Cary Lazy Daze 2014 Featured Painting Commission

Cary Lazy Daze. 18x24. Watercolor.
Cary Lazy Daze. 18×24. Watercolor.

Happy New Year! I was commissioned by the Town of Cary to create 2014 featured painting for the 2014 Lazy Daze festival. I created this watercolor which was unveiled yesterday. I will be writing more about this commission later.

– Tesh Parekh

Fine Artist and Live Wedding Painter

Live wedding painting commissions: what are the prices?

I get number of inquiries for live wedding painting: from Toronto to Miami and from LA to NY and even some international inquiries. The number of inquiries have gone up recently and hence I decided to share my pricing information online. If you like my work and understand my pricing, the next step will be to check on my availability for your event. If you like my work, but, are unsure about investing in my service, then read below. If price is your only concern, you are in luck: more and more artists are offering live painting and you are sure to find something that suits your budget.

First, some clarifications on what I do:

I am a fine artist and I approach live wedding paintings as commissioned work. I am not an entertainer nor a  caricaturist: if you are looking for those services or are expecting those prices, I am not your artist! My work starts with consultation, and includes regular communication with my clients as well as planners and/or venues. I also make site visits when it is feasible, to plan and prepare for my commissions. And my painting process may take anywhere from 5-7 hours depending on the size, medium, event and other factors. The work that I produce is expected to be professionally framed and displayed for years to come.

Is it worth to you?

Brides who hire me are looking for commissioned work-of-art. Wedding planning and budgeting is a complex subject, and best left to many of my talented wedding planner friends. However, from what I know: wedding budgets are spent on many items, not all of which will stay with you. Framed painting will! You may even pass on the painting to your next generation. If you are not sure, just make a list of each budget item, with cost and longevity next to those.

What are some of the unique aspects of my service?

There are many talented artists who paint live. Each artist has his/ her own unique style, process and pricing. Here is what is different about what I do:

* I offer live wedding painting in both watercolors and oils. I am one of the few artists to offer live painting in watercolors! And of course, oils are a classic medium.

* I am a full-time visual artist. My life is centered around art. My service is a legitimate business. I am dedicated to learning my craft and improving my work. I am constantly drawing and painting. If you like my work, it is the result of this dedication. I have been an artist all of my life and have been painting live professionally since 2009.

* I use artist-quality materials. This often gets overlooked! I user archival-quality supports and paints. I do not use toxic mediums or cleaners, not even odorless kind (those are still toxic!). Professionally framed and appropriately displayed planting should last for many years.

* I bring every element of fine art to my commissions: composition, drawing, value design, color scheme and brushwork. My aim is not to paint 50 chairs or 100 guests. My job is to distill the visual information in front of me, and capture the essence of that special moment on my paper or canvas.

* My process is self-contained and flexible. I do not rely on other vendors or venues for help. I carry everything I need to do my job. I can setup in a far corner and still paint what I have in mind even if the view from my vantage point if different.

* Most of my work is done from life. I use photography in some cases, but for the most part, I rely more on what I see and make my own reference sketches.

* I finish my paintings at the events. It is live painting after all, isn’t it?! If a frame is provided to me, I can even frame the finished watercolor for you (oil paintings take longer time to dry).

What about travel?

I am based out of Raleigh NC. So, for commissions outside of the Triangle area: I am no different from any other vendor you may be flying in for your event. Travel expenses may include mileage/ flights, hotel, transportation and per diem expenses. The expenses may be little or lot depending on where your event is. A painting commission in Asheville or Wilmington may cost differently from commission in Atlanta. I currently only charge for the actual travel expenses and reasonable per diem expenses, although my time investment in travel may be significant at times. All this may be worth to you, if you like my work, and are willing to look at this as investment rather than expense.

I hope this information will be helpful to you in deciding if I am the right artist for your wedding.

For my current prices, please check out the pricing page.

– Tesh Parekh

Live Wedding Painter and Fine Artist

Live Event Painting at the Arbors in Charlotte NC for Inspire Weddings & Marriage magazine

I did this painting for inaugural issue of the Inspire Wedding & Marriage Magazine. I was invited by Terrilynn Cook of T. Michelle Events and Stephanie Huxter. Stephanie is publisher of the magazine. This was my second event with Terrilynn (Inspire Smart Success event in Durham NC was the first one). This was a style shoot for one of the stories in the magazine: “Leaving a Legacy of Faith, Hope & Love”. The venue was the Arbors in Cleveland NC (outside Charlotte). I drove from Raleigh and arrived on location while the venue was being setup. It was exciting to be in the company of so many talented vendors! All the action shots of me painting here were captured by amazing The- Israel (Richard Israel). Brian Patnode of Whitewash Films has produced a fun behind-the-scene film of this shoot.

