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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

Wine Tasting and Art Class Come Together at Blending Palettes

Nov 24, 2015 12:58PM ● By Brandi Barnett

Paint the Town

December 2015
By Fache Desrochers

What art tool did you like best a child? Were you delighted by the abstract freedom of fingerpaints, or were you more enthused by coloring books and their suggestive structure? Did your heart beat fast at the sight of a new box of crayons, with their unforgettable waxy smell and uniform points? Was there anything better than a fresh set of markers, their felt tips loaded with juicy, generous color?
Whatever creative implement was the favorite of your youth, one thing is pretty certain: you had one. As a child, just about all of us doodled, sketched and painted as a matter of almost second nature. In school, at home, on long car trips – it’s as natural to see a kid with a handful of crayons and a stack of paper as it is to see him or her with a ball, a stuffed animal or a face sticky from a recently devoured ice cream cone. Even Picasso once observed, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
With the exception of a relatively small percentage of the population who self-identify as artists either by passion, by trade or both, most people leave their art supplies behind just as they do their training wheels. But at Blending Palettes, Visalia’s first dedicated “paint and sip” art and wine studio, a small group of self-taught, local (and indeed, grownup) artists are challenging this marginalizing trend of maturity, and working hard to create a space where adults can remember the joys of art and reclaim what is rightfully theirs, one canvas at a time.
“As adults, it seems like a lot of us end up being alienated by the art world,” says Blending Palettes founder Chevella Mac. “Which is strange to realize, because people will sign their children up for art classes, and yet they often feel too intimidated to go themselves. And that’s crazy. Art is for everybody. So at Blending Palettes, our goal is to make a space where it’s safe and fun for adults to relax, make art and forget about the stresses of life, like we did when we were kids.”
As the studio’s owner and operator, Mac possesses both a keen understanding of how ex-artists (also known as adults) relate to the creative process today, and a passion to help them rediscover their roles as natural artists. The studio opened its doors in February, and since then, Blending Palettes has been combining the soothing delight of California wine with the empowerment of a relaxed and absolutely natural return to artistic form. “It’s very rewarding, helping people find their creative side again,” says Mac. “It’s awesome to see people realize that they can do something they thought they couldn’t.”

The structure for art classes at Blending Palettes is intentionally simple, stress-free, accessible and designed to fit in with the busy lives of Valley residents. Whether you are looking to get in touch with your creative roots alongside friends, have an inspirational date night, enjoy a unique private party or introduce a young person to the joys of painting, this studio has you covered. Blending Palettes’ calendar (updated regularly and viewable on their website) boasts a wealth of activities for all ages. Adult classes are held Wednesday through Sunday (typically in the evenings), and provide patrons with a glass of wine along with canvas, brushes, paints, instruction and an example piece of art to work from (all example art pieces have been created by one of Blending Palettes’ artists-in-residence). In addition, Wednesday nights feature an “Eat, Sip, Paint” evening, where patrons can enjoy a house-made salad or panini paired with art instruction – an all-inclusive scenario that is ideal for the Valley’s busiest patrons.
Meanwhile, every other Tuesday sees a free wine tasting event at the studio. Blending Palettes has partnered with a number of California wineries to function as an auxiliary tasting room. “Apart from bringing a tasting room to Visalia, these Tuesday events can be a really good icebreaker for people who want to come and paint, but may feel a little intimidated,” explains Mac.
So whether you are a wine enthusiast, a re-awakened artist, someone looking for a unique Valley outing or all three, Blending Palettes is the perfect place to get in touch with your inner creative, while relaxing in an environment organized by artists who want to ensure that the young, uninhibited artist in each of us always has a place to paint.

Blending Palettes • 3332 S. Mooney Blvd, Visalia
(559) 372-9855 • Find them on Facebook and  Instagram