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.