Live Event Paintings

I paint oil paintings, live, at wedding receptions and events, anywhere in the world. Click my profile to find my email, or call (206) 382-7413.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Klein-Susinno Wedding at the Salish Lodge, Snoqualmie Falls

On Sunday, October 23, 2011, I was pleased to be invited to draw caricatures at the Klein-Susinno Wedding, held at the Salish Lodge,

Snoqualmie, Washington. The lodge sits atop the roaring 268 foot Snoqualmie Falls, and was made famous in the television series Twin Peaks.

I don’t do caricatures nearly as often as I used to. The live wedding paintings pay better, of course, because the couple is getting a work of art that can last for generations. But caricatures are an affordable alternative for the client, and a valuable wedding favor for the guests to take home.

And I truly love doing them. I never tire of drawing or painting faces. I love seeking out the personality of the sitter; it often manifests in a single brush stroke as they flash that smile they were hiding, or as they raise an eyebrow or smirk at the reaction of their friends to my drawing in progress. I love the family resemblances and variations I see, from grandparents to grandchildren. I love the subtle differences unique to every ethnicity (in this case German and Italian) that sits before me. These particular families were full of confident personalities, and I was able to caricature them honestly and playfully without being disrespectful or disparaging.

Of course, throughout the years I’ve drawn many people who were more reserved and anxious about how I might portray them. There are always people who ask me to make them thinner, or omit a double chin, or downsize a nose. At every caricature gig, I find myself repeating, for the nervous, the mantra that I always make the women look like movie stars. I then joke that the men get what they have coming to them. But the truth is I try not to offend anyone. I subscribe to Al Hirschfeld’s philosophy that caricatures never need to be insulting, because everyone has an interesting face.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Urban Unveiled, 2011, at Seattle's Benaroya Hall

It was a pleasure to be invited to paint at Urban Unveiled for the third year in a row. The painting belongs to Jesse Brix and Travis Burney of True Colors events, which produces this hip

wedding show, featuring a fashion show by Luly Yang.

Painting the lobby of Seattle’s Benaroya Hall presents a challenge, to the nth degree, that I face in some measure at any wedding reception that runs into the evening. That is, I have to begin a painting during daylight, knowing that I will finish it after dark. All of my wedding and event paintings are a snapshot not of a moment in time, but a span of time over several hours. I have yet to try to depict both daytime and nighttime on the same canvas. I have to decide which it is, and almost always, it needs to be whichever comes later.

I always come to the venue a couple of hours before an event, and paint the room. Once the event begins, I can then focus on just painting people. But that means painting the grand lobby of this symphony hall in bright, south facing daylight. The people arrive as the setting sun colors the skyscrapers outside these four story glass walls with rapidly changing shadows, and then the ceiling dances with choreographed up-lighting, as the windows go dark and reflect the interior. From the very beginning, I paint in anticipation of this final lighting. At first, the window frames are dark lines against a bright background. But I know they will later become light lines against a dark background.

I know this because I’ve painted here before. But when I paint somewhere new, especially when it’s a destination wedding and I haven’t been able to scout out the place beforehand, I have to learn to look around and visualize with prescience. Always, even in familiar venues, I have to ask the planner what the lighting design will be— what will be dimmed, what will be accentuated.

Then, as everything changes, I take what comes, and paint from direct observation. It is the opposite of the perfection one seeks in studio painting. But the result is always something spontaneous, fluid, and irreplaceably unique.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Join me at Benaroya for Urban Unveiled!

On Wednesday, October 12, 2011, I’ll be painting at one of my favorite local wedding shows. Urban Unveiled is organized by True Colors Events, the peerless event-designing duo of Jesse Brix and Travis Burney. The venue, every year, is Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony, and features a fashion show by Luly Yang. Its an honor and a pleasure to be invited back to paint at this show for the third year.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sizes and Prices, 2011

I've had a surge of inquiries lately. I've also checked blog stats lately, and I see that the increased traffic also seems to be finding last year's listing of sizes and prices. So to make things a little more clear, here are the prices that are good through the end of 2011. Clients who book before the end of the year for dates next year or even later nevertheless get to lock in this year's prices.
Travel cost usually includes air fare and lodging for two nights, although larger paintings take more preparation time at the destination.

Inches Centimeters US Dollars

24 x 30 61 x 76 $2500

24 x 36 61 x 91 $2800

24 x 40 61 x 102 $3250

30 x 40 76 x 102 $4000

36 x 48 91 x 122 $5000

48 x 60 122 x 152 $6000

48 x 72 122 x 183 $7500

48 x 80 122 x 203 $9000

A Barbecue Among Friends

Not every event painting is a wedding painting. As you read older posts, you’ll find I’ve painted live at birthday parties, retirement parties, charity auctions, and even a wake. (That was a great memorial, with great people remembering a great person.) So it is not so strange that the occasion of this painting is simply a barbecue among friends.

The hosts had graciously allowed me to use their home for a photo shoot for one of my religious paintings, my reference for which involves costumed models and sets of some detail. (You can read about this at my other blog, here.) In exchange, they asked me to paint their barbecue later that evening.

As often happens in Seattle in autumn, dinner on the terrace was redirected indoors by a fragrant rain.