I used to love art at school, but it’s something I’ve completely lost touch with as an adult. Not since I was in uniform have I donned a paint-splattered apron, with a palette of acrylic paints, an easel and a clean, white piece of canvas in front of me. But that’s exactly the situation I’m in on a Wednesday night in the heart of London. Although, thankfully, this time I’m not at school, dreading the bell signalling that maths is next. This time I am in The Hilton Trafalgar Hotel bar, with a  paint brush in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. 

I am at a pop-up painting session, now being held monthly at the Hilton Trafalgar, each time with a different theme. Tonight we are painting a pop-art print of the Queen.  

Painters are told they are welcome to just do their own thing  – so some paint portraits of their partners, others whatever comes to mind; many paint the Queen, but make her more abstract, with vibrant colours and re-arranged eyes, noses, and mouths. Clearly we had some wannabe Picassos in the room. Most, though, including myself and my date, followed the step-by-step instructions from the artist on how to go about recreating the painting.

As we were in a bar, we had to strain above the noise to hear her, but helpers came around to us individually, telling us what colours to mix and what parts of the painting to do at each stage. None of us were pros but we all gave it a good go… with varying results. My date’s Queen was going well until she got a bit of a black eye, and my Queen looked like she was the one who had given it to her. Luckily my date and I got along better than our Queens did, and we proudly took our paintings home to remember the night by. Although I haven’t quite brought myself to hang it yet, but I’m sure the back of my cupboard is appreciating it. 

£29 includes a glass of wine, painting materials and you can take your artwork home.


* In assocation with doingsomething.co.uk – “dating more fun when you’re DoingSomething”