For centuries the works of famous artists such as Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh have captured our visual imaginations. Housed in the most famous galleries and museums for the world to see, they are masterpieces to which amateur artists aspire. However, most of us (including myself!) haven’t progressed much beyond finger-painting in elementary school and have no idea how to even begin a project. In an ideal world, we would have a qualified, patient teacher to take us step-by-step or brushstroke-by-brushstroke through a piece…perhaps even with good food and a glass or two of wine to get the creative juices flowing. Good news: that world is here! A few weeks ago I attended my first Paint Nite in Kingston – a leader-instructed, group painting class at The Mansion (a local bar) while enjoying good conversation and my favourite cider – and I’m hooked. The concept of social painting is perhaps not new, but Paint Nite has developed perfect formula and now, under the Paint Nite banner, these events are popping up all over the United States, Canada and Europe. Kingston hosted its first Paint Nite in January and word is spreading quickly: Kingstonians want to paint! Recently, I had chance to chat with Alanah Waugh, a local artist from Sydenham, ON, and master artist for Kingston’s Paint Nite, about Paint Nite and how you can get involved.
1. What is Paint Nite and where did the concept originate?
Paint Nite is an event hosted at a local (drinking) establishment, where people can go and drink, socialize, and at the same time get a step-by-step painting lesson from a master artist. Each participant is given a paint-proof apron and seated before a stretched canvas propped up on a table easel, alongside a collection of paints and brushes. The entire painting, from start to finish, takes about two hours. The best part, you don’t have to do any clean up and you walk away with a piece of art that impresses. Paint Nite started as an idea that two guys from Boston had one night while attending a trivia night at their local pub. Rumour has it that they scribbled the idea on a napkin and it quickly grew from there. Paint Nite is now an established brand in over 150 cities across the United States, Canada and Europe. You are a local artist.
2. Tell me a bit about yourself and how you got involved with Paint Nite?
I have been artsy since I was old enough to hold a crayon. Painting and drawing are my passions and I am fortunate enough to be good at it and I love teaching art to kids and adults. Over the Christmas break a friend of mine was telling me about this awesome thing in Ottawa called Paint Nite. I immediately went online to see if it was in Kingston so that I could try to become involved. I was disappointed to see that it wasn’t happening here, but it wasn’t very long after that I saw an advertisement that it had expanded to Kingston and needed a “master artist.” I was all over that! I’m so excited to be given this incredible opportunity that combines some of my favourite things (art, socializing and of course drinks!)
3. If I have no painting experience, whatsoever, how will my piece turn out like the example?
I break each painting down step-by-step and make it really easy for absolutely anyone to paint! A lot of people say at the beginning of the night ,”there’s no way I can paint that!” They end up leaving with a masterpiece and surprising themselves! That being said, though, there is no pressure to make your art exactly like the example. You can experiment with colours, placement and shapes. Nobody is being graded or judged, and this is meant to be a fun, relaxing night out!
4. How do the group paintings get selected?
Paintings are selected by Licensees, artists such as myself, or requested by our eager painters! Many of the paintings done in Kingston are by Ontario artists and I look forward to eventually introducing my own works.
5. What is the best part of your experience working with novice painters/artists?
The most rewarding part is seeing someone looking at their piece and realizing “hey, I can paint,” even though they may not have ever painted before! As an artist, it’s really cool to see more people discovering art as a way to get out and have some fun!
6. How do people find out more about Paint Nite in Kingston?
Paint Nite comprehensive website that give that has loads of information on the concept, how it works and all of the different cities who host the events. You can search Kingston in the events calendar and see all of the upcoming dates, including what painting will be featured. There is also a “Paint Nite Kingston” Facebook page that you can “like” to hear about upcoming events and see pictures of the masterpieces created at previous ones. Keep an eye out for promo codes and Groupon deals, as there are often discounts to be had!