I was aware of the theme for my painting. But, live event paintings always have an element of uncertainty and surprise! This is true for live wedding paintings as well. Based on the time-frame, I decided to paint a watercolor on paper. I setup where I will have a good view. This was a luxury! When I paint live at weddings and receptions, I do not always have the ideal location where I can set up! There was plenty of natural light but it was overcast so I used my own light. I sketched the background before the dinner had started. The dinner party was large! During the dinner, I sketched and painted directly on the paper. This was different from my usual process of making reference sketches and then finishing my painting. The reason being the time limit. My aim was to finish the painting by end of the shoot. Which I did. Stephanie was thrilled to have the finished painting! The painting is now in her collection.Check out the images below to see finished painting and work-in-process images.

I enjoyed working with Stephanie and Terrilynn. Stephanie was kind enough to provide me ad-space in the magazine. She even designed the ad for me! I am truly grateful to both and look forward to future assignments with them. Please check out this wonderful magazine. It will inspire you.

My next live painting will be at a wedding reception in South Boston, Va. That will be a large watercolor. My latest live wedding painting was an oil. So, I am enjoying painting in both watercolors and oils and also the mix of ceremonies and receptions. I will be taking couple of days “off” soon and will be painting on the beautiful NC coast. Love painting en plein air…

– Tesh Parekh

Live Event Painter and Fine Artist

Live event painting for Inspire Weddings and Marriage magazine.
“Faith, hope & love”. Live event painting for Inspire Weddings and Marriage magazine. 16×20 watercolor on paper.

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Raleigh Plein Air Artist – Sunday Antique Market

Sunday Antique Market at NC State Fairgrounds. 12x16. Watercolor on paper.
Sunday Antique Market. 12×16. Watercolor on paper.
Finally the spring has arrived in Raleigh! That means more plein air painting! I love cold weather too. But, I get busy during winter time and rarely get to go out and paint. Most of my work in winter is done in studio and at night. April is also the start of wedding painting season for me. So, I take every opportunity to paint from life. North Carolina State Fairgrounds is a busy place. I have done paintings of NC State Fair. But, not en plein air. I like the energy and excitement of this place! While I like the front of the main building, it mostly has cars parked in the front and not much happening. So, I painted this Antique market on Sunday. It really was busy! The weather was beautiful. I did not have my easel so I just sat on a bench and painted this in couple of hours. I may return with my easel so I can paint different views on bigger scale.
My work is currently on display at the Art of Style in Brier Creek, Raleigh. There will be an open house there this Saturday 3-5 PM. I also hope to do a painting or two that day for Local Color Raleigh’s annual plein air paint out. And after the open house, I am scheduled to be at the All Saints Chapel downtown for doing a wedding painting! Because of the schedule of the church and the ceremony, I won’t be able to complete the painting on location. My plan is to start painting at the Chapel and then finish it offsite. My very first live wedding painting was at this chapel! So, I am excited to see how much I have grown as an artist and as a live wedding painter since…

– Tesh Parekh

Fine Artist and Live Event Painter

Charlotte’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade – a watercolor painting by Raleigh Fine Artist

St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Charlotte. 14×11. Watercolor on paper.

Last weekend I was in Charlotte and enjoyed the St. Patrick’s Day festivities there! I spent most of the day and evening in Charlotte downtown. I love Charlotte’s downtown! I have done live event painting at one of the hotels there. In fact, I will be back in Charlotte tomorrow for live event painting assignment for a magazine. I hope to spend sometime this year in Charlotte downtown and paint en plein air. The parade was fun. I did this watercolor back in my studio.

– Tesh Parekh

Fine Artist and Live Event Painter

Raleigh NC Live Event Artist – Live Event Sketch at Top of the Hill Restaurant in Chapel Hill

Invisible Groom. Live Event Sketch in Watercolor.
Invisible Groom. Live Event Sketch in Watercolor.

