Canvas class makes egg-cellent activity
Painters put eggs, worries in basket near Easter holiday
A Cassville painting class is offering more than a finished canvas for beginning and experienced artists.
The participants don't have to be regular Picassos to attend the class offered on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, which focuses on a themed picture with paint-as-you-go instruction by artist and Messy Apron Canvas & Crafts owner Amanda Breyer-Dotson.
Regardless of experience level, Dotson makes painting easy, with the opportunity to ask questions along the way.
"Do we use the big brush on the nest?" asked Melissa Gaskin of Monett, who was participating in the Easter-themed picture that included a nest full of eggs.
Although everyone paints the same picture, like paint, participants can apply their own colors of creativity.
For example, Brylee Dotson, 11, decided to deviate a little and make her eggs different colors, in true Easter egg fashion.
As Breyer-Dotson sees it, participants may come to paint, but leave with more than just a finished canvas.
"Some come [to my class] because they need someone to talk to," she said.
"I think I come for some down time," said Tamara Daniels of Cassville. "I'm a single mom with three kids. [When I get home], I don't want to leave my house. I get overwhelmed sometimes and this helps me. I've never been much of a painter, but I pick it up pretty well."
Breyer-Dotson, who also paints windows for local businesses, started out with face painting. She also started the momentum locally for Cassville Rocks, which took off in the community, prompting families to get outdoors to hunt, post and rehide painted rocks. Later, she attended a canvas-painting class in Aurora and was encouraged to offer a class in Cassville.
At first, she was hesitant.
"I thought, 'I can't do that,'" she said. "But later, I said, 'I'm going to try.'"
She started by offering the class at her church, and for groups and parties, giving a portion of each class to missions through her church. Then, she opened a small art studio inside of Bailee-Grey's Coffee Shop. When the business closed, she opened a shop nearby next to El Mariachi's restaurant on Highway 112.
For Daniels, the class also gives her a chance to get some mother-daughter time in.
"I remember my mom painting a lot when I was younger, but she stopped doing it," she said. "I went to Bailee-Grey's coffee shop and met Amanda and really wanted to try a class. I loved it and thought, 'My mom needs to do this,' and invited her. It's something we can do together."
"It's very therapeutic," said Tina Daniels, Tamara Daniels' mother. "It helps you block out everything else. I'm glad to have the opportunity for it. In a small town there's so few things to do. I'll take it to work and hang on the wall."
"[When you do find an activity,] it's nice to have something to show for it," Gaskin said.
Gaskin signed up for the class 30 minutes before it started after seeing Breyer-Dotson's sign when she drove by. She said painting helps her with depression.
"Most people that have it hide it very well," she said.
After signing up, she called her husband and told him she'd be painting that night, knowing it was just what she needed.
"It was a blessing that I drove past this place," she said. "I paint a little here and there, but I love it ó it's so therapeutic. It helps you zone out with the rest of the world and helps you relax and just enjoy the moment, because there's so much going on."
All the participants seemed to agreed the company was just as good as the activity painting.
"It's an opportunity to have some adult conversation and to connect with other women," said Whitney Kloss, of Cassville, as she put Easter-themed candy baskets together, which Breyer-Dotson sells to benefit missions work.
"It also gives you a chance to socialize with people," Gaskin said.