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Treat Yourself: Create a masterpiece at The Painting Café

Photos by Courtney Kless

Social painting events have grown in popularity in recent years. With that in mind, I headed to The Painting Café in Baldwinsville to get in touch with my inner artist.

The Painting Café moved to its current space in the Titcomb Center this past June. According to owner Johnnie-Lynn Fioramonti, painting on canvas is most popular, but they also offer pottery painting, board painting, paint pouring and mosaics (among other things) for individuals and groups of all levels – and you can bring your own adult beverages. “What I try to offer is a relaxing, slowed down, calm environment,” she says.

I did the painting on canvas, and Fioramonti walked me step-by-step through the process. I started by choosing my design (cherry blossoms – perfect for spring). Once you have your canvas, you have the option to trace a stencil of the design before you start painting. I wouldn’t exactly consider myself an artistic person (stick figures are about the extent of my drawing skills), so I used the stencil. It definitely made things a lot easier. Patrons can also pick their own colors or use the ones on the instruction sheet – I liked the colors, so I chose the latter option.

“I was taught fine art. I’m teaching fun art.”

– Johnnie-Lynn Fioramonti,
owner of The Painting Café in Baldwinsville

Once my outline was on the canvas, I painted the background, followed by the tree branches and the cherry blossoms. Next, I filled in the detail of the flowers. Once that was dry, I added a glaze to the entire canvas. The final touch was my signature in the corner. The entire process took about 3.5 hours, and as a beginner, I enjoyed the slower pace and explanation of the different techniques.

Fioramonti says the benefits of painting are numerous.

“When you’re doing a landscape, or as we did, cherry blossoms, you’re trying to recreate something that you see on a flat piece of paper,” she says. “As you’re doing this, your brain subconsciously is working other problems out…Your mood will come out in the painting, and you can direct your mood. You can see as you’re painting, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s really grey.’ It can retrain your brain to say, ‘Ok, I need some yellow in there,’ and as you’re using the yellow, you notice that your mood is lifting.”

I know I left feeling a lot less stressed.

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