Once upon a time, drawing was all I’d ever do. I carried sketchbooks and supplies wherever I went, transforming my imagination into all sorts of pieces. I don’t know when I stopped, but if you’ve got a good thing going, never stop, because you never know when you’ll pick it up again.
Other than sketches in the margins of meeting notes done in ballpoint pen, my days of drawing had become a distant memory — a dream deferred, perhaps never getting the chance to see reality.
But that doesn’t mean I ever stopped thinking about it. When I daydream, it’s like an animated movie playing out in my head, all my characters playing their part in a grand sci-fi odyssey. But I never make the time to make the ideas in my cranium any more than that — mere thoughts.
Which is what made Buytopia’s invite to a Paint Nite so appealing.
Sipping and Sketching — A Killer Combo in Downtown Toronto?
On a Wednesday evening at Banu, a laid-back Iranian restaurant and vodka bar in Toronto’s Trinity-Bellwoods neighbourhood, Buytopia invited its Inner Circle members to try something different — to spend a night getting messy and creative as we gave up a few hours to find our inner da Vincis and paint with Paint Nite Toronto!
But What’s Paint Nite Toronto?
Started this May by Nathan Schonberger and Ajaz Hussain, Paint Nite’s Toronto chapter — just one in an organization spanning more than 40 cities — works with a unique premise:
Paint Nite® is a new concept of blending two timeless pastimes, artistic painting and drinking cocktails, as a way to draw patrons into local pubs on a slow night with a unique opportunity to socialize and be creative. The 2-hour Paint Nite painting parties are held daily with 25+ people in attendance who follow the step-by-step instructions of one master local artist from blank canvas to masterpiece.
Even though I drew well into my 20s, it’d been even longer since I’d put brush to canvas! The night started with some words from Charming Media’s Val Starchurski and from Nathan as he introduced Angela Nurpetlian, a Lebanese artist by way of Paris and Montreal who’d be our teacher for the next few hours. To describe a bit of her style and approach to teaching, all it takes is one look at her website to get an idea:
Colors, bubbly shapes, imaginary stories and hand-made craft objects are what attract me most in the visual art world and my experimentations are based around those points.
You start with a canvas; three brushes (“Baby”, “Mama” and “Papa”); some water (not for oral consumption); and acrylic paints in blue, yellow, red and white. Over the following hours, Angela held us by the hands, starting us with colour mixing and line drawing, leading us all the way through to adding texture and really making our paintings our own. Even with my experience, it was pretty interesting being walked through another artists’ creative process and flexing some creative muscles I hadn’t used in a while!
But painting is only part of the Paint Nite experience! Their slogan is to “Drink Creatively” —
Paint Nite is the perfect cocktail of friends, wine and art that make for a unforgettable evening.
No matter whether you bring your friends or come by yourself, you can bet that you will meet plenty of other fun-seeking people from all over the city!
Not an artist? No problem!
In just about two hours, while you’re sipping on a cocktail, our performing artists will guide you through each painting so that you come up with your own unique masterpiece at the end of the night that you will be amazed YOU created. We provide everything you will need: canvas, paints, brushes and even a smock. You just bring your fun loving friends and have a few cocktails to keep the sprits [sic] high and inhibitions to a minimum and we’ll make sure your inner Picasso is unleashed.
It’s good that Paint Nite’s held at restaurants and pubs, because I hadn’t eaten dinner yet! The bartender suggested I try the bareh torsh, a char-grilled cut of Ontario lamb chops with a pomegranate walnut marinade on top. Definitely tasty, but not worth the $29 they charge for it =/
It ain’t easy painting and pigging out simultaneously, but I made it work.
What I took from Paint Nite Toronto
Ultimately, anyone can get their paint on at Paint Nite Toronto — you’ve just gotta be willing to take direction and have a good time over drinks, wits and pigments!
There’s a lot to gain from Paint Nite Toronto. It could make for an excellent date night — you’re way more likely to bond over a shared unique activity than you are mere conversation. If you’re someone who’s convinced yourself that you’re not creative, preferring to work on something with structure than leave yourself exposed and exit your comfort zone with some painting, the instructors help you through every step to develop something special. There’s no reason not to try it — especially if you’ve never painted before!
For me, Paint Nite Toronto was a reminder that we sometimes forget the pieces that make us whole. When I dropped my art for work, social media and everything else under the sun, it was like being only a shadow of myself, trying to be true to a self that wasn’t all there.
It was good to paint again. It’d been a long time since working with oils in high school art class, but as I worked at the canvas before me, confidence grew with every stroke I took. I eventually wound up with this —
—not mind-blowing, but I was pretty happy with it!
I encourage you all to give Paint Nite Toronto a whirl sometime. Tickets are normally $45 a pop, but go through Buytopia or use the paintpartyto discount code on the Paint Nite Toronto site to get it for $25 instead!
Drink creatively. Live interestingly. Dream outside the box and try new experiences to see if they fit!
Go paint a pretty picture — tell ‘em Casey sent you!
HYFR and YOLO,
[Disclaimer: So yes, I'm a member of the Buytopia Inner Circle, where we get to test out Buytopia.ca deals gratis before they go live. So I got to check out Paint Nite Toronto and get a beer for free. Paid for my food, though! Still... it was fun. There's a full list of dates on both the Buytopia and Paint Nite sites — check it out!]