Cork & Chroma, Brisbane

IMG_0368I have never fancied myself as much of an artist having always preferred a pen to a paintbrush, but give me a bottle of champagne, a blank canvas and some old-school tunes and suddenly I have the talent of Picasso.

Or at least one of those elephants in Thailand that paint pictures for tourists.


On Friday night, Rish and I unleashed our creative juices at South Brisbane’s Cork & Chroma—a ‘paint and sip’ art studio tucked away beneath the historic arches of Brisbane’s William Jolly Bridge.

Opened in November, Cork & Chroma is a place to relax, unwind and enjoy time painting all while enjoying your favourite alcoholic beverage.

The studio is the brain-child of Chicago-native Hillary Wall, who moved to Brisbane two years ago after a stint in California.

“We just weren’t ready to move back home yet and my best friend from college lives here so we thought we’d give it a year; it’s now been almost two years and we love it here,” she said.

Hillary was inspired to open Cork & Chroma after seeing her friends back home take part in similar classes.

“Friends were posting photos of themselves with their artwork on Facebook and when I returned there on a visit last year I went to a couple of classes,” she said.

My first attempt at a free-hand unicorn.

“My friends and I used to do something similar while we were in college; get canvases and have a few drinks while we painted.

“I don’t want people to come down expecting to get a lecture on art and the proper techniques; I just want to give people a chance to learn something, have a good time and use a part of their brains that they may not always get to use.” 

With the champagne open, Rish and I put on our aprons and collected our palette of colours before settling in front of our easels to start our unicorn-themed session.

Yes … unicorns.

“If I could paint, I’d paint a portrait of you; sunlight in your eyes, a masterpiece of truth.” —1927

To kick things off our instructor, Kristin—who is studying architecture at university—took us through our different brushes, the mixing of colours and which strokes were best for each part of our painting.

Because we were all new to the painting game, we used stencils to trace the shape of our unicorn’s head onto our canvas, although for those who want to go freehand, this is also available.

The stencil definitely helped because my first attempt at drawing a unicorn was a little … abstract.

Then it was down to the business of putting paint on the canvas.

As ‘they’ say, a picture says 1000 words so here you go:

Cork and Chroma1

Cork & Chroma offer a variety of themed sessions as well as open paint sessions.
Cork & Chroma offer a variety of themed sessions as well as open paint sessions.
Ready. Set. Paint.
Ready. Set. Paint.

Cork & Chroma

Someone holds their paintbrush like a pencil!
Marysia's work-in-progress.
Marysia’s work-in-progress.


Hillary and Kristin from Cork & Chroma.
Hillary and Kristin from Cork & Chroma.

Now that you’ve seen the awesome work that can be done, grab some friends or your partner, a bottle of bubbly (or wine, beer or cider for those so inclined) and book in for a session because it’s a great way to kick pack and relax.

For three hours I sang along to the music (Whitney Houston, Seal, Michael Jackson and other great classics), chatted to new friends and was generally caught up in the colour on my canvas.

And I drank … a splash of paint here, a sip of champagne there.

Before I knew it, the bottle and the session were both finished, I had the giggles and an overwhelming desire to drunk-text people and my unicorn was sporting a retractable-looking horn and a crazy ‘My Little Pony’ hairstyle.

All-in-all, an outstanding Friday night!

The finished product ... inspired by My Little Pony.
The finished product … inspired by My Little Pony.

For more information on Cork & Chroma, click here.


Leave a Reply to Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s