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Unwind At A Ladies Paint Party: A Fun Twist On The Women's Night Out

by Nicola Burnell

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I'm going to let the pictures do most of the talking…

Paint Party
From palette to painting in under three hours…who knew I could paint?

It began over beer at the Land Ho, when my friend Annabelle Hunton introduced me to Hans deCastellane, a local artist and Dennisport gallery owner. He had a hunch that Cape Cod was ready for an event that has been drawing women into New York and Boston galleries for a while now.

He asked, "Do you think Cape women would enjoy an evening of good wine, music, snacks and conversation while painting something that they could take home and hang on their walls?"

"Of course they would!" I replied. "How soon can we start?"

A month later, I attended my first Ladies Paint Party but I was skeptical about my ability to actually paint something. I was really there for the wine, music and camaraderie that quickly filled de CASTELLANE GALLERY on that cold Friday evening. I had such a great time that I signed up for the next one.

Annebelle and Denise settle in as Hans fills their palettes with paint
Annebelle and Denise settle in as Hans fills their palettes with paint

The ambiance of the de CASTELLANE GALLERY lends itself beautifully to the creative process. Hans, who works in the gallery on his own paintings, will often point out certain techniques used in the art hanging on the walls around us.

There's also a delicious incongruity to sitting among exquisite art while watching our teacher clean his brush off by wiping it all over his T-shirt and jeans. "Get messy," he coaches over the music, "have fun with the paint!"

 Cape Women enjoying the art of metamorphosis
Cape Women enjoying the art of metamorphosis

Ladies Paint Parties 7-10pm

at de CASTALLANE GALLERY in Dennisport

Spring Schedule: April 15, May 5, 12, 24 June 7, 21
$50 includes supplies, wine, snacks & tuition!

To register email

Playing with paint is not just for artists – anyone can do it!

Most Paint Parties are held on a Friday night, making it a wonderful way to wrap up a work week. "It's a great way to unwind at the end of the week," says Ellen Jolley. "It's something we don't usually take the time to do."

Some of the women have become regular participants and register for several sessions in advance. The success of these events is a pleasant surprise to Hans, who plans to keep his gallery open year round. "Each Paint Party usually sells out in advance," he says. "I'm really surprised at how popular it has become. I really enjoy it."

Author Lisa Genova is a fan of Han’s Ladies Paint Parties
Author Lisa Genova is a fan of Han's Ladies Paint Parties

As brushes sweep across canvas everyone relaxes into a rhythm of storytelling and laughter. I find myself sitting next to author Lisa Genova and we are soon discussing Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. "Before I start a new writing project I always read that book from cover to cover," Lisa noted.

As a teacher of this "journey into creative recovery," I agree that it's a great tool for getting the internal critic off your shoulder so you can relax into the creative process. We compare our emerging peacock paintings and agree that while they're not perfect, just applying the paint has put us into a calm, almost meditative state.

    Constructing a painting, one brush stroke at a time
Constructing a painting, one brush stroke at a time

This is one of those rare situations in life where it's okay to mess up. Mistakes are opportunities that Hans uses as teachable moments. "Hans keeps it light and playful while instilling positive reinforcement and imparting valuable knowledge," says Christina Bologna, who has attended several Paint Parties. "I think part of the fun is learning that painting isn't just technical, but free and experimental."

Did I mention that we drink wine while we paint? It's not mandatory, of course, but it helps me to silence my internal critic. "I like the social aspect of drinking wine while playing with paint," says Patricia Monahan. "It's an evening of escape," notes Debbie McNaughton, who attends every Paint Party she possibly can. "It exposes the misty corners of my soul and shows me that I am creative."

"There aren't a lot of places women can go to enjoy wine and fellowship," adds Christina. "It's a beautiful time to explore art and femininity."

The Ladies Paint Party schedule is set through September. If you'd like to try your hand at painting something you might even hang on your wall check out the full schedule here.

Photographs courtesy of Hans de Castellane and Nicola Burnell

Nicola Burnell is the Publisher and a contributing writer of this magazine. She teaches a series of creativity development classes, including the Artist's Way, and also teaches novel writing classes through Nauset Community Education.

Nicola has been a Reiki practitioner and Personal Empowerment workshop leader for over fifteen years. She is a member in Letters of the National League of American Pen Women and is Historian of the Cape Cod Branch.

Follow these links for details about any of Nicola's CWO Classes or CWO Events or email