Live Wedding Painting – Beautiful way to capture and preserve memories

live wedding painting

Live Wedding Painting – Beautiful way to capture and preserve memories

I recently stumbled upon a new wedding trend that I had no idea about – live wedding painting. When I saw the painting photo on Instagram, I knew I had to share with you everything about it. In order to learn more about live wedding painting, I asked live painters across the country to share their work. In addition, I interviewed them so they could tell us more about live wedding painting, offer advice, and let us know why someone should consider hiring a live painter. Below, you will see their beautiful work through photos as well as answers to questions I asked.

So there are lots of ways to capture and preserve wedding memories through photography, videography, drones, photo booths, and more. I wrote about more ways here – [preserving wedding memories ideas]. Of course all the ways you choose for your wedding are beautiful and special. Now paintings themselves are not new because they came before photos but hiring an artist to paint a wedding live is somewhat new so let’s check out what each painter has to say about live wedding painting and let’s take a look at their beautiful work.

Agnes Russo based in CAwebsite + insta

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Do you travel worldwide?
“Yes, I do. Besides the United States I have painted a few times in Mexico, the Bahamas, and in Europe.”
Is it distracting when guests watch you work?
“No, not at all! I really enjoy the fascinating conversations that develop while I am at my easel about art, life, family. Also the energy of a happy crowd is contagious and keeps my brushes moving!” 
What is your favorite part of the wedding to paint? Ceremony, Reception, First Look, etc.?
“I really love to discover the essence of the scenery, every location is different and they all have their unique charm.” 
Will the painting itself become damaged with time or will it always look good?
“My medium is mostly acrylic paint because I travel so much and I often work in hotel rooms and on tight deadlines, but I also use oil paint when time allows, or upon request. Both mediums are high-quality and stand the test of time.” 
What kind of tools do you use and what size paintings?
“My basic setup contains an easel, canvas/canvases depending on how many paintings I need to complete on location, palette, paint, and brushes of course! The canvas sizes usually range anywhere between 18 x 24 to 36 x 48 in. However, I have painted live as large as 4’ x 6’ canvases with as many as 28 portraits in the scene, for large-scale/celebrity events. In those cases I have taken photos of the guests during the event, and added a lot of post event work hrs in my studio to perfect the likeness of the figures.” 
For people whose wedding has passed, can you still do a painting for them?
“Definitely! I am actually contacted quite frequently by people who learn of my work after their weddings have passed. In these cases, I re-create the event from their photos to provide a piece of art of their special day.”
What is the pricing range for the live wedding painting vs a painting from photos?
“Pricing may range anywhere from $1,600-$30,000, depending on the size and details of the artwork. Each piece varies, and it is necessary for me to have a full understanding of the scope of the work before being able to provide a comprehensive quote to my clients. Travel costs are also included in the total cost. The cost varies accordingly for both live event and standard paintings.” 
Why should someone hire a live event painter?
“After your event you might have a lot of photos to look at, and each of them may have something you like. But in a painting, you can combine a lot of elements within one image, and with an artist’s flexibility of composition and special touches. You can request specific family members and special guests be incorporated in the scene behind you during your first dance for example, or even a deceased loved one as they were with you in spirits on this beautiful day. Paintings are unique and can provide so much that the limitations of commemorative pieces such as photos, can’t. The painting ultimately becomes almost like a collage of your favorite elements within one image, and with live event painting, also has the added benefit of coming to life during the actual event in front of your guests eyes. It is one-of-a-kind entertainment, and most importantly, an incredibly unique, memorable keepsake of one of the happiest day of your life.”
What advice do you have for couples for their wedding?
“Your big day goes by so fast, you will be left with your memory, some photos, maybe a video… but if you add a live painter to your event as a unique touch, you can turn your wedding day into artwork that is yours for life. There is truly nothing else like it. ” 

Jennie Pitts based in COwebsite + insta

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Photo of Jennie painting was taken by https://radostina.photography

