Jenny Hughes, known for her paint parties at Qualicum Beach-area restaurants, is opening up a studio in town, and plans to offer another range of classes. — Adam Kveton Photo

Paint party artist starting up studio classes

Jenny Hughes hopes to bring students further into their art learning

Jenny Hughes is bringing the party from local restaurants into her own studio.

The artist, whose Oceanside Paint Party events at venues such as Thalassa, Cuckoo’s and other restaurants have become a hot commodity, will be opening Oceanside Art Studio on Nov. 1 where she hopes to continue her students’ journey into painting.

But not to worry — Hughes said she plans to continue offering paint parties at local restaurants while also offering more in-depth classes at her new studio, located at 702 Memorial Ave. in Qualicum Beach.

Hughes started her Oceanside Paint Party business about two years ago after discovering a lack of paint party events like she had seen in Vancouver and in parts of Alberta.

“I just saw that there was a little bit of a void in the market,” she said. A graduate of the Alberta College of Art and Design with a design and graphics background but a dream of becoming an artist, Hughes decided to try holding paint parties.

The idea is to bring people with little to no painting experience into a relaxed setting where they can eat, drink and meet new people, and teach them how to paint a specific painting in about two hours.

“It took off right away,” said Hughes.

Originally offering one party a month, Hughes ended up offering four a week last winter, and saw some of her classes fill up within hours of posting the events.

She finds particular paintings she teaches resonate with people. Generally, it’s the local seascapes and landscapes that sell out quickly, she said.

“A couple ladies requested a horse, so I did this one and it sold out three times in a row,” said Hughes from her Qualicum Beach living room.

With her new paint party business growing well, Hughes moved on a long-deferred goal of opening her own studio. “It just kind of fell into place that there is an opportunity to open a space,” she said. “And there is not really any better place than Qualicum Beach to own your own little art studio.”

Rather than using the studio for her own work, Hughes said, she’s grown to enjoy teaching and feels she’s got a sizeable contingent of new painters who aren’t as intimidated by the process as they might have been at the start.

“People walk into my (paint party) class, they see a painting… and they say, ‘There is no way mine is going to look like that,’” said Hughes.

“They laugh at themselves. They think, ‘Mine is going to look like a big blob at the end,’ and then at the end of the two-hour session, as I’m walking around and the paintings are coming together and they are turning into that spirit horse, they give it the eyes at the end, and it gets a personality and you just see people light up, they feel so accomplished. And then it gives me a sense of accomplishment too, because I think, ‘Wow, I actually got these people to take a blank canvas and to create somewhat of a masterpiece that they didn’t think they could do.’”

Hughes added that she feels bringing people into a space like a restaurant rather than a studio to start their art journey helps to lower the intimidation factor.

It’s a more relaxed atmosphere where people can have an enjoyable social evening and take home the piece of art they create.

Hughes said she hopes to continue both the fun atmosphere and the basic rubric of the painting parties for her studio business.

That means, with studio classes, each night will be geared towards a particular painting or type of artwork, and painters will still take home a finished piece every night after a couple hours of work.

Some studio classes she’s already advertising include a portrait of your pet class, where painters email a digital photo of their pet, and then they are taught how to paint it on a canvas. Another will have artists use graphics and stencils to paint wood signs for the home.

However, studio classes will differ from paint parties in that they will include more in-depth brush techniques and art styles, and may include teaching the techniques of a particular artist.

The studio will also offer kids’ classes, as well as opportunities for private parties.

While these classes will range in price from about $15 for kids, or $30 for adults and up, Hughes said she also plans to include free and by-donation classes for those in need.

“Something I really want to do with the space is give back to the community,” she said. “I want to do a karma class maybe once a month and that will be free for people who can’t afford it, or by donation. For people who are struggling in life, kids that need some healing, they can come and they don’t have to worry about cost, and they can just let go from the worry and the stresses of life for a little bit.”

To find out more about the studio, go to For more on the paint parties, go to

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach on path to ban plastic bags

Bylaw will get legal advice prior to third reading

RDN to improve ways to deal with bylaw disputes

New system being explored that will be more efficient and effective

Hotel, restaurant and multi-use residential complex proposed for Resort Drive

Parksville could soon see more rental units, some zoned for commercial use

Inside the music: step behind the curtain at the venerable Vancouver Island Music Festival

Big Read: VIMF in the Comox Valley exemplifies the spirit of an Island summer music festival

ECHO Players’ 2018/19 season announced

Qualicum Beach theatre company to show Peter Pan musical, Enchanted April and more

BC Games: Day 2 comes to an end

Hundreds of medals have been handed out at the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Recovery high schools could help teens before addiction takes hold: B.C. parents

Schools could provide mental health supports and let parents discuss their children’s drug use openly

Haida Gwaii village faces housing crisis, targets short-term rentals

Housing is tight and the village is pretty close to zero vacancy

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

200 firefighters and 18 helicopters were working to increase the containment of the fires

B.C. VIEWS: Unions regain control of public construction

B.C.’s 40-year battle swings back to international big labour

Brush fire breaks out west of Port Alberni

Fire forces partial closure of Highway 4 heading to Ucluelet and Tofino

Accident on Vancouver Island after artillery gun rolls down hill and damages taxi

Witness says accident happend about 1 p.m. Saturday; RCMP investigating

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Most Read