Eric Schwers says his father, a retired custom homebuilder, "used to sit down and draw a house from scratch on a blank piece of paper.
"I didn't get those genes," he says. "I can barely draw a stick figure."
But he gained a new perspective when a friend brought him to a happy-hour painting lesson in Atlanta.
"You walk in and you see the picture that you're going to paint, and probably 90 percent of the people say, 'There's no way I'm gonna be able to paint that,'" Schwers says. But after 2½ hours and a few drinks, you're humming a different tune.
That's the vision for Colorado Springs' SPLASH, the soon-to-be-opened hangout at 115 N. Tejon St. Managed by Schwers and owned by his parents, the venue aims to deliver "that awe experience" that Schwers enjoyed in Atlanta — the feeling of being artistic, even just for a short time. In an informal setting, you can enjoy a glass of cabernet or a local microbrew while an instructor guides you step-by-step through the painting process.
The shop will post a calendar on its website with a lineup of paintings, so you can choose one to fit your flair. Free-paint and private lessons will fill daytime hours.
"The thing that's so great about this concept," says Schwers, "is you take everyday people and you expose them to the side of art that generally they don't think they can do. We want art to be fun, and not highfalutin and not scary. ... This is painting for dummies. It's really de-mystified."
Just don't mark your calendars yet — the Schwerses are putting the finishing touches on the space and are waiting for approval of their liquor license application to set a date, which could be any time in the next month or two.
"The liquor license is really important to this concept," Schwers says, since some nervous painters may "need a little bit of liquid encouragement."