Live Wedding Painting - An Elegant Barn Wedding in Northern Baltimore County Maryland
Will I travel to paint your wedding? Heck yes I will! The only thing I love more than road-trips is flying. There’s something so zen about being up in the sky without any work to do and a sketchbook in front of me. (Honestly, I think that’s where I do some of my most creative work.) So what’s the cost of a traveling event painter to paint your wedding? Well for me, I ask that you cover gas or flight, an overnight stay (if necessary) and additional shipping costs after studio touch ups. If you’re curious, I’m always happy to put together a custom quote based on your event location, so shoot me a message through my website and let’s talk!
A few months ago, I traveled to Maryland for a wedding in Northern Baltimore County and painted a reception in the most gorgeous barn I’ve ever seen. Trust me when I say this was not your typical barn wedding! Situated on the grounds of a private residence, this beautifully crafted, multi-story barn was the perfect setting for an elegant Spring wedding with just a hint of rustic charm. In the spirit of the fresh, lively season, the decor included an abundance of bright, cheerful flowers everywhere you looked. On the walls, mural sized photography of magenta and periwinkle blooms mirrored the vibrant center pieces on all the tables. Floral garlands gracefully intertwined along the wooden structural beams throughout the space. In the center of the barn, a huge, crystal chandelier floated above the room and on the far wall, a magnificent stone fireplace nearly spanned the width of the entire bridal party head table. The year of the barn’s construction was engraved in the beam supporting the chandelier, but in the painting I replaced it with “2017” to commemorate the wedding date instead.
There were so many lovely details that were a part of this wedding. One that I especially want to mention is the beautiful wedding cake by Mary Elliott. Dainty little flowers covered the entire surface like a colorful frosting lace and the tablecloth it sat upon was a playful texture that reminded me of sequins, only larger and reminiscent of soft flower petals. Just look in the bottom right corner of the painting to get a glimpse, as the cake table was right next to my live painting setup that night.
I have to admit, at first I was a little nervous about my setup, because I thought I was going to need to use a battery powered spotlight instead of my trusty easel lamp. I was VERY lucky the preferred location for me was just close enough to an electrical outlet so my lamp’s cord could reach. It was perfect because this was the exact spot I would have chosen if I could have been anywhere in the room. With the cake right next to me, the stunning fireplace and chandelier central in my line of view and the surrounding crowd of wedding guests, it created the perfect framing composition for the happy couple during their first dance.
Speaking of this first dance, I am in love with the unique pose captured by Lisa Boggs Photography and chosen by the bride herself for her portrait detail. It’s such a unique pose compared to most of the bridal portraits I’ve seen, and it’s definitely the first I’ve had a chance to paint at this angle.
Many of my live wedding paintings are commissioned as a gift, so my direct contact is often a relative or friend instead of the bride or groom. In this case, however, I communicated directly with the bride which was really nice because I was able to get to know her a bit and have a better understanding of her personal style and vision for the celebration. As an artist, there’s nothing better than when someone truly appreciates what you create. This particular bride was so delightful to work with, partly because she asked lots of questions about my painting style and artistic process. I thought it might be nice to share some of what we discussed in case any of you reading have similar curiosities about my artwork.
One of the things that initially drew this bride to my paintings was the way I paint faces. Most of my live paintings include featureless faces that I believe provide a more artistic and ironically a more emotional feel to the piece. After seeing her finished painting, she commented “We look just like us, which is so amazing without features!” Coming from a background in portrait painting, I find it so intriguing that a person’s likeness can be portrayed so recognizably without their face... But then again, a person is so much more than their eyes nose and mouth! My husband says that the way I paint people is like a metaphor for life. The way your face looks hardly matters as much as the way you carry yourself and the energy you project. I personally think more feeling comes through when you aren’t distracted by the face, and it allows me to capture that person’s energy better.
Another area of discussion was the the “splatters” of pale golden paint above the crowd. This technique is something I include in almost all of my live event paintings, and the conceptual meaning behind it is again about the energy. I originally developed this technique to portray the sparkling of candles, twinkle lighting and other glittering decor from weddings that I painted, but I now include it in nearly all of my event paintings because it’s come to represent much more. It’s really about capturing the spirit of the celebration - portraying that energy - that buzzing, joyous blur of love and happiness surrounding you in that moment. Everyone says your wedding day will feel like a blur, and for me, this is part of the blur that I remember feeling, especially on my own wedding day. I think if someone asked me to paint what it feels like when you “get the chills” (you know, because you are just SO happy or something feels like it “clicks” just SO perfectly, or a really good song sometimes does it…) I feel like that’s what it would look like. I think the happiest celebration would have a ton of splatters surrounding everybody there because they’re all buzzing with so much happiness and excitement. Also, have you ever looked at a photograph and noticed a little round spec of light? Sometimes people say “Oh that’s an angel” or “a spirit” and it’s supposed to be good luck. When I say I like to believe my “splatters” represent the “spirit of the celebration”, this also includes loved ones who have passed and those who are yet to come.
Art provides such a special, unique way to communicate with people and share personal experiences. Every live wedding painting is a one of a kind memory and a unique work of art made up of many tiny stories and behind the scenes details. Thanks for reading about this one, and congrats again to the happy couple! It was an honor to be part of your big day and capture such a beautiful celebration for you with my art!