This is late season portrait of the North Carolina winter. Ground covered with leaves and bare trees. I painted this at one my favorite spots at the Durant Nature Park. I will be doing more plein air painting in oils this year. My interest, as always, is in creating traditional art. I am not interested in broken color effects or masterful brushwork or brilliantly transparent passages. I do not use paint thinners, mediums or any other secret ingredients when I paint in oils. So, my goal is to cover the painting surface with paint layer without worrying about special effects. If the painting turns out to be good, it is simply by-product of focused observation followed by simple execution.
I used Charvin paints for this painting. It is painted on Winsor & Newton canvas panel. I had applied oil painting ground on this panel few months ago. This year is going to be busy for plein air painting. So, I will be certainly exploring more painting surfaces.
This oil portrait commission was a Christmas gift for Julia’s grandparents. I was commissioned by Julia’s Dad- Andrew. Based on our consultation meeting, we had decided to do a photo session. We had also decided on the size and medium. Andrew loved one particular image, so, we decided to use that one as a reference. I used stretched linen. When I paint in oils, I do not use thinners or painting mediums. So, I have to work with drying rate of the paint layers. I also rely more on the brushstrokes as I am not using thinned paint. I was able to complete the commission right in time. Andrew approved the final painting and he shared that Julia’s grandmother was in tears when she saw it! That is my ultimate reward. I accept portrait commissions in both watercolors and oils. And if you are looking for Wedding painting commission information, you can contact me via this website or checkout my new website: www.liveweddingpaintings.com
I finally had my opportunity to paint live at the beautiful Oaks at Salem in Apex NC! I have known owner April Maness for awhile. In fact, when I had painted my first ceremony painting at the All Saints Chapel in Raleigh, April was the photographer for that wedding. I did not have the opportunity to meet Allie before the wedding. What a beautiful bride! Joslin Rodely (Director of Event Coordination) was very helpful and I enjoyed working with her.
I arrived before the ceremony. It was a beautiful day. The cloud cover kept changing while I painted the background, but when the ceremony started, it was gorgeous! Allie had wanted the Oak tree in the painting so I used horizontal composition. This was an 18×24 oil painting on linen (canvas). I painted the background before the ceremony. When the ceremony started, I made several reference sketches in pencil. I used those sketches for reference when finishing the panting. I took some photos to check details later, but, most of my painting was done from the life and memory. I sketch a lot. I carry sketchbook, pencil and painting supplies with me most of the time. And I sketch at every opportunity (there are no shortcuts to painting live!). After the ceremony, I continued to work on the painting. It was time to add all the figures. Once that was done, I applied finishing touches. Allie and Tyler were very happy with the painting! So, Joslin and I set it up on a display easel for the wedding guests to enjoy. A beautiful live painting- started and finished at the wedding!
Like good canvas and brushes, good paints are really important to oil painting. Paints are even more important for direct painting techniques like plein air and alla prima. You need paints with right consistency and quality. Direct painting is hard enough! I face challenges of direct painting when I paint live at Weddings and Events. That is why I like Charvin paints. I was introduced to Charvin paints few years ago by Jerry’s Artarama. I have the benefit of living close to Jerry’s Artarama’s Raleigh store. While I enjoy shopping online, visiting store allows me to look at the actual products up close. The staff is great and is always willing to help and answer questions.
The paints are beautifully packaged:
I never had trouble opening tubes of old paint. Each tube is marked with pigment and permanence information. This information is also available on Charvin website.
What make Charvin paints different from other paints is the binder: Charvin uses Poppy oil and not the Linseed oil. Poppy oil dries slower than Linseed oil. This is great for direct painting as it allows paint manipulation for a longer time. The paints will not yellow and maintain the original hue when dry. Poppy oil also imparts a creamier texture to Charvin paints. That is important for the brushing quality. I use paints out of the tube, but, occasionally add Clarified Poppy Oil to thin the paints.
Here are some examples of paintings done with Charvin paints:
What an amazing weekend! One of the busiest for sure. On Saturday I was honored to paint live at Katherine and Manny’s wedding reception. The reception was at the beautiful North Ridge Country Club (NRCC) in Raleigh NC. The club is not too far from where I live. I have been traveling for assignments, so, this was a good change. This was my third wedding painting commission with A Southern Soiree. Many amazing vendors made this wedding reception absolutely beautiful.
Katherine had a certain vision for this painting. My aim was to create a painting that will meet her expectation while allowing me the artistic freedom. This commission was originally of 16×20 size. When I arrived at the location I decided to paint bigger size of 18×24. This size allowed me to create a composition that captured what Katherine had in mind. And I was able to incorporate elements that described the venue, event and most importantly couple’s very special moment- their first dance, in sufficient detail.
I arrived at the location three hours prior to the first dance. A Southern Soiree team had already suggested a location that will be appropriate for me to setup. As with many of my live painting commissions, my painting was created from the vision I had and not the actual view from where I was setup. To achieve that I move around and create reference sketches. My aim always is not to create a literal painting but work-of-art that captures the special moments.
