Claire Hayes paints at the Painting with a Twist event in which halff of the proceeds were being donated to Wreaths for Vets on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016.

Gabe Wolf | Herald

No artist starts with an instictive knowledge of the best way to use the brush, or the most skillful way to paint — or if they do, those types are few and far between. Most aspiring painters find a teacher or practice recreating existing painting.

At Painting with a Twist in Harker Heights, area residents are able to find both.

On Sunday, Painting with a Twist in Harker Heights was lit up with music and warmth as people got in out of the cold for a Painting with a Purpose fundraiser.

Sunday’s event saw 39 people show up to paint while 50 percent of all proceeds went to support the annual Wreaths for Vets project.

“We do fundraisers for Wreaths for Vets at least once a year, usually twice a year,” instructor Miriah Knapp said Sunday. “Today I will be teaching the class how to paint one of our painting here, “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” which, on a scale from 1-to-10, I’d say is about a 6.”

Knapp, who has been painting at Painting with a Twist for five years, is the senior painter on staff. She said that while they do have regular customers at the store, most of the people she saw Sunday were new faces.

“We have a really good number today, we will be able to donate a lot to the program,” she said. “It is a really good cause.”

The Wreaths for Vets program is an annual event in which thousands of wreaths are placed on the gravestones of veterans at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery.

This year, more than 8,000 wreaths will be placed on Nov. 26 beginning at 10 a.m. Buses will be available starting at 8:30 a.m. to take volunteers from Texas A&M University-Central Texas to the cemetery.

One newcomer to Painting with a Twist — Claire Hayes of Harker Heights — said she was excited to participate to help out the charity.

“My mom actually works with the Wreaths for Vets program, and I have helped them lay wreaths at the cemetery several times before,” Hayes said. “When she told me there was a fundraiser at Painting with a Twist, I was excited to try it out.”

Hayes said the last time she has had painted was in middle school, but she wasn’t letting lack of experience slow her down Sunday.

“It’s just great that the money is going to charity, I think it is a great cause,” she said. “I think this is definitely something I would bring my friends to and come again.”

Other patrons had attended several past events at the store, but were just as excited to be doing something for the charity program.

“I have been out here probably at least 10 times,” Morgan Ingram said. “It’s fun, and it’s for a good cause.”

Ingram was at the event with her parents, Mark and Lori Edson. Lori had attended several classes with Ingram before, but this was only Mark’s second event.

“Normally they come out here for a girls’ night, but because this was for charity they ambushed me and dragged me along,” Mark said, laughing. “But I am actually having a lot of fun, and if they have another charity event I would probably come out again.”

The Wreaths for Vets preparation event, which involves fluffing and organizing thousands of wreaths, will be at 10 a.m. Nov. 19 at the Killeen Special Events Center, 3601 S. W.S. Young Drive.

Anyone interested in volunteering can show up at the start time. Organizers said the preparation usually takes about two hours.

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