The drinks were flowing at Studio West during Thursday night’s Paint and Pour event. Led by owner Dennis Bruce Spencer, a class of 11 women worked their way through a 37-step painting as they sipped beverages of their choice.
“Whatever you do, don’t drink from the blue and white cups,” Spencer joked early on. “That’s where your brushes go.”
Spencer, a professional artist and former businessman, founded Paint and Pour this year after working for a similar company in Ferndale.
“The process was too dry over there, too corporate,” he said. “I want to do things my way.”
Spencer’s way involves a color palette that allows for more creativity and a system of rapid fire jokes that keeps the environment light and fun. In this setting, he’s as much a performer as he is a painter.
“It’s a learning experience, but it’s fun, too,” said Michelle Klear, who attended one of the first Paint and Pour events and has been a devotee ever since.
Klear now assists Spencer during large classes or kids’ classes.
“I had to be part of this. I didn’t know what Studio West was. I thought it was a school until I came to a Paint and Pour event. I thought, Oh! This is for all of us!” Klear said.
Spencer has drawn other regular attendees, too.
“We get a lot of people who come back with their friends,” he said. “The community has been really good to us.”
According to Spencer, community is one of the reasons he started the business.
Paint and Pour events are often sponsored by area businesses, and Spencer always gives away gift from an area business during each of his classes. Tonight it was a rhinestone brooch from Bink and Babs.
“I believe in Brighton,” he said. “That’s why I’m doing this. I want to draw people in and then push them out into the street toward the other businesses in town.
His plan seems to be working.
Ruth Ann Mumaw, who drove from Grosse Pointe Farms with her two daughters to attend last night session, has plans to return.
“I’ll be back,” she said. “And not just to paint. I want to see Brighton during the day.”