I started with a blank canvas and then toned it to create warmth of the ambience. I sketched the composition away from my easel, directly on the linen. Here is the sketch:
There was plenty of natural light inside so I was able to paint without using additional lighting. The next step was to work out the value design. The challenge being, the light! The light will continue to change. But, painting is all about solving problems. So, I created a value design based on this understanding. I painted broadly even as I started the color stage. And then it was time for the real moment. The first dance! Unlike wedding ceremony which may last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, the first dance is usually 1 to 3 minutes. And depending on the song, couple will move slowly or quickly. As is my practice, I made pencil sketches of the couple as well as the wedding guests. I also snapped couple of photos for insurance. This was helpful for checking the likeness and other features. I do not always use photos for this purpose and rely on my sketches and memory. But, when painting on this scale, it was important to have correct visual information. I painted the couple and then painted the guests. Most important part of my painting was the couple. I painted guests and then tightened the painting and added details. Many guests stopped by to admire the painting. By the time I was finished, it was pretty dark inside as the dance floor was open. So, I used my own lighting. Here is my finished painting still on the easel:
I informed Megan of A Southern Soiree that the commission was complete and can be presented to the couple for approval. I was fortunate to have Chrisobal of Azul Photography present when painting was presented to Katherine and Manny. The couple was simply amazed! And so were the family members and wedding guests. I look forward to seeing those amazing images!
The party was still in progress so Megan was able to display finished painting on an easel. The painting was started prior to the reception and was finished prior to end of the reception. It was time to head home. The next day was Father’s day. But, I was scheduled to work from 7 AM- midnight (welcome to the life of self-employed artist!). I will be blogging about that day on my professional photography blog. Be sure to check that out in few days. Here is the finished painting:
My next commission will be in VA. And a studio wedding painting commission from very popular and beautiful local venue is very likely soon. So, if you are already married or are looking for a gift for someone who is already married- think of commissioning me to do a studio painting from wedding photos.
If you like my work, please be a fan of my Facebook page. To paint, all I need is painting materials. To paint for living, I need all the fans and patrons I can get…
One of my first live wedding paintings was at the beautiful All Saints Chapel in Raleigh. That was a watercolor painting of ceremony back in 2009. So, this historic chapel is very special to me! And I was excited to be commissioned by Ashley’s parents to paint live there again. This was a live wedding painting commission of ceremony in oil.
I arrived at the Chapel early to start painting. I setup in the balcony. It was quite uplifting to paint the Chapel. A century old historic venue. Having earlier access to Chapel allowed me to finish painting the background. Here is my painting in the earlier stage:
Once the ceremony started, I made pencil sketches for my reference. It was a beautiful ceremony with very large wedding party! I sketched 21 people to include in the painting. The other ceremony with such large wedding party was when I had painted Rod & Amy Brind’amour’s wedding. One of the questions that I get asked often is if I paint from the photos. The answer is- no. A painting is different from photograph. Hence, I paint from life and rely on my reference sketches. I do take photos as kind of insurance and to check important features. But, my aim is not to copy photographs. This is true even for my studio commissions. Here is a sketch I made during the ceremony and later used as a reference for my painting:
Once the ceremony was over, I went over to The Stockroom. This was the reception venue. So many talented vendors had worked to make it look amazing! I love Raleigh downtown. I have done many plein air and studio paintings of Raleigh downtown. So, I especially enjoyed view from The Stokroom windows. I setup near a window to finish the painting. I worked from my references and memory to paint the wedding party. Many guests were able to stop by and look at the painting. Here is my painting, almost finished:
Once the painting was finished, I presented it to Ashley’s parents with help of Shawn Schindler of Your Special Day Weddings & Events. It was a pleasure working with Shawn! We have worked together before, but, this was my first time painting at one of her weddings. Ashley’s parents loved the painting and approved it for presentation to the couple. The finished painting was displayed for wedding guests to admire. Here is the finished painting:
This painting was pure oil. I do not use acrylics or any other mediums to dilute oil paints. I do not use toxic materials. I use artist-quality materials and supports. Professionally framed and carefully displayed painting should last for many decades. The same is true for my watercolors. Since I offer live painting in both oils and watercolors, clients often ask me which one is my favorite. The answer is- both! Oils are a traditional medium. Medium of old masters. Watercolors are unique in their own way. Both mediums offer excitement and challenges. It is a personal choice.
Another question I get asked is: if I accept studio commissions that are done from the photos. The answer is – yes. If you are already married, or are not able to secure my live wedding painting service, please know that I do accept studio commissions. I work from reference photos to create the paintings. In fact, I am currently working on a watercolor commission of another All Saints Chapel ceremony!
I am hoping that my process above will help you understand my pricing. A good painting is not an accident! My aim as a full-time visual artist is to create paintings that my clients will treasure forever. I approach each live wedding painting as a commission rather than pure entertainment. I do my homework, and use the best materials. I spend hours working on each live commission. And I create paintings that my clients will proudly display and enjoy everyday. This is not an expense but investment in creating a unique memory of your very special day…
This is an oil portrait of my son Ian! I frequently sketch him from life. That practice helps me sketch when I am painting live at weddings and events! This portrait is based on an image I had captured while he was standing by the front door, curiously observing the world outside.
