After six years of hosting mobile painting parties, Zealous Art owner Freda Lombard decided it was time to open her own studio.
Now open at the ME Plaza at 20218 Fraser Highway, the studio is a colourful hub for the community to meet at and gain inspiration, take up a brush and create.
“I want this studio to have a really creative vibe, a space where people can sit down with a canvas and focus on the painting process,” said Lombard.
Already, she’s held several drop in paint parties, where the public is welcome to come there, pull up an easel and dab brushes into paints to create their own masterpiece.
The walls are covered in brightly coloured paintings done by Lombard and her clients. The space is inviting and creative.
“My hope always is that people come here and just let it happen, let the painting take over and they focus on the journey, not necessarily the end result.”
Although the end result is usually amazing, and people come away with a beautiful piece of art they can hang proudly at home.
But some people are too hard on themselves on what their painting looks like.
“I remind people, and I really believe in this, that Rembrandt and Picasso have very different styles, but their paintings are loved because the beauty of the art is in the eye of the beholder. Plus, it’s how painting makes you feel.”
For Lombard, it makes her feel alive. She admits, it’s even a bit ‘addictive.’
The South African mother of two is self-taught. She had never picked up a paint brush until 2010 when her husband bought her an easel for her birthday.
“I say that is when my husband and my kids never saw me again,” she joked. “I couldn’t stop painting, I just loved it that much,” she said.
Shortly after, one of her friends asked her to come over so the two could paint together. There they listened to music and painted.
“She said, ‘why don’t we host a party with appys and wine, and let’s all paint.’ We did it and we had so much fun that is where I got the idea to do painting parties.”
Painting parties were already all the rage in America, but hadn’t really taken off in Canada yet, she said.
Lombard said she hosted a couple painting parties at neighbouring NY Grill and at a couple coffee shops. She also hosted at people’s houses.
She supplies aprons, all the art supplies and a table drop cloth. The host supplies the food, wine and the rest is history, she laughs.
The parties aren’t an art class. It’s meant to be a social gathering, while people learn to paint.
She helps guide the process and helps people along the way, but mostly, the creativity takes over and art is born.
“The business just took off,” she said. Painting parties were booking up so fast, Lombard had to hire two more women to help her.
“There is lots of giggles, and sharing,” she said. “Some people feel too shy to try but I say, ‘just do it.’ I see them, they loosen up, they start to see how relaxing it is and some even come away as addicted as I am. Everyone comes away with their own piece of art to hang on their walls or keep to themselves.
Lombard said her painting parties have opened up the artist within for some.
“They fall in love with creating and end up coming to many more parties. One woman now has art hanging in a gallery. She had no prior painting experience but she had this hidden talent she didn’t even know about.”
For Lombard, painting has brought her so much happiness.
“Before we immigrated to Canada I was a telephone call systems programmer. It feels like there is so much opportunity in Canada,” she said.
Lombard still works at a 911 call centre in Vancouver, managing to juggle both jobs.
“I enjoy both. I know it seems crazy busy, but when you are enjoying life, anything is possible.”
She has so many ideas and plans already for Zealous Art and where it can grow, she said.
At the studio, Lombard plans to sell art supplies as well. Already at the studio, people can paint on canvas or on art bags/totes.
At the grand opening Nov. 5, a mini art party took place all day.
Not only will this art studio be home to art parties, but also local artisans will be showcasing their work within the studio.
Zealous Art is still doing mobile painting parties.
“We are almost fully booked for November and going into the beginning of December.”
Zealous Painting Parties
Bookings are for everything from Christmas work parties to bridal showers to girls’ nights. She’s also had several children’s painting parties at the studio.
Zealous Art & Painting is at #104-20218 Fraser Hwy.
To learn more visit: www.zealousart.com or find them on Facebook.