Have you attended a painting party? Earlier this month, a group of friends gathered for an afternoon of conversation, snacks, and watercolor painting.
Hosted in a lovely home overlooking a lake, the time sped by!
This group of women all knew the hosts (a mother daughter team) but not each other.
That didn't matter because within minutes of entering the home and grabbing a snack plate, everyone was exchanging introductions, chatting about how they knew the hosts, and becoming fast friends.
After settling in with food and drinks, we gathered around the table to paint. We were painting spring tulips with a splattering technique.
I love teaching how to paint flowers with groups because there is lots of room for people to create their own style by choosing their favorite colors and designing their own sketch from the floral models.
Plus, splattering watercolor lends itself to every painting bursting forth as an original. No two paintings every look alike and I love that.
Painting together is a blast in so many ways. Something happens when people dip the tip of the round brush into water and then swirl it around in the paint, letting the color saturate the brush. Once the brush touches the paper and the colors began to merge and dance...it's like magic.
I've had the joy of hosting and / or teaching several painting parties the last few years.
Some of have been done in my cozy apartment. Others, like the one last weekend, have been done in someone's home. Every so often I host a retreat and open it to anyone who wants to attend.
There are so many benefits to hosting a painting party. It's a fabulous way to gather friends together. It's also a great way to gather a group of people you'd think would merge well, but haven't met before. The food and the painting project help alleviate the nervousness of these events. Women are very encouraging to one another and quite complementary as everyone goes about putting paintbrush to paper and creating a work of art.
How to Set Up Your Own Painting Party
Have you ever thought of setting up your own painting party? It isn't hard to do. With a bit of planning and a few friends, you can easily set up a fun event that will leave everyone happy memories – and some beautiful art.
A Place to Meet with the Essentials
The essentials are table space, a sink, a counter for the food (if serving) and chairs.
It doesn't have to be fancy. Make sure there is enough room around the table for extending elbows outward.
I recommend a tablecloth in case of spills, splattering and so forth.
Food & Drink Considerations
If you do decide to have food (and I highly recommend you do), keep it simple, on yourself and the guests.
Maybe it's snacks or dessert or a salad bar. Whatever the food is, make it simple. Many of the groups I've been at have everyone bring something to share. Some opt for a bring-your-own-food approach to keep things very simple.
Note: Ideally, having a counter for the snacks and food help to create a space for people to get up and stretch a bit. I love the nibble – paint a little – nibble some more – paint some more approach to parties.
Eating may be optional, but drinks are a must. Iced tea, coffee, or wine – the type of drink is up to you.
Having an opportunity to get up and move around is helpful because the painting will need to dry between layers. Impatient painting in watercolor art tends to lead to muddy colors and soggy flowers (if you've seen my youtube channel, you've seen me flying for a cloth to fix my lack of waiting).
Will you buy all the supplies and split the cost with your friends or have everyone shop for their own? This depends on the group.
It's usually easiest for the host to send out a list of supplies to bring. Those who have painted before already have some of their own supplies.
When I host, I typically bring all the supplies since I've been doing this for a while. It takes the stress off the participants and the host. If you are throwing a painting party as a gift, buying the supplies for everyone can be a treat!
Who Will Teach & What Will You Paint?
Will you be the facilitator? It may not be as hard as you think. Choose a subject you've had success in painting and see if you can talk your way through it.
Have an intro of what you are painting and the overview of the technique.
For example, last weekend I taught how to sketch and paint spring tulips using a splattering technique. I explained how we would do it, including the layering. I explained the technique of how to splatter and why it is essential to let the painting dry before layers of splatters.
Finally, I explained the concept of color theory, which colors would "sing" together in harmony, what colors to avoid combining. I finished by encouraging the participants to choose what colors they liked the most and showing a few of my tulip watercolors with various color combinations. When I teach, I like the paintings to reflect the colors and expressions of each participant, not my own.
I like to choose subjects that are easy for anyone to paint, no matter if they paint regularly or haven't picked up a paintbrush in years.
Flowers and landscapes and cozy homes are all subjects that have a lower stress level to paint. I typically steer away from painting people and animals.
Music Creates an Inviting, Relaxing Atmosphere
I try to use music that has few words: jazz, classical, movie scores, etc. I want the music to contribute to the atmosphere, but not overtake it.
You know your own group. Play what music will be best suited to the participants.
Set aside at least two hours for the painting party. You'll discover the time flies by!
That's about it. With a bit of planning and preparation, you can create an event that will bring joy and creativity to friends and family.
Would you like me to teach a painting party for you? It would be my pleasure. Send me an email [email protected]
Simply write "painting party" in the subject line and I will reach back out to you with details.
I teach the parties and bring all the supplies – I try to take all the stress off the host and participants as much as possible.
Interested in learning more about painting flowers with watercolor (and my fun splattering technique?) Click below to read more.