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.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Caricatures at Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, Bellevue, WA

Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart is a middle school for girls, and a high school for girls. The middle school girls, grades 5-8, had a soirée for dads an daughters on October 18, 2014. I was one of three caricature artists, along with Lou Medina and Vincent Yee. Nice working with you guys!
Here are a few of mine.

Jen and Jenny, Maroni Meadows, Snohomish, WA, September 21, 2014

Maroni Meadows is a is a five acre Eden in the woods-cum-suburbs of Snohomish County, Washington, northeast of Seattle. Among expansive lawns, there are several small, rustic structures, and a pond.  Many couples tie the knot on the little island in the pond, separated from their guests by a short footbridge. But Jen and Jenny actually already married earlier in the year, in a more private ceremony, which these festivities commemorated. After dinner under the large tent, two large flat screens showed scenes from the wedding, seen in the tiki hut on the left of the painting. Dancing followed on the deck in the center of the painting. In the foreground are the brides and their parents, and under a coronet of flowers, is daughter Lily. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Follow-up: Style Unveiled coverage of the Duval-Thommes wedding

Style Unveiled, a national wedding blog, did this great spread about a wedding I painted in Santa Barbara this year.
See it here: Chanel & Kevin
Many thanks to Melissa Musgrove for great photography and great networking to get this wedding published! And, of course, thanks most of all to the great couple, for such a great wedding.

Wedding Proposal at Sam Day Studio, August 29, 2013

Sometimes the simplest jobs are the sweetest. This client brought his girlfriend in to the studio to have their caricatures done, and when they left, she was his fiancé. It was all prearranged, of course, and it happened just as planned. After drawing their faces, the last thing I drew was his body down on one knee, and then his hand presenting the ring, which he pulled out of his pocket just as her face showed that she suddenly understood what was happening. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Stiebers-Edwards Wedding, Alderbrook Resort, Union, Washington, August 17, 2013

This was the fourth time I’ve painted at this great retreat, and I look forward to many more.
The two favorite ways for guests to arrive at Alderbrook Resort are by float plane, or by yacht. We vendors take the third, least expensive option.
We boarded a ferry in Seattle, then drove. The Kitsap Peninsula is shaped like the head of a cuttlefish, cradled on the east by the arms and fingers of Puget Sound, and on the west by the long, bent arm of Hood Canal. Some fifteen miles from Bremerton, we reached the muddy tip of the broad Canal (technically a fjord), and tooled fifteen miles more past the vacation homes that line its oyster caked beaches. It’s a woody, meandering road, smelling of fir, cedar, and saltwater. The hundred year old Alderbrook is suddenly there on the right.

You could say this wedding was a marriage of blondes and beards. I got to paint plenty of both. There were the two year old twin boys, dressed like the little Dutch boy on the paint can, with blue pacifiers, who walked down the path bearing a sign that read “Here Comes the Bride;” there were the blond, freckled flower girls, in sparkly silver-grayish taupe summer dresses that easily accommodated their spontaneous soccer playing, and their sparkly feathery pink flapper skull caps pinned at a tilt. There were feathers in the flower arrangements too— the bride’s family supplies hundreds of thousands of chicken eggs a day for the region’s breakfast tables. I guess with that many chickens, you get feathers everywhere.
The well-whiskered groom, who’s family is in the boat business, turned out to be an amiable conversationalist, as he stood for his portrait. His equally well whiskered best man/brother stated in his toast that the groom could “talk to anybody about anything— he could talk to you for half an hour about your belt buckle.”
It was an unhurried wedding, in an unhurried place. It feels like a vacation every time I paint here. You can bet I swam in the Canal before we left.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Scholten-Howard Wedding: August 11, 2013 The Pickering Barn, Issaquah, Washington

A barn is always a nice place for a wedding.
This particular barn is an important part of the history of Issaquah, a couple of lakes east of Seattle. It is now owned and maintained by the city, which restored it at generous expense.  
The couple were married outside on the lawn, where cocktails followed. The reception then took place in the renovated dairy barn. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Jackowski-Wainscott Wedding, Private Farm, Snohomish County, Washington

