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New Berlin studio applies artistic touch with special flair

New business mixes painting and wine in a relaxing atmosphere

Kenny "Picasso" Phelps, center, looks over at Paul Tomczak's painting Jan. 10 at Creative Art & Wine Studio. Along with his wife, Joanne Phelps, behind him, the group came to the studio as a birthday surprise for Jessica Tomczak, right.

Kenny "Picasso" Phelps, center, looks over at Paul Tomczak's painting Jan. 10 at Creative Art & Wine Studio. Along with his wife, Joanne Phelps, behind him, the group came to the studio as a birthday surprise for Jessica Tomczak, right. Photo By Mary Catanese

Jan. 13, 2014

New Berlin — Creative Art & Wine Studio's slogan, "Paint with a Sip on the Side," pretty much says it all for those wondering what the new City Center business is all about.

Wine bars where you paint under the wing of a professional artist while sipping a glass of wine are common on the East Coast and in the South, said Debbie Hornby, who started the local business with her daughter, Nicole Upesleja.

In fact, such places in those regions often sell out of available space every evening, says Upesleja, who lives in Boston and takes care of the business end of the enterprise.

So mother-daughter team decided to introduce the idea in New Berlin, opening the business at 15188 W. Library Lane in December.

"New Berlin is an awesome area," Hornby said, noting that the community has many of the same characteristics as Delafield and Wauwatosa, which now also have painting and wine studios.

Art for enjoyment's sake

It's a great date night, as some area young folks have already discovered, Hornby said, and clubs are signing up to have their meetings there, too. And in the relaxed wine bar atmosphere, even the artistically challenged can paint a picture they can take home and be proud of, she added.

It's a lot easier than starting from scratch because nobody has to pull a painting out of their heads. There is one picture for the painting session that everybody gets to paint in their own style. Or they can follow the sample painting exactly, Hornby noted.

The novices paint with acrylics that are easy to use, dry quickly and are easy to fix up goofs, Hornby said.

The atmosphere is light, with the occasional, "Oh no, look at mine," Hornby said. But it doesn't matter. "It's a party time."

So far, Horby's biggest class had 17 attendees, Hornby said. While most sign up ahead of time, walk-ins to the studio are welcome.

Booking a session

The subject painting, created by a professional artist, is posted online at facebook.com/CreativeArtAndWine, where those who like it can sign up.

Painting takes three hours for Tuesday through Saturday evening sessions. The studio also has nonalcoholic two-hour Saturday sessions at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. for smaller pictures, and occasional happy hour sessions with medium-size pictures.

The cost for the evening sessions is $35 to $40, depending on the size of the painting. Wine goes for $6 or $7 a glass. The happy hour sessions are $15 and the Saturday 6 by 6 paintings are $12 to $15.

The New Berlin Junior Woman's Club is slated to come next week, and the studio can do all sorts of other gatherings such as corporate events, birthday parties, bachelorette parties, Scout meetings and church group meetings, she said.

— Jane Ford-Stewart

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