This is my second wedding painting of the beautiful All Saints Chapel (Raleigh NC) in last few days! Last week I had painted Ashley & Chris’s wedding live there. Kathe and Todd’s painting is a studio commission. I used reference photos to create this painting. However, the painting is not a copy of photo! I looked at many images to create the composition that best captures beautiful wedding ceremony. Once I had worked out the composition, I made a very detailed pencil drawing. I painted in multiple sessions and finished the painting in many layers. This is different from when I paint live at the weddings. When painting live, I have to work quickly. So, although there are layers of paints, brush strokes are more important when painting live. My aim is simple: to create a beautiful painting that is one-of-a-kind and that captures the story.
While I love painting live, studio commissions are important as well. There are occasions when I am not available to paint live, or the wedding happened in the past.
Next month I will be painting live at the North Ridge Country Club in Raleigh NC. That will be live oil painting of a first dance…
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…