Westwood Community League hosted a paint night on May 14, giving participants the chance to try new skills and visit with their neighbours. 

Krystal Peterson, from Start Me Up Music & Art, led the paint night. Peterson has been teaching the classes for about four years, and she also teaches private events and parties. 

Soothing music played in the background while participants used acrylic paint to replicate Peterson’s painting, putting their own touches on the watercolour-inspired design. 

Peterson walked participants through the steps of creating her acrylic paintings, but participants were still free to put their own touches on their paintings, choose different colours, and express themselves however they liked. 

“I try not to be technical about it. I just try to go with the flow of things and make things as simple as they can possibly be,” Peterson says.

Her favourite part about paint nights is seeing everyone’s finished paintings at the end of the evening. “Everybody has the same thing, but it’s different,” she says. “There are a lot of people that sit down and [think], ‘I’m not going to be able to do that!’ And they’re just so floored with their finished product that… really is an accomplishment.” 

Peterson says she loves hearing all the joy during a paint night. “After all the isolation, it’s great to see the smiles and the laughter,” says Peterson.

And there was plenty of that at the paint night. I got to see the smiles firsthand and laugh at the fairytale-hag-level knobby knees I painted on my own elk.

Jude Boudreau attended because she enjoyed the Westwood Valentine’s Day Paint Night so much. She was also happy to see different people at the event. “Different people in the community are coming out to events and that’s great,” says Boudreau. 

Alex Lenihan came with Boudreau to visit with family and get to know more people in the area. Jamie Donaldson and Perry Boudreau also attended, even though they would have rather been watching the hockey game, they say with a laugh. 

“They do a great job of walking you through the process, and it’s a great way to get both a guided, supportive way of learning something new and also adding your own touches,” says Sean Mallany, another participant. 

“It’s good!” says Meagan Wheatley of the event. “Especially post-COVID. It’s very enjoyable to get out with some peeps and do [something cool]. It’s nice to be able to do something and not have it be like, ‘You have to get this right.’ You can do whatever you want,” adds Wheatley. 

Katie Hayes, the director of communications for Westwood, organized and attended the paint night. “It’s nice to see people in the community and get involved and connect with people, especially now that hopefully the worst [of COVID-19] is over and we’re able to do more and more things together,” says Hayes. 

Hayes hopes to host another Westwood Paint Night in the fall, one that will feature a painting that is accessible for kids as well as adults.