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5 Reasons to Unwind with a Wine and Canvas Course This Fall

We can all agree that a night of blissful relaxation is the perfect way to close out a long week. What better way to unwind on a Friday night than with a paintbrush, canvas and beverage at Wheelhouse Studios, the open art studio in the lower level of Memorial Union? Luckily for you, Wheelhouse will offer that perfect combination in their Wine and Canvas courses on select Friday nights this fall.

You can learn to create Pam Keller’s Old Wooden Boat painting for yourself on Nov. 11!

During Wine and Canvas, you can de-stress while brushing up on your painting technique (pun very much intended). Sip on a beverage of your choice while learning from our talented teaching artist Pam Keller, who has taught the course since October 2021. In just two and a half hours, you’ll learn how to paint a beautiful scene with the help of Pam’s step-by-step instructions and painting expertise. The themes of each class are inspired by either photos Pam has taken or paintings by her or her colleagues. This fall’s themes include:

The Wheelhouse team launched the Wine and Canvas courses in 2019 and has offered them every year since, including a virtual version of the program during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each project is developed uniquely for Wheelhouse, so you can impress your friends and family with your one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

Why should a Wine and Canvas night be in your future? We’re glad you asked!

  1. You’ll improve your painting technique.

Whether you’re brand-new to acrylic painting or have years of experience under your belt, you’re sure to learn some new skills to use in your future art endeavors. Pam will walk you through each step of the painting process, from the initial sketch to the final brushstrokes on your new masterpiece. During the evening, you’ll learn skills in composition, layering and introductory color theory while enjoying great wine and great company.

  1. All materials are included, including your first drink.
Sip on a glass of wine while creating your masterpiece.

When you show up for your Wine and Canvas course, the only things you have to bring with you are your love of painting and an outfit that you don’t mind getting a little paint splattered on—we’ll take care of the rest. Wheelhouse staff will supply all art materials, including a canvas, an easel and, of course, plenty of bright paints. 

If the included art supplies weren’t incentive enough, what if we were to tell you that your first drink is also included in the course? Yes, you read that right! You can choose any beverage offered at our on-site restaurant der Rathskeller, which includes local beers, non-alcoholic beverages, and red and white wines. 

  1. Wisconsin Union members save $10.

Wisconsin Union members enjoy many of the Union’s most popular amenities at a discounted rate, and Wine and Canvas courses are no exception! Union members and University of Wisconsin-Madison students (who are temporary members while attending the University) save $10 on every Wheelhouse course. To learn more about the benefits of Union membership or to become a member today, click here.

  1. You’ll receive free studio access after the class.

Did you know that your Wheelhouse course registration grants you free studio access for two weeks immediately following completion of the class? During these two weeks, you can use our open art studios as often as you want, whether you want to finish your canvas, continue honing your painting skills, or try your hand at a new medium.

  1. You’ll learn from the best.

Last but certainly not least, you’ll learn painting tips and tricks from artist extraordinaire Pam Keller. 

A painting of a birch grove at a Wine and Canvas night in March 2022.

Pam has loved art for as long as she can remember. Growing up, she spent countless hours watching her father draw and paint. Her father’s artistic enthusiasm and talent inspired her to follow in his footsteps and become an artist herself. She even attended his alma mater, the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Ill., where she graduated 30 years after he did.

During her time in the Academy’s intense art program, she majored in graphic arts and design and gained experience in many other mediums as well, including painting and photography. After graduating, she worked as a graphic artist for marketing agencies and also began painting murals in businesses and homes. Her beautiful murals led her to teaching positions at a local park district building, the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Ill., and, eventually, to Wheelhouse Studios at Memorial Union.

“I never thought I’d become a teacher, but when I was given the opportunity to teach 14 years ago, I surprised myself by saying ‘Yes,’” Pam said. “My art background helped me gain confidence that I could help artists learn the skills I had first learned from my dad.”

Pam appreciates many things about the Wine and Canvas courses at Wheelhouse, but more than anything, she loves connecting with people in the class and watching them learn and grow as artists.

“This fall, I can’t wait to meet new people,” Pam said. “It’s incredible to watch artists who have never painted before take home paintings they never thought they could do.”

Wheelhouse Studios feels like home to Pam, especially since Memorial Union was one of the first buildings she visited when her daughter attended UW–Madison. Her zeal for painting is contagious, and you’re guaranteed to leave with a newfound love of painting after taking a class with her.

“Painting has been my passion my whole life,” Pam said. “I’m thrilled to be doing what I love.”

Outside of art, Pam enjoys swimming, biking, hiking and exploring to explore all that the outdoors has to offer. This summer, she completed two parts of her first-ever triathlon in Door County, Wis., an incredible accomplishment she plans to repeat next summer.

And when she’s not spending time in nature, she’s spending time with her family: her husband, two daughters, son-in-law, and grandson – with another on the way!

Wine and Canvas courses fill up quickly, so make sure to register for one today to secure your spot. If the evening of painting leaves you wanting more, Pam will also offer a three-part intro to watercolor course Oct. 27 to Nov. 10 to take your skills to the next level. We can’t wait to see what you’ll create!

And if you’re interested in more Wheelhouse courses involving friends and wine, you can join us at Prairie Fire in Union South for our Wednesday Wines series, where we’ll sample and explore unique topics about wines. These include a sampling of complementary appetizers and are presented in cooperation with Wisconsin Union Dining Services and Prairie Fire. These courses are a great way to connect with friends and to expand your palette for wines.

Sign up for the Wheelhouse mailing list to be the first to hear about new course listings and Wheelhouse updates.

Author: Abby Synnes

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