Feb. 20, 2018

Paint Nite

Article by Abhinaya Venkatesan (MSc student, Gilleard lab, University of Calgary)

HPI have been organizing a lot of events which are both fun and beneficial to its members. One such event that was recently organized was the Paint Nite. Being a very recent addition to the HPI family, I am not familiar with most of the events. After much coercion, I decided to attend Paint Nite. After taking a long walk on the cold yet beautiful streets of Kensington, my friends and I finally spotted this little sign “Raw Canvas”. I can’t describe the joy this sign brought us after being out in the cold for almost half an hour. We were all geared up for the event and were eager to explore our artistic side.

Raw Canvas seemed like every artist’s hangout hub except, on that evening, the place was filled with a bunch of science geeks trying to sort their lives out through art. Very soon, the place was full and thus began our painting odyssey.

At first, I was quite intimidated by what we were supposed to paint. It was just a bunch of trees at twilight but the intrinsic details of the painting gave me chills. Each of us was given a canvas along with a set of brushes and paint. Just holding the paint brush gave me the feel of being an artist (the pathetic science geek in me talking) and I decided to follow the instructions diligently. I gradually got more comfortable with the piece and started to enjoy it without having to worry about the end result. The people around me increased the fun quotient as we were trying to make sense of other’s work while laughing when we made mistakes or came up with some weird concepts to add to the painting.

After two and a half hours of painting and trying to create something beautiful, I could confidently say that each one of us had something presentable in front of us, some more beautiful than the others. The part I enjoyed the most was looking at the differences between every piece of art and how the individual had been creative with their painting. At the end of the evening, everyone had their own unique canvas, some with green leaves, some with pink or blue whereas some decided to leave the trees barren.

That evening, I discovered the therapeutic value of art. I entered the place feeling cold and stressed out but I walked out with a warm smile, clear mind and more importantly, a huge canvas which I had just spent hours painting on. Paint Nite had made me immensely happy.  

I would like to thank HPI TOC social events lead, Dimitri Desmont de Lamache for organizing this and helping us explore new areas of interest. It wouldn’t be complete if I don’t mention Teresa, who has constantly been convincing me to attend all the events and in this specific case, a few fellow HPI trainees who made sure I was a part of Paint Nite and made this event much more fun than it could have been.