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.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A 60th Birthday Party on Lake Washington

Ellefson 60th Birthday Party 2016, 30 x 40 in. oil on canvas, by Sam Day
Creative rigging
It’s the same old American Story. Son of immigrants starts out as deck hand, ends up owning tug boat company.
The story of this painting is familiar, too. Family wants to remember milestone event, hires event painter to create heirloom.
The wife of the birthday boy had an idea of where she wanted the painting to hang in the den, in their waterfront home on Mercer Island, where the party was held. So I showed up early with three different sized canvases, and we tried them out on the mantle above the fireplace, where a model boat had been. She chose the 30 x 40 inch canvas, and because it will hang on a tall stone chimney, asked that it be vertical rather than horizontal. I had only done that once before, and it too was also chosen to fit a specific place in the client’s home.
The format worked really well. After surveying the yard, I went out on the dock and looked back at the house. This view allowed me to include both the house and the yacht, the party tent on the lawn, and the core family in the lower center of the painting. The client’s sons, able seamen all, lashed a beam across the L shaped deck to erect an event tent to shield me from the rain. Guests could see the large painting from the tent, but made the trek down the dock throughout the evening to see the progress up close.  I also happened to be a convenient stop on their way to tour the sixty foot boat moored beside me.
The littlest grandson (four years old) was very much at home on the dock, and he was the first figure I sketched into the painting. I asked him if he had taken swimming lessons (yes), but he quickly asked his babysitter if he could go on the boat (yes), and if he could lift the hatch to the engine room (no).  One could easily see that Norwegian seafaring will stay in the family.

Ellefson 60th Birthday Party 2016 (detail)

Ellefson 60th Birthday Party 2016 (detail).  I always include the dogs.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

SanMar Corp 45th Anniversary Celebration

SanMar Corporation 45th Anniversary Celebration. Oil on canvas, 36x40 inches.
I’m quite comfortable painting on a stage, in front of 1300 dinner guests. It is a bit of a challenge, however, to make those 1300 people the subject of the painting! Moreover, they’re in a darkened room, and I have a spotlight in my eyes! Well, I would have, except for the expertise and cooperation of the lighting crew at Meydenbauer Center, the ample convention center in Bellevue, Washington.
SanMarCorporation is a diverse sportswear and active wear company that has sold over two billion articles of clothing. Still family owned, the company was founded by a really nice guy, who’s 60th birthday party I painted a few years back. At that party, easels were set up for the grandchildren to paint me, while I was painting them. One of those grandchildren joined me on the stage at this event, and contributed a few brush strokes to this painting. I depicted her in the lower right.
The aerialists in the distance were there for quite a while before dinner. But the ones climbing the bright streaming fabrics on either side of the hall only performed for five or six minutes.

SanMar Corp 45th Anniversary Celebration, detail

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Abby and Ben, Melrose Market Studios, Seattle

Yawitz Wedding, Melrose Market Studios, Seattle, oil painting, 24 x 30
When I painted the holiday Jubilee at the WAC, I captured in the crowd a woman in a black and white chevron skirt. It was a bold print, and stood out clearly in the room, and in the painting. Someone recognized her in my scribbling, found her in another room at the party, and told her she was in my painting. She immediately came to see.
So, just a few months later, I painted her wedding.
Abby and Ben’s reception was at Melrose Market Studios, a renovated former grocery in a red brick and Douglas fir timbered 1927 building. This is classic Seattle.
It was a cozy family style affair, complete with darling blonde flower girls, dressed in white.

Flower girls and their mother, Yawitz Wedding (detail)

Painting A Las Vegas Valentine’s Day Wedding

Many people come to Vegas to get married. Some people come to Vegas to live. This bride is a lifelong resident, and her groom altered his career to join her here.
Both wedding and reception were at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, on the strip.
As I left my hotel on my way to the Mandarin, someone in the elevator asked me if I was a magician. I was wearing a tux and bow tie, with my mustache waxed, and carrying an assortment of bags and boxes. I think I replied something like “well, my dog thinks I am.”  But when I arrived at the ballroom, I realized this day I was to be a magician.
The Robbins-Atkinson Wedding, Las Vegas
It is common in the wedding biz to have a ceremony in the same room as the reception, with the room “flipped” after the ceremony, during cocktails. The challenge at this one was a sliding wall dividing the ceremony end of the room from the dance floor end— with me on the end where I would eventually have a close view of the couple as they danced. But I could not see the end with the chuppuh, because of the wall. This was a first. But I have a maxim for overcoming impossibilities: there is always a way.
Event planner Andrea Eppolito had designed a breathtaking room, and I took some pictures for reference. But the part I need to paint first isn’t done well from photos: I always start with the lines and perspective of the room, as I see it from my easel. I bend the perspective a little, like a wide angle lens, especially in a long room such as this— and for an extra wide painting (this one is 24 by 40 inches). I establish this with the lines of the ceiling. Fortunately, the modern chandeliers were mirror images of each other at each end. I could transpose those in my head. But the real answer to seeing the lines came from drawings: specifically, the architectural plan of the room. I asked the designer for a printout of the room layout, and I taped it to my easel. I also did some perspective sketches from the other side of the dividing wall, and voilà, I was able to construct the room. Just like magic.
But the real magic of the evening was the beautiful couple, who dominate the painting.