This past weekend, I was hired to paint a couple's first dance for their wedding, while they were in the middle of their wedding. Am I crazy, you ask? Yes, yes I think perhaps I am insane. But since I love speed-painting, especially from life, I rose to the challenge!
I set up in the wedding ballroom around 6:00 pm, and after getting my palette organized, canvas prepped, and brushes nice and laid out, I got to work blocking in the room. I was putting in the under-painting for the first hour, as quickly as I could. Glasses clinked as the waiters set up food service, and the florist arranged pillars of flowers. Suddenly, the lights dimmed and guests began to filter into the ballroom.
Any painter knows that light is key to having a painting look decent. If you can't see, you can't paint (from life, at least). I was freaking out a bit, but I got a hold of a small clipped light and kept working. 8:00pm came and went, and I was still refining drapery. I got a little nervous.
Finally, the bride and groom! They floated out onto the dance floor while I smacked groomsmen away from my site line with my paint brushes. In three minutes, I blocked out as much of the couple as possible. I felt like I was running a marathon, a marathon of my eyeballs translating imagery for my hands. After their dance, I continued to paint them, glancing at them from their table, or talking to their guests. The painting started coming along and while the band played, I started to have fun.
Finally, around 11:00pm, I was done. My back ached, my fingers were sore, but I was so happy. I think it turned out really well, and the bride cried when she saw it, she was so excited! What a fun night!