It was Octoberfest in the Bavarian village of Leavenworth. Of course, if it were a real Bavarian village, it would be in Bavaria. But the town markets itself as such to draw tourists, and the replication is convincing— gingerbread houses, lederhosen, beer. The town fathers’ mimicry is suitable to the alpine shelf on which the town sits, on the east side of Washington’s Cascade Range, her jagged Enchantments thrusting up behind.
Just south of town, on the banks of Icicle Creek, not many miles from its glacial source, is Sleeping Lady Lodge. The Icicle Creek Music Festival makes its home here in the summer, and it’s a snowshoeing and cross-country skiing heaven in winter.
We were there half way in between. It rained. Being from Seattle, the bride and groom were undeterred, and were married outside by the creek. I set up my easel in the Salmon Gallery, and did what I love to do.
One of the things I enjoyed most about this wedding was the two dozen (or so) children, nieces and nephews of the couple, children of friends, and the beautiful daughter of the bride. I found myself surrounded by inquisitive preteens, a rock star for a moment.
“I hope he likes kids,” the staff murmured to each other. I do. I wanted to paint them all.
For some clients, inclusion of any face I see at the party is a sensitive issue. I do my best to include parents, bridesmaids, groomsmen, anyone specially requested. But I cannot promise to get everyone, and I discourage requests for changes back at the studio. Clients need to understand that spontaneity is what gives these paintings such energy, and post-celebratory alterations jeopardize the “look and feel” that is natural to alle prima painting. Nevertheless, I am at their service, and with caveat, would not decline an insistent customer.
The clients of this painting were, again, among my favorites. I had worked with the groom in the advertising industry, drawing storyboards for clients such as HBO. I’m crossing my fingers that they’ll hire me to paint their daughter’s wedding, in about fifteen years!