Amateur artists paint and sip at Marion Art Center event

May 6, 2023

MARION — With temperatures reaching into the 70s on Saturday, May 6, participants in the Marion Art Center’s Paint and Sip event enjoyed an afternoon of good weather and good wine. 

Equipped with sunglasses and big straw hats, many first-time painters followed along with Dartmouth-based oil painter Barbara Healy as she painted a nautical summertime scene. 

“Don’t be too worried about getting it exact,” said Healy as she began the class. “If you get a little triangle it’s going to look fine.”

The “little triangle” was the sail of an aft rig sailboat that each participant was learning to paint. 

Every canvas was prepared with a light pink wash and pencil guidelines to help them create the ship’s mast. 

According to Healy, the pink wash — which was quickly painted over — allowed a little warmth to shine through the cool-toned sky and sea of the finished piece. 

While Healy paints with oil, this demonstration used acrylic paint. 

“The nice thing about acrylic is how fast it dries and you can paint over it,” she said. “The bad thing about acrylic is how fast it dries.”

While everyone followed Healy’s instructions, Marion Art Center board member and Brew Fish restaurant owner Erin Zell led the group through a series of summer wine tastings. 

“We start by moving the wine to get the essence of the wine flowing,” said Zell as she presented Farmer’s Fizz, a chardonnay grape wine. “Does anybody have anything they would say it smells like?”

“Beer!” answered one painter. “Lemon,” said another.

Throughout the event Zell presented other wines including Le Caprice, a rosé wine from the Provence region of France. 

“Maybe [the wine] will loosen you up a little, help you be more creative,” she said.

As painters sipped their wine, their artwork gradually began to take form. 

“I thought it was going to be easier than the last one,” said Janne Hellgren, who also participated in last year’s Paint and Sip event at the Marion Art Center. “I’m not sure where this is yet. There is a boat … I think it will come into focus. It’s really nice to just try it.”

Marion Art Center’s Paint and Sip event is a part of South Coast Spring Arts. For more information on the Marion Art Center’s Spring Arts events, visit