Arts & Culture

Paint & Sip: A New Way to Unwind by the Nile in Cairo or the Beach in Gouna

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Paint & Sip: A New Way to Unwind by the Nile in Cairo or the Beach in Gouna

Image Credit: Mirna Armanious

We all know the magic of a Cairene sunset: the colours reflecting on the Nile, clouds catching sun rays, the last glimpse of light before nightfall. What could possibly make this any better? “Brush It” has the answer, and it involves a glass of wine, a canvas and a whole lot of paint.

The concept is simple. Choose your location, either by the Nile in the centre of Cairo, or along the sunny serenity of the beach in Gouna. Bring a friend, choose your beverage and get painting – not necessarily to produce a masterpiece, but to enjoy the atmosphere and the artistic process. And what’s more, each session is led by an artist, giving you the freedom to follow along or unleash your individual creativity.

Image Credit: Mirna Armanious

Founders Mary and Mirna emphasise that “Paint & Sip” is not an art class, but a paint party; so whether you have artistic flair or just enjoy the therapeutic process of putting paint to canvas, everyone is welcome. The sessions range between EGP 500 and 600 per person depending on the location, and include all art supplies and an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink of choice.

As I made my way onto the beachside venue of “The Smokery” in Gouna, the prospect made me slightly nervous. Whilst I’ve always been artistically inclined, I had little experience with acrylic paint and was intimidated by the thought of a blank canvas staring me in the face. But when I sat down with my paint brush and wine across from the tranquil waves of the Red Sea, all worries faded away. I started to realise it wasn’t about getting everything exactly right, but rather using the time to focus on the calmness of each brushstroke, almost meditatively. The time flew by, and before I knew it, I had a half decent painting and a peaceful mind.

Image Credit: Mirna Armanious

“We moved to Egypt from Texas four years ago and realised that the idea of paint and sip didn’t exist in Egypt yet,” said Mirna when I asked her about the workshop’s beginnings.

“We started doing it with friends and family first in our house, and then more people wanted to do it, so we found some fun locations, and it worked!”

The aim of “Paint and Sip” is simply pure relaxation, and trying something new.

“We want participants to unleash the inner artist that they never knew was inside of them, in a stress free and good vibes environment. Every time someone comes in, they see the canvas and are freaked out, but they always leave with a masterpiece. They didn’t know that they had it in them. We like to say it’s fun art, not fine art.”

Mary and Mirna said they aim to create a judgement free atmosphere to encourage people who have no experience with art to come along. And sometimes, participants who have never painted before leave feeling accomplished and zen, with a new-found hobby.

“A lot of them find out that they’re really interested in art. Some go and buy canvases on their own and they start painting in their own time. That’s always such a proud moment for us! Sometimes, we see people bringing their boyfriends along who seem like they’ve been forced into it, but then you see them get so creative which is nice.”

I can see exactly why these workshops unexpectedly ignite a new-found or previously neglected passion for art. In our hectic modern lives, we rarely make time for ourselves, but when it is just us, the canvas and a beautiful view, the results can be astonishing.

Over the past few years, Cairenes have continued to find new ways to explore their artistic hobbies in social settings, and “Paint and Sip” is no exception. For more information and to plan your next ‘paint and sip’, visit their website or Facebook page.

Disclaimer: While this is not an advertorial, “Paint & Sip” offered the author of this piece a free session. Sessions normally range between EGP 500 and 600 per person.

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Olivia is currently studying in Cairo as part of her undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge. She has worked on a number of student-run publications, such as Varsity and The Cambridge Language Collective, and is passionate about exploring Egyptian culture, history and society through journalism.

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