Maggie Smith Kuhn

Live Painting: The Swink Wedding

When I went to college, I roomed with my best friend Casey. Casey decided to join  a sorority, which I was not super happy about, because I was afraid that she would make glamorous new friends and ride off into a flower-scented sunset of date nights and monogrammed linens.

I should have had more faith in Casey. On the one hand, she really did ride off into a flower-scented sunset of date nights and monogrammed EVERYTHING, but she took me with her, introducing me to some of the coolest girls EVER. These were the UGA Sigma Kappa girls, the sorority on campus that attracted the quirkier girls of the bunch. Yes, they were intimidatingly beautiful and confident, and yes, they were wearing designer heels and silk dresses, but the Sigma Kappas were the ones you’d find karaoke-ing in their break room, or doing full-blown skits of weird cheerleader impressions for fun, or throwing witty comebacks at reality tv while painting their walls with murals. I loved them.

Here I am, eight years since I met these girls, painting the wedding of one of their best and brightest. One of the Sigma Kappas, Jackie, called me and hired me to paint the wedding of the gorgeous, gentle, and radiant Brieann. Jackie was one of Brieann’s bridemaids, and she told me that Brieann had met the man of her dreams and all the bridemaids thought it should be commemorated in watercolor. I was their bridesmaid present to Brie. How amazing is that??

I painted not ONE, but TWO watercolors, ladies and gentlemen! I’m just saying, this one was a challenge and I was having the time of my life! The venue was the Gwinnett County Courthouse which blew my mind with it’s loveliness. A relic of old south Victorian pomp and majesty, it had an ACTUAL FRICKIN TURRET so that bride and grooms can hang out all romeo-and-juliet style. I drew the turret first, while the light was bright and everyone was getting ready.

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See that turret up there in the background?? It was magical! After I finished the drawing of the courthouse, I ran back inside and started working on the reception layout for a painting of the first dance. The ceremony was going on outside at this point, so I was officially racing the clock. People began to filter in to the reception room, and I knew I had two hours to finish the reception painting, rush outside to the courthouse, and paint the bride and groom on the turret in the courthouse painting. It was madness! Here are reception pics. Note the wood and 1920’s light fixtures, and the giant doorway. GLORIOUSSSSS

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It was really special when the bride and groom got up to dance. To know Brie in school, and then to see such and important chapter in her life, was really thrilling to me. I was honored to be there.

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After the first dance, I raced downstairs to see them wave goodbye from the turret, so I could finish the second painting!



Brieann’s wedding photographer, the immensely talented Allison Elaine, sent me these photos. Alas, at the time of the event, I didn’t take any good photos of the paintings themselves. I nabbed some crappy iphone shots as I was packing up, so this will have to do for you guys, if you’re curious about the finished work from this event:

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From now on, I solemnly swear to start bringing my 40D Canon to events, so you aren’t left destitute of the big reveal of the paintings. Want to see the wedding photos in all their glory? Check out Allison Elaine Photography’s blog post of the Swink wedding. It was a beautiful day, a truly radiant bride inside-and-out, and a great event for me!

Also! Now that I know it’s possible within a three hour time frame, I’m offering live event watercolors! Probably won’t be painting more than one per event though, since running up and down stairs is difficult with paint on my palette, haha! Thanks for reading my post, and check back here for more soon!


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