Just Express Yourself at Paint Nite

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Jeanette engrossed in painting cherry blossoms.
Jeanette engrossed in painting cherry blossoms.

It’s no secret that I love cherry blossoms. Every year, I plunge myself in the cherry blossom experience in High Park. At its peak, the skies turn fluffy pink and I find myself immersed in gorgeousness.

Cherry Blossoms in High Park
Cherry Blossoms in High Park

So when I was invited to attend Paint Nite as a blogger for Torontonicity, the Cherry Blossom painting by Kristina Elizabeth was the obvious choice. I requested a place for two at On The Rock on Bloor Street West. I coaxed my friend, Jeanette, to join me. She said sure, but she had no creativity and I told her my painting skills sucked. I said that the inspiration and supplies are all provided – we’ll be great!

Being so excited to paint something very pretty, I got there early to make sure I could sit facing the painting and also be reasonably close. Based on my previous two experiences, it helps to not have to turn 180 degrees to face the painting.

Artist instructor Liesl Scheppat took us step-by-step in creating this fanciful painting.
Artist instructor Liesl Scheppat took us step-by-step in creating this fanciful painting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aside from the fun whimsy of artistic expression, the event is also an interesting exploration of how the personality of the artist changes the whole look and feel of the art work. We are all guided by the instructor; each step is explained to us so we follow the same sequence, use the same size brushes, and use the same colours. Yet we all created a different shade of blue for the sky, a different shade of pink for the clouds, and different shapes for the blossoms, which also varied greatly in size and quantity. Mine took on a light and airy quality while Jeanette’s is streamlined. I liked how she made a conscious decision to change everything according to her taste.

Jeanette engrossed in painting cherry blossoms.
Jeanette engrossed in painting cherry blossoms.

The instruction was good, but the space at On the Rock was not optimal. We were too closely seated that, when working on the left and right edge of the canvas, we’d knock our paint brushes or splatter the other canvas. Additionally, with all the art supplies on the table, there was no room to put my drink. There should always be space for a drink! Especially if your tag line is drink creatively!

Those of us sitting facing the artist were told that she could not come around and advise us on our work as a consequence of there being no space behind our seats for her to move. I haven’t experienced that at the other venues I attended so I hope they adapt the layout to make it more conducive to instructor/student interaction. It could be remedied by removing some tables, but that means fewer budding artists can participate at any one time.

Jeanette and Diana showing off artistic skills.
Jeanette and Diana showing off artistic skills.

We think our paintings are pretty nice for non-artists. We’re better than we think!
Everyone was so friendly and loved to chat about their paintings and the process. We looked at each others work and marveled just how different they all were.

Everyone has some talent.
Everyone has some talent.

My mother apparently liked the painting and asked me if I will sell it. Now I don’t think anyone would give me a dollar for this special-to-me piece, but her saying this was a possibility was touching. Thanks for the support, Mom.

My Paint Nite cherry blossom painting is hanging on a wall, spreading cheer. It looks better in person. Really.
My Paint Nite cherry blossom painting is hanging on a wall, spreading cheer. It looks better in person. Really.

I am much happier with this painting than previous Paint Nite creations. My last painting was of the Toronto skyline, which was okay but I had hoped it would be better. So I photographed it and then played with the image in Photoshop. You can make things look better with Photoshop, but you can also give them a totally different character. I turned my painting into a spooky city scene!

Your art work will not look exactly like the artist's piece - just enjoy your uniqueness.
Your art work will not look exactly like the artist’s piece – just enjoy your uniqueness.

I have done three Paint Nites so far – each one a very different but always a fun and creative experience.

What to do:

  • Pick a painting that really grabs you. There are so many to choose from. Don’t pick tractors if you balk at the sight of one…I think you know where I’m going with this.
  • Check for Groupon deals.
  • Contemplate the painting before you go. Give some thought to how you’d like to approach it.
  • Be open to changing your mind on the above approach when you begin.
  • Consider how you like to work. If you like to give your art your whole attention, a chatty friend could prove to be distracting.
  • Even though they provide aprons, don’t wear your best clothes as you may get paint on them. Watercolour paints are used, which will likely come off.
  • Take a few minutes to clear your mind. Listening to some music frees my mind.
  • Get out to Paint Nite and express yourself!

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I love how a single painting could produce such a diverse array of interpretations. Everyone did such a fabulous job – I would never have guessed that you were non-artists. And I love how your painting pops against the maroon-coloured wall.

    • Hi Grace, Doesn’t this look fun? Yes, I was surprised to see how different the paintings turned out! I also like Diana’s painting against the maroon background! Lori

  2. Thanks for the positive comments Grace and Lori. I think Paint Nite can make artists of us all! It is a fun night out with friends – something to share and bond over. I’m feeling curious about trying it a few more times.

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