Move over, Tupperware. Step aside, cosmetics and cleaning product parties. There’s a new soirée trend in Langley that’s catching on quick and turning its participants into budding Picassos.
When Freda Lombard isn’t busy filing police reports for the Vancouver 9-1-1 Centre, the 39-year-old Langley resident can be found teaching men and women of all ages how to work wonders with a paint brush inside their homes.
Around three years ago, the mother-of-two from South Africa started her side business — Zealous Art & Painting Parties. It didn’t take long for her colourful idea to take flight.
“It all started off with me painting at home,” said Lombard, who was given an easel and acrylic paints as a gift from her husband for Christmas back in 2009.
Despite never having taken an art class, Lombard found painting came naturally to her.
“I used to do a little fabric painting in South Africa years ago, but that’s about it.
“Friends would come over for a coffee and say ‘how do you do that?”
After teaching several friends how to create their own masterpieces on a blank canvas, step-by-step, Lombard realized she wanted to branch out and teach as a part-time gig.
For the parties, Lombard brings all the materials, which includes a canvas, palettes, brushes, paints, aprons and a ghetto blaster.
To date, she has led painting parties that range from birthday celebrations, baby and bridal showers to corporate events. They’re especially popular with women who want to have a girls’ night in.
While many of the participants are shy about picking up a paintbrush at first, it doesn’t take long for them to come out of their shell. Of course, a little liquid courage helps get the creative juices flowing.
“I always say you don’t need to be an artist — you just need to have friends around you, be yourself, maybe drink some wine and be adventurous,” said Lombard, who is always amazed by the pieces that the so-called ‘unartistic’ types create.
“I love seeing them realize they are doing it and start to fall in love with their own paintings. After just a few strokes they begin to relax. People leave and cannot believe what they’ve done.”
Lombard’s favourite part of the shindigs comes at the end.
That’s when a group photo of all the participants and their finished paintings is taken.
“In many cases, the finished product provides a little insight into the artist who created it, said Lombard.
“Everyone’s painting is a reflection of themselves, whether it be bold, wild, etc.”
Recently, Lombard has also begun teaching painting parties at the Fort Langley Studio on Glover Road — an event that is offered monthly.
“We remove all the expensive paintings and do the party right in the studio on a Friday night,” explained Lombard. “They’re a lot of fun.”
For those who prefer a private setting, Lombard is happy to make house calls.
“You pick a date and we’ll go over the type of painting you’d like to create. I have different scenes you can choose from. Or if you like, I can recreate something and make it a simple painting. All you have to do is provide the cocktails and snacks.”
While life has been busy on the home front with two children, aged 12 and 15, a full-time job and a new business to boot, Lombard says she has a great support system.
“I have an awesome family. They jump in and always know where everything is, to make life easier. I’m very lucky.”
For more information about Zealous Art & Painting Parties, visit www.zealousart.com. To find out about the next painting party at the Fort Langley Studio, visit www.fortstudio.com or call 604-371-2899.