Last night I got to go to The Capital Grille in Buckhead, a very affluent section of Atlanta, and paint at an upscale birthday party. I knew when I got the job that this was going to be a very special birthday, if only because The Capital Grille is quite an expensive restaurant and this birthday was in a private suite. Also, the man throwing the event had hired a harpist. I mean, check out this photo I snuck on my phone:
The valet carried my easel, waiters brought me ice water, the harpist was precious, and just generally I could tell that everything was in sync and it was going to be a good night.
So I set up among the flowers, met the man hosting the event (for his mother's birthday, she was turning 50) and waited for the guest of honor to arrive:
People filtered in. The guest of honor had seven children, and they were all accomplished and beautiful and friendly. Her elderly aunts and mother, showed up, cousins and long-time friends arrived and sat at their places. BUT the guest of honor was nowhere to be found. I started to sweat it a little bit. My job is very time-centric, and an hour into the party had slipped away. I began to draw the table where she would be, the glasses and plates and anything I had in front of me. I prayed that she would arrive.
HURRAH! She showed up, wearing a long pale pink dress and looking gorgeous and not a day over 30. It was amazing to see everyone stand up, so proud for her to be there. Her son gave a speech, choked up about how much he loved her, and mentioned health issues. Suddenly the long wait made sense. People were rallying for this guest, whatever she was sick with must be serious, and it was beautiful to see how much everyone in that room loved her and wanted her to have a great night.
The second she sat down, I started drawing her at hyper speed! I wanted to make sure I finished the art that night, and this was the closest I had ever come up against the clock. Honestly, she was so pretty it was easy, and I managed to sneak her husband into the portrait as well. After a second hour, I flipped the drawing around for display, and the family went nuts for it! It made me feel on top of the world. I only got a very grainy phone pic of the reaction:
It was a great night, and the drawing turned out spectacularly. I think having a missing-in-action subject for the first hour actually helped the image, because it added so much detail to the surroundings. It just goes to show that stress really is my best motivator, haha! Also that i love working under pressure, which is why I do this crazy job int he first place.
So without further ado, here is the final image! Woohoo, mission accomplished!