On April 26, 2009, my client rented out the restaurant Tutta Bella in Wallingford, Seattle, Washington, for a 60th birthday bash. This was my greatest challenge to date, because of the enormous size. At six feet wide and four feet high, the canvas is nearly eight times the size of my regular 24” x 30” event paintings. But I had to complete the painting in the same amount of time— a four hour party, plus three hours of set up.
I actually spent days preparing. I stretched the canvas myself, because I’m rarely pleased with off-the shelf products this size. I also built a special carrying case to transport the painting when wet.
I arrived at 8 am to set up for an 11:30 event. After about an hour of set up and mixing paint, I began painting the background.
I was trying to include about a 150 degree view, so I had to visually bend the architecture like a fisheye lens. As with all these paintings, lot of quick brush work has to be done in the beginning. Even very thin washes still take a lot of paint at this size. Everything is umber and ochre at first. Areas I want lighter are altered by lifting out paint with citrus thinner. Detail is added later in thicker layers.
After lunch, core family members stayed til nearly 4 pm. The clients' grandchildren stood for their portraits in the foreground.
Music to paint by! Richard Sclafani and Peter Cicero, of the italian folk duo the Tarantellas, serenaded the finishing touches.
The excellent planning was orchestrated by Jesse Brix and Travis McBurney of True Colors Events. The event was photographed by the talented staff at Imigri, and all the photos I have of me at this event are copyrighted by them.