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Want to make your gifts? Here are places where you can tap into your artistic side

Classes at Let’s Paint! offer step-by-step instructions, so there is lot of help available for customers.
Classes at Let’s Paint! offer step-by-step instructions, so there is lot of help available for customers. Courtesy photo

While some people are dashing through the stores in search of holiday gifts, Catherine Rickard plans to be having fun with paintbrush in hand.

Rickard of Olympia is creating a portrait of her son Joe Andreotti’s German shepherd, Uli.

Rickard, 61, doesn’t consider herself an artist. She liked to draw when she was in high school and college, but she’d never “really painted,” she said, until last month, when she did a portrait of her Labradoodle, Raylan, at a class with pet portrait painter Robyn Chance of Olympia.

“I loved it,” Rickard said in a phone interview last week. “It was amazing. There were all ages there — from 7 years old to maybe older than me — and everybody came out of it with a great-looking painting.”

So she’s headed back to The Pet Works in Olympia for another class with Chance. This time, she’s bringing along her daughter Cassie Andreotti of Olympia, who’ll paint a portrait of her own dogs.

Each painter sends a photo of their pet to Chance ahead of time, and she sketches an outline onto canvas then leads the students through the rest of the process during the three-hour class.

“The class is meant to be fun, but people come out of it with images that make them very happy,” Chance said in a phone interview last week.

The Pet Works class, offered for the first time in November, is a recent addition to the local options for painting with support, guidance and supplies provided.

And Rickard is far from the only one doing it as a gift. A lot of the customers at Let’s Paint in Olympia are making gifts this time of year, co-owner Lexy Nelson said in an email interview. “We actually hear it fairly frequently,” she said.

Paint a pet

Classes offered by artist Robyn Chance lead students through painting a pet portrait, based on a photo submitted in advance.

When: 5-8 p.m. Friday and future dates to be announced

Where: The Pet Works, 407 Fourth Ave. E, Olympia

How much: $35

Also: Advance registration is necessary, and space is limited.

More information: 360-489-0134

Paint pottery

The studio lets you choose from among a wide array of pieces to paint, from plates and cups to piggy banks and handmade holiday ornaments. Staff members can offer guidance on painting and fire pieces after painting, which means you can’t take the gift home with you the same day.

When: Extended holiday hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays. During winter break, the store will open at 10 a.m. daily. Dec. 21 is the last day to paint a piece if you want to pick it up before Christmas.

Where: The Painted Plate, 412 Washington St. SE, Olympia

How much: $10-$70

Also: Advance registration is recommended, particularly at this time of year.

More information: 360-705-2103, paintedplateolympia.com

Paint just about anything

Each class focuses on a particular image, ranging from a snowman to a takeoff on Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” Classes offer step-by-step instruction, and students create their own variations on the theme.

When: Public classes are offered most days; see schedule at letspaintoly.com.

Where: Let’s Paint, 418 Washington St. SE, Olympia

How much: $38-$48

Also: Advance registration is strongly recommended. The studio also hosts events and offers open studio time with no instruction.

More information: 360-789-6222, letspaintoly.com

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