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At Easel – Instructional art studio, event space opens in Silverton

By Melissa Wagoner

When Michelle Isaksen was invited to a Paint Party five years ago she almost didn’t go.

“I thought, ‘I don’t even draw,’” she recalled. “I’d never painted or even sketched.”

Thankfully, her husband convinced her to attend.

“He basically pushed me out the door,” Isaksen laughed. “But in the end, I had a piece of art that I didn’t hate.”

She also had a new love for painting that she couldn’t wait to share with others.

A paint party hosted by At Easel.

“It was a very therapeutic experience,” Isaksen said, describing the impetus for her paint party business – At Easel Art – which, though it began in her home in Scotts Mills, has recently expanded into a studio space on East Main Street in Silverton.

“I was growing out of our home,” she said, gesturing toward the enormous event space she and her husband have designed for paint parties, art lessons and birthday celebrations.

“My goal is for the community to have a positive place to come,” she said. A karaoke stage, splatterbox art installation and video screen will enable her to host events of all kinds.

“And I’m trying not to make it so expensive that people can’t afford it,” she added. As the mother of eight children she is very aware of the need for affordable birthday party options.

Though still partially under construction, Isaksen has already begun hosting painting parties and art lessons with plans for many more on the horizon.

“I did four parties last month,” she pointed out, scrolling through photos of her clients proudly displaying their finished paintings, all similar and yet each one just slightly different from the rest.

“I’m never married to what I’m painting, so they can do their own thing,” she said. It is the unexpected deviations – glitter, color variations or swaps of scenery – that bring her the most joy.

“In fact, I mess up in front of my parties so they know, you can mess up,” she said. “I just want them to come paint.”

At Easel Art: ‘Kodiak’ class

Paint Party featuring step-by-step instruction for painting “Kodiak”, a bear silhouetted by northern lights.

301 E. Main St., Silverton

Saturday, May 7, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

$35 per person

Register at www.ateaselart.com

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