Art and Aperitif: A Creative Approach to Ladies Night | - September 6, 2011

Artist provides materials for local residents to throw local art house parties

Looking for an artistic spin on girls night out? Martha Ann Sloan has come up with a creative alternative – a night of creativity that pairs all the levity of ladies night with the creative focus of a studio art class.

Sloan is the founder of Art and Aperitif, an art workshop that offers friends and family an opportunity to socialize through sketching, painting and, very often, a couple bottles of chilled wine. “It's like a home party, except we all gather around a table and work on our art,” said Sloan during a recent interview. “It's fun for seasoned artists but even more fun for beginners, people who don't think they're artists – and learn that they are.”

Sloan, a lifelong painter and interior designer, does not work out of a studio space of her own in Santa Fe, but for $35 per participant, she will visit a residence bearing all the materials needed for a night of joyous art-making: aprons, acrylic paint, watercolors, brushes, 16-by-20 inch canvases, sketching materials and painting subjects – sorry, no nude models. “I provide everything. All you have to do is BYOB,” Sloan laughed.

Sloan said her workshops are most popular among groups of friends and family, and perfect for special events such as bachelorette parties, birthdays and baby showers.

During a session, Sloan guides each painter with step-by-step guidance, starting with the initial sketch and wrapping up with final brush strokes. “The artists just have a lot of fun,” she said. “I instruct and we all work on the same subject but they use their own colors and techniques. It's amazing to see the artistic variation, even if we're painting something seemingly simple, like two pears.”

Sloan divides her time between Santa Fe and Vero Beach, Florida, where she shares a studio gallery with three other artists. She began developing the Art and Aperitif concept while teaching youth art-making workshops in Florida. A recent trip to France so inspired Sloan that after returning to Santa Fe, she immediately put her plans into action. “So many people believe they aren't creative and that either you're born an artist or you're not,” said Sloan. “The thing that makes me happiest about teaching art is witnessing that moment when people click, and say to themselves 'I can do this!'”

There is no age limit to discovering one's creative muse, said Sloan. “I've seen that spark take place within young children as well as people in well into their senior years,” she said. “A few of them you have to prod. But once they get into the painting, your practically have to pry them away from their painting.” And while women mostly take advantage of the program, the workshops can also be tailored to children – pretty much the same concept, just swap the wine with apple juice.

Word about Art and Aperitif is spreading quickly and Sloan said she looks forward to booking art sessions through November.

For more information on Art and Aperitif, visit the website or email

Todd Eric Lovato contributed to this story.