Super Frugal Fun Painting Date

My husband and I generally go on two dates a year. Once for our anniversary, and once for our shared birthday.
I'm feeling it isn't enough. I would like to have more one on one time only with him, time where we aren't just at home taking care of household things and getting distracted by cell phones, etc... But babysitting isn't so easy to find, and it adds up.
I'm still interested in dates "going out" and all, but last night hubby and I had a nice stay at home date after the kids went to bed (early-ish, thankfully!) that was fun and super cheap too!

I'd heard of these painting dates that are done around here, where couples paint together, and I don't know the specifics of it, but know that couples come home with two paintings, one that each person did, even people that had never painted before in their lives.
I wanted to try that with Mike.

I love painting, but wouldn't say that I'm particularly artistic. I just enjoy stroking the brush across canvas, and creating things. I have taken art lessons, some private, but mainly through my school, and I've learned some basic techniques and I'm able to get things done. Mike, on the other hand, is super artistic and has pure raw talent. He doesn't know any techniques, he hasn't ever learned how to draw, paint, sculpt, or whatnot, he just has a gift.
I knew that he'd love painting- but he never painted before in his life, he said. (Other than a Scooby Doo thing one time when he was a kid.)

So I decided that we'd have a stay at home paint date. Originally I thought we'd paint two halves of the same scene, but in the end we went with other things...

I went to a dollar store type place and bought canvases for $1.40 each, and 2 packs of paintbrushes for $1.40 each also. Total cost therefore was $5.70 for the equipment. We used gauche paint that we already had at home for the kids' art projects.

To start off, I asked my husband what he thought was the most beautiful type of scenery, and he said it was the African savanna at sunset. (You can take the man out of Africa, but can't take Africa out of the man- he's South African through and through.) So I googled "African savanna sunset" in google images, Mike looked through them for inspiration, and then sketched on his canvas.

I had this vague idea of what I wanted, also a sunset, with water, and rocks and trees/mountains on the horizon, and googled for some ideas for that too, and also sketched.

And then, we painted! I actually had to teach Mike a lot about how to paint- he really knew nothing about it, not even what colors to mix to get different colors (didn't know that red and yellow made orange, for example, or how to make green or grey...), had to give a few other suggestions...

He painted something very precise and meanwhile I was just enjoying making these broad strokes...

Some of the time we worked quietly, sometimes shmoozing about our paintings, giving suggestions to each other, discussing what we were doing, but overall, it was just a fun time. Relaxing for me. And, coincidentally, this article popped up on my facebook feed today, how there's a study that says that making art reduces stress, even if you're not good at it- just the act of it... and that probably explains why I love it so much. I'm not particularly good at it, I just have fun doing it and find it relaxing...

Either way- here's the final pictures.

Here's Mike's! Definitely doesn't look like its from someone who never painted before!

Here's mine. I had fun making it, but don't think it's particularly beautiful... Reminds me a bit of bat man. But at least I enjoyed myself!

We definitely are doing this again. $5.70 for an enjoyable evening? Totally worth it!

What are your favorite types of stay at home dates? What do you do on your date?
Are you a fan of painting? Are you good at it? Does a paint date sound like something you'd enjoy doing together with your spouse?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Are you kidding, yours is beautiful! And you ended up with free decor and a date for 5:70.

  2. We really like getting a redbox ($1.50 1 night movie rental), the movie style popcorn from target, and having an at home date night.

    Your hubby should sell his paintings! I bet that would look so cute in an animal themed kid room!

  3. Wow, you are creatively frugal not only in cooking but also in dating! Thumbs up for that to you!
    I must say that your children and hubby are very fortunate to have such a creative, sensible and caring YOU as their mum and wife respectively.
    Agree with Anonymous, yours is beautiful, I love how you painted the reflection of the natural sunset scenery. Also, same as Stacy, your hubby's painting would look cute in the kids' room.

  4. Frugal dates can be tough. this looks fun! We like to do at home dates too. One we enjoy is giving the kids dinner and putting them down and then trying a new recipe together. We use ingredients we have or i fit it into the meal plan by trimming on other ectras. We chat while cooking and phones are off.

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