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Car-Free Adventure: Drinking and Painting


I think it’s perfectly fine by the ripe age of 41 to accept that some things in life, you’re gonna be good at. Other things? nope.

I, for instance, am good at drinking wine. Painting? Nope.

But when I was invited to try out Pinot’s Palette*, Alameda’s new painting and sipping establishment, I decided to get over myself and show up. I figured I could make up for my weakness in the painting area with my strength in the wine consumption area.

Pinot’s Palette is located in South Shore Center, an easy walk from my house. When I arrived, most of the other painters were seated at a row of easels, paper plate palettes in front of them, beverages to the side. This is because, as usual, I was a little late. A very nice art student whose name I have forgotten was explaining the basics, like that the three brushes we were to use are known as “little brush, medium brush and big brush.” More importantly, we learned that we could raise our hands anytime we wanted the bartender to come over and bring us a drink.

I raised my hand.

I was happy to learn that Pinot’s Palette carries Rock Wall wines; I ordered the Rock Hound Red which is, of course, yum-didliumptious. This was going to be my first time painting on a canvas (truly!) but not my first time tasting this year’s Rock Hound Red.

The class began, with the teacher giving us step by step instructions for copying an oil painting called Canoe Kiss. I made some mistakes, and I would not blame anyone for mistaking my painting for the work of a second grader, but the truth is, I was amazed that I could do it.



First step: Cover entire canvas with yellow, make sun and its reflection in white.

By the end of the class, I had a painting that may not have matched the model, and may have had flaws, but you could see that it was a painting of water and some trees and a canoe at sunset. And that’s much more than I expected to achieve.


I was happy to run into no judgement at Pinot’s Palette, either from the teacher, my fellow students (some, I was happy to note, were even worse at painting than I was) or from the bartender when I ordered a second Rock Hound Red.

Why not, right? I wasn’t driving home.

Weekend classes like the one I attended at Pinot’s Palette Alameda cost $49 and last 3 hours. The wine I drank was $8 a glass I think. You can get $10 off if you register for a class the same day.

* Disclosure: A friend and I were allowed to attend a free class with the understanding that I would share my experience online.