Art Night: Event Review

I’m never sure about these type of events. They always have good and bad points I think. And I think the point of view you take all boils down to your art skill/background. If you are an absolute novice and you’ve been watching a ton of Sky Arts Portrait Artists of the Year, or BBC’s Painting Challenge, and you think, ‘I want to have a go’ – then these classes are for you! But if you have done some kind of art course/degree/lessons, and you think this class may help you get back into it or develop your skills – nah, it’s not for you guys.

The premise of Art Night is that you come to a class to paint a particular picture. This one was of a lady with a flower crown. A very pretty and girly image, perhaps this was why most of the attendees were woman? Looking at photographs of another event where they painted a rainbow lion face, that class was more mixed in gender.

It was quite fascinating that even though we were all painting the same image, each persons painting looked different. Some people traced the woman’s face – that is against my life rules! Even as a kid, I refused to ever trace. Maybe I thought of it as cheating?

Even though we all started with the same drawing, same pallete, everyone had their own style or twist. Take the background of the painting for example, we we all using pink, blue and white paint, but everyone’s was different. That was nice to see. Painting the woman’s face reminded me that mixing skin tones is a bitch! It took me back to GCSE Art, sat in class painting a self portrait in a Frida-esk style. I wonder at what point my high school took that from off the corridor walls and chucked it away? Could be worth a fortune in a few years when I am a world famous art critic! Anyway, I’m back to Art Night.

Our teacher at Art Night was Leanne, a lovely, very welcoming, encouraging and friendly person. Although she did struggle with the sound of rowdy, after-work drinkers. The class was held in Sawyer’s Arms on Deansgate, and so we could hear the revellers slowly getting louder and louder. That was a bit distracting, but no ones fault. (I realise this makes me sound seriously old!)

Here’s what I liked about the class;

  • Really nice to mingle with people.
  • Good for people to try something new
  • Good for basic techniques and an introduction to acrylic paint
  • Good that they allow drinks too – making it less formal
  • Good equipment (there were easels, with little spot-lights, branded aprons, decent brushes and paint)
  • A good event to switch off, and focus the mind

Where I think it could have improved;

  • It would have been nice if we perhaps did introductions so you could meet the people at your table/in the class
  • Although Leanne did suggest people step away from their easel, no one really did. I would enforce that, making people get up and walk around to see everyone else’s
  • The event was £34 per person. That’s pretty pricy. I reckon you can find cheaper ones
  • Some people struggled to finish their piece within the 2 hour class. It started at 7:30pm, but I reckon it could have started earlier, giving everyone more time.

I’m pretty pleased with my painting. I’m not saying I’m Picasso or Bob Ross (does anyone even know who Bob is nowadays?) and I haven’t actually put any paint to paper seriously since 2008, but looking around the class, I’d like to think mine was in the top 5! It was really nice that there were people who have never done anything like this before, giving it a go. I love these classes for that reason!

They host Art Night’s quite regularly so head to the Art Night website for events in Manchester, or Facebook, and get booked on to one!

Photography by Hannah Cahill –

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