Plein Air Oil Painting “On The Edge” by Raleigh Fine Artist

Plein Air Oil Painting

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.

– Tesh Parekh

Fine Artist

"On the Edge". 8x10. Plein Air Oil Painting on panel.
“On the Edge”. 8×10. Plein Air Oil Painting on panel.

Live Event Painting for ISES/ NACE/ TBA Holiday Party at Crabtree Marriott- by Raleigh NC Live Wedding and Event Painter

 Leon Jordan’s Continentals Orchestra, Live Event Painting, 12″x16″, Watercolor on Arches 140 lb CP paper.

This was my second year doing live painting for ISES, NACE amd TBA annual holiday party. The party was for Toys for Tots benefit.

As always, I enjoyed meeting my fellow professionals. The party was held at Crabtree Marriott Hotel . My friend Jule Lee is a Sr. Exec at the hotel. The food was fabulous!

Last year I had picked different composition. This year I decided to paint the orchestra. There were quite a few musicians! I had about 30 minutes to do a pencil sketch. Below is my setup before I started the painting:

As with any indoor live painting, the challenge is always the lighting! But, I was fortunate to find a spot with decent light on my watercolor block and palette. I also carry portable light, but, it can be a distraction to the well-designed party lighting. So, I avoid it, if possible.

Of corse, the orchestra folks were in constant motion and were off the stage well before I finished the painting! So, painting from memory was a necessity. I had the painting finished and framed, in time for door prizes. Taylor Pittman of Taylormade DJ Services won it! Below is my finished painting in the easel (orchestra had returned to the stage):

I am excited about 2011! I have received many inquiries about live wedding paintings and also started booking brides. If you are a bride who is looking for something unique, a live wedding painting is worth considering! Most of the wedding budget is spent on guests, while a live painting not only captures the wedding through artists’s eye, but also lasts forever!

I have also been doing plein air work. Below is one of my favorite recent watercolor sketch:

Tesh Parekh

Professional Artist and Photographer



Live Wedding Painting of Christine and Bob

Christine and Bob. 12×16. Watercolor.

This is my second painting at the Sutherland in Wake Forest this year. Ashley Adams of the Sutherland had invited me to paint at this Wedding which was sponsored by NACE. The Sutherland is a beautiful venue. The ceremony was outside. It was a gorgeous evening. The light was still fading fast, as you would see from the series of images below. Fortunately, there were spot lights- a luxury which is not always available to me! The tree in the back, with the white drapes, provided a beautiful backdrop.

I arrived at the venue at 5 PM, an hour before the ceremony. The image below shows my setup. I chose to compose so the couple will be off the center and I could capture the beautiful tree.

 I used Archies 140 lb rough paper block for this painting, The reason I used rough  surface was to capture the texture of outdoor subjects. I used Winsor and Newton paints. I still use French easel and really wish that I can find an easel that is easier to setup and use! I recently purchased Escoda brushes and love those! I also use Harmony Squirrel mop brushes for laying the washes.

I always start my watercolors with a drawing. Although I sometimes paint without the drawing, I would be lost without a drawing when painting a live event like wedding! I completed most of the drawing (below) and waited for the ceremony to start.

Here you can see my drawing and composition. I keep drawing of the middle ground light, since I will be sketching in bride and groom and the wedding party during the ceremony. I did not draw people in the foreground. To me, background is important since it provides the context and the visual interest. However, I try to not fuss too much with the background since the painting is not about the background! The same applies to the foreground where mostly you have friends and family. To me, the most important part of the wedding painting is the Bride and the specific moment- either during the ceremony or the reception that I want to capture.

Image below shows the completed painting.

Once the ceremony started, I quickly sketched in the wedding party. I made mental notes of colors and tones. I start my painting process with the broad washes. I use mop brushes to cover my painting quickly. Once, I had the washes completed, I refined the colors and tones of various parts. I normally repeat this process until I am happy with what I see. At this stage, I switch to my pointy Escoda brushes, so I can draw and paint at the same time!

I finished the painting with final details. Christine came and peeked at her painting once while I was in the process of finishing it. It was after 7 PM, when I matted and framed the painting! As you can see from the below image, it was completely dark, except for the spots!

Here you can see that the light is gone! Chairs are folded and stacked up! In the ideal world, you have the same light on your subjects and the easel. In the real world, it is on one or the other! But, I was honored to have captured the wonderful moment in Christine and Bob’s life. Now, framed and behind the glass.

I delivered the painting to Jennifer Jones (the Sutherland) for display at the reception. I had the opportunity to meet many NACE members and even some press folks. Many shared their kind words.

Christine was very thankful and that is my reward.

If you are a bride, or an event planner, I would love to hear from you. I accept commissions for both live and studio paintings. I am almost finished with a large studio commissions which I will be writing about next.

– Tesh Parekh

Event Painting for Triangle Wine Experience and ISES

Triangle Wine Experience 2010.  Watercolor. 11×14.  

Triangle Wine Experience 2010. Watercolor. 11x14.

The Raleigh-GT chapter of ISES, in Raleigh, NC,  put together a great event for the Frankie Lemmon Foundation called Triangle Wine Experience on February 6, 2010. The Foundation invited me to paint live for the charity auction. The ISES team created a beautiful ballroom, full of fabulous wine, food and friends.   As usual, my challenge was indoor lighting: not enough light, color temperature of the available light and shadows on my setup! I snapped couple of photos to show how dark it was inside the venue. The first one below shows my easel in the right hand corner at the bottom. The next image shows completed painting: the light on my painting is from my hand-held off-camera flash. 

Maybe I should eat more carrots! Thankfully, I was helped by videographer’s light during the initial stages. He did a time-lapsed recording of my painting- I hope to see it! 

I picked 11×14 format due to the schedule. I used Archies Hot Pressed block. It is good to paint on different surfaces. Each one has different characteristic. 

I love painting at Weddings and Events because I love painting from life. It also challenges me to find solutions for problems I face with location painting. I am never satisfied with the final result- that is a reason good enough for me to keep painting. 

It was good to see all my friends from ISES. I thank all who stopped by and shared kind words. Someday, I will carry portable lighting (in addition to easel, backpack, portfolio to carry paper and framing supplies, camera bag…). 

Well, I am off to eat some carrots- see you at the next event! 

– Tesh Parekh 

I accept commissions for studio and live paintings…

Backseat painting: pages from my sketchbook

One of the joys of being both a father and an artist is being able to draw and paint my son. Of course, he is active even when he is sleeping! So, I have to wait for the right moment to capture his precious childhood. I made quite a few sketches of him when he was a new baby. Mostly, becuase he slept a lot! I recently did this watercolor sketch when we were driving around to go to a pumpkin patch, and he had fallen alseep in his car seat. Of course, my wife was driving and I was in the backseat. I used a watercolor pen to do this sketch and it was quite fun! In the past, I have done his pencil, charcoal and even ballpoint pen sketches in the backseat of a moving car, but, this is my first watercolor sketch. I guess if I quit backseat driving, I will be able to paint more…

– Tesh Parekh

My art is online at:

Wedding painting at All Saints Chapel in Raleigh

Katie and Richie. Watercolor. 12×16. Alla Prima. I did this watercolor painting  on the spot at All Saints Chapel in Raleigh. It is a beautiful church and it was a beautiful wedding. I decided to  use watercolor since it allows me to work quickly and I like  the spontaneous look of the finished painting. This was a surprise for the bride. I was working with Tracy Adams of Adams & Events. I arrived before the ceremony and decided to paint from the balcony. There are quite a few challenges with doing a live event painting. But, that’s what gets me out there painting.

– Tesh Parekh