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Colorful Sips offers creative relaxation

By Staff | Mar 16, 2016

Sanibel painters Pat Macchia, Suzanne Baker, Toni Boie, Bob and Candy Schaeffer are hard at work March 9. BRIAN WIERIMA

When walking into a Colorful Sips painting class session inside the Sanibel Community House, the ambience of the environment is perfectly suited to let one’s inner-creativity flow right out on the canvas.

Students of Sissi Janku can expect relaxation turning into art every first and third Wednesday of each month, as the world traveled artist adds a calm atmosphere by flooding each sense with enjoyment.

A would-be artist can expect soft crooning music to soften the mood audibly, while healthy fruit snacks are available throughout the two-hour class. Students can also bring their own spirits, such as wine or beer to sip on while visually picturing their soon to be painting on the canvas.

“That’s why it’s called ‘Colorful Sips’, because people can take sips of their wine or beer while painting,” Janku said. “I keep it in a fun format.”

Janku shares her vast wealth of artistry knowledge with her students, which range from seven to 30 per class. Individuals can come to one class and paint their work, or join in on as many as they like.

Sissi Janku points out some of the features of last week’s painting project. BRIAN WIERIMA

“We can have 30 people max in classes and all the materials will be provided,” Janku said. “We use acrylic paint, because it’s more versatile and you can use it on canvas better. You can paint in many different effects.”

Janku is a native of Germany, where she attended the Academy of Arts in Munich.

“As a child, people kept telling me I was a talented painter,” Janku said. “I was lucky enough to get started early.”

From Munich, Janku moved to Hawaii, where she met her mentor John Young. That’s where Janku developed her love for painting tropical scenes, which guided her throughout the globe.

She and her husband lived in many areas, including California, the east coast, China, Egypt and eventually finding their way to their home of 20 years on Sanibel.

Suzanne Baker paints her owls during the Colorful Sips painting class March 9, inside the Sanibel Community House. BRIAN WIERIMA

Colorful Sips is in its fourth season at the Community House and she also holds classes at South Seas Resort on Captiva every Tuesday and Thursday from 2-4 p.m.

Her students range from every level of skill, from novice to expert, as well.

“They will know there are no mistakes, because you can always fix about anything,” Janku said. “The goal is to have fun and not be afraid.”

One of Janku’s first-time students during a Colorful Sips class March 9, was Shelagh Talbot, who had never painted before. That evening’s painting challenge was of three owls, with darker shades of color.

The experience left Talbot wanting to come back, as she was pretty proud of her painting debut.

Joan Brush concentrates on her canvas as she starts her owl. BRIAN WIERIMA

“It was so much fun,” Talbot said. “(Sissi) had everything laid out for you and it was simple to do, even for people who have never painted before. There was no pressure, but nothing but encouragement.”

There are different tropical scenes with a strong Florida undertone in each painting for each class, just to keep up the variety.

“I like bright colored paintings,” Janku said. “But my main goal is to give them the insight of what art is all about.”

As far as where the paintings created by the students go, it depends.

“Right now, it’s hanging on my wall, but I think I will give it away as a present sometime,” Talbot said.

Candy and Bob Schaeffer work on their paintings March 9. BRIAN WIERIMA

To learn more about Colorful Sips, call the Community House at 239-472-2155 or visit their website at www.sanibelcommunityhouse.net.