by Dan Ketchum
The history of cannabis and art reaches much farther back than the history of cannabis and stigmatization, and it’s a lot more fun to dive into. As the Asia-Pacific Journal reminds us, paintings of Cannabis sativa exist on Japanese cave walls from circa 5,000 BCE, while artists ranging from Louis Armstrong to Volkmar Hoppe have cited weed as a major creative inspiration. When it comes to pairing a creativity booster with your palette, it’s time to transcend wine and host a weed-and-paint night that truly intensifies the imagination.
Sort Your Supplies
In her book “Create Perfect Paintings: An Artist’s Guide to Visual Thinking,” Nancy Reyner notes that painting with acrylic makes for a largely nontoxic, highly customizable medium, with a huge range of drying times, absorbency, texture and sheen. Starting with this accessible medium, here’s roughly how your supply list should break down, accounting for some variance in the size of your party:
- A set of acrylics to share
- A pack of canvas panels
- Community paintbrush set, variety of sizes
- Paint palettes
Recycle an old dropcloth or pick up a Goodwill blanket to serve as a tablecloth — while you’re there, cut back on plastic waste with a variety of second-hand glasses or mugs to rinse your brushes. Colorful cloths and mugs can really help set the mood, and speaking of moods, don’t forget to fill the space with creatively cannabis-paired snacks and a playlist that evokes the artistic journey to follow. Go with soaring instrumental post-rock for landscapes or improvisational jazz for abstract works, for example.
Choose a Guide
The best paint nights strike a balance between structure and free-form expression; unifying your fellow artists with a specific subject releases the pressure and hesitation of asking yourself, “But what do I paint?” It’s within that prompt — the jumping-off point that gives everyone the agency to start right in — that you can truly begin expressing yourself.
Cast your favorite 4K landscape photo from your travels to your biggest monitor for a surefire springboard, or take a look at National Geographic’s yearly collection of the best wildlife photos for something more kinetic. Some simple lamplight or dramatic LEDs on your favorite household sculptures or knickknacks can also do the trick, as can a willing figure drawing model from among your friend group. If your party calls for something a little more guided (and a lot more chill), the instructional oeuvre of Bob Ross — a cultural touchstone who is absolutely impossible to dislike — is available for free viewing at any time via official YouTube and Twitch channels.
Perfect Your Pairings
We’ve already covered painting supplies, but there’s one crucial piece of the paint night experience left: the most perfect, inspiration-enhancing, vibe-elevating strain you can get your hands on. Among the best strains for creativity, Leafly suggests the bright and awakening Kali Mist, the potent boost of Chemdog or the vibrant bliss of Jillybean. And let’s not forget the classic, piney aromas of mellow and focusing Jack Herer, the long-lasting body high of Super Silver Haze, or the euphoric sweetness of Tangie. As it turns out, you’ll find both of the latter two strains in the triple-strain blend of our uplifting Over the Rainbow, a 2020 High Times Cannabis Cup winner that’s a whole lot of inspiration in one little pen.
Dan Ketchum is an LA-based freelance lifestyle, fashion, health and food writer with more than a decade of experience. He’s been fortunate enough to collaborate and publish with companies such as FOCL, Vitagenne, Livestrong, Reign Together, Out East Rosé, SFGate, the Seattle Times and more.
Asia-Pacific Journal – The Secret History of Cannabis in Japan
Artists Network – Painting for Beginners: Choosing the Right Medium
National Geographic – See the Best Wildlife Photos of 2020
Twitch – BobRoss
YouTube – Bob Ross