Painting Lounge

Painting Lounge

Let’s face it: being an artist can be a bitch, especially if you have to spend 40 hours a week stuck behind a desk or, even worse, flipping burgers just to make ends meet. Materials get expensive, inspiration runs dry and some of us just don’t have the time ―much less the chops― to make a real go at becoming the next Monet. Especially when we’d rather spend our free time at the bar, right? Thank god, then, for the Painting Lounge, a near-nightly paint and drink class that allows people like me and you the opportunity to play dress-up artist while milking a bottle of cheap red wine.

The Painting Lounge is not geared towards serious artists, but the stuff you paint is usually based on works done by artists were very serious. Picasso, Matisse, Cezanne, Bob Ross, and Salvador Dali are just a few subjects on the bucket list. It’s paint-by-numbers, only the numbers are a real instructor who encourages you to draw outside the lines. Meanwhile, the alcohol provides the courage necessary to push forward. This is particularly helpful when you realize you’ve somehow managed to turn a Van Gogh into a Pollack with one swoop of the brush.

The instructor, artist Kevin Tarasuk, reduces some of the world’s most popular paintings down to a basic science that even a blind baby could comprehend. Upon arrival you are seated in front of a blank canvas with tracing paper and a simple outline clipped over the top. You trace the outline, remove the paper and spend the next two hours painting whatever happens to be on the calendar that day. (Fun fact: “Starry Night” seems to be the most popular painting, which is somewhat surprising.) When I was there the painting was “Boone vs Bear,” an obscure folk-art scene that depicts a hunter about to grapple with a very angry grizzly bear. The bear has been shot, but the hunter is out of bullets and stands ready to strike, his gun hauled over his shoulders like a baseball bat. What happens next is open to artistic interpretation.

Thankfully, the Painting Lounge eschews pretentiousness and skill-level for a hands-on approach that allows everyone in the room to make something worth hanging on their wall. Interested? Here’s how it works: look at their calendar, pick a painting you want to replicate, and reserve your spot ($50 for two hour sessions, $65 for three). They provide the necessities: canvas, brush, easel, paint, apron, cups and instruction. All you need is the booze and a friend or two and you’re good to go. And hey, it’s the most practical way to get a Van Gogh into your living room.

Lane Koivu