I had intended to write something different for my first 2017 posting here, but since, as a family, we spent the second evening of the New Year at Paint Nite – I now want to share my thoughts on this. Both my kids and of course professional artist husband Deryk are already into making artsy things. As am I. Son-in-law Tyler has more of an interest in technology so it was a newer experience for him. But we’d heard some general talk about the popularity of painting in a pub and we wanted to experience it.
It was a small room packed with 50 participants and we were elbow-to-elbow as we worked on our paintings. There was a set image that we were to paint, but there was no mandate to follow the rules. Almost everybody did (a couple of my family members were the only exceptions to this – I will not name them). We truly started with a blank canvas and I have read that this often surprises people as they expect the session to be more of a paint-by-numbers thing, with the drawing already done for them.
But the rules for outlining the image and then filling-it-in were given in small, humorous doses – a big raw blue sky, smooshy aurora effects, silhouette trees. And it was pretty easy to follow along.
A little refreshment, a lot of selfie-taking and an amazingly focused group of people. All the paintings came out strikingly similar. I spoke to people who planned to give their paintings as gifts and a friend’s daughter who happened to be at the same Paint Nite told me that this was her ninth time!
I did some reading on the topic the next day and found that this whole thing is much bigger than I knew, in fact it’s a multi-million dollar business. It’s clearly filling a need but NOT the need for self-expression. Folks wanted to have their painting turn out as close to the official image as possible. But, like knitting a sweater from a pattern, each painter could say “I made this myself.” And that is important.
Can it be that Paint Nite addresses the same need that drives people to love vinyl recordings and polaroid photos – that “turn your back on digital” point of view?
It makes me think that there is a lot of potential out there for people to take on projects that would be satisfying and perhaps a bit more individualistic than Paint Nite. I guess I hope that this trend will evolve and spark some further creativity.
And, although I won’t be giving my painting as a gift (or hanging it anywhere, even though it does look more or less like it’s supposed to) I did have a lot of fun and so did everyone else as far as I can tell 🙂