With quizzical looks, a pair of women wander in the door of a new storefront studio — a new kind of studio — in downtown Walnut Creek.
"Have you figured out what we are yet?" asks owner Julee Herrmann.
"An adult party place?" tries one woman.
"We are an adult party place," Herrmann laughs.
Canvas & Cabernet is also a kid party place, with a table where children can paint or explore creative materials. The kids place is well separated from the adult party place, where glasses of wine or beer are sold while adults take a group art lesson.
"It's a place to paint a picture in a social, fun place," said Herrmann, a Danville resident who grew up in Pleasanton and attended Amador Valley High. Canvas and Cabernet opened on the last day of January at 1421 Locust St. in downtown Walnut Creek, across the street from the Walnut Creek Yacht Club.
Classes now are held on Thursday through Saturday evenings, plus morning ("mimosa morning") and afternoon sessions on Sundays. Others will be set up as new artists sign up, Herrmann said.
"If you haven't painted since your were six, this is your perfect place," said Herrmann.
The Canvas & Cabernet website states: "No experience is necessary — just join us for an evening of fun as we dedicated to bringing the creativity out in each individual through simple painting prompts, your favorite music and good company!" One recent class concentrated on paintings of irises based on Van Gogh's study of the flowers. Another focused on a picture of a martini with olives (onions, I suppose, if that's the flavor of your inspiration).
It's part of a trend of paint-and-sip studios popping up around the country. One established one is Yi Yan Art Academy in San Francisco. Canvas & Cabernet even made the Diablo magazine list of 13 great dates in the area.
A friend took Herrmann to a paint-and-sip studio in Denver. "The moment I saw it, I said, 'This is my dream business,'" she said.