My Live Wedding Paintings featured on the We Tie The Knots blog

The 2015 has started well! Many exciting paintings coming this year! I will be off to many new plein air adventures and will be doing new stuff in the studio. While I draw a lot, this year I have been doing many tonal drawings: both studies and finished pieces. I look forward to sharing those.
I will be painting live at the beautiful Berry Hill Resort in May. This will be my second live wedding painting commission there- both commissions being for the Anderson family!
I wanted to thank Sarah Beth Thie of the We Tie The Knots for including my live wedding painting on her blog. You can read her blog post here:
I will also be painting live at new venues this year.
Here is a live painting I did recently at the opening party of Mims House (Holly Springs NC).
– Tesh Parekh
Fine Artist
Live Painting of Mims House
Live Painting of Mims House

Live wedding painting at The Oaks at Salem in Apex North Carolina by Raleigh Artist

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!

"Allie & Tyler". Live wedding ceremony painting. Oil on linen. 18x24.
“Allie & Tyler”. Live wedding ceremony painting. Oil on linen. 18×24.
Tyler and Allie with live painting of their ceremony.
Tyler and Allie with live painting of their ceremony.

– Tesh Parekh

Live Wedding Painter and Artist

Live Wedding Painting : first dance of Katherine and Manny by Raleigh NC Live Event Artist

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:

Live wedding painting in progress at the North Ridge Country Club
Live wedding painting in progress at the North Ridge Country Club. I have finished toning the linen and sketched my composition.

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:

Live Wedding Reception painting at NRCC
Here is my finished live painting of the first dance on 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:

First dance of Katherine and Manny. Painted live at NRCC
First dance of Katherine and Manny. Live wedding painting at the North Ridge Country Club in Raleigh NC. 18×24. Oil on linen.

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…

– Tesh Parekh

Live Wedding Painter and Fine Artist

All Saints Chapel Raleigh – Live Wedding Painting { Ashley + Chris }

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:

Live wedding painting of ceremony in progress at the All Saints Chapel in Raleigh NC
Live wedding painting of ceremony in progress at the All Saints Chapel in Raleigh NC

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:

Ceremony sketched live in pencil. I use my sketches for reference.
Ceremony sketched live in pencil. I use my sketches for reference.

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:

I finished my wedding painting at the Stockroom in Raleigh NC
I finished my wedding painting at the Stockroom in Raleigh NC

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:

Ashley & Chris. Live Wedding Painting at the All Saints Chapel and the Stockroom in Raleigh NC. 16x12. Oil on linen.
Ashley & Chris. Live Wedding Painting at the All Saints Chapel and the Stockroom in Raleigh NC. 16×12. Oil on linen.

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…

– Tesh Parekh

Live Wedding Painter and Fine Artist

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



Honorable mentions for my 2 gouache paintings! – Raleigh Fine Artist

Two of my recent paintings have won honorable mentions in Jerry’s Artarama‘s Turner Gouache Contest. Originals and prints are available!    Both are gouache paintings but painted differently. “Quilts” was painted in many session using many washes and layers. I painted “NC State Fair 2011” in single session. I am thankful to Jerry’s for their continued support to art and artists. May be in 2012 I will move up from honorable mentions…

NC State Fair 2011. 12x16 Watercolor on paper. Artist - Tesh Parekh. I have always wanted to paint NC State Fair. There is just so much energy at the fair! And the different shapes, colors, smell, the crowd and the movement. If I can find a good spot, I would like to paint en plein air one year. This is a gouache painting on paper. This painting has won honorable mention in Jerry's Artarama's Turner Gouache Contest. Unlike the painting of Burleigh Plantation, this is a freer painting. I painted this quickly.
Quilts. 20x16 Gouache on Aquabord. Artist - Tesh Parekh. This is Burleigh Plantation in Semora NC. I visited the plantation few weeks ago and found it very exciting. I have also done a drybrush painting of a slave cabin door of the plantation. I worked on this painting for many days. This painting has won honorable mention Jerry's Artarama's Turner Gouache contest. Painting in Gouache is quite different from watercolor. This is my first painting on Aquabord. I am not quite sure if I like the surface for my kind of paintings. I may have to try it with watercolors.

– Tesh Parekh

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Kate and Jeff’s Live Wedding Painting in Greensboro – by North Carolina Live Wedding Artist

Kate and Jeff’s Wedding Painting in Greenboro North Carolina. By Live Wedding Artist Tesh Parekh

Kate and Jeff. Live Wedding Painting at the Starmount Forest Country Club in Greensboro NC. 16×20 Oil on Linen. Artist – Tesh Parekh (, 919-622-5399, email:

Kate and Jeff. A live wedding painting in Greensboro, NC. 16x20. Oil on linen. Artist - Tesh Parekh (


This was my second live wedding painting in March. Earlier this month, I had painted Lauren and Joseph’s wedding at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Raleigh. I had a very short notice to paint Kate and Jeff’s commission! Anne (Kate’s mother) discovered my wedding painting service less than a week before the wedding! She really wanted a live oil painting for Kate and I am glad that I could create this unique gift for her.

