Sue Mandel helps attendees of the Makery’s Couples Fluid Painting class pick out their colors for their paintings on Feb. 14.

Couples laughed with each other as they swirled paint around their canvases to make colorful abstract art as part of two local art studios’ Valentine’s Day celebration.

Sue Mandel, owner of The Makery NWA, and Lyshell McBride, owner of Paint Your Power LLC, rented out the Rogers Experimental House on Feb. 14 to teach couples in the area a new art style called fluid painting. Fluid painting involves mixing different colors of paint together and using an additive to thin the paint out across the canvas, Mandel said.

Mandel chose to teach couples this painting style because of how easy it is for anyone with any experience level to do, she said.

“There is no skill involved with this type of painting, so anybody can do it from 3-years-old to 95-years-old,” Mandel said.

The event offered couples two canvases to paint, as well as cocktails and hors d'oeuvre for $40 per one person of $65 for two people, Mandel said. The Makery had around 40 couples attend their class that started at 7 p.m., she said.

Jacob Perish bought the tickets for him and his fiance Suannah Clerk because of her interest in fluid painting, he said.

“We will be hanging out together just watching Netflix and she will be on her phone watching videos of fluid painting,” Perish said.

Clerk was completely surprised by the event, even though she knew it had something to do with painting, she said. Though she has watched multiple videos about fluid painting, Clerk thought it would turn out to be harder than it looks, she said.

Later on in the evening McBride and her husband began their fluid painting class along with The Makery’s class. McBride said she thinks painting classes such as hers are great opportunities for people to have a therapeutic experience.

“I am a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault, and painting became my therapy,” McBride said.

While Paint Your Power is not a non-profit organization, McBride said a portion of all the money raised that night would go toward buying art supply for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Deshon McBride, Lyshell’s husband, said he thinks that events like this on Valentine’s Day can bring something new to traditional Valentine’s Day events.

“We want to bring something different to the table,” McBride said. “It may be going on everywhere else, but it isn’t going on here in Rogers.”

After seeing advertisements for the event on Facebook, Tom Stallbaumer decided to buy tickets for him and his wife Jennifer Stallbaumer.

“Jennifer loves to paint and is really creative, so I thought it would be a fun thing to do on this Valentine’s night instead of the normal going out to eat or something like that,” Stallbaumer said.

Stallbaumer said she thinks that the location of the events also played a huge part in them attending because her and her husband love downtown Rogers.

“If the same thing was offered across town, we probably wouldn’t have gone,” Stallbuamer said.

Paint Your Power had around 16 couples in attendance Friday night, McBride said. The tickets for the event cost $65 per couple.

Nathanael Davis is an associate news editor for The Arkansas Traveler. He previously worked as a reporter and photographer.

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