By Kendal Groner

As someone who has enjoyed creating art since their childhood, Angela Shelton knows firsthand the many benefits and fun that can be derived from a drawing or painting session

Angela Shelton and her partners Jerry Graham and Patty Baker have created a convenient way for those in and around the Erwin community to experience the joys of painting with the Creative Canvas, a business that offers mobile painting classes. (Contributed photo)

. Her desire to create additional opportunities for those in her community to participate in the arts prompted her to start Creative Canvas last December – an Erwin-based business offering mobile canvas painting classes.

“I have always enjoyed drawing and painting, and I wanted to do something that would encourage people to try different things with art and not be afraid to try it for themselves,” Shelton said.

Shelton and her two partners, Jerry Graham and Patty Baker, transport all of the needed painting supplies to the various locations of their customers and instruct classes of around 10 people. Creative Canvas typically charges a flat fee of $25 per painter for a 16-by-20-inch canvas; however, the price does fluctuate some depending on the canvas size and what medium is being used.

“We do instructions and we’ll post what we plan to paint, and then we do step-by-step instructions,” said Shelton. “We always try to have lots of fun and make it successful. I know everyone tends to criticize their own work the worst, me included, but we try to make it fun. If someone makes a mistake, we try to help them fix it so they have a positive experience.”

Although they are currently only offering canvas painting with acrylics, Shelton said they are looking into getting materials together to make wooden signs. She said Graham and Baker bring a diverse skill set to the business and they hope to start teaching acrylic pouring in some of their classes, which is a more abstract technique. Classes in woven chair bottoming are also possible in the future.

“We do all different age groups,” Shelton said. “We’re flexible and adaptable. We will go almost anywhere.”

She said they have already been to a variety of parties; however, the first one they attended still stands out as one of the most memorable for Shelton. When the painters in the class were tasked with painting a bird, Shelton saw firsthand the doubt in their painting abilities transform to a sense of accomplishment once the class was over.

“By the end, they were going ‘I painted a bird, I painted a bird!’,” Shelton said. “That was exciting to me, to see them go from ‘I can’t do that, to I did it’. I think that helps build their confidence by learning a new skill.”

Shelton and her team have worked with customers that have a wide range of abilities. They have worked with those who are deaf, have hand tremors and those who have special needs, yet each time they found a way to assist each individual painter and find out what worked best for them. It was rewarding for Shelton to see how the smallest things made the painters feel happy and accomplished.

“Everyone was so unique and beautiful,” Shelton said about the various artwork customers have created. “It doesn’t matter what your skill set is, or your ability or disability.”

Creative Canvas has been setting up at What’s the Scoop Ice Cream Shop at least once per month. In their last visit, they painted a jellyfish, which Shelton said amazed all of the participants by how well it turned out. Shelton said it is easy to become inspired to create in looking at “the awe of God’s creation.”

“There’s so much that God has created that is so unique and artistic and beautiful,” she said.

To schedule a painting class with the Creative Canvas, call 220-7848 or 612-8537. More information is available on the Creative Canvas Facebook or Instagram pages.