Paint Night offers fun for amateurs, experts


Blank canvases suddenly came to life with snowflakes and snowmen. Paintbrushes added small details, and some even deviated from the path and painted houses and trees. 

 The first paint night offered by the University Program Council in Jack’s Place Feb. 11 drew a crowd of about 15 people, almost all female, to the event.

“We decided to do a paint night because a lot of people like the idea of painting, but a lot of people also don’t know how and haven’t been taught step by step,” Chelsey Bertelson, UPC arts coordinator said.  “And it’s a fun activity that anyone can do regardless of their ability. It’s relaxing and fun.”

Robert McLean, vice president of UPC, agreed it can include everyone.

“You don’t have to be an artist,” McLean said. “But you can put your own twist on it.”

Even those who aren’t as advanced with painting were able to have fun with step-by-step painting.

“I always get frustrated because I’m not as good at it,” said Breah Waldron, a junior nursing major. “But I’m enjoying it.”

For Tali Paulson, the one leading the paint night, this is her full-time job.

“I saw the idea on a reality TV show and thought it would be fun to do with my girlfriends for a fun night out, but Sioux Falls didn’t have anything like that,” Paulson said.

She started with supplies for 10 people, but now she has supplies for 50.

“It’s a blast, it doesn’t feel like a job,” Paulson said.

Paulson does paint night at the South Dakota Art Museum about every three months, but this is her first time with just South Dakota State students.

There is a lot that goes into putting on a paint night, Paulson said. The first step is deciding on the painting she is going to do.

“I create all my own paintings,” Paulson said. “Relatives send me cool pictures and sometimes I’ll do that.”

The painting for the UPC paint night was a snowman wearing an SDSU jersey.

“I did this one because I didn’t have any sports paintings,” Paulson said. “I want my painting to appeal more to both sexes. I think it tends to be a lot more females and people think it’s typical flowers and things like that.” 

But there is more to this job than just art.

Paulson is also in charge of everything from the creation of her website to client contact to coordinating the party and deciding on the music playlist. She even has to take care of the taxes and clean up, she said.

“The art aspect is my favorite,” Paulson said.

Paulson does not restrict her students’ creativity, so attendees are allowed to put a personal touch on their paintings.

“I like at the end how, even though we do the same painting, people’s personalities come out in each painting,” Paulson said. “It happens every time.”

Xiaoyu Guo, an operations management graduate student, decided to attend the night to relax.

“Normally, I am too busy with study,” Guo said. “It gives me a good outlook on life. You outline first, the bigger picture and then fill in the rest.”

Guo said she enjoyed the freedom Paulson allowed with the painting. 

“It is the Chinese New Year, so I can use Chinese symbols,” Guo said. “The teacher gave you a foundation and you get to add something quick.”

Paulson emphasizes anyone is capable of painting at her events.