I’ve never considered myself particularly arty – in fact I’d go as far as saying that I was saddled with two left hands when it comes to art.

So when I was invited to flex my creative muscle at Paint Nite, I was dubious at best about the quality of what I’d be able to produce.

By Gillian Gernetzky

Paint Nite is hosted by a really cool company called Yaymaker, which started out as Paint Nite in a Boston bar during a blackout in 2012. On that night, the organisers realised that something magical happens when people drop their guard, pluck up their courage, and try something new.

We attended one of the monthly Paint Nites that are held at The Cape Milner Hotel in Tamboerskloof – and something magical did indeed happen.

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The Glass Lounge is a beautiful bar lounge with spectacular views of Table Mountain


We kicked off our brave new experience with an early supper in the glorious Glass Lounge and some truly delicious cocktails. My kiwi margarita was very moreish – despite the brain freeze that drinking a frozen margarita in the middle of winter will bring!

That delicious frozen kiwi margarita


Once we’d satisfied our hunger pangs, we moved through to the beautifully set out ‘studio’ in the hotel’s restaurant. There was a long table set up in the middle of the room with a blank canvas on an easel for each person, a palette with dollops of paint, different sized paint brushes and a cup of water for rinsing brushes.

In the front of the room, our artist and leader of the night, Linda, had set up the Majestic Owl painting that we would recreate, as well as a blank canvas for demonstrating.

And so the adventure begins…


After we’d unwrapped our canvases and put on our clean, pressed aprons, Linda officially opened the night and welcomed us. Then we made The Pledge. Hand on blank canvas, we promised not to judge ourselves or anyone else, and to have fun. And then it was time to take the plunge.

Our cute owls begin to take shape


Linda is clearly a skilled, confident painter and her step-by-step instructions and easy manner erased any apprehension we had about revealing our artistic prowess to our fellow guests. With a smudge of cobalt blue here, a lick of white there, a squeeze of yellow and the tiniest touch of red, the intricate layers of our paintings built up and started to resemble finely feathered owls with expressive, realistic eyes.

The finished product!


While we worked, vibey music played in the background, wine, bubbles and cocktails flowed and there was much merriment in the room.

Two hours later, despite shrieks of laughter and our owls being likened to Ewocks and Chihuahuas while we created them, the finished masterpieces were surprisingly good. But more importantly, everyone had a wonderful time and it was clear why many people return time and time again.

It seems it just takes a little faith and letting go to awaken the artist within.

Bubbly and camembert: The Baked Camembert is sublime


Paint Nite takes place monthly at The Cape Milner Hotel from 19:00 – 21:00. The cost includes all the supplies you need – paint, brushes, apron and the canvas that you will paint on and take home. Food and drinks are not included in the price, but you can order what you like from the attentive waiters.

The usual price for Paint Nite is R610, but there is a 45% discount for The Cape Milner events, which makes it only R335,50. Book via The Cape Milner Events Facebook page, which lists upcoming Paint Nite details and the discount code. Or have a look at the Yaymaker website or Facebook page to view all their upcoming events.

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