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Paint Your Pet CLASS at Hugo’s Bar Turns Out Pawsome

Okay, I feel a bit sheepish. I didn’t admit to the artists I talked to at Hugo’s Bar what I thought “Paint Your Pet” meant when I saw it advertised in a local newsletter a few months back. I envisioned pet lovers painting on their pets with, of course, some kind of animal friendly wash out paint. Knowing my dogs would never allow for such shenanigans, I dismissed the thought of participating.

What I had failed to understand, the paint­ing event was actually a “Paint Your Pet Class.” The paintings were portraits. On canvas. That made more sense but, again, I dismissed signing up. There is no way ANY­ONE could teach me how to paint anything, let alone my dogs, Loki and Baaki. However, I kept wondering how the class was set up, how someone would be able to paint their pet in a matter of a few hours, and what the artistic skill levels of those who participated were.

Curiosity got the cat, as they say, and I drove down to Hugo’s Bar in Brimson to see what was pup.

Jessica Larsen, who owns Hugo’s Bar with her husband, Jesse Willemarck, had seen the pet painting in action and knew she want­ed to host an event for the locals to give it a shot. When I connected with her, she told me she had looked up the company that puts out the class and was immediately impressed. “They’re local,” she said. “And they provide everything. I just had to put some cups of wa­ter out and some paper towels and that’s it.”

The Paint Your Pet Class is a product of Gray Duck Art, a Minnesota women-owned company that can help pet lovers capture or memorialize a beloved pet in a painted por­trait. By sending in a favorite picture of your fur baby, their six talented artists hand draw your pet in a paint by number format. A few weeks later, they will send out a paint by number kit which includes a 12×16 canvas of your pet, paints, brushes, and even the plastic sheet to cover your workspace. There isn’t an instructor, but there are instructions.

The event drew in eight artists (or maybe some were soon to be artists) to paint their doggies in vibrant watercolor. (Cats would’ve been allowed, too, I’m sure.) Armed with their art kits and good company, they were all heads down and mid-brushstroke when I interrupted to ask if I could check out their progress.

In front of Dona Arnold, a Husky Malamute was coming to life on canvas. Dona showed me the picture she sent in of her dog Shyla (one of the cutest dogs ever). It was fun to compare the photo with the Gray Duck Art’s rendering in hand drawn outlines and corre­sponding numbers to indicate what color to put where. Dona was making it look really easy to paint.

When I said I wouldn’t be able to stay in the lines, I was told that there is no need to stay in the lines. In fact, it’s declared in Step #3 in the instructions. “Painting outside the lines will happen and it is totally fine!” Fur­ther along in the process a trick is provided for correcting larger mishaps.

Looking at the other paintings in the works, you could see the character of each dog emerging in bright and beautiful colors. Each pet is unique, adorable, and loved. The paint­ings were all unique, adorable, and made with love. I was already thinking of the picture I would send in of my two goofballs if Hugo’s were to host another class in the future.

There’s a good chance they will. Jessica, a dog lover herself, had planned on painting but was unable to. “Next time?” I asked, hinting at an encore. “Next time for sure,” she said.

If you are interested in the Paint Your Pet Class or any of the events at Hugo’s Bar throughout the summer, please check out their Facebook page. There are some great pictures included there of the artwork.

Please feel free to reach out to sarahwritensj@yahoo.com with any news we should news about!

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