Esther Maihi and the OUSA Paint + Sip Evening

Esther Maihi and the OUSA Paint + Sip Evening

The OUSA "Paint + Sip Evening" is an Art Week event where a limited number of lucky people get to drink wine, hang out, listen to music, and paint a picture with artist Esther Maihi. I spoke to Esther about what the evening involves and why she loves doing it.

“It’s being able to combine creativity and being social in one night. It’s aimed at people who either really enjoy painting, or people who have never picked up a brush in their lives.” Esther says some people come along thinking they don’t have a creative bone in their body, but she can teach them tips and techniques to create a piece that that “might look quite intricate to their friends and family, who will wonder how they painted it, but is actually quite easy to do.”

The evening is a chance to try something new in a non-intimidating environment. Each person gets a canvas, painting gear, and two glasses of wine (or non-alcoholic drinks) so they can really relax and enjoy painting in a group. Esther says that at the end of the night last year she had people thanking her for helping them discover something new that they really enjoyed.

“It was my first time ever teaching a class. I was so nervous. I’m an artist in my spare time, but it was daunting to get in front of a room full of people and have them watch me, but once I got into the flow of it last year it was really quite cool.”

Esther will be teaching the class how to paint a Dunedin landscape. She takes a photo and then creates several different versions of the landscape at home. She then tries out teaching her techniques to friends and family to see if she can get them to recreate the work. On the night, Esther shows the class how they can do the painting step by step, and then helps people individually if they need her to.

Though everyone is painting the same thing, Esther says it’s “pretty cool that at the end of the class, although everyone had the same subject matter, it’s all going to turn out different, and every piece will be unique, with their own style. Some people choose to not follow it at all, and just go crazy with the paints.”

I asked the obvious question – do you like Bob Ross? Esther replied “I actually watch him quite a bit, as research to see how I should approach teaching people as opposed to something that sort of comes naturally from my head.”

Last year Esther had people emailing her after the session to say thank you “for opening their eyes and letting them try something that they never would have on their own, and discovering that they might even have some talent in those areas.” Some people have kept their artwork to hang on their walls to show people.

Esther exhibits her own work regularly and has sold every piece she has painted this year. She says she finds painting therapeutic and also “very rewarding and satisfying to be able to create so much colour in one stroke. It’s not like getting a coloured pencil and sitting for hours.”

Esther is part of an exhibition coming up in September called “Circles of Friends,” where all of the artists create circular works. The exhibition opens on Friday September 8th at the Good Earth Café.


Location: Evison Lounge 
Date: Wednesday 16 August 
Time: 7:30 - 10pm | Price: $15 – register online

Registration and payment before the evening is essential, as there are limited spots available.

Register online here, or via the OUSA Art Week page

Please pay your $15 at the OUSA Main Office before the night to secure your spot.

This article first appeared in Issue 19, 2017.
Posted 11:24am Sunday 13th August 2017 by Critic.