A young lady works on a fox painting at Qualicum Beach artist Jenny Hughes’ family painting class where parent and child learn to paint side-by-side. — Submitted by Jenny Hughes

Family painting classes a draw for Qualicum Beach artist

Local artist teaching parents, children to paint together

Though Family Day has come and passed, a local artist’s new family paint classes are still bringing families together over brushes and canvas.

Since opening her art studio (Oceanside Art Studio at 702 Memorial Ave.) in November, Qualicum Beach artist Jenny Hughes has been offering art classes where parent and child come together and paint side-by-side, each on their own canvasses.

“Out of anything that I’ve offered at my studio, it’s been the biggest hit,” she said.

Having started offering adult paint nights at local restaurants over the past two years, Hughes said she’d had many calls from attendees to hold an event they can bring their kids to.

“A lot of the mums that come to my paint nights at the restaurants, so many of them have told me over the last two years, ‘Every time I come here, my daughter is so jealous and she wanted to come so bad,'” said Hughes.

Though those nights are meant to be fun, adult events with libations, Hughes began offering family paint classes on her own and through the Regional District of Nanaimo at her studio in the last few months.

For the RDN events, parent and child learn to paint the same picture side-by-side but on their own canvasses, whereas, for her other classes, pictures have a child component and parent component (like a baby elephant and mother elephant) that parent and child recreate on separate canvasses that go together as a set.

In addition to having more parent/child time in what might be a new situation, attendees also get the chance to learn from not just Hughes, but each other.

“Sometimes you can tell, it’s hard not to control your kid’s painting when they’re doing it,” said Hughes. “Kids are way more apt to just be free-flowing. They will just go and fill in the unicorn no problem, and the mom is like, ‘No, wait, we haven’t gotten the instruction,’ or ‘You have to go gentle on your brush.’

“You definitely see some of that where the parent is trying to guide them through their painting and the child is just kind of, ‘I want to do this, and I want to do it my own way.'”

Hughes said she hopes a bit of that free-spiritedness rubs off on parents and adults in general.

“We need to learn more from the kids in how to approach art, because if you stress about it and try and make it perfect it blocks the creative process, and that’s why kids are so creative, because they don’t have that. They just let go and they do it.”

Hughes said her favourite part about these classes is knowing that parent and child go home with paintings they’re proud of that they can hang up and know that they made together.

But togetherness can only go so far. Though she’s tried family classes where parent and child work on the same canvas, everyone is pretty much in agreement that they want to work on their own canvas, said Hughes.

The next family paint (through the RDN) is Feb. 15 at Hughes’ Oceanside Art Studio from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Cost is $25. Register at ca.apm.activecommunities.com/rdnrecreation/# and search “family paint.”

To see more classes by Hughes, go to www.oceansideartstudio.com/classes.

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