I do not consider myself an artist. But I do appreciate it. And I appreciate wine. And food.

So, when three of my favourite things come together, I know the planets have aligned in my favour.

@gastroworld and I decided to set our inner artists free at a Paint Nite Toronto event – an engaging workshop where local artists coach budding enthusiasts like myself on recreating a specific piece of artwork. The art we selected was titled Ferris Wheel, originally created for Paint Nite by New York-based artist, Nick Pappalardo. It was ranked “Easy”, which was perfect for painting noobs like us. Plus, the workshop was hosted at the Pappas Grill restaurant…which meant we could indulge in a Greek dinner and libations before letting our creative juices flow. Like, obviously.

As we sat at our table, relishing a roast leg of lamb and enjoying a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, we watched as the Paint Nite crew hurriedly set up rows of blank canvasses on mini easels, with brushes, a four-colour palette, and smocks. By the time our honey-laced baklava arrived (which displayed little creativity in the plating, but was quite tasty despite being stuck to the plate), the Paint Nite crew were ready to welcome the large group of budding Picassos.

Baklava - Pappas Grill Toronto
Baklava for dessert: Filo pastry filled with chopped walnuts and cinnamon in a sweet honey syrup.

This is where it got a little too cosy.

Due to a location change, we were told the workshop was moved from the restaurant’s spacious basement to the upstairs bar area. Perhaps this was an attempt to entice more bar purchases, but if so, sadly had the opposite effect. The cramped setting provided us barely enough elbow room to paint, let alone set down our wine glasses, and we were less inclined to order more rounds. Thankfully, this didn’t take away from the overall experience.

The art coaches were a fun and patient crew, happy to answer questions and providing constant encouragement to their student artists. It was great seeing everyone’s unique creativity shine through on their canvasses, followed by a feeling of pride knowing they were able to produce a work of art in just over an hour.

Paint Nite
Lots of paint, canvasses and artists getting cosy

I enjoyed Paint Nite more than I thought I would. While we may have started off trying to recreate an existing piece of artwork, as I got more into it, I felt a certain level of creative stimulation arise. Before I knew it, my own flair took over the colours, shapes and strokes, and there was a sense of release every time that brush touched the canvas.

For a self-proclaimed perfectionist with OCD challenges, this was HUGE!

Lines weren’t straight, colours may have been off, and the imagery seemed unrealistic. But together, it all worked beautifully. And I can fully appreciate why art is considered incredibly therapeutic.

My pseudo-original art now hangs proudly in my home.

My final work of art. Remember, creativity is subjective.


Visit: www.paintnite.com for more information.


For a dining review, visit my fellow foodie: