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Morton Times-News - Morton, IL
  • Pair hosting painting parties

  • ‘Cocktails and Canvas’ let non-artists create a piece of art while relaxing with friends
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  • Artist Rhonda Rayman believes anyone can create real art, even if many are pretty sure they can’t.
     
    “This (program) is set up for the painter to succeed,” Rayman said. “And in more ways than simply ending up taking home a beautiful decor quality painting.”
     
    Starting this summer, Rayman has served up “Cocktails and Canvas,” a commercial artistic venture that is one shot art therapy session, one shot new age sewing circle and one shot Par-Tay! Participants sign up to join a group of friends, strangers, family members, co-workers or any other combination of humanity for a relaxing couple of hours of creating a fun, colorful painting of a glass of white wine, a red Solo cup full of beer or a refreshing-looking dirty martini or margarita, all done while consuming the real thing.
     
    “My aim is to emphasize the human contact aspect of the experience, that it’s just a group of people sitting down and talking, getting feedback from each other, cheering each other on and painting at the same time,” Rayman said. “Adding the drinks makes you relax and makes it more enjoyable.”
     
    Rayman has worked as an artist for more than 30 years. She got her first job as a graphic artist for the local Taco Bell when she was 16 and later went on to get a degree in art therapy from Alverno College in Milwaukee. She managed a children’s museum in the Fox Lake/Ingleside area outside of Chicago, taught painting to clients from pre-schools to nursing homes and painted faces at Erin Feis earlier this month.
     
    “I get satisfaction out of working as an artist every day,” she said. “The key to that is don’t say no.”
     
    Rayman admits that cocktails and canvas is a copy-cat idea that has been around a few years; she first heard of gatherings in Colorado.
     
    “I wanted to see if it would work here,” she said.
     
    Here’s how it works:
     
    A group contacts Rayman at 826-8299, or Jodi Adams at Created Just by Me, on the square in Washington, at 481-5384 (createdjustbyme.com) and works out an appointment.
     
    Rayman will travel to homes, clubs, businesses, Created Just by Me or any space that has room for a group of people to paint. She’ll provide any number of stretched canvasses that she outlines with the pattern the group chooses paint, brushes, supplies and a finished painting she had done as a guide to the group.
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    The group provides the booze.
     
    For $35, participants leave with a boldly colorful, hangable painting and the warming sense of a couple of hours well spent.
     
    “I think the experience decreases stress and the shared experience provides a feeling of doing something positive,” said Rayman, who moved to Morton in 2010 from the Chicago area. “It’s good to get the endorphins going. Everybody who has done it has liked it I think.”
     
    Rayman has done several Cocktails and Canvas including one session with the human resources department from Methodist Medical Center and with a group of women at TNT’s in East Peoria. She envisions doing bachelorette parties, bridal showers or any conceivable gathering of art interested customers.
     
    The recent collaboration with Adams at Created by Me has left Rayman open to any kind of artistic endeavor.
     
    “She has Created by Me art studio for the ceramics and the other arts she offers, but doesn’t really do canvas herself,” Rayman said. “So that’s where I can fit in. She wanted to do a canvas thing and that’s what I do. We really complement each other.”
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