The Sylacauga, Ala, property held a four-hour “Paint Your Pet” event where participants could paint portraits of their pets in bold, pop-art style while enjoying canapes as well as Italian and Spanish wines.
When Pursell Farms in Sylacauga, Ala., had a successful event that combined painting and wine this summer, the property had no trouble deciding what to do for an encore – have another event just like it.
In July the resort, which includes FarmLinks—the world’s only research and demonstration golf course—held “Paint Your Pet,” a four-hour event on a Saturday where participants could paint portraits of their pets in bold, pop-art style while enjoying canapes as well as Italian and Spanish wines. A few weeks earlier, the resort had held a similar class, “Pop Art, Paint and Pinot.” No painting experience was necessary to take part in either event.
“We’re always creating unique activities to offer our guests,” says Tim Spanjer, the Director of Marketing for Pursell Farms who is also its Pop Artist. Spanjer (pictured above on right) and his wife, Vaughan Pursell Spanjer, Pursell Farms’ Artist-in-Residence and the daughter of Chief Executive Officer David Pursell, live on the property, where the creative arts are an integral part of its activities.
“We’re the only property in Alabama that I can find with a resident artist, so of course, we like to produce events around art,” says Tim Spanjer. Together, the Pursell and Spanjer family of artists have spent more than 80 years developing and fine-tuning their artistic talents, and their art spans a wide variety of mediums.
“Fine Art Done Boldly” is Tim Spanjer’s artistic mantra; his large-format, pop art-styled paintings offer wry humor and vivid images. He also creates large, biscuit-joined pine wood cutouts of pulp commercial subjects, and “Cerealism” mosaics, in which he uses intricately cut slices of cereal boxes to form images that are known for their complexity.
Vaughan Spanjer, a fashion designer-turned-artist, is renowned for her “sheep” note cards and fine art that is featured in boutiques throughout the Southeast.
The husband-and-wife artists shared their talents with 15 to 20 people at each of the Pursell Farms events, and the guests used acrylics to create their paintings on 24-inch-by-24-inch canvases. Pop art was the genre of choice for the painting sessions.
“Pop art was chosen for how matter-of-fact the style is,” says Tim Spanjer. “It directs paintings and compositions to include bold and bright colors painted on canvas with ‘blocky’ and ‘streaky’ splashes of color. It’s expressive, but not abstract, and there’s an objective nature to the painting process.”
For the Pursell Farms classes, participants could choose the colors they wanted to use to personalize their paintings. Pre-drawn or blank canvases were available for the participants, and most preferred to paint on pre-drawn canvases, Tim Spanjer reports— especially for the pet-themed event, where guests were able to send in a photo of the pet they wanted to paint in advance.
Throughout the evening for the first event, Food and Beverage Manager Cameron Hayes poured carefully selected Italian and Spanish Pinot Noir sipping wines, and he also talked to the guests about tasting notes. And Executive Chef Andrea Griffith prepared assorted canapes.
The events took place in the new ballroom of Pursell Farms’ historic 22-acre Hamilton Place venue. Paintings by the Spanjers were also set up in a gallery for the event.
Guests could choose from one of two packages—an evening package at a price of $99 person or an overnight option, which cost $377 per couple.
With the evening package, participants were provided with art supplies, including the canvas, brushes, and paint, and refreshments. Overnight guests received the same amenities, plus deluxe accommodations at The Inn at Pursell Farms.
For the Spanjers, the sessions provided an opportunity to offer an experience that is integral to the Pursell Farms story. “Painting is a creative activity that can be joyful,” says Tim Spanjer says. “We want guests to have a great experience at the farm and look forward to returning. And they all got to take artwork home.”
Pursell Farms will likely continue to hold another paint-and-wine event in the summer of 2020, Tim Spanjer notes. For other properties that might be interested in holding similar activities, he recommends “finding [your] unique draw, and creating events around that. And for craft events, plan to have enough staff on hand, so the artist[s] can spend time with each guest.”