|The Duval-Kipferyl Wedding, 4th Presbyterian Church, Chicago|
This bride is the last of three siblings whose weddings I’ve painted. I did one in SantaBarbara, one in Cabo San Lucas, and finally one in the family’s home town of Chicago.
Chicago, the Windy City, the City of Broad Shoulders, is in my view also a city of big pictures. The sprawling picture one sees of the city from the Signature Room of the John Hancock Center (95th floor), where I presented the painting at the family brunch, is enormous. And it goes without saying that The ModernWing of The Art Institute of Chicago, where the couple celebrated their reception, is famous for big pictures. But the place the bride chose for me to paint her picture was the front of the Gothic church where they tied the knot.
On a not too breezy afternoon in May, I set my easel in the middle of the median on busy Michigan Avenue, just behind a planter full of blooming tulips. Traffic moves slowly here on a sunny Saturday, and passing cars, taxis, police, and even a the driver of a tour bus rolled down windows to ask questions, joke about being included in the painting, or take my business card.
The prominent and famous Fourth Presbyterian Church has a grand and ornate façade. The afternoon sun moves behind it, dazzling the steeple and turning the ivy into a green halo. But this does not leave the front of the church in shadow. Shafts of light reflect off of the landmark Hancock Tower across the street, beaming back onto the golden stone in a calico mosaic.
|The couple on the stairs|
I painted until the wedding began, then carried my easel across the street and set up outside the door. At the end of the ceremony, the wedding party lined up on the steps, and the guests spilled out onto the street. Lastly the couple themselves showed in the doorway, and kissed to the applause of the crowd. It was here that I whisked out an impression of their embrace.They then disappeared for photographs, and the guests boarded trolleys for the reception. After their time with the photographer, the couple came back to the steps to model for me. But with the exception of a few brushstrokes, I was already done. For once, I got to attend the reception as a guest!