Interviewed by Angus MacCaull

Our folks in the New Glasgow area try to get together every couple of months, or every so often. Usually most of the spouses come along to hang out. They’ve done trivia and played board games.

This fall they were on trend with a paint night. Tanya Young told me how it all came together.

INTERVIEWER

How did you come up with the idea of doing a paint night?

YOUNG

It was my daughter Caitlyn’s idea actually. She said, “Why don’t you do one of those paint nights Mom, and I’ll be the teacher?” Because art is kinda Caitlyn’s background.

INTERVIEWER

Nice.

YOUNG

I figured it’d be good for her, and fun for us, and pretty low-key. Snacks and drinks in my basement. We all picked a picture and away we went.

INTERVIEWER

Is she doing an art education degree?

YOUNG

Well she took art lessons herself for eight years, as a child and teenager. And then she went to Concordia University in Montreal and took studio art.

INTERVIEWER

Oh wow.

YOUNG

But she just took it for the one year and then she said, “Ah, this isn’t gonna be my career.” So she switched to English and history instead. She’s just her own kinda artist. I have zero talent so I don’t know where she gets it.

INTERVIEWER

How did you all choose what to paint?

YOUNG

We googled paint night images. Different images that other paint nights…what Google thinks we should paint.

INTERVIEWER

Right, right.

YOUNG

So I sent around a couple of emails and said what do you think of these, these, these? And we just kept narrowing it down, and we showed them to Caitlyn, and Caitlyn said, “This one’s too simple, this one’s too hard.” Finally we choose three bird houses. Did you see the pictures?

INTERVIEWER

I saw them on Facebook. I know that you had a few others up in your office. Is this one up on your wall?

YOUNG

Yeah, I put that one up too. So that’s my fourth up there. They’re great conversation pieces. Most, like nine out of ten clients comment on it. Then you just make jokes about it or whatever, because my art is not really conversation worthy.

Tanya Young shows her painting at a paint night in New Glasgow
Tanya with her painting

INTERVIEWER

My mother-in-law is a very creative person, but she never really painted until a couple years ago. We gave her a course at a local studio place that does lessons for kids, and adults, and all sorts of folks up in Kingston there where they live. She took to it like nothing else.

YOUNG

Oh that’s awesome.

INTERVIEWER

Whenever we go, you know summer or Christmas time for visit, it’s like a big tour of all the new pieces. We have one of them in our house, right in our bedroom that she’s done. She started with just the basic paint night approach where you’re following a pattern. Some of them are in my brother-in-law’s house. But over time she kept watching PBS with Bob Ross doing paint lessons. She’s really progressed. It’s really cool to see.

YOUNG

Well she must’ve had a little bit of the raw talent, ’cause no matter how many lessons I go to it does not grow into anything beautiful.

INTERVIEWER

Well I was trying to say that there might be some hope there!

YOUNG

Yes, no but it’s fun. Culturally speaking too, like just getting together and having fun in the evening for a couple of hours is good. It’s just positive. Get out of the office and talk to people, or laugh with people, or whatever.

INTERVIEWER

Who took to it most? Did anybody seem to be lit up by it more than the rest of the gang?

YOUNG

The paint night? I think everybody kind of enjoyed it. Janice’s was really goodshe has that carpenter, construction kind of background. So she’s good at being precise and working with her hands. What’s interesting about paint night is to see the teacher’s standing up there with the original, and they are saying, “Okay, go four centimeters down the page, or whatever, and draw this,” and I find, especially with water pictures, it’s everybody’s interpretation. So everybody’s looking at this one picture, but all the pictures are totally different. Even though you’re trying to mirror this image, everybody’s is different. Like where they put the holes for the bird to go in, or just the size or the slant of the roof on their houses. Or the different shades of red or blue. Or even thick or skinny poles holding the bird houses. It’s just funny how people see things differently.

INTERVIEWER

All those little choices add up, eh?

YOUNG

Yeah, and when you see people do waves in water pictures, it’s interesting, and it probably depends on whatever mood they’re in too. Some people, it’s nice still glistening water, and then other people have stormy raging water.

INTERVIEWER

Do you have a stormy raging water one on your wall, I can’t remember.

YOUNG

No, no raging water on mine! Mine’s all tropical and serene. I wish I was on those beaches looking out at it every day.

INTERVIEWER

Nice. Well today’s not bad.

YOUNG

Yeah, we should all get out. But that’s my story, there’s not much else to say. We all took part.

INTERVIEWER

That’s great, that’s great. How did Caitlyn feel about it?

YOUNG

Good. She was proud of herself. She’s in community college this year here taking office admins, so she was glad to have something to put in her portfolio. I don’t know if she’ll do it again or not, but at least she has the experience. She knows she can. Yeah she did well.

Brokers from AA Munro Insurance at a paint night in New Glasgow
The finished products!