Grab a paintbrush, some wine, and a few of your favorite girls, and you’ve got the perfect Girls Night Out. It’s a trend that’s taken off in recent years, but one professional Charlotte artist has elevated these classes to a new level. Heidi Kirschner is an acclaimed painter who uses oils, pumps up the music, provides the treats and the training, and makes sure every attendee goes home with something they actually want to hang on the wall. (Seriously, your stuff will look like you bought it from a gallery. )
She’s been winning awards for her paintings since she was eleven, but Charlotteans first got to know Kirschner thanks to a line of handmade cards she designed and sold at Dean & Deluca and Paper Skyscraper when she moved from Long Island to the Queen City 14 years ago. For the last decade, the 42-year-old Myers Park mother of two has focused on contemporary landscapes, and her stunning horizon series is sold at galleries across the country.
The classes grew out of what Kirschner calls a “lovely experience with my first student.” She was an older lady who said she’d always wanted to paint and asked the artist for tips. “Being a professional artist can be very solitary, and working with this woman we developed a beautiful friendship,” Kirschner recalls. “It made me realize how much I enjoyed teaching. Seeing how proud she was and the way she was lighting up seeing her painting…it really fed my soul.” Some other women in her neighborhood asked for lessons, and the classes were born. Kirschner likes to keep the classes intimate and makes a point to teach specific techniques and give one-on-one guidance. “Some people really want my help, others don’t,” she says. “I try to gauge it and make sure everyone is getting what they want out of it. It feels like I’m showing a magic trick sometimes when I demonstrate some things, and I love watching people go, ‘oh!’”
The classes are held twice a month at her Myers Park studio. For $75 a person, Kirschner provides all the supplies, some light bites, and of course, lots of wine. Kirschner teaches using oils, while most classes teach with acrylics because they are easier to manage and less expensive. She likes to keep the groups from 8 to15 people and will do private classes if you have a big enough group. You can customize classes and can even pick what you paint.