COLERAIN - Martins Ferry grade school art teacher Natalie Zambori loves teaching. She also loves art. She filled her summers with art camps, and enjoyed the aspect of teaching art year round.
Last summer, a friend asked her about teaching a painting class on her own. These classes grew from individual classes to group parties. From there, Zambori, who holds both a bachelor's and a master's degree in Art, brought the idea of Art Journey to life.
Art Journey is an on location painting party taught by Zambori. The "on location" is what makes Art Journey unique. Zambori will come to a place of the host's choosing and hold a painting party for a group of at least seven people. Dates and times are flexible and chosen at the convenience of the host.
Her goal is to make art accessible to everyone. The cost is $35 per person, which includes paint supplies and an 18x24 canvas. She brings everything paint related plus the instruction and doesn't set a time limit for the class. "I just stay until everybody's happy."
Having a painting party in the comfort of home tends to put less pressure on people, she explained, adding that people are more laid back because they're with friends and family. For the host, the cost of having a painting party is free; the host just needs to provide the location and any snacks if she chooses. Guests are also welcome to bring their own snacks and beverages.
Zambori requests a seven person minimum for on location events. She has also used the Hilltop Social Hall in Colerain for painting parties, where she requires a 10 person minimum. People can also rent shelters at a park, or anywhere they feel inspired.
"I've been everywhere from Victorian homes to decks and patios," she noted. She can accommodate up to 25 people. "I could do more, but I want it to be a more personal experience," she said, explaining she likes interacting with each guest.
Another aspect of Art Journey that makes it unique is Zambori's willingness to create custom paintings for groups. Hosts can choose from any painting posted on her website (artjourneyparty.com) or her Facebook page, or they can request a custom piece. Customized paintings do not cost anything additional, so it's a perk that Zambori encourages hosts to take advantage of.
"I've actually gotten good at matching paint colors in people's homes," she said with a laugh. Any of the paintings on her website can be customized with different colors, or she could even work off of a theme to create a custom piece for a party.
During the painting party, Zambori walks guests through the painting step by step, and along the way, offers suggestions on how to customize.
"Paintings don't have to be cookie cutter, and that's what makes art fun. Everyone is different," she said.
People interested in learning more about Art Journey can call Zambori at 304-280-6051, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit her website artjourneyparty.com or her Facebook page.
Past guests and hosts have told Zambori they enjoy her teaching method. Zambori instructs using simple terms and breaking an image down into shapes.
"If you can draw a line, you can draw a shape. If you can draw a shape, you can draw anything. If you can make a mark on the canvas, we can build things step by step," she said.
Breaking a painting down helps keep people from being so overwhelmed, she said.
Art Journey parties can range from private parties with groups of friends or groups of moms to church groups and, one of Zambori's favorites, kids birthday parties. She said the birthday parties are fun because it's amazing what kids create - plus taking home a unique piece of art is much more meaningful than a regular goodie bag. Zambori enjoys working with kids and in July, she will hold a kid's art camp.