NU Library recently held a paint-along event, which was a lot of fun. Full episodes of a certain PBS painting show from the 80s & 90s are on YouTube, and we followed along with the season 14 episode, "Distant Mountains."
Although the show is 30 minutes long, the event lasted 2 hours, allowing time to pause and replay parts as needed. During that time we followed along, creating clouds, mountains, water, and of course, “some happy little trees.”
Everyone’s finished painting ended up a little different, but as was stated in the episode, “The big thing that we try to teach you here is to enjoy what you're doing and to have fun. Painting should make you happy.” And the event succeeded in that respect, with several attendees commenting about what a good time they’d had.
Interested in planning your own paint-along event? Here’s what you’ll need:
- Oil paints, based on the colors used in the particular episode you’re following (you can look these up online or watch the beginning of the episode, where you’ll see them listed)
- 16 x 20 canvases
- Easels (optional)
- 2-inch brushes, plus whatever other brushes are used in the episode (ours also used a palette knife, which is a spatula-like tool)
- Odorless paint thinner, used to clean the brushes between colors
- Drop cloths for your work surface
- Smocks (we used disposable rain ponchos)
- Palettes, with some of each paint color placed on them ahead of time (we used plastic plates)
- Liquid White – In the painting technique used on the show, a thin coat of this product is applied to the whole canvas before starting, which makes it easier to blend colors. You might find a product simply called “Liquid White,” or a similar one, such as “Liquid First Coat” in White, made by Weber.
- Brush cleaner for after the event – you need one that will specifically work on oil paints.
- It also helps to have a lot of paper towels and old newspapers on hand.