“Come to ‘Paint Your Pet Nite’ with me,” said my friend Mindy. “It’ll be fun!”
“NOT!,” I thought, imagining total embarrassment trying to paint my dog’s portrait in public. And that’s not even mentioning carting home a wet canvas in my car.
But I was wrong, as it turns out.
How “Paint Your Pet Nite” works
Lyle Lopez was our host and coach for “Paint Your Pet Night.” You send him a favorite photo of your pet ahead of time. He sketches the outline of the portrait on a canvas. When you arrive at the event — the one Mindy and I went to was at Bistro Ka in the Westfield Topanga Mall — Lyle has the canvas, the paints and the tools set up.
You order some adult beverages and snacks, put on an apron, take a deep breath, pick up your paint brush and go. Lyle guides you step-by-step. The paint is acrylic so it washes off and dries quickly.
Lyle has a bachelor’s degree in painting and visual communications, teaches summer art workshops and works as a graphic designer. He makes sure you leave with a portrait of your dog you’ll want to frame and hang where everyone can see it.
A step-by-step dog painting
You start by doing the background, then go color by color filling in the rest of the picture. Lyle helps you mix the right colors and demonstrates how to get the texture of fur and whiskers perfect. One thing Lyle really excels at is adding the little details — the sparkle of a reflection in your Shih Tzu’s eyes, the shadow under a dangling dog tag — that really makes the portrait pop.
Lyle’s “Paint Your Pet” nights are offered in a variety of locations. Some evenings focus on dogs, others on pets in general, including cats. Other PaintNite events feature different themes including sunsets, safaris, humming birds, elephants, swimming koi, seascapes and landscapes, where the participating “artists” all do the same subject.
The cost of one of Lyle’s “Special Paint Your Pet” event is $50. (Other PaintNite events cost about $45) plus whatever food and beverages you purchase.