About 18 women had red plastic cups (for paint) and a glass of wine sitting in front of them at The Italian Oven Wednesday night.
These women were taking a class on Wednesday on how to paint a Christmas-themed car on a piece of lumber. That class is called Brush With Bravata.
Deborah Rutkowski, the class instructor and owner of Brush With Bravata, said she has turned the class into her own business that operates at The Italian Oven Wednesdays, Biggby Coffee in Alma on Tuesdays and River Rock in St. Louis on Mondays.
Rutkowski has been teaching the class for two years, with up to five classes per week.
“The paint classes are simply a night out activity. It also introduces painting in a fun way so that what could be intimidating becomes very fun,” she said.
The painting hobby started when she participated in the Gratiot County Quilt Trail, and painted four by four quilt blocks that farmers put on their barns.
Rutkowski runs the business while working as a pharmacy technician. She teachers with her three daughters on their own time. One of her daughters, Rachel Rutkowski, was assisting with teaching the class.
Rachel, 24, said the class helps with her with her ambitions to become an art instructor herself.
“I was around five years old when I started practicing art,” Rachel said. “Since then, it’s been my favorite hobby. It’s my therapy.”
To conduct the classes as an official job and to make some money off of it is a blessing, she said.
“I love teaching. It comes so natural for me,” she said.
Rachel and her mother instructed the class to draw a car using stencils and a square piece of lumber. Then they painted the cars red with their own unique designs for it, including trees in the background.
Marti Seelye, a Breckenridge resident, said she used to paint as a hobby, and the class was her way of refreshing her knowledge.
“I used to paint all the time, but work got in the way,” Seelye said. “It’s really fun to get back into it. Anybody can get into it since it’s a beginner class, which makes it very helpful.”
The class also proved to be a good activity for co-workers to bond at. Five nurses from Mid-Michigan Health of Gratiot County were all in the front row of the class talking while working.
Carol Vest, a Vestaburg resident and one of the five nurses, said her favorite part of the class was bonding with with her co-workers.
“It’s just fun being together with everybody,” Vest said. “And Deborah and Rachel have both done an awesome job teaching this class.”