Posted by & filed under Arts & Entertainment, Events, Exhibitions, Gallery & Museums.

A paint brush in one hand, a glass of wine in the other and a blank canvas in front of you. It may not sound like the average night out, but the paint and sip industry which has captured the “fun things you can do with friends and strangers” market in America is already showing signs of fandom here. The first company to introduce the concept to our shores, Cork & Canvas, has studios in Darlinghurst and Crows Nest (as well as Melbourne) and is ready to set up easels in many more parts of the country.

It’s a very simple idea: in a shared class each person sits at a long bench and has a table-top easel, blank canvas, paint brushes, four blobs of paint (to begin with) and their BYO nibblies and wine/beer/other. An enthusiastic – and patient – instructor stands at the front of the class with an easel and guides the class through each step. Everyone paints the same image – whatever the theme is for that session. When you book online you can see what the painting will be for that night, and themes range across beach, Venice, nudes, abstract – pretty much all artistic styles and with very easy subjects. They also hold occasional special classes such as their “glow in the dark paint” Halloween class; a Picasso class in which you paint another attendee (your partner, boss, bestie) in the cubism style; and Paint Your Pet class. 

There is absolutely no expected level of artistic ability and no judgement – at least not from the instructors.  The only required skill is to still be able to find the canvas with your brush after your (lost count) glass of wine. And while your aspiration to produce a painting in the style of “late modernism” may end up being more like “early kindergarten”, you’ll have loads of fun and a wonderful keepsake of your experience. 

It’s a popular option for corporate events, hens nights, birthdays, dates or just a crazy get together with boozy friends. Of course, you can elect not to drink alcohol… but why?

Crows Nest and Darlinghurst locations. From $50. Info & Bookings: www.corkandcanvas.com.au

Reviewed by Rita Bratovich