In the midst of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster this summer, Heidi McDonald, her husband and two friends/business partners were finalizing plans to open up a new artistic concept in Pensacola, but had not yet signed the building lease.
After some careful consideration by the four from Louisiana, McDonald explains that they went through with their plans to open Painting With A Twist in August despite the uncertain market and have not looked back yet.
“It was a real, conscious choice for us,” she says. “We hadn’t signed the lease when the oil spill was going on, but this was something we really wanted to do regardless. We believed in moving ahead and felt this was a positive experience.”
Painting With A Twist, a do-it-yourself art franchise located in 24 locations in the Southeast, teaches 2-3-hour acrylic painting classes. Students of the classes learn from local artists how to paint everything from sunsets, scenic landscapes to even barn animals.
“We have a colorful rooster that people love…my husband even sat in for that class,” says McDonald. “A lot of the time people don’t know what they are painting when they come in and they sit down and get right into it. There isn’t anyone who walks out who isn’t happy with their painting.”
The group of owners decided to open a local business after falling in love with the Painting With A Twist concept after visiting one near their home—giving them an excuse to move to a place they’ve always loved.
“We vacationed here for years, so it worked out perfectly, as we really wanted an excuse to have a second home,” says McDonald. “I think because I do have so much appreciation for art, I wasn’t thinking (Painting With A Twist) was going to be such a special experience or anything I would want on my wall.
“It’s the experience that makes it so special and truly everyone has a creative spirit that can be tapped into.”
The painting classes are scheduled by the type of art being instructed, with up to 40 in each class. Groups can schedule a private painting session with 10 people. No experience is needed.
“It’s a great place to talk, bring a date or have a girls’ night…bring wine or other drinks and food and we clean up and provide cups, ice and napkins,” adds McDonald. “And the great thing is, you will walk out of here with a great painting you can be proud of.”
Painting With A Twist
4771 Bayou Blvd. (Target Center)
Classes: 2-hour, $35; 3-hour, $45