Art, food and fun at Late Nite Art

There are those who look forward to Friday as a night out on the town, drinking copious amounts of liquor until they swing so freely that they really do move like Jagger. Then there are those who wish to remember the night, have a couple of drinks in a chill environment while mixing and mingling with new people. 

Being someone who seeks both, I decided to spend my Friday night in a less crazy manner than normally. Knowing very well that I am too much of a socialite to have that mean staying home alone with some tea and a good book, my friend suggested that I check out Late Nite Art. The first thing that came to mind was that I can’t draw a cat from a dog so why in the world would that be something I would enjoy. Being mocked for my lack of artistic skills? Not my idea of fun. But that's where I was wrong. 

Claudia Carmen and Julien Thomas created Late Nite Art to encourage people to work in free form while sharing thought-provoking discussion on what it means to create in collaboration. One needn't be the next Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Van Gogh or Rousseau to participate, all it takes is an open mind and in interest in meeting new people, eating delicious local food and the ability to put a paintbrush, pencil or charcoal to paper. My interest was piqued, so I decided that it was time to find my inner artist, that exists but rarely gets an opportunity to shine. I may not be the next Emily Carr but that doesn’t mean I can’t pick up a paintbrush or play with charcoal.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

There are no rules to what is art and what is not, so don't be discouraged if you still draw stick people and you struggle to color within the lines. Late Nite Art is an open platform for all non-artists and artists alike to come together and Claudia and Julien have done a fantastic job at making no one feel uncomfortable while participating in the event. It is a facilitated workshop that encourages looking inside to pull out the artist in all of us. 

As I walked through the door in to Patti's pad I was enveloped by the aroma of "deliciousness". I couldn't decipher what it was but at that I instant I realized how hungry I actually was and how glad I was that I hadn't just had dinner. Once inside I saw the room was already full of people mingling and munching. Music was playing and people were chatty. I decided right then that this was exactly where I wanted to be at that moment, in a warm atmosphere and a venue where I could meet new people without having to compete with over amplified music. 

Being a "foodie", after saying hello to Claudia, the first thing I did was scope out the array of food. There was a tasty selection of fresh cheese from Golden Ears CheeseWorks in Maple Ridge, including a wheel of 'to die for' triple cream Brie that weighed nearly a kilo and the addictive, full fat, Neufchâtel, a French cheese. My mistake was taking a big slab of butter that was on the cheese platter thinking that it was cheese. Once in my mouth I knew otherwise but if I had to eat of slab of butter I'm glad it was theirs; sweet and full of flavor, I wasn't going to spit it out but wish I had it on some of the delicious bread they had sitting next to it. Or maybe at least on some of the meat that was there.

Alexander, of Swallow Tail was working like a mad man in the kitchen while maintaining a calm, cool and collected demeanor and chatting with people as he flitted about from fridge, to stove, to counter. He cooked up some delicious white wine, sauteed, wild mushrooms which he seemed extremely proud to show off. I found out later from his friends, the "cheese ladies", that they ventured in to the, then snowy, wilderness for an epic mushroom hunt a week prior. 

Also served was a rugged garden salad with frosted kale and spicy arugula from his garden, a thick leek soup that simmered on the stuff all day, and roasted winter veggies from Klipper's Organic Acres (beets, squash, carrots and spuds). And of course a meal is not complete without a sweet finish! That night Alex made a walnut crisp made with hand picked Zenger blueberries, Klipper's apples and summer apricots. It was so good that I allowed Gluttony to take over me and I helped myself to three servings! 

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