Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Glendale Renaissance Wedding

Last Saturday I painted a wedding reception at the beautiful Renaissance Restaurant Ballroom in Glendale, CA. The bride and groom danced to a live band, as family members and friends looked on.

The lavish ballroom; with golden and red hues, high arches, rich drapery and sparkling chandeliers; is almost entirely painted before the arrival of the wedding couple and guests.

Here is the finished painting, which the couple were very pleased with.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dallas Arboretum Wedding

Last week I painted a wedding reception at the beautiful Dallas Arboretum. The reception was held in the Rosine Hall, and began just before sunset. Through the large floor-to-ceiling windows you could see the trees and blue sky Texas is famous for.

I began by composing the room and important features; the wedding cake, and (a Texas tradition), the groom's cake; fittingly a pair of cowboy boots!

Then I began adding the gorgeous floral centerpieces. There were several different types of arrangements, and candles everywhere!

The blinds were kept shut until the guests and wedding party arrived, while the room was being decorated to perfection in turquoise blue, lime green (in the fabrics) and shades of pinks and corals in the flowers-- predominately tulips-- which are a symbol of love. Cobalt blue light was cast on the walls.

This is the pose I used for the focal point of the painting; the Wedding Dance.

As requested by the couple, I painted members of the bride's family and groom's family surrounding them around the dance floor.

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Dallas, and delighted in painting such a lovely wedding celebration!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Trip To East Coast

There is just no way I could fly all the way to New Jersey and not go to New York City! Sunday after the wedding, I drove my little baby blue rented Hyndai into Manhatten. Found a parking place right on 53rd where the Museum of Modern Art is (MOMA). Curb parking is free on Sundays.... Boy, did I luck out!

"Starry Night" was what I wanted to see with my own eyes. After having looked at it in books, prints and posters all these years-- it was about time to see the real thing. Smaller than I would have thought, "Starry Night" was not one of Vincent's favorite pieces. In fact, he felt it was a complete failure. Didn't even sign it, as many of his paintings are unsigned-- usually a "sign" of an unfinished painting-- or one the artist felt unworty of a signature.

As I often like to do at museums, I stood in front of the painting (which is behind glass) and sketched it. Not so much to make an accurate rendering, but to anchor into my memory the details. The thickest impasto parts are the moon and stars, as I would have guessed. There are areas where the raw canvas shows through. And despite what appears in reproductions to be black "outlines" I did not detect a bit of black, but rather a very dark blue.

Here is my colored pencil sketch. I did get chastised by the guard for getting too close to the masterpiece...

Backing up to my first day in New Jersey-- I had to find a canvas for the wedding painting. Can't really take a 3' x 2' canvas on the plane, so I found a local art supply store in downtown Newark, where there is also a museum.

This is the first sketch of my trip, of the statue of Leander, sculpted by Rinehart and gloriously outstanding in a small room with rich, red walls.

I found it delightful to see a painting of a wedding cake since my trip to New Jersey was to paint at a wedding. This was approx. 36" x 36" canvas, and the paint literally looked like frosting good enough to eat!

Where else can you see this, but Central Park? This Liberty Mime had people lined up to have their picture taken with her. For $3 you got to wear the flag draped around your neck and the "spikes" on your head. Probably some under-paid Broadway dancer just trying to make the rent...

So, I walked the 29 blocks from MOMA to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 82rd, making a quick pit-stop in Central Park to photograph the Bethesda Fountain for my friend Fred, at NY's Upper Crust Pizza. He wants a painting of the famous fountain, and now I can see why.

I arrived finally at the "Met" with only an hour before closing. My mission to see if the big Renoir was there (the one I painted for my best friend, Peggy). Sure enough-- there in the middle of the vast Impressionist halls was the huge painting!

Here is my version, with the color palette altered to tie-in with her color scheme, and of course-- Peggy's daughter Audrey painted in the foreground. I see now that the girl at the piano is too round-faced compared to the original. I'll have to fix that one of these days...

So, after walking back the 29 blocks to my car, I headed south to the tip of Manhatten to take the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty as the sun was setting.

It was a blast, driving with all the taxi cabs in Sunday dinner rush-hour frenzy through Times Square, along the Sea Port, under the Brooklyn Bridge!! I felt like I was in my mural at NY's Upper Crust Pizza!!

The view was as delicious as Fred's pizza-- and the skyline shimmered across the bay coming back from Staten Island after the sun went down and the lights of the city came on... This is a sketch I did from a postcard I bought (along with a really groovy t-shirt) at the Staten Ferry Terminal Gift Shop, while waiting an hour for the next ferry back to Manhatten:

I can't wait to go back in July! I'm doing another New Jersey wedding, and you bet I'll be going back to the Big Apple.

More sketches, done on the plane ride home:

Van Gogh's Cypress Tree, done in watercolor:

And Monet's Sunflowers, WIP (work in progress), which I will finish on the plane to Dallas next week, where I am going to paint a wedding at the Dallas Arboretum:

If I can spend the rest of my life traveling, painting for people who are having the happiest moments of their life-- capturing celebrations of all sorts, and getting paid for it-- well, I will be in heaven before I've left this earth!!


Thursday, May 8, 2008

New Jersey Wedding

Last week I flew to New Jersey to paint a wedding at the beautiful Florentine Gardens Estate in River Vale, a suburb just north of Newark.

Here is my set-up in the corner of the vast ballroom.

I begin by establishing the composition about an hour or so before the reception begins.

The bride specifically wanted me to capture the chandeliers and the tree branch/orchid centerpieces.

Here I am working as quickly as possible to get the background painted before the arrival of the wedding party.

The ballroom, tables, lights, flowers, everything-- it was all just spectacular!

She also wanted the cake in the painting. This one had sparkling silver jewels on it, sitting on a bed of orchid petals.

Here is the bride and groom during their wedding dance-- which is the focal point of the painting.

Then I realized the cake had gotten lop-sided. Had to fix that. Since the room was very dark by this stage of the reception, all the guests appeared as silhouettes. I felt it important to capture the two sisters, and mothers of the bride and groom. The important men are scattered around, seated and standing in various places.

Here is the final piece. The bride was thrilled, as it was a surprise gift from her groom. There is nothing like it for an artist-- to paint during the most special and happy occasion of two people's lives.

I had the best time in New Jersey! The people were very friendly and welcoming to the "artist from Cali." It was more beautiful than I could even imagine with cherry trees in bloom; and well, trees everywhere!

I took a quick side-trip into New York City the next day-- actually drove my little rental into Manhatten...
I will share my NYC adventure on my next blog entry.