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Art as entertainment comes to Pahrump

A group of more than a dozen gathered to enjoy an afternoon of socializing and painting at the Nevada Treasure RV Resort in Pahrump.

The group of locals and tourists stopped at the RV resort at 301 W. Leslie St. to partake in the “Cocktails &Canvas” event on Aug. 12—a monthly gathering of artists and nonartists looking to have fun and create an artistic project.

“It’s the idea of art as entertainment,” said Laurie McCaslin, the event’s creator and instructor.

Participants pay $35 for an afternoon of talking, learning, and painting, along with grabbing a few libations if they like.

All the supplies are included in the price, including a canvas, watercolor paints and brushes. The first drink is also free for the three-hour-long event, McCaslin said.

The events run from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month—except October, when the event will be held the Wednesday before Halloween, because of special events at the RV resort.

The event’s concept, art as entertainment, is one has been spreading across the nation in different forms through franchises and individuals, McCaslin said.

Some of those include “art galleries or artists groups that they’ll have a monthly food and wine night,” she added.

Doris Smith, local art instructor and attendee at the Cocktail and Canvas event, said she’s “longtime member of the art community here in Pahrump, and this screams nothing but just fun.”

Smith has also been to other events, including in Las Vegas at the Creative Painting—a large-scale art and painting convention.

Smith said there are always artists doing this type of thing on the tradeshow floor.

“A lot of people want to paint a picture, but they don’t want to study on how to paint a picture,” Smith said.

Smith said McCaslin instructs the group on how and where to spread the watercolor paint on each participant’s canvas.

“It’s an easy way for someone to create a gift for someone or just create something for yourself,” Smith said. “It’s easy, it’s simple, it’s quick and it’s fun. It’s just a cool way to spend some time.”

McCaslin said a lot of people are afraid to make art and are “intimidated by the paint and the processes,” so they just don’t engage the activity.

Attendees at McCaslin’s event go home satisfied.

“I guarantee that at the end of three hours, everybody has something they can be proud of and they go home,” McCaslin said. “That’s just it. They go home and they say look what I did. It’s a nice socialization thing with friends, or it’s kind of a date night thing. Most people have fun.”

McCaslin has a long history in Pahrump’s art community and in art. She has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Oregon State University.

McCaslin has worked as an instructor through the Pahrump Arts Council and with a local organization named the Shadow Mountain Community Players—a local acting group that has been in existence for about 14 years.

In her latest project at the Nevada Treasure RV Resort, she also works as an instructor, which just comes natural to her.

“I have a habit of teaching people no matter what I do,” McCaslin said. “I can’t help it. Every now and then somebody will go, Laurie, you’re in lecture mode.”

On her project at the RV resort, she tries to create projects that will work within the timeframe.

“I try to come up with something unique, and I usually make three or four samples of it, and I sit down, and I figure out exactly what paint I need,” she said. “I really do, I time myself.

“This is how long it took me to do this, so I know with instruction, and people are hesitant, it will take them this amount of time,” McCaslin added.

In August, McCaslin’s second month operating the event, she did a theme of Prince Charming, with a frog. As she tries to stick with seasonal-themed projects, McCaslin said the frog painting has a summery theme to it.

For July, the group did a patriotic theme.

“It will be a scarecrow for September,” she said.

McCaslin has planned through January. At that point, she will assess what works and doesn’t work.

She even floated around the idea of having a second monthly meeting—more in the evening, as people have said they were interested but were busy at that time.

So far, McCaslin said she’s had a good response from her attendees.

For more information, contact McCaslin at 775-209-6200 or Nevada Treasure RV Resort at 775-751-1174.

McCaslin said she likes attendees to call ahead, so she can plan for the event. But she brings a couple extra setups for walk-ins.

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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