In The Words of a Life With Paint Student
centre. It was a balmy Monday night, and I was looking forward to doing
something completely different. Growing up I had been quite creative,
regularly crafting, sculpting, painting and drawing. I had been involved in
the school arts program and had even been featured in the local arts show.
But like most things, life gets busy and you disconnect with your hobbies.
Thus, for me, my entry into the Life With Paint world was about rediscovery.
About reconnecting with something I had always enjoyed, but unfortunately
was no longer a part of my life. On this night I was intrigued by the concept,
but really didn’t know what to expect.
This particular session was held in a private function room in the cafe, which
provided a cozy atmosphere for the event. Approximately 20 people were
present ranging in age. The mix included individuals, couples, families and
friends. Experience levels also greatly varied with both complete novices,
and regular attendees being present. For one participant in particular, this
evening had become a part of his weekly constitutional. What really
surprised me was that regardless of experience or ability, everyone had fun
and produced something that they were happy to take home with them.
This I think is the key to the success of the paint and sip phenomenon.
Starting in the USA in 2007, this concept has grown in popularity and spread
across the world. A trend that is increasing as people more and more seek
diversions in experiences rather than in material things. In the USA alone,
there are now over 1000 different companies providing these events.
Likewise, this concept has become increasingly popular in Australia too. As
Australia’s biggest social painting company, Life with Paint has been at the
forefront of spreading art sessions across the country. In the last 3 years
they have taught the joy of painting to over 56 000 students in over 2184
classes across 17 venues through-out Australia. Whether you live in
Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Darwin, Perth,
Adelaide or Alice springs they have venues near you. With most cities
offering a choice of different venues to attend.
So how does it work? Well each session has a set painting. This changes
with each event, and ranges from Masters inspired works (such as Monet’s
Garden, Van Gogh’s Starry Night, and Frida Kahol inspired portraits), to local
scenes, colourful flowers or quirky animals. If you happen to be in Sydney,
you can literally paint the Sydney harbour bridge on Sydney harbour. How
cool would that be? Other venues also have local inspired events from time
to time, to give that local flavour. On this particular evening the topic was a
Barcelona Balcony. European inspired, the Belgian Cafe made the perfect
setting to paint this scene. At other events I have also painted the Goodluck
Dragonfly, and the free form inspired Flower Frenzy. All the necessary
supplies are provided - paint, canvas and all tools. So, with my apron on
(just in case you make an accidental mess) and paint brush in hand, we
The teachers are all local artists, who act as your guide in demonstrating the
steps involved in creating each painting. The steps are really easy, and the
image quickly comes together in front of you. Sometimes there is a special
technique, as was the case with the drip painting required for my Flower
Frenzy painting. But don’t worry the teacher is on hand to give you
assistance if required. To top it off the encouragement from the other
participants is always free flowing and makes the process all the more
simple. From an artistic perspective, these sessions let you experience the
process involved in creating your own painting, as well as giving you an
introduction to the amazing world of art. There is certainly a process and
technique involved in producing each art-work, thus the sense of
accomplishment you feel on completion of your own work, regardless of
ability, is truly tremendous.
Art of course is a very individualistic process, so you are encouraged to add
your own interpretation. For me I just love adding whimsical brush strokes
and variation in colours. There is something deeply satisfying in adding
your own touches to each subject and watching your own creation evolve.
This really makes the whole process so much more worthwhile. Of note,
some creative souls even paint their very own image, completely different to
the original suggestion. It is really up to you. Whatever your head or heart
can imagine, you can paint it. I always love seeing the end results. That part
of the evening where we all mingle and see what everyone has created, and
admire the huge variation in styles that results. Whatever you decide to
paint, whatever the degree of guidance you need, creativity with an
emphasis on fun is the key.
This brings me to the social side of the evening. These sessions are as much
about socializing as they are about art. The process creates a common
theme to enable people from all different walks of life to communicate and
just enjoy the moment. The laughter was certainly high voltage as everyone
mingled and checked out each other’s efforts. Thus, these events are great
stress relievers. They provide a platform for a relaxing session, where for 2
hours one can forget about the world outside and imagine something
Being held in cafes, restaurants and bars, food and drinks are available for
purchase to add another element to the night. Music may also be played.
In Perth, sessions are held at either the Belgian Beer Cafe or the Claremont
Hotel. Each venue has a different feel, so you can choose the setting that
suites you best. Set in the heart of Perth’s West End, The Belgian Beer Cafe
combines a 1930s European ambience with an inner-city vibe. This function
space, has its own bar, fire place, a library nook and indoor courtyard. Being
on a Monday night, it allows one to start their week on a creative high, and
pave the way for hopefully a better week.
The Claremont Hotel on the other hand, has a more chilled vibe being
located in the suburbs. This iconic local pub has been a landmark on Bay
View Terrace for over 100 years. This session is set up on the upstairs private
Veranda Bar. This Hampton’s inspired function space has a 180 degree
veranda, so you can enjoy the Sunday afternoon sun and watch the world go
- It also has an island bar, dance floor, hanging greenery and an array of
of art deco lights that add to the artistic vibe. This laidback setting certainly
makes for a relaxing way to end a busy week, recharge your batteries and
Personally, having experienced both, I prefer the Belgian Beer Cafe, as I find
the cosmopolitan ambience and more cozy setting make for better
interaction and artistic inspiration. This is a personal preference of course,
thus, multiple venues are available in each city to suit different tastes.
Convenience is also considered, with both of the venues in Perth being
easily accessible. Their central locations are close to TransPerth rail stations
and are in local shopping and dining precincts.
As well as public sessions, Life with paint also offers corporate and private
events. From corporate team building and Christmas functions, to
individual birthdays and hen’s nights, they can create an event for you.
They also offer from time to time, children’s work-shops, and can create kids
Overall, I have really enjoyed my life with paint experience. Their mantra of
paint, laugh, create is certainly achieved. It has been a wonderful journey
that has enabled me to reconnect with my passion for art. Across a variety
of artworks and classes, I have learnt new techniques and experimented in a
few different styles, all the while finding my own creativity. The teachers are
friendly and act as your guides, but the ultimate destination is totally up to
you. The sessions are fun and relaxed, with the emphasis on the experience
being the key. To top it off, the venues are varied and really add to the
social aspect of the whole experience.
So, if you are thinking of trying something new and creative, but don’t know
where to start? Or just wanting to rekindle a lost passion for the creative arts
like me, Life With Paint is the perfect way to dive right in. After all, the best
way to embark on any endeavour is to just make a start and these sessions
really make that easy. So, give it a go, and who knows you may just discover
a new talent and get hooked in the process, just like me.
The Belle Traveller