I really should start offering an Alderbrook package deal. This venue was the first place I ever painted at a wedding, almost eight years ago. I love coming back here, especially when my wife and I get to stay over.
Being in the shadow of the Olympic Mountains, one has to plan for a rain contingency. I brought an extra canvas, just in case I might have to start over completely in the ballroom. But as I set up my easel on the lawn at about 3:00 p.m., the clouds began to scatter, and the sun came through the trees. The yard umbrella, provided for me by a thoughtful catering manager, became a parasol.
The peak of Mount Washington still trailed clouds, and the mile wide Hood Canal was as flat as a lake. A harbor seal dove for shellfish in the shallows (he’s represented only by a ripple in the painting.) A row of yachts moored along the dock. The children spotted a family of raccoons high in a Douglas Fir tree, and I eventually painted the critters chasing the flower girls and ring bearers across the lawn. I painted the landscape, the lawn, and the tent set up for cocktails first. But the people were all behind me, where lounge chairs surrounded a fire pit. Photographs were being taken, conversation was warm, and they could watch me painting, instead of me watching them. But at 5:00 p.m. the D.J. called them to cocktails, and they moved down where I could see and paint them.
But all the while, the children ran on the lawn.
I decided to place the couple front and center, dividing the ceremony from the cocktail hour in a symmetrical composition. After the wedding, the guests went into the ballroom for dinner, and the brides retired to the spa area for a respite before making their appearance to the ballroom. But before their entrance, they came back to the lawn and stood for their portraits for a few minutes. I usually manage this task late in the reception, and rarely get more than five or ten minutes with a couple before they get pulled away again by their guests. There were some complications with a bustle, and as the day-of coordinator pinned her up again, I got a luxurious fifteen minutes or more to paint their likenesses.
For the first time in all the years I’ve been painting weddings, I was done, and signed the painting, before dinner!
And then my wife and I enjoyed a relaxing weekend at a wonderful resort.