While it can be difficult to establish a name for oneself in a sea of aspiring artists, Brooklyn’s Megan Elizabeth (Art by Megan) has forged her own path in abstract art, recognized for her paintings of gorgeous seascapes. Not only is she highly successful, but she has become a voice of inspiration through her unique ability to teach others, of all ages and all skill levels, her craft.
Despite her busy schedule of working on commissioned paintings and being a loving mother of one daughter (with another baby on the way!), she has found that hosting paint workshops combines her love and talent for art and teaching. We had the opportunity to meet with Megan at her studio in Industry City and learn a bit about her personal tips and tricks for hosting a paint party.
The Art of Picking Up a New Craft
The ability to “do” and to “teach” are very different, but Megan (seen here wearing the Triple F.A.T. Goose Astraea in black) has spent time cultivating both skills, having been a teacher before taking up painting full-time. It comes at an opportune time, with the surge of popularity of crafting classes (think: paint, calligraphy, glass-blowing workshops, and more).
Megan recognizes the trend, believing a big part of the reason these classes are all the rage is because, “people (millennials!) are all about learning a new skill and having fun in person with friends doing something new.” She says, “I have found that it’s so much fun to teach people who think they can’t paint how to. I think it’s nice to see that people are searching for more opportunities to spend time in real life together enjoying something.”
Apart from it being a digital detox, Megan sees many other benefits to painting and crafting classes. Megan notes that for her, “Painting is very meditative, keeping me sane, happy, and inspired. The art of doing something with your hands is very powerful and peaceful.”
While there are many different ways to host a paint party or workshop that caters to different ages or levels of extravagance, there are some core essentials, which Megan recommends considering: 1) the space, 2) food and beverages, and 3) the atmosphere.
It’s Okay to Make a Mess
Making a mess is natural part of the art-making process and should be embraced. Megan always makes sure to “use a space that can end up with a bit of a mess in it.”
She also recommends considering using similar colors of paint so that mixed paints do not turn to unappealing browns, and for children, to “pre-tape a striped or simple design on the canvas” to help beginners avoid frustration.
One can purchase basic brushes, canvases, and paints (Megan prefers acrylic, which she warns, do stain) at any local art supply store, or there is also the option of hiring a professional artist to teach your class, provide the supplies, and structure the class for you!
Don’t Forget the Food
To add to the fun of the party, Megan recommends including food and beverages. Like other Paint and Sip classes, her regular workshops at maman bakery also include wine, which she notes is “helpful for making people feel relaxed and calm while trying something totally new.” What differentiates Megan’s classes from other Paint and Sip classes is that she seeks to help people create art they would truly want to display on their walls – typically through abstract seascapes, Megan’s specialty.
She also notes that simple snacks or a potluck keep painting parties fun and low-maintenance for the host, and are conducive to fostering great conversations, since people love to join around food!
Maintaining a Stress-Free Atmosphere
The atmosphere is equally if not more important than the supplies and offerings.
Megan suggests being intentional in cultivating a light, stress-free atmosphere.
“People often feel like their paintings aren’t perfect and can become frustrated,” Megan warns. “Having been a high school teacher in the past, I TOTALLY understand that giving up or being frustrated is part of the process. However, if the tone is fun, upbeat and open-minded, everyone can have a great time but also MAYBE (but not always!) go home with a painting that they are proud of.”
Where to Begin
The benefits of throwing a paint party are that guests can flex their creative muscles, have the flexibility to be as lavish or as simple as they’d like, and cater to any age group. They are also a fun, creative way to engage people offline and foster meaningful conversations and relationships.
While Megan feels it’s possible to plan and execute the party yourself, hiring a talented artist to teach the class can help elevate the class and alleviate the stress of logistics; to book Megan to host your next paint party or inquire about package options, visit her site HERE.
We thank Megan for all of her time and advice and look forward to picking up our paintbrushes soon!