Live Wedding Painting at the Clifton Barn in Olde Avon Village
From years of dreaming as a little girl, to months of planning as a fiance, to that one special day with all your favorite people in the same place at the same time… Your wedding day is one day you can never have too many pictures of! But how do you decide which photos to hang on your wall? Easy answer - Hang your live wedding painting, of course! A live wedding painting can bring everything together in one image, one timeless work of art, to be cherished and displayed in your home for generations.
One great thing that sets painting apart from photography is the infinite possibilities of customizing your scene. With painting, it’s possible to include so much more in one picture. There’s no limit to what can be added or how your image can be composed. Things that happened at different times, or appeared in different places, can all be shown closer together so the memory is more complete. However you want to remember something, that memory can be made visible through a painting.
This past April, I painted a lovely, intimate wedding reception at The Clifton Barn in Avon, OH. At this particular wedding, the bride had a very special request. She asked that I include her father in the painting. This might sound like a pretty standard thing to do, except for the fact that her father had passed away over a year before the wedding day. It was truly an honor to work with Staci to figure out the best way to incorporate her father’s presence in her wedding painting. Though he might not have been there in the flesh to walk her down the aisle, his presence was certainly known throughout the celebration. Guests were all given handkerchiefs during the ceremony, which besides being incredibly charming on its own, was even more special because of their sentimental representation of Staci’s father, who always carried a hankie with him. I made sure to include some of these on the table in the foreground, so they could be appreciated with a little more detail.
In addition to the symbolic handkerchiefs, Staci sent me a favorite photo of her dad, so I was able to include him in the painting as she remembers him. You can find him sitting among the other happy wedding guests, watching with love and contributing to the wonderful energy of the joyous celebration. As subtle as the portrait is, it undoubtedly captures the presence of Staci’s father in that memory, and it brought tears to her eyes when I delivered the painting. I can honestly say moments like that are the very best part of my job! :)
With just over 50 guests, this wedding was more intimate than most I’ve painted before. The bride was so creative and did an amazing job with all the decor. Mason jars overflowing with flowers and ribbons sat upon tree rings in the center of each table. (Shout out to Life in Bloom who did the lovely florals for this wedding - just gorgeous!) Wine and blush accents with splashes of glitter filled the room - It felt so enchanted! Instead of hiring a wedding photographer, guests were given cameras, and all the photos were uploaded to a website for the bride and groom. This was genius in my opinion. Even if you have a wedding photographer, why not let your guests help out too? Because again, how could you have too many photos of your wedding day!? Another unique aspect of this reception was the decision to swap the DJ for a karaoke machine! This got everyone out of their seats after dinner, singing, dancing, and filling the room with the happiest energy. My favorite was when the bride and groom took the stage together. You could just see how much fun they have with each other and what a great love they share. (Which is exactly why I chose this moment for their portrait in the painting!)
Now about this venue - I just have to take a minute and say what a hidden gem it is! Both the wedding ceremony and reception took place at the Clifton Barn in Olde Avon Village, a charming destination that is definitely worth a visit if you ever find yourself on the West side of Cleveland. There’s shops, boutiques, restaurants (Strip Steakhouse!)… and many of the buildings are historic landmarks that were brought there from various other locations. (Shout out to property owner Ron Larson for bringing such a great vision to life!) Clifton Barn, the oldest of these buildings, was originally built in 1830. It’s rustic, cozy, pristinely restored and radiates character and charm. The ceremony took place on the patio just outside a wall of french doors leading into the Ivy Room, where the reception was held. Upon entering this magical room, I was instantly thrilled at the sight of the gorgeous Spanish moss, twinkling lights and carnation pink lanterns that hung throughout the vaulted ceilings - just as much fun to paint as I imagined they would be when I first saw them! A double-faced fireplace with beautiful floor to ceiling stone just added to the fairytale setting.
And such a fairytale evening it was! Staci and Joe, I hope your marriage is as much a fairy tale as your wedding was! It was such an honor to capture your celebration on canvas. Thanks for having me there as part of your big day and cheers to your happily ever after!
Lastly, I’ll leave you with some photos from the reception, the live wedding painting in progress and the finished piece. Thanks to all the wedding guests who put their photographer hats on and snapped so many great shots!