Santa Barbara has always been a city of romance. Now it is a city of weddings.
I set up my easel in the north corner of the courtyard of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, under the veranda’s golden chalice vines. The space was elegantly and rustically decorated, much as it might have been in the Mexican colonial era, when some of these adobe buildings first baked in the California sun. A fountain burbled at the far end of the yard, and a light breeze darted under the old timbers. The band was just setting up, and catering brought me lemonade.
The couple were married in the mid afternoon in the old Presdio chapel, two blocks away. A mariachi band then lead the guests to the courtyard of the Casa Covarrubias for cocktails. From there, they made their way to the dinner tables within my view. At 6:00 the couple made their grand entrance into this larger museum courtyard as husband and wife.
By that time, I had painted the setting—with the sky a little darker, in anticipation of evening— and was beginning to lay in the figures of the guests.
But the couple still had not been told that I would be there painting, and eventually the bride’s grandmother brought them to my corner to see what I was doing. It was her gift to them. I painted them quickly as they watched, and then they returned to their guests, delighted.
For all the work of gifted planners, designers, and other wedding professionals, what makes a wedding wonderful are the couple and their friends and families. This was a convivial company, and they joyfully filled the dance floor, shaking brightly painted maracas until the grand exit at 10 pm.
I was finished an hour before they left.
And when they left, they left in grand style, as you can see in this little vid from my phone: