Looking for a fun date idea?

19 Apr

P and I just celebrated 2 x 2 years of wedded bliss, and this year, we were fresh out of ideas on how to celebrate.

Sounds awful, I know. But think: we’ve been together almost eight years, celebrating birthdays, holidays, and milestones; and we’ve lived in Atlanta that whole time. As much as we’d like to take a Caribbean weekend spree, it’s just not in the budget at the moment. Besides, I have a show.

When we got married, we had a very romantic, he-picks/she-picks layout planned for our anniversaries. The first anniversary was amazing. Things sort of fizzled from there.

Year one: dinner at a nice restaurant, live music and dancing at the venue where our wedding was held, an overnight stay in a luxury hotel and a tour of Chateau Elan Winery the next day.

Year two: A somewhat unsatisfying, theme-park-esque dinner at Dante’s Down the Hatch, followed by gorging on champagne cupcakes in lieu of actual champagne (I was seven months pregnant).

Year three: A well-intentioned but ill-fated jaunt about town on a rented Vespa–it was so windy that day that the entire moped blew over while we were trying to take a nostalgic photo at our wedding site.

So here’s a fact. The traditional gift of the 4th year of marriage is fruit and flowers. Not exactly inspired, for the year where things in a marriage are generally starting to get–let’s say, comfortable.  The “modern” gift is even worse–appliances. (Modern, my a**). We’d need to spin off a bit from that theme, unless we wanted to make smoothies for our celebratory dinner.

And that’s how we eventually found ourselves reserving our Wednesday anniversary date at a drink-and-paint studio.  And boy, are we glad we did!

Although I was the one who chose the place (there are several in the area), it was actually P’s idea. I never would have suggested it for fear it was too girly. I keep forgetting, even after four years, that I’m married to an artiste. I chose the place, Canvas by U,  based solely on the painting on the calendar for April 17: a colorful landscape, which I figured was sort of related to fruit. Right? It all grows out the ground.

Anyway. If you’ve never heard of this concept, it’s really pretty cool. An instructor walks you through painting a…well..painting step by step, while you sip and nibble on whatever you brought with you. It’s like college art class, only with booze and no grades. You don’t have to have any artistic talent or experience (praise the Lawd) to partake, and all the materials you need are provided with the class fee, right down the wine opener.

Maybe it was because it was a random Wednesday in April, but P and I were the only people who signed up for our class. I was worried they’d cancel for such a small showing, but they didn’t. WOOT. Private class! We’d be using a technique called palette knife, which was a really cool alternative to the more commonly taught brush painting. Even more exciting, our class was taught by the owner herself, filling in for a sick colleague. She was so cool. She let us break all kinds of protocol, and we chatted about music, art, cats, and life as we drained our bottle of cab and ambled through our landscapes.


The cost was extremely reasonable for everything you get to do–$25-$35 depending on the style. Canvas by U is one of the rare studios that does not ration the materials, which is really good for people like me who really just need a leeetle bit more burnt umber for their foliage. Canvas by U was actually the original Sips n’ Strokes, but  they underwent a rebranding a few years ago (Sips n’ Strokes still exists, but under new ownership–and a new ownership style, we’re told).

DSC01727It was totes grooves how all our paintings turned out completely different from each other’s and from the model.  Canvas By U doesn’t do Groupons, but if you like their Facebook page they’ll often post discounts on there, or if you’re on their mailing list (sign up at the website).

I highly recommend this as a fresh date night activity, for those of you who have SOs without security issues. But even if there are some issues, there’s wine. I won’t say I’m any better at art than before I walked in the door, but I had a blast. And anyway, as they say, it’s about the process, not the product!




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