Re­becca Eck­ler sum­mons her in­ner Pi­casso at Toronto’s hottest new hang­out, the Paint­lounge

Bud­dies and bach­e­lorettes put brush to easel

Midtown Post - - Table of Contents - RE­BECCA ECK­LER Post City Mag­a­zines’ colum­nist Re­becca Eck­ler is the au­thor of Knocked Up, Wiped!, How to Raise a Boyfriend, The Lucky Sperm Club and her lat­est book, The Mommy Mob.

Whether you are fly­ing solo, dat­ing or in a re­la­tion­ship, go­ing to a paint class is an un­be­liev­able ex­pe­ri­ence. With th­ese stu­dios pop­ping up all over T.O., I de­cided to check one out, though I have no paint­ing skills. I was al­most as ner­vous as go­ing to the den­tist be­cause I’m a novice and don’t want to be judged!

The Paint­lounge vibe is cool, what with the sooth­ing mu­sic and paint splat­ters ev­ery­where. Once I put the apron on, I feel very much like a pro­fes­sional painter, and I haven’t even started any­thing.

Lo­cated on Col­lege Street, this is the flag­ship lo­ca­tion of the busi­ness. It has two ad­di­tional spa­ces: one in Les­lieville and one in Markham. An­other op­tion is the Paint Cabin in the east end, on Ger­rard.

“As soon as you put paint on a can­vas, it au­to­mat­i­cally makes you a pro­fes­sional,” says Kevin Chow, the op­er­a­tions man­ager, who sug­gests I paint some­thing ab­stract. “That way, it has mean­ing for you. And if some­one ques­tions it or says they don’t like it, you can say, ‘I didn’t re­al­ize I was paint­ing for any­one but for me. It’s a per­sonal piece.’ ”

In fact, 80 per cent of their clients have no back­ground in paint­ing at and come in for freestyle ses­sions or work­shops.

Be­cause love is in the air this month, it should also be men­tioned that the Paint­lounge holds speed dat­ing events and paint­ing nights for cou­ples. It even plays host to out-ofthe-box bach­e­lorette par­ties.

“We do the bach­e­lorette par­ties in the base­ment here, which is also a stu­dio. We will hire a nude model to paint,” says Chow. “They have a blast. It’s re­ally pop­u­lar.” (It seems like a good time to men­tion they serve al­co­hol at paint party events or if you bring your own spe­cial oc­ca­sion per­mit you can bring your own booze, and there is also coffee and snacks.)

Dur­ing speed dat­ing, the par­tic­i­pants col­lab­o­rate on paint­ings. The men move from seat to seat while dis­cussing the paint­ing thus far or adding to it them­selves.

I pick out my colours for my ab­stract, and Chow ex­plains some skills. He is very pa­tient and shows me how to flicker paint onto my can­vas with a small tooth­brush.

I’m so into my paint­ing at a cer­tain point, I for­get ev­ery­thing, to­tally con­cen­trat­ing on it. I love what I’m paint­ing. It turns out many novices feel the same way I do.

“They may come in and say, ‘I’m paint­ing this for my hus­band or for my mother. But when they’re fin­ished, most of them are like, ‘I think I’m go­ing to keep mine,’ ” says Chow. Most peo­ple stay for about three hours on av­er­age to per­fect their mas­ter­piece.

The price is com­pletely rea­son­able for such a fun ac­tiv­ity. You pay for your can­vas: from $25 for a mini can­vas to $55 for a long one. Your paint­ing sta­tion, the brushes, and the paint is ALL in­cluded. (Pretty good for a date night, right?)

When I’m fin­ished, I feel not only proud of my­self but also grat­i­fied. I’m thrilled when Chow says he thinks it looks great. And yes, orig­i­nally my paint­ing was go­ing to be for my valen­tine, but I’m go­ing to have to think of some­thing else. I like it too much.

Re­becca gets a grip on some paint­ing skills with her first ab­stract piece

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