HE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA COAST, with its soothing palette of aquamarine, golden sand, pastel sherbets and burnt umber, can inspire even the most timid of artists to take up a paintbrush. Making the most of its unsurpassed location, The Resort at Pelican Hill® has blended that inspiration with canvases, tubes of paint and a splash of bubbly during popular Painting & Prosecco events that turn art class into a walk in the park.

Whether you are a guest or a local like me, begin by strolling through the airy lobby and onto its expansive terrace. Take in the ocean air, the undulating grassy knolls and the play of shadow and light on the Resort’s classic Italian architecture. I felt as if each foot was lifted for me as I floated down the steps onto the event lawn, the magnificent Rotunda standing as proud backdrop.

At the helm of Painting & Prosecco is Timree Gold, a Newport Beach art guru whose effervescent personality and carefree style render the evening approachable and just plain fun. Gold’s step-by-step methodology for acrylic painting on canvas is easy for beginners to follow and a welcome refresher for more experienced artists.

Walking into a painting class as a novice is like watching a foreign-language movie without subtitles, but Gold has developed a playful lexicon that everyone seems to grasp. She encourages pupils to “smushy your paint,” “zhuzh your colors” and “mush that mustard onto your fatty brush.” (The so-called fatty is part of a happy family that includes the medium, tween and baby brushes.) Paint is “blobbed on” and “dotty-dotted.” In truth, each type of brush stroke is carefully explained, so there’s little chance for flubs, which are nonetheless expected and welcomed. Assistant teachers circulate among the group, offering suggestions and making for a true hands-on teaching and learning experience.

An hour into the party, we were so engrossed in our work that we’d tuned out not just the popping of Prosecco corks but the vast sky, which was being gently suffused in luminous color. Thankfully, Gold reminded us to stop, look up and take a deep breath.

“Painting & Prosecco is one of the most creative ways for Resort guests and locals to experience Pelican Hill,” says Devon Hillard O’Connell, public relations manager for Pelican Hill.® “Whether you’re creating your own rendition of our iconic Rotunda or of neighboring Crystal Cove beach, each artist leaves with a renewed appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us.”

Make no mistake: This art lesson is about learning to apply paint to canvas. But it’s also about removing oneself from daily life and entering a new aesthetic— a flow-as-you-go state of being that lifts the creative spirit. In the end, we each walked away with an original painting and, perhaps more importantly, the indelible memory of its making.

To register for a Painting & Prosecco class, please call 877.624.6035. Opening photo provided by Timree Gold.
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