About an hour’s drive north of Seattle, there is a small farm growing hay and working a few cattle in bucolic pastures on either side of the Snohomish River. The river flows sleepily here, not many miles from where it empties into Puget Sound. Pebble beaches and cottonwood trees line its winding banks. And on a bend in the river next to such a beach, the family maintains their private campground, shaded by cedars, pines, and those enormous cottonwoods.
They gather here every summer for a reunion, lining up their RVs and tents around an open air dance hall, made from the timbers of the old dairy silo. A carefully stoked bonfire burns in a steel half-ton mortar from a nearby rock quarry, once used to crush local stone. The kids twirl sparklers at the river’s edge, guided by tiki torches from camp to beach and back.  Sloppy Joes and s’mores are the traditional cuisine.
This year, one tent was decorated differently: the words “Just Married” were spelled out on a hand made sign.
The farm is connected to the bride’s family. I am connected to the groom by way of having painted his brother’s wedding in 2006. None of us can remember how the first couple found out about my services.
I have been to some very elaborate weddings. I’ve been to weddings where a lot of money and effort is spent on creating an appearance of simplicity. But I’ve never painted at such a straight-forward, come-as-you-are, downright joyous celebration. The groom’s mother made an arbor of curly maple and flowers from Michael’s. The bride’s brother went out and got a license so he could marry them. They said the plans grew from there; four groomsmen wore sand colored suits with coral ties and boutonnieres, four bride’s maids wore coral dresses and teal necklaces. The groom’s ten year old son wore a teal bow tie and suspenders with a white shirt and shorts that matched the men’s suits.
As many couples do, they wrote their own vows. The groom’s were so earnest and thoughtful as to inspire me to strive to be a better husband. One line of advice from the officiator will always stay with me. He urged them to support one another’s dreams, “and if those dreams don’t come true, keep supporting until another one comes along.”
And when they kissed, the party began. The dancing went well into the long, warm, starlit night. But by the time of this writing, the couple will have decamped for their honeymoon in Maui.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Garza-Ginther Wedding Reception, The Ruins, Seattle

This couple, both local television producers, tied the knot in a very private ceremony in Paris, in July. But they wanted to bring home a bit of Europe for their family and friends, so they held a stateside reception at The Ruins in Seattle. This hidden venue is tucked away in an old industrial space. Knowing the address, one finds a concrete building with a non-descript metal door, and a doorbell. But once inside, we are transported, as it seems, to a villa in France. There are vine draped courtyards, and room after room of elegant furnishings and art. The most formal of the dining rooms is framed in gilded trim, and features floor to ceiling murals which took artist Jennifer Carrasco three years to create.
 This is the third time I’ve painted in this room, and I hope to do it again. The place is magic.
Having dressed my canvas in some semblance of Ms. Carrasco’s nature scenes, half a dozen chandeliers, and some Venetian lamp posts, I was ready by the time the guests arrived to paint the most important features: the people. As they trickled in from cocktails in the adjacent room (to the right of my canvas), I caught a six year old girl peeking through the curtains. She was the first. Then came the couple’s teen age daughters, preteen son, and the array of parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends. Off in the distance, behind the cake, the Prague-born pianist Luke Doubravsky tickles all the keys. And shimmering in the center are the sophisticated couple. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Duval-Thommes Wedding, Santa Barbara Historical Museum, June 29, 2013

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:

Inset photo by Melissa Musgrove.  Marvelous wedding design by Tonya Szele of Soinge Productions

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ron and Bruce, Hilton Garden Inn, Issaquah, Washington

This was one of those weddings where the couple has been together for thirty years before tying the knot. As more than one person said in more than one toast, “It’s about time.”
It was also one of those weddings where I was asked to paint the ceremony— I usually do the reception— and it only lasted fifteen minutes. The solution to this seemingly difficult task, of course, is easy. I arrived early enough to paint the room and backdrop before the ceremony, and was therefore able to focus on just the couple during those crucial few minutes that they faced each other in front of the judge. Then the chapel seating was pulled away and the tables were pulled out, and I had a few leisurely hours to paint the assembly at dinner.
One of the grooms’ nieces was there early as well, and she stood at my left elbow every minute she was allowed. Other nieces can be seen across the room, doing what teenagers do at weddings these days: texting each other.
It was an intimate family wedding, and I hope I’ve painted it in an intimate, family way.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Seattle Hotel Association’s Evening of Hope

Live Event Painting - Sam Day
The Seattle Hotel Association's Evening of Hope Gala 2013, oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches, by Sam Day

