Paint the town red!

Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A woman stands in front of an easel displaying a painting of an empty boat seen through blossoming tree branches.
Ena Lucia Mariaca poses in front of her demo painting of Lone Boat through the Blossoms.

By Brandon Gillet

Looking for a way to let loose your inner artist? Local company Paint Nite would be happy to help, and uOttawa history student Ena Lucia Mariaca is one of a number of artists ready to be your host.

A woman sitting in front of a canvas gazes at her painting of tall tulips against a moonlit sky.
A participant at a recent Paint Nite at the Green Papaya Restaurant on Merivale pauses to reflect on the progress of her painting. 

The company stages events at various pubs and restaurants across Ottawa at which participants are given step-by-step instructions so they can paint their own versions of the same scene. Paint Nite recently began holding regular Saturday evening sessions at the Royal Oak Restaurant near campus.

“It’s a social outing,” said Mariaca, who allowed The Gazette to tag along for an evening. “It could be a girls’ night out, it’s perfect for first dates or just as a de-stressor.”

Nadia Stec, an MSc candidate who was attending a Paint Nite for the first time, found it “a convenient, fun way to take a break from academics.”

Tickets for the two-hour events cost $45, but many of the artists provide promo codes for a significant discount. Although refreshments are not included in the price of the ticket, restaurant servers will bring food and drink to participants while they paint.

The artist-host sets up the tables in advance so that each participant has a canvas, paint tray, brushes and water cup. Once the budding artists have gathered, the host demonstrates various techniques to achieve the desired artistic effect. The artist can also offer one-on-one assistance if a participant gets stuck at any point or wants to customize their art in some way.

“I try to tailor each event to the particular group,” said Mariaca. “I want them to have fun and love their painting.” 

A group of people displaying finished paintings that vary slightly.

A group of tattoo artists at an event at Woody’s Pub. Participants generally paint their own version of the same scene, but are also free to get creative.

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