I was recently in Chapel Hill to promote my Live Wedding Paintings. I was invited by my friend Joye Speight of Virtue Events for a wedding show called “Invisible Groom”. The show was at Top of the Hill Restaurant. I enjoyed meeting many of my fellow wedding vendors and couples. And while at the event, I did this watercolor sketch! Couple of years ago, I had done a live event painting in oil at Top of the Hill restaurant. After the event, I stopped by UNC Bell Tower to do a plein air watercolor painting. I love this part of Chapel Hill. Full of life.

– Tesh Parekh

Live Event Artist and Fine Artist

Painting of NC State Capitol for the Downtown Raleigh Alliance

Last week, I was invited by Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA) to paint at their annual meeting. The meeting with art theme was held at the Raleigh Convention Center. I painted 16×20 watercolor of the NC State Capitol. I decided on this view since it seems to be painted less than the other views. I had seen this view on a rainy day. I am working on a large watercolor of the State Capitol. I love painting cityscapes and Raleigh downtown offers me this opportunity. I painted this watercolor rather quickly. It took me little over an hour, while chatting with event guests. I was glad to see many of my friends and fellow artists who stopped by. I thank Jim Colman of Jim Colman Photography for providing the image of me painting. Both prints and original painting available.

After the rain- NC State Capitol. 16x20. Watercolor.
After the rain- NC State Capitol. 16×20. Watercolor.
Painting for Downtown Raleigh Alliance.
Painting for Downtown Raleigh Alliance. At the Raleigh Convention Center. Image courtesy of Jim Coleman Photography

– Tesh Parekh

Live Event Painter and Fine Artist

Wake Forest Fireworks – Plein Air Watercolor painting by Raleigh Artist

Happy July 4th! This year we started celebration early with our friends from the Army! What can be better way! We went to Wake Forest for the fireworks. Wake Forest is a great community. This fun event was at the Heritage High School. I initially started a smaller painting. Then we moved so my view changed. So, I started this slightly bigger painting. I use my watercolors like a camera. I like to paint what I see. Of course, I change things as I paint. I did not have an easel so I painted sitting down. I completed most of it on the location. Then there was a threat of storms so we watched the fireworks from the car. I finished the painting back home. Here is the finished piece.


– Tesh Parekh

Artist and Live Wedding Painter

“Wake Forest Fireworks”. 15″x11″. Watercolor on paper. Plein Air.

Live Event Painting – Ayesha Mian at the Hyatt House in Charlotte NC

Here is a live event painting I had done at Charlotte NACE’s “My Big Fat Indian Wedding”:

Ayesha Mian at Hyatt House for Charlotte NACE's "My Big Fat Indian Wedding". Live Event Painting. 16x20. Watercolor on Paper.

I frequently travel to Charlotte for photography assignments. This year I have photographed corporate events in Charlotte and also photographed an Indian wedding in Rock Hill SC (right outside of Charlotte). And I will be back in Charlotte to photograph another Indian wedding at the Ballentyne Resort. So, it was fitting to paint live at Charlotte NACE’s “My Big Fat Indian Wedding”!  As a professional photographer, I often photograph multi-day Indian weddings.

The event was Charlotte NACE’s monthly meeting at the Hyatt House. Ayesha had decorated the banquet room for this event. The food was catered by the Bombay Grille. This was a fun and educational event. Ayesha talked about various Indian wedding customs and explained many of the traditional terms. Her team participated in the event as well. There were also dance performances. Ayesha also answered many questions from NACE members.

I did this painting as a watercolor due to the short duration of the event. I kept the painting size at 16×20. I enjoyed talking to many NACE members as I painted. Mica had travelled with me for this event. We gave away 2 prints of this painting. I finished most of the painting on the location. But, due to the time-constraint, I applied finishing touches back in my studio. I will be producing the prints and look forward to sharing those with the NACE members.

Below is my setup before I started the painting. I sketched the background first and then laid some of the initial washes.

My setup for the live event painting at the Hyatt House in Charlotte NC

Since part of the event was by the pool outside, I had to wait before sketching in event guests. When Ayesha made her presentation, I sketched her directly on the painting. Normally, I make reference sketches. But, I had to work differently here because of the schedule. The rest was easy. Almost, easy! Working in the full color and completing many of the details.

Live event painting in progress. The light has changed!

Here I am with Ayesha. I enjoyed meeting Ayesha and her husband (glad to meet another husband & wife team!). I look forward to working with her at weddings and events.

Me with Ayesha Mian.

