Trying the New Painting w/a Twist (Ferndale View)

Trying the New Painting with a Twist

(A Ferndale View by, Crystal A. Proxmire)

On October 6, 2010 I decided to try out a new Ferndale experience – Painting with a Twist.

Owner Michelle Lewis and her team of professional painting instructors offer two hour classes several times a week.  The great thing about it is that each class is a start-to-finish project.  So for just $35 I was able to spend a couple hours out meeting new people, learning new things, and coming home with a quality piece of art that I had made myself.  It was really really fun and I can’t recommend it passionately enough for just about anybody.  It’s easy enough for kids (and they have special family sessions), and engaging enough for even professionals.  I realize this sounds like an advertorial, but there is not any better way that I can write this than by telling my experience as it was – which was wonderful.

Painting with a Twist is at 320 W. 9 Mile in Downtown Ferndale.  It’s a large open space with giant windows looking out at 9 Mile.  Inside there are tables already set up with easels, paper plate palates of paint, brushes, a cup for water, paper towel and of course a quality blank canvas just waiting to be filled.  The space is bright with sample paintings from different classes on the walls.  There’s a good variety of things to paint – many of which are recreations of famous works like Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Monet’s Water Lillies, and Picasso’s Woman in the Mirror.  I could not resist the class on Seasons, a piece with four panels with a seasonal tree in the middle of each one.

There was a good mix of people there.  Some came with friends, others were there for a date night, and there were also single people there out to have a good artistic experience.  Amanda and Josh King came all the way from Ann Arbor to try the Painting with a Twist Experience.  “I loved it,” Amanda said. “This is something someone with no experience can do, and come and have a good time.  Plus our friends will think we are artists.”

Since they both painted the same thing, the Kings had to figure out what to do with the duplicates.  Amanda said hers is going up in the living room, and Josh said he’s taking his to put up in the cubicle at work.  There are specific Date Nights available, where couple can work on paintings that are different yet still compliment each other.

Josh said that they’ll be back closer to the holidays, so he can bring his mom who is coming to town from Kansas City.  “She’s going to love it.  It’s a little something different she can do on her visit.”

Just 4 UsProfessional artist and art instructor Dennis Bruce Spencer also took the class, saying that it’s fun to see how other artists work.  Spencer’s work is colorful and Van Goghisque, only a little more on the revealing side – in terms of both underlying philosophy and in the flesh of the models.  More of his work can be found at

The instructor that Wednesday night was Wendelin Wilson of Chesterfield Township who is an art teacher by day and by night.  With plenty of pep and good encouraging words, Wilson guided about a dozen of us budding painters step-by-step through the creation of a masterpiece.  It took about two hours, with a couple of breaks in the middle to let the layers of paint dry.  Hairdryers are available for those who want to make sure it’s completely dry before putting it in their cars.  And for those who are worried about being messy, like me, aprons are provided for use.

Painting with a Twist opened in mid-September and is quickly becoming a destination for people from the Ferndale area and beyond.  There is even a punch-card rewards program for frequent class attendees.

For more information or to reserve a place in a class, visit their website at

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