You may not have the best view of the event! I know… but how can you paint what you can’t see? Good question. Due to a million and one things that go into having a successful wedding like seating, flowers, photographers, wedding planners, the aisle, bathrooms, the bar, the rings etc… I was placed off to the right side of the seating area near where people entered the venue. This was cool in a way because people got to catch a glimpse of the painting as they arrived but it didn’t give me the best view of the ceremony as I painted. The saving grace here is to use a camera, phone or iPad to take photos as a reference so you can settle back into your seat and paint your little heart out.
The weather is always changing! Duh, but… when I arrived at the Culver City, Los Angeles location I set up my easel and supplies and I was in full sun (hello sunscreen) which wasn’t that conducive to getting started but as the sun moved I was able to sit comfortably and get my painting done. As many people know who live in California while most of our days are beautiful and sunny it can get chilly at night in the winter and by 5pm the sun was down and a chill had hit the air. Yes, I’m a delicate flower so I was SO happy that I dressed in layers… when I got there it was blazing hot so I took off my sweater and was down to my collared shirt and when the chill hit I layered back up. Pack layers, ya’ll!
Let there be light! Did you know most wedding ceremonies take place at sunset? Yes, I do… I mean they do! So you will start painting during daylight and end in total darkness. I had received this advice beforehand so I knew to pack an art light but I didn’t have anywhere to plug it in once I was there. And running a long extension cord would have ruined the look of the venue so I’d recommend anything battery operated that doesn’t make you look like a coal miner.
Arrive early! My plan was to arrive two hours early to pre-paint the venue. That might seem like a long time but it ain’t! Man, did that time fly! #1 because some of that time gets eaten up by unpacking the car, finding the correct parking, unpacking and setting up your space. Then you’re taking photos and getting started so I’d say try to get there 3 or 4 hours ahead if possible. I know some venues don’t allow you to get there that early so you have to work with what you got but just like a job interview always better to arrive way early then cut it too fine and have pit stains in the interview.. or chic wedding.
Under promise and over deliver! This is just a personal mantra but I’d rather really impress people than disappoint them so I didn’t promise the painting would be done the night of. Maybe I’ll get to a point where that is my goal but for my first live wedding painting I preferred to leave it open ended. Plus I like to varnish/seal my paintings when I’m done with them and there’s no way I could have done that at the wedding. So I got about 3/4’s of the painting done on site/live but then I finished it at my studio and sealed it and hand-delivered the finished product 5 days later! When you think about it this is pretty cool because most wedding photographers take 2 months to get the photos back to the newly married couple but their original painting they get to hang up almost immediately! I love me some instant-gratification!
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