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Happy Artists hosts painting classes with spirits

The Beach Reporter


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Manhattan Beach elementary art teacher Brittany Balcom taught a paint and sip art class while she majored in art education and studio art at California State University, Chico. Because she enjoyed that experience, she decided to start her own company, Happy Artists, with her boyfriend Peter Sudak.

Happy Artists had its inaugural class Jan. 24 at Chelsea Pub and Lounge in Hermosa Beach. The group recreated one of Balcom’s original paintings while enjoying drinks at the club.

“A lot of people think they look more complicated then they are,” said Balcom about her paintings. “It’s easy to break it down for people … I try to do a lot of fun, simple paintings.”

 The Redondo Beach couple said they provide the canvas, easel, brushes, paint, apron and instruction. Each class features one of Balcom’s original paintings. They currently don’t have a permanent location for Happy Artists.

“We like the idea of doing it at different bars or restaurants where people can buy drinks or get food,” said Sudak, who is a aerospace engineer at Northrop Grumman. “If it works out, we’ll be happy to do it again here (Chelsea Club).”

Hermosa Beach resident Marc Hernandez was one of nine students at Happy Artists’ first class.

“I’ve been wanting to sign up for a few different paint and sip classes, but the vast majority are not local,” Hernandez said. “This is a way where I can grab a drink and not have to drive home.”

Balcom currently teaches art at the Manhattan Academy, a private school for kindergarten to fifth graders. She said teaching the children and adults is “both super fun.”

“I’m trying to teach them different elements of art, principals of design, trying to make progress throughout the year,” Balcom said of her students. “It’s more education, with this (paint and sip) it’s fun and I’m not worried about teaching them the color wheel. It’s not as stressful.”

Happy Artists will hosts its next event, “Tree of Love,” on Valentine’s Day. Geared for couples or even friends, each person receives a canvas to paint half of a tree. When finished, both pieces will be put together for a complete image.

The event takes place at the Chelsea Pub and Lounge, located at 1334 Hermosa Ave., from 7 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 14. Tickets are $70.

For more information, visit southbayhappyartists.com.


Why Painting and Art Can Make you Happy 


Distracts from other worries – it is hard to dwell on troubles once in the flow of a painting. It has the power to engage you so fully, bringing you into the present moment.

Reduces stress – studies show that both creating and observing art can reduce cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’*. Doing something you love also releases endorphins – feel-good chemicals that combat stress and reduce pain.

Builds self-esteem – I feel anything but confident as I start each project. Painting provides a challenge and with each hour I paint, I am building skills. It is an activity with a tangible result and the more I dedicate myself, slowly but surely, the more I can see improvement and feel a sense of achievement.

Creates a healthy state of mind – participants in a 2014 study* who produced art demonstrated: ‘a significant improvement in psychological resilience’ as well as increased levels of “functional connectivity” in the parts of the brain responsible for introspection, self-monitoring and memory. The study, involving participants aged between 62 and 70, also concluded that creating artwork can delay ageing.