Tag : Joelo

Creativity without the pressure at paint and sip studios

They’ve become a global sensation — “paint and sip” studios where adults can spend evenings out learning to make art in a relaxed, BYOB setting. Thousands of franchises now exist to help us all unleash our inner creative.One of the places where it all began was a little studio in Birmingham, Alabama. In 2002, at age 28, Wendy Lovoy quit her corporate job to pursue a career as a painter. She began teaching adult and kids’ classes in her Birmingham studio. The adults, she noticed, were taking far too long to finish their paintings. They were nervous about making them perfect. They couldn’t get out of their own heads. When Lovoy encouraged them to relax and move more quickly, their work always turned out better.So she began holding two-hour sessions during which she would guide adult students to create an entire painting from start to finish. As it turned out, they loved it. The paintings were coming out great, and classes were filling up. Students began bringing mimosas. The atmosphere was relaxed and pressure-free.So in 2004, her company, Sips ‘N Strokes, was born. Sips ‘N Strokes pioneered the model of BYOB recreational painting classes that teach students to reproduce a work of art step-by-step.“My vision was to inspire the world to create,” says Lovoy.She hoped to transform the painting process from something intimidating and seemingly out of reach to something approachable and fun.The business grew slowly at first, going from one class a month to two, and then, suddenly, it was seven days a week. By 2007, Lovoy was squishing 100 people per night into her studio. By 2009, when she franchised Sips ‘N Strokes, similar businesses, like Painting With a Twist and Pinot’s Palette, had begun springing up around the country.“It became an industry that the customer base really gravitated to,” says Joe Lewis, CEO of the Mandeville, Louisiana-based Painting With a Twist. “With the increase in the DIY industry, it has really caught on and become popular.”Because the investment needed to start a paint and sip franchise is relatively low, Lewis says, the industry has grown quickly. Painting With a Twist recently acquired a competitor, Chicago-based Bottle and Bottega, and the merged companies have a total of 300 locations around the country.Lovoy is amazed at how popular paint-and-sip places have become since she opened her studio.“When you’re 28 years old and you see something that was your passion blow up to something so big, it’s phenomenal,” says the now-43-year-old.While many people come to the classes to relax with a glass of wine, Lovoy believes that a huge piece of the success of the Sips ‘N Strokes model is the way it forces students to speed up their painting.“When you give an adult time, we overanalyze and overthink everything,” she says. “When you give them that time restraint, they can create anything. They just have to get outside of themselves, and you do that when you move fast. You shut down that anal side of your brain and your creative side opens up.”She enjoys watching students gain confidence. “People like to learn things,” she says. “It’s very satisfying for people to create something themselves.”Some of her most dedicated students have even become professional artists.Mary Posey, a regular student of Lovoy’s who began attending Sips ‘N Strokes classes in 2006, has produced hundreds of paintings.“I went from needing a lot of help to fix paintings at the end of class to, I really started to figure out what they meant by doing a stroke a certain way,” she says. “I started figuring out I could do it on my own.” Her growing confidence in her art, she says, “spilled over into other things. I just noticed I had more confidence.”Lovoy also hopes her students gain an appreciation for art and the work that goes into it.“Go out and support your local artists,” she says. “Get into the art scene.”Molly Sprayregen, The Associated Press read more

Investigators end search at offices of Panama Papers firm

A police officer stands outside Mossack Fonseca law firm while Organized crime prosecutors raid the offices, in Panama City, Tuesday, April 12, 2016. Organized crime prosecutors raided the offices of the Mossack Fonseca law firm looking for evidence of money laundering and financing terrorism following a leak of documents about tax havens it set up for wealthy international clients. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco) Investigators end search at offices of Panama Papers firm by Juan Zamorano And Kathia Martinez, The Associated Press Posted Apr 13, 2016 8:28 pm MDT Last Updated Apr 13, 2016 at 9:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email PANAMA CITY – Prosecutors on Wednesday wrapped up their search of the Mossack Fonseca law firm looking for evidence of any illegal activity in the company at the centre of a document leak that revealed details of offshore financial accounts.Lead organized crime prosecutor Javier Caraballo emerged from the offices after 27 hours of searching to say investigators had seized 100 computer servers that they would begin reviewing.“We cannot so far establish if we have elements that show some kind of tie (to illegal acts), but we are satisfied with the quantity of information that we have been able to collect,” Caraballo said.Earlier in the day, Attorney General Kenia Porcell said it was too early to talk about what might have found in an investigation that she described as very complex. She said investigators were checking the firm’s computers and noted it had servers in multiple locations. Prosecutors are also checking the server of the telephone company that provided the firm’s service.“I’m not saying there is a crime,” Porcell stressed.Mossack Fonseca has denied any wrongdoing.The search started Tuesday, 10 days after news reports began emerging about the document leak known as the Panama Papers. Stories reported that the millions of documents contained details on secretive offshore accounts and shell companies set up by Mossack Fonseca for wealthy clients around the globe.About 30 demonstrators gathered outside Mossack Fonseca’s office Wednesday to demand a thorough investigation.“We demand justice. We cannot allow that a law firm cast doubts on the country,” said Luis Gonzalez, leader of the country’s powerful construction workers union. “Investigate these scoundrels and lock them up.”Some legal observers questioned the government’s delay in investigating the offices.“The day after the revelations came to light the public ministry should have intervened immediately in Mossack Fonseca, should have collected the data, the computer, gotten all of the evidence,” said Italo Antinori, an expert in constitutional law at Complutense University in Madrid. “A lot of evidence could have been diluted, altered.” read more