It is Sunday afternoon, at around 1.30pm and I am in the Intercontinental Hotel in Victoria’s Island to spend the afternoon painting with Paint the Night Africa. This was something I had been looking forward to for months. As I usually do, I ended up getting there too early so had a drink and took pictures of the beautiful hotel whilst I was waiting for the class to start.
What is Paint the Night Africa? When I moved back to Nigeria last October, I went to the Radisson Blu Hotel for Sunday lunch with my cousin and her family. We spotted easels and paint brushes on the outside deck and had to ask what was going on. Paint the Night Africa was then explained to me and the concept is simple. You turn up to the event with your friends/family/your own and you are given a blank canvas to learn how to paint and recreate a piece that has been done earlier by the Paint the Night Africa artist. All while sipping on some wine, nibbles or whatever it is you fancy. So you sip and dip! I left Radisson thinking I definitely had to return to take part. I have always wanted to try out painting and see if I can actually make something that looks nice.
Before the class started, I was able to have a quick chat with one of the owners, Sally. She explained that she had been invited to a sip and paint night in America and left thinking that it would be the perfect concept that would seamlessly translate with a Nigerian audience. The response has been tremendous so far with back to back painting classes as they “encourage guests to pick up a paint brush, follow the directions of (their) fun and professional art instructor and create lasting memories”.
If there is something we cannot get enough of in Lagos, it is artwork. Galleries and exhibition spaces like Rele and Red Door have exploded on a wide scale and it is only a natural progression that we can now personally express our creativity. It was quite daunting because not since secondary school had I put a paint brush to paper with the intention of painting something and even then I was more interested in staring outside the window. Currently, my only foray into being creative is to buy numerous stress relieving adult colouring books and go crazy.
The 2 hour class starts off with the artist explaining what we would be painting and giving us an introductory refresher to primary school lessons. We thought back to what primary, secondary and tertiary colours were so we knew how to mix primary colours to get the desired effect. We then began to sketch the outline of the painting by and built our work around that. The artist is always on hand to ensure that the techniques used are correct and help out if you ever get stuck. However, as a guest, you are given complete free reign over your painting. We all interpret what we see in different ways and those differences is what makes every single piece beautiful.
I learnt that I have quite a heavy hand and felt more at lease painting the larger portions of the canvas. However, the artist was able to show me how to use a small brush to glide over and paint small details. In the end I dubbed my painting ‘Cabet Cove’ after the hometown of my favourite part time detective Jessica Fletcher on Murder, She Wrote. I could not quite imagine that I would go to a class, not ever having painted on a full canvas and leave with something I can now put up in my house somewhere.
If you have a creative edge or want to try something new and fun in Lagos, Paint the Night Africa is the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. In the past, the company have held office and school events, bridal shower parties and have even had a guest propose to his girlfriend by popping the question on the canvas! I’m already gathering friends round for a repeat visit.
Paint the Night Africa currently hosts brunch sip and dip classes on Sunday afternoons at Intercontinental Hotel and on Thursday evenings at either Sweet Kiwi Yoghurt in Lekki or Ginger Tapas in Victoria Island. For more information, check out their website at PTNAfrica.com and their fun Instagram page @ptnafrica.
Location: Intercontinental Hotel, Plot 52 Kofo Abayomi Street
Time: 2 hours
Author: Lola Anderson