April was a busy month for live paintings! I did a live wedding painting commission in Chapel Hill (previous post) and also did another live event painting at a Stacie Francombe and Preston Bailey event in Durham NC. I will be posting that painting next.

I have several inquiries for both live wedding paintings and live event paintings. I am hoping to get some more commissions. I also paint from reference photos.


– Tesh Parekh

Live Wedding Painiter



Live Wedding Painting Commission – “Jennifer and Ben” by NC Wedding Painter


Jennifer and Ben. Live Wedding Painting Commission. 16x20. University United Methodist Church (Chapel Hill NC). Wedding Painter - Tesh Parekh


My latest live wedding painting is of Jennifer and Ben’s beautiful wedding in Chapel Hill! Earlier, I had done a live event painting in Chapel Hill at Top of the Hill Restaurant. That one was an oil on linen for the launch of Wish Upon a Wedding NC. Jennifer and Ben’s wedding was at the gorgeous University United Methodist Church. The reception was at the Carolina Club in Chapel Hill- a beautiful venue. Angie Wright of Chic Details Weddings and Events was the wedding planner for this fantastic event.

I arrived at the Church couple of hours before the ceremony. I setup my easel at back of the balcony. But, I really liked the view from the front. But, there was not enough space to set up the easel. So, I just sat in the front with my drawing board in the lap. Being flexible allows me to create compositions I want. I sketched the Church interior first. Normally, I would start laying in some of the washes. But, Jennifer wanted me to paint at the reception. So, I made reference sketches of some of the details while I waited for the ceremony to begin. I carry a separate sketch book with me when I paint. Here I am drawing the Church:

Here I am sketching from the balcony next to videographer's camera. I liked the view from front of the balcony. Since there was not enough space to setup an easel I sketched with drawing board in my lap. On my right is my sketch book.

One of the questions which I frequently get asked is: “do you use photos for reference?”. The answer is: it depends. I prefer to sketch and paint entirely from life. But, there are situations when use of photography is necessary (e.g. the venue has certain restrictions). I also take photos for my future reference, blog and as precaution. I did not use photos as reference for Jen and Ben’s painting. I made sketches during the ceremony. Below is one of the sketches:

I made several reference pencil sketches before and during the reception. I love these sketches as much as I love finished paintings. These sketches are from the direct observation. I use these as reference when I finish the painting.

When I sketch I do not focus on what will go in the final painting. I make that decision after I analyze my sketches. This is what makes my painting process different from other live event artists. For me, drawing is the foundation of my paintings whether I am painting in oils or watercolors. Another aspect is the composition. I like to spend some time composing a wedding painting just as I would for any other painting or commission (one exception is the plain air sketches: more on that below). This makes my process little longer. But, as John Ruskin once said: all art is delicate.

This is the sketch I liked the best to use for my painting:

I liked this sketch and used it in the finished painting.

The ceremony was beautiful! And once it was over, I finished my drawing. Then it was time to set up at the Carolina Club. The Church was bright and I was able to draw without additional lighting. I used my video light at the Carolina Club. I enjoyed talking to many guests while I painted. Here is finished painting on easel next to the dance floor:

Jennifer wanted me to finish her painting at the Carolina Club reception in Chapel Hill. Here is the finished painting on my easel next to the dance floor. I enjoyed talking to many guests as I painted.

I framed the finished painting and presented it to Jen and Ben. The couple was thrilled! Having a live painting of your event is unique! Like photography and video, a painting becomes part of your wedding memory.

Painting from life is big part of my art. I love plein air painting. I go out to paint almost everyday. Here is one of my recent plein air watercolor sketches of early North Carolina spring:

Painting from life is big part of my art. This is one of the recent plain air watercolor sketch.

Painting en plein air is like taking a snapshot with your camera. Most of the times, I am more focused on capturing the essence of what is in front of me. Careful composition and rearranging of things is possible but optional. Sometimes the sketch stays as a plein air piece and sometimes I would use it as a reference for studio work.

I also love to draw. My son Ian is my favorite subject! What can give you better practice in quick drawing than sketching a 4 y/o?! As Ian has grown, so have my drawing skills. And I have a collection of his precious drawings. Here are some of my attempts to capture him:

My favorite subject to sketch is my son Ian! I have made numerous sketches of him. This has trained me to sketch fast!

This week I will be painting live at Preston Bailey and Stacie Francomb’s Inspire Smart Success Experience in Durham. I look forward to it…

– Tesh Parekh

Live Wedding and Event Painter