When her last child finished college and left home, Kathleen Walters dipped back into an old pastime: painting, something she hadn’t done since high school. And she fell in love with it all over again.

She was gifted an outing to a Pinot’s Palette and was hooked the second she walked in the door. Walters was taken by the art on the walls, rooms filled with easels and aprons, and happy people learning to paint. She got on the phone the very next day and roughly a year later was the proud owner and general manager of the Princeton franchise.

“I rediscovered my creative self,” she said. “I kept looking around and thinking, ‘wow, this is incredible.’ I knew this was for me and I couldn’t be happier. This is a dream come true.”

A psychologist by trade, Walters had been teaching part-time at a county college, but has since put that on hold to grow her new business located in Princeton Forrestal Village. She is thrilled by the location and enjoys working with other businesses. In fact, Walters is committed to keeping it local: she has hired talented local artists to lead the classes at Pinot’s Palette Princeton.

“Our franchise stands out among other ‘painting’ places because we have proven step-by-step instruction so customers are creating pretty much exactly what they see online — they can’t believe they did it,” Walters added. “What also sets us apart is we’re ‘upscale’ — real wine glasses and food set-ups provided, beautiful surroundings, a Cezanne-inspired VIP room, and much more.”

Painting is fun, but for adults, the ability to bring wine, beer, champagne, and soft drinks to enjoy — along with snacks, food, and desserts — is a huge draw. Walters says it’s “fun art” (a playful turn-of-a-phrase on “fine art”) — everyone relaxes as they get into the lesson. Those looking to purchase food to bring in should check out the “Preferred Artists Menu” at Tre Piani, located in Princeton Forrestal Village. House of Cupcakes in Princeton also offers a special menu with branded cupcakes and cookies made in the shape of palettes and paint. View the options on the Pinot’s Palette Princeton website and look under private parties.

Pinot’s Palette Princeton is perfect for a girls’ night out, kids’ parties, corporate events, and non-profit gatherings. In fact, Walters and her husband spent their careers in non-profits, so for the first year they are encouraging 501 (c)(3) non-profits to book an event and will donate a good portion of the profits to that group. This monthly opportunity is already booked through May, so interested organizations should call the studio soon.

Pinot’s Palette Princeton’s opening night and brunch sold out, but there are many fun, open classes available. Aspiring artists may check the calendar online and book reservations right from the website. Learn more at www.pinotspalette.com/prince­ton.

Pinot’s Palette Princeton, 127 Village Boulevard, Princeton Forrestal Village, Princeton. 732-997-0046. Princeton@pinotspalette.com. www.pinotspalette.com/princeton.

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