Sad trees no more

It’s time to let your inner Bob Ross shine.

It’s time to let your inner Bob Ross shine.

Contrary to the opinion of many living outside the City of Trees, Sacramento is an art town, not a cow town. With iconic painters such as Gregory Kondos and professional skateboarders who moonlight as artists, everyone here seems to dabble in the painterly arts. Everyone, that is, except me.

Sure, I've watched the late Bob Ross litter canvases with his “happy little trees” on the classic PBS television show The Joy of Painting. And yes, it did inspire me to attempt to recreate one of his paintings—with tragic results. In an attempt to overcome my penchant for doodling stick figures and rendering landscapes filled with sad little trees, I stumbled on Happy Hour Paints—a mobile painting outfit that launched in May 2012, with the promise to bring out the artiste in anyone.

The gig is simple: Happy Hour Paints ( puts on events at area bars and restaurants with local artists providing step-by-step instruction through the mechanics of completing a painting. Best of all, you don't have to schlep around your own supplies: HHP provides everything—paints, brushes, canvases, smocks and easels.

And so, looking to channel my inner Bob Ross—sans Afro—I rounded up a posse of three willing souls and set out to unleash my artistic talents at a recent event at The Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar. Because who wants to humiliate themselves alone?

Oh, and did I mention the happy hour part? Held during arguably the best time of the day to quaff—the witching hours between the end of the workday and dinner—most, if not all, events include one drink ticket to get creative juices flowing. The Red Rabbit gang offered up a decent selection of munchies and craft cocktails off its regular menu, including my personal favorite, the Monte Carlo, an amber-hued concoction of rye whiskey, Benedictine and Angostura aromatic bitters.

With cocktails in tow, an artist's palette loaded with brilliant hues of paint and a blank canvas before us, we set out to create our masterpieces—a landscape titled “Snowy Mountain.” As our instructor, Dave McIntosh, guided us stroke-by-stroke through the process, the room buzzed with artistic fervor as we attempted to mirror every swath of color McIntosh laid down on his canvas.

Well, most of us attempted to copy his techniques—one of the more artistically inclined members of my art posse chose to spiff up her landscape with a buoyant hot-air balloon. Show off!

While HHP events cost more than a round drinks at your favorite watering hole (between $35 and $45, depending on the painting and location), the two-and-a-half hours I spent toiling away on my creation whizzed by amid loads of laughter and booze—even if my handiwork only ends up gracing the walls of my grandmother's house instead of the Crocker Art Museum. Bob would be proud.