One of the most memorable experiences I partook in during my travels is Paint and Wine Night in Lebanon. The Middle-East is still obviously a very misunderstood region and yet I continually am drawn to traveling all around there and sharing my experiences. On my first evening in Lebanon, we sipped wine from local wineries, painted the night away with live DJ’s playing with a group of kindred spirits. This took place at a private event, just a 45 minute drive north of Beirut, at the beautiful Villa Paradiso in Batroûn.
There couldn’t have been a better way to get a taste of Lebanese culture than indulging into the arts while enjoying delectable, local wine which Lebanon is known for. It would make sense since they were occupied by the French from 1920-1946 leaving much of their language, culture and customs still a major influence today.
Arts & Renaissance is a drawing and painting school founded by the famous Lebanese artist, Fouad Tomb.
Since Arts & Renaissance’s inception in 1994, they have welcomed over 2000 art students of all ages to their studio. The art school focuses on developing student’s painting and drawing skills by teaching them the techniques used by the Great Masters. Paint & Wine night is just one of the unique experiences they offer every month, either at their studio in Jounieh or in various locations.
Meet the Founders: Fouad and May Tomb
What stood out especially about this paint and wine experience is that it is passionately run by the famous Tomb family. Ask any person in Lebanon and they will know about this creative extended family of Artists and Musicians. Fouad, the founder, ran successful international businesses in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and in Montreal. Two decades ago, he and his wife decided to answer to their truest, deepest calling which was to dedicate their life officially to the arts. Fouad was ready to commit to being a full time artist and painter after raising 4 loving children.
Today, the successful art business is run by Fouad and his beautiful wife and muse, May. Special classes are also hosted occasionally by their talented daughter Sandra when she’s visiting from Montreal. They speak English, Arabic and French so instruction can be taught in any preferred language.
May Ziade Tomb has a double degree in Psychology and Pedagogy. Her natural passion for art encouraged her to deepen her knowledge by studying art history on the side and visiting international galleries around the world. Besides the art school that she and Fouad run, they regularly participate in Art Exhibitions in Lebanon and around the world.
“Mrs. Tomb is also working on various long-term projects that correspond to her philosophy of sharing art literacy. One of her future objectives is to collaborate with art institutions towards the creation of a museum for gifted children. As an adamant believer that every child is an artist within, she hopes that schools systems integrate more arts in their school systems. She believes this is not only essential to the psychological development of children but it also allows them to to express themselves artistically and to have a very well rounded education.”
Now On to the Art in my Favorite Cities in Lebanon..
Paint and Wine night which I attended was a special event hosted in my favorite Lebanese city: Batroûn. This is also the mountainous beach town where Fouad resides with his wife. Typically the classes are held weekdays at the Arts & Renaissance studio in Jounieh.
Classes are usually held at their Art Studio in the Coastal Town of Jounieh
Jounieh is a coastal city like Batroûn, but just 20 minutes north of Beirut (10 miles). Located in the Keserwan District, Jounieh is known for it’s famous seaside resorts and bustling nightlife. Why does Jounieh also sound familiar? It’s the starting point of the famous Téléphérique, a gondola lift, that takes you up to Harissa.
At the top of Harissa, one can see the Bay of Jounieh and an astonishingly gorgeous panoramic view of Lebanon.
The Lady of Lebanon, a Marian shrine is a pilgrimage site every visitor in Lebanon must also explore.
As if there isn’t enough to do in Beirut? Drive north for 30-60 minutes and find so many more exciting cultural experiences in cities like Jounieh, Harissa, Byblos, Batroûn and Tripoli!
A Glimpse into our Paint & Wine Night Experience..
As with any art work, we started on a blank canvas..
Before we officially began,
we sipped Rosé produced from local
Wineries in Lebanon and munched on some appetizers..
We began to paint the evening sky
with Acrylic Paint per Fouad’s instruction..
We then filled the canvas with the ocean..
A source of the planet which continuously gives us life..
And the Bohemian Vagabond’s Final Product..
La Joie de Créer is a term in French that translates to “the pleasure of creating“.
This is the motto of Arts & Renaissance which strives to ignite the creative side of every soul.
Some Paintings by Fouad’s Students that I Love
Paintings by Fouad Tomb
Schedule a Paint and Wine Night in Lebanon!
Whether you live in Lebanon or are visiting, be sure to put “Paint and Wine Night” with Arts & Renaissance on your top 10 list of things to do!
Check their Facebook page or e-mail them for events happening when you’re in Lebanon. Or better yet, arrange a group of friends together for a private paint and wine night.
Sip wine, enjoy Lebanese appetizers while painting with the coastal breeze blowing through your hair.
“Paint is the oxygen I breathe every day.
You and your young children for 25 years
are my inspiration of beauty and beautiful colors.”