By AUSTIN WELLS
Diagnosed with terminal cancer, with only about a month left to live, Quinlan resident Mike Loftin needed a spiritual lift, something fun and entertaining to keep his mind off of his illness.
As it turns out, Mike found that much-needed entertainment in Painting With A Twist, a local art company which pairs instructional painting, friends, wine and a professional art instructor to produce individual works of art.
Mike’s wife, Linda, and his niece, Genny Busbice, told him about the wonderful experience they had at a Painting With A Twist location in Waxahachie, and Mike decided it might be worth a try.
“I told them, ‘I’d like to do that,’” Mike said. “And they told me to put it on my bucket list. So I did, and the next thing I know they contacted Painting With A Twist in Greenville.”
But Mike had no idea the pair would actually end up contacting the company, and make arrangements for the staff to conduct its monthly fundraising session right in the Loftin household.
Fourteen total people, including the staff at Painting With A Twist and other voluntary participants from around the county, showed up at Mike’s address with paintbrushes, canvases and wine in hand.
For the next three hours, the group set to work putting brush to canvas, with a pro artist right there to guide them through the process.
The painting itself portrayed a lone, leafless tree set against a cloudy sky encompassing many different shades of blue. For someone with little artistic skills, the task of painting it would seem overwhelming at first.
But according to Mike, the Painting With A Twist instructor made it surprisingly less intimidating.
“I didn’t think it would be easy when I saw the painting,” Mike said. “I looked at it and thought, I can’t do this. But they talk you through it, and it gets easier and easier.”
The “twist” in the company name refers to a unique feature of its art lessons: participants can bring their own wine to help make the experience even more enjoyable.
The session at Mike’s house was no exception. Every 45 minutes, the group would take a break to enjoy a drink of wine and socialize.
The whole affair made for a light-hearted, entertaining event that helped Mike to think about something else besides his terminal illness.
“The whole time they were here, I never thought about my predicament,” Mike said. “It took my mind right off my problems.”
In fact, Mike said his experience only seemed to mirror the hundreds of others who have had the opportunity to attend painting sessions with the organization.
“I challenge you to look on their website and find someone on there who’s not smiling,” Mike said.
The event was part of the company’s Painting With A Purpose monthly fundraiser, and all proceeds from the session went towards benefitting local nonprofits. According to the company’s Facebook page, the company was able to raise $600 from their session with Mike.
Mike said that the staff of Painting With A Twist were “real good people,” and that he highly recommends anyone, artist or not, to partake in a painting lesson.
“I would recommend this to anyone,” Mike said. “It was great and just something that was really worth it.”
Painting With A Twist in Greenville is located off Interstate 30 (next to Chili’s) at 7215 Interstate 30 Frontage Road
For more information about the company, visit its website at www.paintingwithatwist.com/greenville or call 903-454-7928.