By Carol G. Stratton


Sibling rivalry? Not with this blonde-haired duo. Donna Mitchell and Tabetha Daugherty are up to their necks in easels and paintbrushes as they plan parties for groups in the Lake Norman area with their Cork & Canvas Painting Parties.

And these native Georgians have a great time doing it. Their motto is, “Get your paint on!”

Cork & Canvas parties are held in many different places. Typically, a hostess will invite six or more people to her home for a fun evening. The sisters bring paints, easels and a finished picture. Mitchell instructs the group how to paint the canvas. The object is to complete a painting that a customer could hang up in their home.

Parties run the gamut, including high school reunions, girls night out, birthday parties and book clubs. One wife drug her husband to a party for their date night. He had so much fun he brought his daughter for a daddy-daughter class.

To book a party, you must have at least five people. The party costs $30 per person. With the minimum number of guests, the hostess is free and provides drinks and snacks. Parties take place anywhere you can throw down a drop cloth.

Images for paintings vary.

“We’ve had parties where dog owners paint their dogs and put expressive words that describe their pet in the background,” Daugherty said. 

Other subjects include owls, trees, beach scenes and stylistic flowers. The sisters are open to any ideas to paint but also have suggestions on their website for customers.

Mitchell is the artist behind the paintings. With her background in mural and faux painting, she’s game for anything. She finds a subject to paint and sketches them on canvas. Daugherty, the business side of the duet, keeps things moving forward.

“She’s the wind beneath my wings but also reins me in,” Mitchell said.

Daugherty says their artistic skills are blood-born. Mitchell, a painter by trade, inherited their father’s love of creating. He was always making furniture or painting something. Mitchell knew she’d be an artist when she kept getting the most votes for best artwork in her fourth-grade class and all the other kids got mad at her. Her love of art continued after she married. Mitchell’s husband never knew what to expect when he went to work.

“Once my husband came home and I had painted our bedroom walls to look like stones on a castle wall,” she recalled. “He learned to go with the flow.”

But when Mitchell’s daughter died in a tragic car accident several years ago, she stopped painting. It wasn’t until she moved from Georgia to the Lake Norman area to be by her sister that she restarted her life.

“I knew my sister, Donna, would get me back on track,” Daugherty said.

A year or so after Mitchell moved to the area, Daugherty attended a painting party back in Georgia. In a stroke of serendipity, she came back inspired with the idea she and her sister could bring the painting party business to Lake Norman. Since November, they have booked events at places from Bailey’s Glen to Harvey’s.

This dynamic duo is also branching out into fundraisers. WDAV and Cork and Canvas are partnering together for an event in October.

The business continues to grow. If you asked the sisters, they’d paint their future a rosy pink.