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