Tripping out over finals? Try painting your stress away


Participants at Paint Nite enjoyed a meal while painting at LaLe restaurant in San Francisco on April 12, 2017. Photo credit: Mintzhet Tan

A lot of students tend to be under a lot of pressure when the semester comes to an end, so if you are in need of an activity to relieve the stress of finals approaching, you might want to try Paint Nite.

The concept of Paint Nite is pretty simple: you attend painting class with a professional instructor at a local bar or restaurant while they serve you food and beverages. Prior to the start of the class, you can select the painting you would like to recreate from their official website with a plethora of options to choose from. Once you’ve decided the painting and location you’d like to attend, you can proceed to the payment page and attend the class you picked.

Upon arrival, you should look for a seat that you are comfortable with. If you are attending the event with friends, make sure to be in class earlier so you guys can be seated together. Canvases, paint brushes, paint and aprons are provided so you don’t have to worry about bringing any materials. The class I attended was instructed by Elizabeth Patterson, who joined the company last December.

“I really enjoyed watching people coming in and create the artworks based on their own interpretations,” Patterson said. “But most of all, I love seeing people having a good time and just [being] themselves.”

As the class began, there were waitresses walking around the tables to take food and drinks orders from the painters. The majority of participants didn’t have any background in art or experience in painting but they were able to follow the step-by-step instructions from Patterson as she was guiding us with very clear and straight-forward directions. There was a pre-made painting that the participants could refer to next to her canvas.

“I love doing this,” Patterson’s assistant, Amanda Schiff said as she walked around the class while watching everyone’s progress. “I love to meet new people and talk to them and get to know all these interesting people that I would not have met elsewhere.”

Schiff also mentioned that she alternates her role with Patterson and they teach three to four classes a week in the Bay Area.

There was also a pop quiz in the middle of the lesson where the attendees get to win prizes such as vouchers and wines. At this point in the class, most of the paintings were close to completion and the quiz shifted the participants’ attentions from trying to perfect their paintings.

“This is my first time in Paint Nite and I will definitely come back with more friends,” Julia Martinez, one of the fellow painters said. “I am not a painter but I am really proud of my work and I am now asking for a bidder.”

The idea of Paint Nite is to create a space for people to be social with one another and create bonding moments in real time, which is something that seems to be missing in the digital era where we don’t connect like we used to before the rise of social networks. I found the experience extremely helpful to set my mind at ease and remove all the tension I was experiencing by enjoying some good company and laughing with others.

The goal of Paint Nite was never about creating the best artwork but rather building relationships. It is such a great alternative to going out to a club or having an average dining experience.