It’s an artist’s heaven: a coffee shop and paint studio combined, with all materials provided (including artist staff for those who are not as artistically inclined), and for quite a reasonable price. I had the opportunity to visit Paintlounge during one of its monthly Espressions events, where a local musician plays live while you sip your drink, socialize and paint.
I had the opportunity to arrive early to the scene, taking a look around before customers started trickling in. I was greeted by the manager, Kayla, who was also an art student. Asking her why she decided upon this job, she commented that “it’s inspiring and never gets boring”. Looking around the studio, it was pretty clear why she never got bored. Abstract paintings and lesson samples hung on the walls, a bit of paint splattered on the floor, painted chalkboards provided inspiring words and creative advice.
As people started trickling in for the event, a greeter would introduce themselves and explain the event to them. They would be directed to the supplies table, where they would be able to flip through albums of paintings and other inspirational photos, gather their painting supplies, put on a smock and sit down at a canvas. As they painted, they could order two different drinks, as part of the Espressions event, as well as ask any of the staff on hand for creative advice as well as help with technique.
Talking to some of the people there, many commented that they hadn’t painted since childhood, but still thought that this was a wonderfully enjoyable event. Asking one man about his painting, he explained it to me as the “different layers of life”: It can be chaotic, it can be boring, it can be confusing, but underneath it all, we all have a heart and we all have a passion.
Sometime in the middle of the inspiring conversations came the highlight of the night. A real, live, local artist performs one of his own songs. That particular night, Steven Morel was at the mic. He had an amazing voice, as well as an upbeat attitude. Just listening to his performance made the entire audience clap and sing along to some familiar songs, and created a blissful, relaxing atmosphere. At the end of the session, everyone felt much more relaxed to socialize with others about their paintings, as well as talk to the artist as he went around, having light and inspiring conversations with those at the easels.
Unfortunately, the night had to end sometime. As people finished up their paintings and had them packed to bring home, I was lucky enough to capture some of their wonderful faces with their paintings. For $25, it was definitely a night that they would remember, and one that I would too.