By Staff Writer Kylie Cooper.
Creativity was abound in the Campus Center on Thursday, January 31 as students traded in their pens and notebooks for brushes and palettes. Led by alum Doug Woodhouse ‘11, students transformed their blank canvases into cherry blossom tree landscapes as part of SAIL’s Paint Night.
Like other paint night events, the 50 participants were instructed step-by-step and were encouraged to deviate from the reference painting to create something uniquely theirs.
“I chose [the cherry blossom painting] because it’s February and I thought the colors related to the time,” explained Woodhouse.
The paintings were created only from three colors: black, white, and red. Students first began painting the canvas with strokes of gray and then formed the black hills on the sides of the canvas. From there, the twisting tree was formed and then the vibrant red and pink petals that heavily contrasted from the grayscale background were dotted on.
“I’m an art major, so I like to paint anyways,” Tess Maley ‘20, an art education major, said on why she came to the event. “It’s a great way to do it with friends, too.”
While the event may have been about painting, at its heart lay an outlet for friends to have a fun night together. Many came in groups of three or more, jokingly poking fun at each other’s paintings and laughing as they tried to replicate a turn of the brush to create thick and thin lines.
“I came tonight for friend time and bonding,” said Amanda Wright ‘19, a psychology major, who was accompanying Maley and their other friend, Edward Coombes ‘20, a computer science major.
Paint Night attracted a number of students like Wright who came from a variety of majors outside of the CVPA; all levels of artistic experience were welcome.
Most students had attended paint nights before, but those who hadn’t were not left in the dark.
After giving general instructions for each step, Woodhouse walked around the rows of easels to give advice and encouragement. As he used to instruct events for the company Paint Nite and was an art education major, he is no stranger to the canvas.
“I’ve been painting for about 10 years,” Woodhouse, now a design consultant, said.
Woodhouse entered UMassD with an undecided major and had no prior interest in the arts. After entering a drawing contest, however, he became interested in what the arts had to offer and ended up declaring a major in art education. During his time here, Woodhouse also worked for the SAIL Office—the very organization that brought him back to campus for Paint Night.
While paint nights aren’t new to campus, it was the first time SAIL organized one.
“There was data collected last semester and it showed that students were interested in doing DIY and craft stuff on Thursday nights from 8-10 p.m.,” said Stacy Ploskonka, Assistant Director for Campus Programming.
Thus, SAIL’s Paint Night was born and was met with success. All 50 spots were filled and by the end of the night, each student was pleased with their painting. As all of the supplies were provided by SAIL, it’s promising that they will make use of the easels and brushes again for similar future events.
SAIL is hoping to bring more artistic events to campus in addition to Paint Night.
“We’re going to be looking more into aromatherapy—oils, sugar scrubs,” Ploskonka said. Mason jar terrariums are also on the list of ideas.
No matter what kind of DIY or craft activities come to campus next, however, they are sure to be events that introduce students to new interests and bring friends together for a great time.