At Vino van Gogh, everyone’s canvas ends up bearing a masterpiece—or at least the semblance of one. “Copying masterpieces is the oldest tradition of learning how to paint,” says Joy, who guides students in re-creating renowned paintings step by step and also tells them about the life of their famous artists. She and her fellow instructors—all certified art teachers—equip pupils with everything needed to reimagine Georgia O’Keeffe’s Sky Above the Clouds or Monet’s Venice Twilight, including Winsor & Newton University brushes and a rainbow of acrylics.
“People say this feels like a happy place,” Joy says, describing the 14-foot-ceilinged studio’s atmosphere of encouragement. She helps guests to feel at home by equipping the kitchenette with ice, a corkscrew, cups—everything needed to celebrate a birthday party or just the end of a long week. Students can also bring their own snacks to coax timid muses out of their lairs with trails of graham-cracker crumbs.
In addition to nurturing artistic talent in humans, Vino van Gogh is dedicated to helping fellow furry creatures by offering monthly classes whose proceeds support the Animal Defense League and AAPAW. “I’m lucky to have the resources to give back,” says Joy, herself the owner of three rescue dogs, whose portraits she's often painted in her signature bright, Fauvist--inspired style.:m]]