Mother and daughter open a unique business – The Paint Bar

Career, Marketing To Women in Boston, Style, Uncategorized

By Matt Robinson


Many people are nervous when asked to do something creative. Some turn to friends for support; others to a little bit of liquid courage. At The Paint Bar in Newton (, both are in abundance and near at hand, making the creative process comfortable and fun!

Opened just over a year ago by the mother-daughter duo of Jill and Jackie Schon and set in a former spin studio in a sunny spot on Washington Street, this combination painting studio/party space/bar offers painting lessons in an environment that is supportive and successful even for the most reticent Rembrandt.

“I had not picked up a paintbrush since the third grade,” explains Jill, who has spent over 30 years in the communications field as a writer, graphic designer, and marketing and advertising administrator. “I was amazed at the paintings I created with two hours of instruction!”

When asked where she got the idea, Jill says she came upon the “paint and sip” concept from a friend in the south. “My college friend told me about a fun place in Atlanta where people go with their friends to paint and drink,” Jill recalls. “We couldn’t believe it wasn’t already in the Boston area. Now it is!”

While there are no men with outrageous afros painting “happy little trees” around, the Paint Bar does offer all the gentle support of the late legend Mr. Ross. In addition to being helped along by the bubbly, the Paint Bar’s fun and relaxed atmosphere is helped along by Jackie, a professional photographer and painter and a former manager at Newton’s popular Biltmore restaurant who brings her youthful exuberance to even the most hardened anti-artist.

“I have come to believe that everyone has some artistic talent,” Jackie says, “but that most of us are discouraged when we are very young and never return to explore this creative side of ourselves.“

Fortunately, such negativity is forbidden at The Paint Bar.

“There are no bad comments here,” Jackie notes, “only compliments.”

From birthday parties to corporate events, the Paint Bar offers a novel approach to get-togethers and also to art classes. “Our customers range in age from 9 to 99,” Jill says, noting that there was an actual 93-year-old who visited (and painted!) recently. “Most of our customers are in the 25-49 age group.”

After putting on a smock and pumping paint onto cardboard palettes, guests are seated at individual canvases set at large tables that leave plenty of room for snacks, drinks and socializing. As they paint, the instructor plays a funky mix of old and new favorites and encourages singing along.

“We’re all about having fun,” Jackie says.

Though the lack of curtains make life models a difficult request to fulfill, Jill and Jackie cater to their guests with both their hand-picked wine lists and their choices of subject. “Each date is structured around a specific painting,” Jill explains. “Our instructor guides the class with set-by-step instruction.” Recent painting themes have ranged from Fenway Park to a snowy day in the Berkshires to contemporary renditions of classic masterpieces by Van Gogh and Renoir. While most pieces take up one canvas, “couples” sessions are also available.

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