By Carrie Ann Salvi
It’s not the traditional Hamptons party, but the new trend in paint-and-sip gatherings has arrived on Newtown Lane in East Hampton. It is called The Salty Canvas, and its local owners seek to serve all fun-seekers who will leave with their own unique creations. Painting parties are offered Thursday through Sunday evenings, with themes that range from coffee cups to cowboy boots, and two classes will be offered each Saturday.
Brushes, canvas, easel, acrylic paints, and smocks are provided, along with step-by-step instruction, and guests are welcomed to bring their own beverages.
“I needed something to focus my energy on,” said Nikki Payne, 26, of Amagansett. Since losing her twin brother, Erik, about six months ago in a car accident, she said her goals were realigned, and she returned from college in Binghamton to be back home with her fiancé, and a comforting, creative outlet.
“I am meant to be here,” said Ms. Payne on Friday before her moon-themed painting party. Having a love for painting since her days in East Hampton High School, Ms. Payne pointed to a photograph of her brother holding one she gifted him and said, “that’s the last time I saw him.” The painting is displayed in the studio as well. This is getting me through my grief,” she said. “I feel so grateful. People leave happy. I need this right now.”
The opportunity came with the help of Khanh Ngo of Khanh Sports, who was her childhood neighbor. He asked Ms. Payne what she would do if she could do anything she wished. She told him that while she was at school, she was doing a lot of painting while working at a paint-and-sip venue, and that she would love to open her own studio. After learning that money was an obstacle, he said, “Let’s do it,” and became her partner. Mr. Ngo shares Ms. Payne’s love for painting, and she said although it’s not widely known, he is “an incredible artist.”
No expertise or experience is necessary at The Salty Canvas, and kids are welcomed too, whether it’s for birthday parties, private, or group sessions. Camp Create offers the younger folk aged 8 to 15 a chance to paint after school, too, along with mixed media art and group projects from 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The focus is on beginners—simple and fun paintings for those who may or may not have ever painted before. “They amaze themselves with their results,” she said. In just three weeks, Ms. Payne has entertained private sessions, a mother-daughter outing, groups of 15, and at-home events. She has already been requested to plan private events that include a bachelorette party.
Students choose the picture they wish to paint, either from Ms. Payne’s selection, online, or from their own private photograph or drawing collections. Appointments are preferred for private and small group sessions, but walk-ins are welcome after 11 a.m.
“A tip for the fellas” was offered by Ms. Payne’s fiancé, John Holden, who grew up in Wainscott. “It’s a great date night,” he said. It is out of the ordinary and it can be a great way to share conversation, creativity and a few laughs. “Plus, you get to leave with something,” he said.
The impending holiday season will be a great time to make gifts for others, and ornaments too, said Ms. Payne. Art is taking place off the canvas, too. Mr. Holden, a surfer and fisherman, has gotten involved in collecting driftwood that can be designed and painted, and distressed beach signs have been popular, said Ms. Payne.
Ms. Payne was touched and surprised when a customer purchased one of her personal local beach paintings, and she was asked to paint two more to send as gifts to Australia.
The Salty Canvas Facebook page lists their parties by the painting, and with a click on a picture, one can find event details such as this weekend’s “Fall Feathers” mom-or-dad-and-me class or an adult Oahu Sunset class with $5 off for those in Hawaiian attire.
Repeat business is already apparent in the three weeks they have had their doors opened. Ms. Payne is very willing to hear suggestions and feedback from the community, and to tailor private or group events to the needs of each client.
Fore more information on The Salty Canvas, 94 Newtown Lane in East Hampton, call (631) 527-5133 or visit them on Facebook.