Anne wanted me to paint at the reception. So, I suggested painting bride and groom dancing. I am thankful to Anne for giving me the creative freedom. This was a surprise gift. So, I setup in a corner where I had a good view of the dance floor.

I arrived at the Starmount Club, a beautiful venue in Greensboro NC, couple of hours before the reception. I decided on the composition and started the underpainting (below).

Sketching underpainting before the reception. Artist - Tesh Parekh

By the time the guests arrived, I had my underpainting finished (below). Then it was time to wait for the first dance.  I photograph professionally, and also take photos as I paint. However, I do not use photos for reference when painting live (unless there are constraints that force me to use photos).  So, it was a challenge to capture the bride and groom during couple of minutes of first dance! I make quick pencil sketches for reference as I paint. I also sketch guests and other details. I will be publishing those pencil sketches in a later post.

Waiting for the first dance. Artist - Tesh Parekh
I kept on painting, as the party went on and the guests celebrated Kate and Jeff’s wedding. There were many guests who stopped by to admire the painting and I thank everyone for their kind words!
When the painting reached its finished stage (below) , I invited Anne to review the painting. Kate, the beautiful bride, was amazed at her painting! Anne and I put painting on the easel and then it was time for me to head back to Raleigh…
Finished painting on the easel. Artist - Tesh Parekh

I like the tonal scheme of this painting. When painting live, I have to balance realism with the need to paint details which make every event unique. The atmosphere inside the club was warm and romantic and that is what I have captured in this painting. Each event is unique, so, I use process which best serves the painting.

As I mentioned above, I sketch in pencil (or colored pencil) when I paint. Drawing is very important to me. While drawing is necessary with watercolors, oil painting also benefits from the drawing. Whether used as reference, in underpainting or achieved in the finished painting with brushstrokes.
I will be painting an Indian wedding for my portfolio next. I want to display that as a sample at Indian Bridal Expo in Atlanta next month.
I am available to paint your wedding, event or special occasion anywhere in the world- almost anywhere…
– Tesh Parekh
Live Wedding Painter

Plein Air Painting in Winter at the Durant Nature Park- By Raleigh NC Plein Air Artist

It has been a quiet winter. I have done some studio portrait commission, alla prima and live event painting work, but, not a whole lot of plein air painting. At least not as much as I would like! So when my fellow artist & photographer- Kittie Deemer called me to paint en plein air, I gladly joined her! Kttie had not painted at the Durant Park before, so we decided to paint on the Durant road side. Of course, we ended up near the lake! It was a beautiful morning! Many folks walking and hiking with kids and pets. Mostly friendly folks, except one who mumbled something about the trail being for hiking (so sorry we were taking up part of the trail!). We did watercolors.

Painting below is of my finished watercolor from this morning.

Winter morning- Durant Nature Park (Plein Air Watercolor). Artist- Tesh Parekh

Here is a studio watercolor painting I had done recently from a watercolor sketch. This one is also of the Durant Nature park. It is a different view of the lake. The tree in the foreground may seem like a compositional cliche`, but, it is a truthful depiction of what you see around the lake (see following image).

After the Sun set- Durant Nature Park (based on a Plein Air Watercolor sketch). Artist- Tesh Parekh

Here is my setup with the finished painting.

Plein air painting at the Durant Nature Park in Raleigh. Artist- Tesh Parekh

And here is Kittie working on her watercolor. Kittie had a great time painting and chatting with folks.

Kittie painting. Kittie is an Artist and Photographer.

– Tesh Parekh

Live Wedding and Event painter



Studio Apron- a watercolor sketch by Raleigh NC Live Wedding and Event Painter

I worked on this sketch for several days! I started it one night while working in my studio. I noticed this old apron hanging on a shelf and liked its form. I used dry brush watercolor technique. I started with a pencil sketch. I used limited palette of colors to lay the washes. And then built up the form with hatchings and cross-hatchings. I got really busy with photography work after I started it. I used Winsor Newton watercolors on Strathmore Series 300 CP paper. I used just couple of Winsor Newton sable brushes.

It has been a busy 2011! I started the year by finishing a commissioned oil portrait. I have worked on several photography assignments since and have blogged a lot about some of those. Although I have sketched, I haven’t been able to blog about my paintings as much.

On February 5, I will be painting live at the Triangle Wine Experience (TWE). I may do a watercolor or oil painting. I did a live watercolor painting for TWE last year. I look forward to doing another one this year.

– Tesh Parekh

Live Wedding and Event Painter




Studio Apron. Drubrush Watercolor painting on paper. By Tesh Parekh. (Live Wedding and Event Artist)



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