I paint portraits in both oils and watercolors. Portrait commission, like wedding painting commission makes a great gift. Please contact me for pricing.
I did above painting for the beautiful Carolina Country Club in Raleigh NC. Brenda Whitley (Social Director with the club) had invited me to paint Jordan and Brent’s wedding reception. Couple of years ago I had painted Rod and Amy Brind’Amour’s wedding ceremony and delivered the finished painting to the Carolina Country Club. But, this was my first time doing painting of the club event.
I often get the question about painting from photos. Sometimes the question is from the bride who did not know about my live wedding painting service and sometimes the question is from family members looking for a special gift. The answer is- yes, I do accept studio commissions that are done from the reference photos. The painting above was done from the photos that I captured. Due to my schedule, I did not paint live at this reception. I arrived ahead of the first dance and made some pencil sketches and snapped reference photos before the guests arrived. Once the reception started, I stayed close to the stage where The North Tower Band was playing live. I captured the first dance photos for my reference. I am a professional photographer (check out my photography website) and the first dance happens to be one of my favorite wedding day moments to photograph!
Back in the studio, I reviewed my reference images. I decided to paint in oil on 18×24 linen. I execute all of my oil commissions on the linen. I also paint in watercolors- those are executed on paper. I liked below image as a general reference.
The purpose of a painting is to tell a story. To capture a moment. So, my aim as an artist is to convey this visually using various elements, while being faithful to what I observe. I liked composition of the original image and kept it in the painting. I changed few things to keep emphasis on the couple. I liked the warmth of this moment. So, I toned the linen with warm colors to convey this. My approach to oil paintings is very different from my watercolors. I start my watercolor paintings with a very good pencil drawing (check out my earlier live commission of this year). I start oil paintings by placing larger shapes of the composition. I also create very rough tonal design. Rest of the painting process consists of refining the painting to add details, colors and achieve the tonal balance. All this time, my goal is to keep the focus on my main subjects, in this case- the couple. The couple is also painted in more detail. I worked on this painting over several days. I am happy with the finished painting. It does tell story of the couple’s beautiful first dance.
I had also liked below image, but, that will be a subject of another painting some day.
It was quite an honor doing a live event painting for the launch of North Carolina Wish Upon A Wedding. The launch party was held at Top of the Hill restaurant in Chapel Hill (the Great Room). WUW supports such an amazing cause! I met so many wonderful people at this event (I had the privilege of knowing many of them prior to this event). I thank the NC chapter of WUW for giving me the opportunity to participate. I look forward to working with this non-profit- for live painting as well as for photography.
This was a large live painting- 22×28. Oil on linen. I paint live in watercolors as well. The event was from 6 PM – 9 PM. I arrived at the venue an hour early to setup. Deciding what to paint and how much to paint are two of the most important decisions. Most weddings have a window of 5-8 hours during which I paint either ceremony or reception. The size of the painting is one of the factors that decides the amount of time needed. Bigger painting in shorter time meant that I would be working quickly. Here is my setup:
I toned the linen and then started blocking in major shapes and tones. Live painting is an alla prima painting. So, all the concepts of all prima apply when you are painting live. This is similar to painting en plain air. The difference is that many of the weddings and events are indoors (you almost always have to carry your own light for the easel). Also, most plein air paintings are landscapes or cityscapes, with human subjects being of lesser importance. Wedding paintings (at least the ones I paint) are focused on the bride & groom. Events are different. Some of the events do not have a well-defined subject. So, having the event program was a big help (one of the benefits of working with wedding planning professionals!).
I painted some of the background before event guests started to arrive. Once the attendance was full, I made pencil sketches for my reference. I make quick pencil sketches when I paint live. I use some of those in the finished painting. When the chapter president Veronica Foster spoke briefly, I captured that in the painting. I enjoyed talking to many event guests and fellow wedding professionals while I painted. The photographers and videographers of the event have captured my painting progress- I look forward to seeing those images and video clips. I tightened up and finished the painting before end of the event. Here is the finished painting on the easel:
The painting is now with NC WUW. I look forward to donating my live wedding paintings to WUW.
I used variety of artist oil colors and brushes for this painting. I currently do not use any chemicals or additivies when I paint live. This keeps the painting process odor-free, toxin-free and the paintings chemically sound. I know some artists use paint thinners like OMS. Just because OMS is odor-free does not make it less toxic! And while it is possible to create giant paintings quickly by thinning the paint, the long-term stability of such paintings is doubtful (not to mention that the paint will look flat soon). I want my patrons to enjoy their commissions for a very long time as heirlooms. So, I strive to use the best materials. That is one of the reasons I use quality linen as a support.
My next project is to create painting for a competition…
While I am preparing to paint live this weekend (wedding reception at the Angus Barn Pavilions), I just received this news! My painting “Pursuit of Light” has won honorable mention in the Jerry’s Artarama’s Lukas competition. Quick post- will write more about this painting soon…