Sip & Paint at SeaZen Gallery

Hi All ⊗

I recently went to a paint and sip event at SeaZen Gallery in Belmar, New Jersey, which is the town I grew up in. The art gallery opened at the end of 2014 and displays art by Jay Alders and other local artists. I brought a bottle of wine to sip while a small group of four, including myself and my mother, learned how to paint. I have to admit, I was doing better sipping than I was painting!

The event was led by Amanda, who originally painted the space mermaid we were set to paint on our own. Amanda is a talented painter who studied special effects at the Douglas Education Center and now works part time at the art gallery teaching groups how to paint. 

Amanda poses with her finished painting.                                                                                         Photo credit: Jenna Mackiewicz
  • What are some tips you would give to first time painters?

As we all nervously sat down to begin painting, Amanda reassured us not to put pressure on ourselves or worry about our lack of painting skills. Negative thoughts are always a bad way to start creative work such as when painting on canvas. Amanda gave advice to “use light brush strokes, back and forth in one direction. Make sure your brush is damp but not too wet, or else the paint will dribble down the canvas.”

  • What type of art background do you have?

Not only does Amanda teach paint and sip events at SeaZen, she also wishes to have a career in real estate but plans to focus on art right now. “I went to the Douglas Education Center in Pennsylvania for the art program. I studied special effects and even learned from Dorian Cleavenger,” said Amanda.

Dorian Cleavenger is a well-known pseudo-realism artist who has previously worked for Disney and teaches a special effects program at Douglas Education Center. Cleavenger’s artwork was included in Star Wars Art: Visions, a book of artwork including more than 100 hand-picked artists by George Lucas to celebrate the very popular Star Wars movies.

  • Have you always wanted to teach DIY painting?

I would be surprised if Amanda only taught some paint and sip events at the gallery which is possibly why I wasn’t surprised when she told me more about her previous and future careers. “I actually used to work for a blow up doll company in California, I didn’t always teach paint and sip events,” said Amanda.

Amanda also mentioned she is hopefully starting a career in real estate, which is a big jump from the art scene. She was so helpful and encouraging when it came to explaining the process and actual of painting the space mermaid. To help us even more, she drew a circle on the canvas for where our planet should be placed.

My blank canvas with wine chilled and ready to go!                                                                        Photo credit: Jenna Mackiewicz

For two hours I laughed and tried my best to follow Amanda’s instructions. I have a lot of experience with knitting and other art crafts but painting is definitely something I have next to no skill in. The important thing to remember with paint and sip events is they are purely for fun and require no painting skills.

Here is a progression of my painting, although I didn’t exactly follow directions carefully. I decided to leave out the mermaid and change the shape of a few things.

The sky and ocean were the easiest parts.                                                       Photo credit: Jenna Mackiewicz 
The final outcome                                                                                                                  Photo credit: Jenna Mackiewicz


Although I wish I could change how this painting turned out, I am still thrilled to have a real canvas piece of art I painted myself. If you haven’t participated in a paint and sip event do so immediately!