Hokanson Family
Lorea & Family
Janice, Dusty, Lorea, Brenda, Katie, Casey, & grandsons. 


Hi, I'm Lorea Hokanson,

My husband David of 26 years and I were lucky to raise our children in beautiful 

Whatcom County.

We loved nothing better then being a family. We looked forward to camping every summer, 

swimming, fishing and travel or just hanging out in the back yard having a BBQ and bonfire with our kids. Casey, Dusty and Brenda.

In August of 2011 David and I found out he had terminal cancer. He fought so hard with everything he had and I was by his side through every moment.

I took up painting as something to do to keep my mind busy, while I  would sit with my handsome honey. It was and still is my therapy.

The paintings brought color ~ moments of Freedom ~ and some not so sad moments during what was the hardest time of my life.

So ~ Date & Paint was created. After my husband David passed, I wanted to share sunshine ~ color ~ and happiness with the community. Where people can come and leave their worries and problems at the door.


This is a picture of David and me enjoying a beautiful summer day on our sailboat that we moored in Blaine, Washington. I miss and love my handsome honey.

Date and Paint In The News!

Not Artistic No Problem

December 2014 by Stephanie Roloff - Western Front
The paint brush wavers over the blank white canvas, hands shake in hesitation and bold colors wait patiently in their palette to be created into a masterpiece.

Many people come into Date & Paint, a local painting studio, with no painting experience. Instructors, like founder and owner Lorea Hokanson, teach customers step by step how to paint their own masterpieces, melting away the fear that people come in with and allowing them to surprise themselves, Hokanson said.

“People can do so much more than they give themselves credit for,” Hokanson said.

Hokanson started Date & Paint in July 2013. Even though she didn’t have any business experience, her vision was to give back something to the community that helped her through one of the hardest times in her life, she said.
After 27 years of marriage, her husband, David Hokanson, was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer. Painting became a way for Hokanson to stay calm as she watched her best friend fade away, she said.

“Painting saved me from just giving up. It gave me peace that let me go to a different place and focus on something different,” she said.

Hokanson never considered herself artistic, but as she started doing water- color painting with her husband as he went through cancer, she was able to find tranquility, she said.

It was devastating having her husband pass away, but Hokanson said she knew he would have wanted her to move forward.
“Painting really got me through. After he passed, I wanted to be able to give that to the world,” she said.

Date & Paint is meant to be a place where people are given simple instructions and can take their painting home with them, she said.
Chris Roselli, assistant director of the Western Alumni Association, hosted an alumni event at Date & Paint last winter.

The event sold out right away with 30 alumni packed into the Date & Paint building, located in Hannegan Square. Roselli said everyone, without hesitation, told him they couldn’t wait to go again.

The Western Alumni Association offers 40 to 50 events a year, and Roselli said they were excited to support and work with this local business.

“There’s 15,000 students and 14,000 alumni in Whatcom County, so Western impacts the local economy a lot and we want to support business — good, local business,” he said.

Along with group classes open to anyone, Date & Paint offers private parties and travels to customers to hold painting classes at their houses or businesses.

For Western’s Back2Bellingham event next spring, Roselli already has plans to bring Date & Paint in for the Western community to experience, he said.

Western alumna Katie Andringa was at the opening night of Date & Paint in the summer of 2013.

Andringa was surprised to be able to walk out the door with a painting she was actually proud of, she said.

Andringa has always seen herself as an analytical person who just didn’t have artistic capability, she said.

“Now that I’ve gone quite a few times, done quite a few paintings and taught a few classes, it’s helped me see that [people] aren’t just one type of person. You have all these other options available to you; you just have to test them out and figure out what works for you,” Andringa said.

She has seen how painting has been a healing factor for Hokanson after working with her over a year now, she said.
Before starting up her own business, Hokanson worked a full-time job at a sports bar and casino and was busy being a mother to her three kids.

Some people told her to wait at least a year to grieve the loss of her husband, but Hokanson had high hopes for the challenge in front of her.

Eight months after her husband passed away, she started the business with a lot of help and support from friends and family, she said.

The first six months of business were slow, and Hokanson wasn’t sure how she was going to make rent for the building, she said.
Giving out coupons through The Bellingham Herald’s “Deal Saver” program helped bring in more customers and spread the word about her business, Hokanson said.

Now she has up to four events in one day, when before, four events would have been Hokanson’s whole week, Andringa said.

“When people first come in they feel a little awkward. They’re not really sure, if they’ve never been before, what they’re going to experience. By the end of the session people are laughing, people are smiling, they’re saying, ‘Look what I did!’ … Encouragement is all it takes,” she said.

"The Inspiring Love Story 
Behind Date and Paint" 

August 2014 by Silvia Reed  Bellingham Explorer

A blank canvas, several colors of paint, brushes, a friendly instructor and an inspiration painting; strokes here and there and after two hours of fun and wine, you will have your first art piece in front of you. You don’t have to be an artist, just allow yourself to be guided and step out of our comfort zone into what might become a new hobby and a way out of daily stress.

With a little over a year in Bellingham, Date and Paint has been part of bachelorette parties, birthday celebrations for adults and children, fundraisers and many more memorable events. Although most of the classes take place at their location on Hannegan Road, some of the parties have been taken to different locations in collaboration with restaurants, local wineries, etc. It’s all part of how Lorea Hokanson; Artist and Owner of Date and Paint does business. She’s a firm believer of cooperation and building a stronger economy when small businesses work together.

Rates for Children Birthday Parties are $15.00/class and $25.00 for adults. All materials including canvas, acrylic paints, brushes, easel and apron are provided by Date and Paint.  But the story and inspiration for Date and Paint goes beyond art and creativity.

Two years ago Lorea lost her husband to cancer. The last few months of his life, painting became a way for Lorea to escape the cruel reality her family was going thru and the way by which she would regain strength while taking care of her husband. After Lorea lost her husband and thanks to the support of her family she decided to start Date and Paint to spread among others the colors and light that painting had brought to her life.

Date and Paint is a story of love, Lorea’s love to her dear David. Thru Date and Paint, Lorea has been able to start a new chapter in her life where the laughter and smiles of her clients are always present. A chapter filled with inspiration and with the support of her family. Painting has helped her heal and find a new path in life. Lorea is a warrior and an inspiration for many who have faced the loss of a loved one, sometimes the love of her life like in Lorea’s case who thru painting was born again after the darkest time of her life. The heart takes time to heal and even when you never stop loving the one who left early, one day you learn to smile again, if nothing else by watching others do it. It’s a reminder that happiness exist. Laughter is contagious and that’s why Lorea loves to see others being happy, enjoying their time at Date and Paint. Each smile, each laughter, each joke her clients share while they paint is teaching Lorea to smile again. Date and Paint is a story about celebrating times with friends, creativity and relaxation but above all it’s a story about love and new chapters. 

I hope you give painting a chance and if so why not try Date and Paint. You now know the story behind it and the inspiration for Lorea and each of her family members who dearly support her.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” Ian Maclaren

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