses, we will be adding them to our event page, which you can access at any time. The paintings she’ll be helping you learn to paint at the events are included below. Just click on the painting to go to the Facebook event page where you can obtain more information and contact her with any questions or to reserve your spot.