Live Event Painting - Cruisin' for Heroes at Perk-cUP! Cafe
Classic cars, live music, food, drinks, games and prizes – Perk-cUP! Café put together quite a celebration in July, and I was hired to capture it all in a live event painting! This friendly coffee shop and bistro located in Berea, OH recently marked their five year anniversary, and to celebrate, owner Tina Haag Loveland decided to throw a festive thank you party for the local community.
Cruisin’ for Heroes - also a fundraiser for Our Wounded Heroes - took place in the parking lot in front of the café on July 17, a beautiful summer day with just a little bit too much wind for my 3x4ft canvas to stay in place on my easel. (Hence why I'm on the ground painting in the photos!)
This was one of the more challenging events I painted this year for several reasons (the wind being just one of them). A 3x4ft canvas is a pretty big canvas (the largest standard size I offer), and I find it difficult to complete a painting that big, with the level of detail I’m happy with, in just one day.
Besides the wind and canvas size, I had some trouble deciding where to set up. There was so much going on at this event, I wanted to paint EVERYTHING! So many cool, classic cars.... each one could have been the star of its own painting. It was important to me to get the facade of the building in the painting too.... since this was after all a celebration about the restaurant. The problem was that if I set up facing the cafe, my back was to the car show.
Yet another key element I wanted to picture was the band, also set up just slightly too far from the restaurant’s patio to fit the scene from one point of view.... it just all couldn’t be captured from one angle! So what did I do? I set up in the middle of everything and planned to combine multiple viewpoints. I knew this would require some sort of creative solution I did not have yet, but believed it would come to me as the painting developed. (Thankfully it did!) I love how the painting process is basically just an ongoing series of problems and solutions... often the less you try to predict, the more open you are for opportunities to create real art.
With all of these challenges at hand, it's no surprise the painting required some serious attention in the studio post event. I don't always have to resort to my digital art skills when completing a painting, but when I do, it's always a great time (and paint) saver. After sorting through all the photos, I spent hours and hours (over several days) in Photoshop, playing around with the layout until I determined exactly how I wanted it to look. The starburst solution to combine the multiple viewpoints came to me during this part of the process. I’m really happy with how this allowed for visually appealing breakpoints, while simultaneously combining everything in a way that embodied the celebratory spirit of the event.
Possibly the best part about this painting was that I got the chance to paint my favorite local band – The Sunrise Jones! I couldn’t believe the coincidence when Tina told me TSJ was the band she hired, because this was the same band that played at my wedding just two years ago!!! (If you’re a bride-to-be reading this – Check them out!!) Voted best cover band this year in Cleveland Magazine's Best of Cleveland, trust me when I say these guys are incredibly talented and always put on an awesome show. Your dance floor will be filled all night long!
If you want to see the finished painting in person, it’s hanging at the restaurant so stop on by! Anyone who enjoys art will appreciate the fact that Tina regularly displays the work of a variety of local artists – most which is available to buy. Although the live painting I created is not for sale, the walls are filled with artwork that is (including some other original paintings by yours truly).
Perk-cUP! Cafe is located at 561 W. Bagley Rd. Berea, Ohio 44017 (in the Helwig Whistle Stop Plaza) and you can check them out online at www.perkcupcafe.com