Whatever you do, don’t drink from the red cup
With a drink in one hand and a paintbrush in the other, let your creativity blossom on canvas at Paint Nite, the night out that temporarily turns bars into galleries.
Held at local pubs and hotspots, Paint Nite pairs participants with an experienced artist in a laid-back, fun setting where you create a work of art while sipping a cocktail of your choice and having fun with your friends.
You follow along with the event host’s’ instructions and, layer by layer, turn your blank canvas into a cherry blossom with a jagged peak in the background, or a weeping willow tree, or any number of creative works. When reserving online, you pick and choose which painting you want to complete, so the painting you bring home is one that you like.
“What makes this experience unique is that it combines two things—it’s part social, part educational,” said Holly MacKinnon, Paint Nite artist and event host. “You have fun with your friends, you have some drinks, and after two hours you get to leave with a painting you made yourself.”
MacKinnon has been giving the cocktail-nights-turned-artistic-workshops since April of last year, and teaches every Tuesday night at the McKibbin’s in Vaudreuil-Dorion.
When my friend Micaela Bianchini and I joined her class last Tuesday, Feb. 2, MacKinnon explained there were only two rules for the art workshop: first, that Paint Nite was a stress-free zone, and second, that you shouldn’t drink from the red cups. They’re filled with water used to clean the brushes.
Interested participants do not need any artistic experience to join and have fun. Everyone is guided, step by step, to gradually add layers to their paintings, until by the end they have a beautiful finished product.
“The cool thing is that although you reproduce a set painting, you can add as much of your own artistic design to it as you want,” said MacKinnon.
Paint Nite had their first “paint and sip” in Somerville, MA. Since then, the phenomenon has spread worldwide, with events in cities such as London, Boston and Johannesburg. In Montreal alone, there are several workshops offered in a range of different bars across the island.
One of the great things about Paint Nite is that it makes art accessible for everyone under the guise of a night out. It’s a great way to tap into your inner creative self and produce something you can be proud of. Paint Nite has something to offer to beginners and experienced painters alike. Even though I personally have some experience painting, I enjoyed delving back into acrylics and watching my canvas gradually come to life.
“I also love that it is intended for people with no painting experience because it shows them that they are capable,” says MacKinnon. “Most people are convinced they have no artistic skill when really all they need is a bit of instruction and encouragement. It makes painting accessible to everyone, which I love.”
If you’re willing to try something new, Paint Nite is a great alternative to the typical night out, and you get to bring home a finished piece of art. I recommend going to the event with some friends, as you can chat and laugh over drinks and a paintbrush, and then compare who channeled their inner Monet best when the night is over.
Check out their website at https://www.paintnite.com/ to find the next Paint Nite event near you.