Every time I do a live event painting for a charity auction, I show up early enough to paint the venue, and then when the guests arrive for cocktails, I can just paint people until they’re called to dinner for the live auction. As my painting is auctioned off, I go on stage and do the Vanna White thing. The buyer is then welcome to meet me back in the lobby after the auction to have his or her face, along with a guest or two, painted into the scene.
Live Event Painting
Seattle's Finest
The Seattle Hotel Association’s gala Evening of Hope benefits the Seattle Police Foundation, which allowed me to paint some things I don’t usually put into a picture of a cocktail party. I really wanted to put the police dog in the painting, but I heard him more than I saw him; he was down in the lower lobby. Alas, they kept the horses outside. There was a bomb squad robot at the other end of the room, and the SWAT team had a radio controlled crawling camera dodging peoples’ feet, but those didn’t make it into the painting either. However, I was fortunate enough to be placed next to this cool table of “small arms.” I asked what one of the rifles was called, and got an exhaustive answer detailing its range and capabilities. These were all very expensive, state of the art tools, essential to some very expensive programs. The Seattle Hotel Association was gathered to raise funds to equip them, helping to make Seattle a safer place to live and visit.
 But it turned out the buyer of my painting was more interested in the architecture. The magnificent venue is the Olympic Fairmont Hotel, one of the grandest spaces in the Pacific Northwest. Built in 1924, it quickly became the premier destination in the region for Presidents, foreign dignitaries, and celebrities. But after decades of age, and the recession of the 1970s, this grand dame was in need of a facelift— and new owners. In 1981 she became the Four Seasons Olympic Hotel (and later, in 2004, the Fairmont Olympic). In 1982, the black lacquered Spanish Foyer was stripped down to the beautiful walnut paneling we see here.
And the man who bought my painting reminisced that he had been the one to make that all happen. In addition to the hotelier friends he asked to stand in, he also requested that I paint in another friend— a waiter who had served in this room for decades.
Live Event Painting

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Weddings in Woodinville, January 27, 2013

Well, this is the first time I’ve painted for several hours in a wine cellar, with the doors open, in January. The air was chilly, but the smiles were warm. The 2013 Weddings in Woodinville continues the tradition of bussing brides from one winery to another, for one luxurious day of food, drink, and elegant design offerings. The participating wineries were Columbia, where I painted last year, DeLille Cellars, Matthews Estate, Novelty Hill•Januik Winery, Willows Lodge, Woodhouse Wine Estates, and JM Cellars— where I painted this year.
Each winery is decorated by a different designer for the day, each with a separate caterer and array of specialty vendors. The offerings at JM Cellars were curated by event planner Melody Davis, of MG Davis Events, to whom I am most grateful for my inclusion. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Twelve Baskets Open House

This is the second year I’ve participated in Twelve Baskets Catering’s annual open house tasting. The venue was the marvelous event space 415 Westlake, with its marvelous, glowing wood plank ceiling. 
As I do this year after year, Twelve Baskets will have a growing collection of my paintings at their showroom in Kirkland. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Korum Ford 50th Anniversary

As much as I love painting live at weddings, it’s nice to throw in something different now and then.
Jerry Korum founded his Ford dealership in Puyallup, Washington, in 1963. After fifty years, he has no intention of quitting the business. His children threw him a (surprise!) party to commemorate the milestone. Among the guests were the mayor and the general in charge of nearby Joint Base Lewis-McChord, both praising the founder for his contributions to the community.
The bright car pictured at right, from the owner’s collection, is 1963 Thunderbird, the same body style that Thelma and Louise famously drove over a cliff. But his pride and joy is the ’57 Bird in the background at left, with the dainty opera window in the removable hardtop.
The owner and his wife greet guests in the foreground, and figures recognizable to them are scattered through the painting, both family and friends. Their youngest granddaughter dances on a riser just behind the roses.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wedding and Event Painting Prices, 2013

My prices remain unchanged for 2013.
Travel costs usually include just air fare and lodging for two nights, although larger paintings may take more preparation time at the destination.

Inches  Centimeters  US Dollars
24 x 30  61 x 76  $2500
24 x 36  61 x 91  $2800
24 x 40  61 x 102  $3250
30 x 40   76 x 102  $4000
36 x 48  91 x 122  $5000
48 x 60  122 x 152  $6000
48 x 72  122 x 183  $7500
48 x 80  122 x 203  $9000