There aren't many classes where popping a wine cork is encouraged, but Brushes and a Bottle is one.
Rachel Heglar of Kennewick began teaching informal painting classes -- many at wineries -- a little more than a year ago. They're as much a social event as a learning one.
"We have fun. We maybe drink a little wine, eat a few snacks, and everyone -- no matter if the last time they lifted a paint brush -- goes home with something they can hang on the wall," she said.
Everyone in the class paints the same subject, usually an abstract because they're more forgiving.
"If a line isn't perfect, if your chicken looks funky, that's OK. It's an abstract," Heglar said.
There are usually 10 or fewer in a class. She teaches private groups -- it's a great activity for birthdays, girls night out, a couple's date night -- or watch for classes advertised on Facebook or her website, www.brushesandabottle.com.
Marijo Bowe of Kennewick attended at least six of Heglar's classes and calls herself a Brushes and a Bottle groupie.
Bowe admits to being petrified the first time she set a paint brush to canvas.
"I hadn't painted since I did paint-by-number in gradeschool. But she says anybody can paint and she's right," Bowe said.
Each class runs about three hours. Heglar brings all the art supplies, including aprons. Her students bring an open mind and have fun.
Cost is $45 per person and class members are expected to buy wine/food from the winery or restaurant where the event is held.
Heglar said she's been painting all her life but became serious about it a few years ago.
She has paintings hanging in several wineries and in Wine and More in Kennewick.
Teaching is very fulfilling, she said.
"I'm sharing something I love and showing people who never thought they could paint they too are creative," Heglar said. "My purpose is for them to succeed and many definitely surprise themselves."
Heglar's idea for Brushes and a Bottle came from the internet. Do a search for "painting" and "wine" and dozens pop up.
"I thought the concept was interesting especially since we're here in the heart of wine country," she said.
Once she attended a class in Portland, she was hooked.
"I was convinced the Tri-Cities was ready for something different to do and I think I was right. My classes have been well received," Heglar said.
-- Rachel Heglar conducts eight to 10 a month and has likely led 100 to 120 in the past year, mainly for adults, but some for children too. Those classes cost $25 and run about an hour.
-- To contact Heglar, call 509-947-8551, email her at rachel@brushesandabottle, or via Facebook or the website.