After noticing a void in the marketplace, one Qualicum Beach woman has started teaching two-hour painting classes at local restaurants for anyone with any level of painting experience.
“I just had it in my head to start something like this and I just took the plunge,” said Jenny Hughes, who started Oceanside Paint Party.
Hughes hosts the Oceanside Paint Party at numerous locations throughout Parksville and Qualicum Beach. She posts the next date on her website and on her Facebook page Oceanside Paint Party and people can either reserve a spot or buy tickets immediately.
In a two-hour period, Hughes teaches people step-by-step how the painting is done, and in the end people walk away with a finished product.
People can either choose to paint a canvas for $30, which includes supplies, or for an additional $5, or they can paint on a tote bag or a pillowcase which is also supplied by Hughes as she manufactures the bags as well.
Since starting Oceanside Paint Party in January, Hughes said she has garnered a following with some people attending almost every class.
“You have to sign up quick because they usually sell out in a day. I post everything and then the next day they’re sold out,” Hughes said.
Hughes said initially, her major way of marketing the classes was the Oceanside Moms Group on Facebook.
“The first time I put one of these on, I just posted my poster and I got notifications from moms who were interested,” she said.
While her classes initially drew in moms, Hughes said the classes have been expanding and tapping into other demographics.
Michele Munro, an Errington resident, has already attended a few of Hughes classes. Munro said it’s a good way to go out and meet people, have fun and unwind.
“It doesn’t matter if you come alone,” Munro said.
Munro, who said she’s not an artist, has all but one of her Oceanside Paint Party pieces hanging on her living room wall.
“She (Jenny) has got a golden egg with this and I hope she continues,” Munro said.
Hughes said it’s crazy how much the classes have taken off.
“Especially in the wintertime here, people are bored. There’s not much to do, so definitely a need for it. There’s a draw to something like this,” she said. “Being in Qualicum and the sleepy town that it is, people are looking for fun things to do.”
Hughes said in the beginning, she wasn’t sure if it was the venues or the paintings that were drawing in people.
“But I’ve come to realize that it’s kind of a mixture of both, but definitely the painting sells it,” she said. “I think for a lot of the venues, especially in the wintertime, it’s kind of a win-win because I’m bringing them in business, but there’s definitely some slower places in the wintertime and I’m bringing them 20-40 people on either a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday night.”
When she started the classes, Hughes said she had about 15 people attending, but now she teaches 40-person classes — with some help.
Evelyne Doerksen, a Qualicum Beach resident, has started helping Hughes after first taking some of the classes.
Doerksen said she’s always been creative and dabbling in the arts, but “Jenny reignited (her) interest in the arts.”
While Hughes said she does all kinds of paintings, such as a red barn in the mist, mountain layers, forest sunrises and birch tree paintings, Hughes said it’s the ocean scenes that really draw people in.
“Any kind of ocean, like I did a little boat on the water — that kind of stuff people love.”
Since the classes fill up quickly, Hughes said that if she finds one painting was really popular she might offer it a second time.
Hughes said that while she studied fine art at the Alberta College of Art, she had no background in teaching art.
“It’s just been a process for me to dissect a painting,” Hughes said. “Because I don’t really know. When I do a painting, I just do it. I haven’t really thought about the process, so it’s been fun for me to figure out and to imagine that if I’d never painted in my life, how would you do this?”
Evelyne Doerksen helping to set up supplies for a class of about 40 people at Cuckoo’s in Coombs on Wednesday, Oct. 26. – Lauren Collins photo
Hughes said she has a background in graphic design that has helped her with the classes
“I can take photos (of the painting) and mock it up and do things digitally and get a picture, so everybody gets a little picture of this painting,” Hughes said.
“Having the background in graphic design is so easy for me. It kind of goes hand-in-hand,” she said.
The classes are meant for all levels, Hughes said.
“Some people have never painted in their life and are terrified and just come for the fun and are excited when they leave with a painting they are actually impressed with.”
Hughes also said she does does private parties. For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.