How did live event painting come to be? How did it start? Who started it? How did you learn to do it and how did you start? What kind of training did you take? How long have you been painting weddings? How many weddings do you do a year? 
I was born and raised in Austin, Texas and graduated from Baylor University with a BFA in fine art in 2012. Painting has always been a passion of mine, but I never really believed I was very good at it. Therefore, after graduating from college, I set off to be a teacher in Charleston, South Carolina for Teach for America. Needless to say, I was exhausted and felt like an old woman after only a couple of years teaching. I moved to Boulder in 2014 to get a taste of fresh mountain air and a new beginning. In the midst of a turbulent season and exploring lots of job opportunities, I painted a painting for a friend, and it found its way on to social media. The next thing I knew, I started a business, and it took off within a year. I moved to Denver shortly thereafter, and I have lived here ever since. I have been painting for time for about 4 years now, and it is a dream I never knew I had! It’s crazy what can happen if you actually take a chance to believe in who God created you to be, and embrace the gifts you have been given – no one else can do that for you.” 
Do you travel worldwide?
I do travel worldwide, I get inquiries from all over the world!
Is it distracting when guests watch you work?
No, not at all! I would consider myself quite an extrovert so I enjoy people watching and talking to me while I paint. It serves as great entertainment for guests, especially those who do not enjoy the dance floor.” 
What is your favorite part of the wedding to paint? Ceremony, Reception, First Look, etc.?
I would say the reception – it gives the guests more of an opportunity to watch and I love painting the first dance! The dresses always look much more interesting when the bride is spinning around the dance floor!” 
Will the painting itself become damaged with time or will it always look good?
No, it should never become damaged if the client keeps it in a cool, dry environment out of sunlight.” 
What kind of tools do you use and what size paintings?
I just use acrylic paint and paintbrushes. There are three different sizes I typically offer: 18×24, 24×36, 30×30” 
For people whose wedding has passed, can you still do a painting for them?
Yes, I often paint from photographs after weddings for wedding gifts, anniversary gifts, birthday gifts etc. I think they often turn out with more attention to detail due to the extra time I have in my studio.
What is the pricing range for the live wedding painting vs a painting from photos?
Depending on where I have to travel to, my costs are typically around $2500-3000. Photography is typically twice that, around $7000.” 
Why should someone hire a live event painter?
Although most brides hire photographers and videographers to capture the movements of the wedding, I believe with one painting an artist can capture the passion and dramatic emotion of the atmosphere from a unique perspective, specific to the bride and groom’s wedding. Just as a song often recalls vivid memories to each individual listener, paintings capture a feeling, a moment and draw the observers into the emotion of the memory.”
What advice do you have for couples for their wedding?
Just enjoy the moment, and let your vendors do their job! I think my smartest and favorite client is the one who tells me, I trust you. I’m just going to let you do your job, use your best artistic discretion!

Event Painting by Katherine based in NYwebsite + insta

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How did live event painting come to be? How did it start? Who started it? How did you learn to do it and how did you start? What kind of training did you take? How long have you been painting weddings? How many weddings do you do a year?
“I believe live painting has been taking place in some form for centuries so I can’t say who started it, but as a contemporary wedding trend I have seen it really pick up in the past 5-6 years and more artists breaking into the field. I got into it almost by accident when a bride contacted me in 2008 about painting her wedding after liking my landscape paintings on my website. After that I did a few more and then decided to start advertising it more in 2011. I think business really picked up for all event painters after The NY Times did a feature on it in late 2012 featuring me and about a dozen other artists—business literally tripled after that and I have done between 80-100 weddings the past 3 years.” 
“I studied art in high school and college including a plein-air painting and figure drawing summer program in Italy. I think having a lot of formal training in things like perspective, color theory, composition and life drawing provided an essential foundation, plus working at weddings for almost 10 years has made me very attuned to the specifics of what a couple is looking for in a painting keepsake, and how to capture it during the limited time frame of an event.” 
Do you travel worldwide?
“YES! I love to travel. Some favorite destinations have included Mexico, Puerto Rico, Florida, and Newport, RI. In most cases the client just needs to cover travel expenses on top of the painting.”
Is it distracting when guests watch you work?
“Not at all! That is part of the fun–the painting is meant to be a form of entertainment for guests and it’s cool to share my process with them and demystify how a painting develops from start to finish.” 
What is your favorite part of the wedding to paint? Ceremony, Reception, First Look, etc.?
“The most-requested scene is probably the first dance spotlighting the couple, with guests standing around watching, and I do feel I’ve really honed my abilities to capture this moment effectively. However I always LOVE a new challenge of painting a slightly different type of scene, and especially enjoy capturing a party in full swing where I can paint other people on the dance floor and try to capture that movement! I also really enjoy painting ceremonies in beautiful settings, i.e. outdoors with lots of nature! ” 
Will the painting itself become damaged with time or will it always look good?
“I take care to use high quality, archival materials so that my paintings can be lasting heirlooms. I do recommend  keeping the paintings out of direct sunlight, dust and extreme heat/cold over time.” 
What kind of tools do you use and what size paintings?
“My most popular sizes are 24×30 and 24×36 but I’ll sometimes go as small as 18×24 and as large as 30×40 or 24×48 which is the most panoramic shape.” 
For people whose wedding has passed, can you still do a painting for them?
“I have done this in the past but I can only do a very limited number of larger more complicated photo commissions per year and usually only in the slower winter months — I have found I need to use the bulk my time during the week in my studio to touch up and perfect the live paintings I do on weekends. I can usually find time to do more small simple mini paintings ie of a favorite wedding portrait though, especially if booked far ahead of time!”
What is the pricing range for the live wedding painting vs a painting from photos?
“Since the full-sized photo paintings where I work from multiple photo references tend to take more time than painting an event live, they are similar in price—on average someone may spend between $1800-2500 depending on date, size, travel time and number of specific portraits and touch ups required—for example I can offer discounts for paintings that mainly just focus on the married couple and can be completed the same night. My standard packages include up to 12-15 recognizable guests in the painting and usually 5-10 hours of touch ups in my studio and the chance to request revisions to make sure you are 100% happy with the final product! A great option for under $1000, however, is to commission a mini painting that is just a direct copy of your favorite wedding photo—they can make great holiday or anniversary gifts! Feel free to fill out the contact form at eventpaintingbykatherine.com to request a more customized quote!” 
Why should someone hire a live event painter?
“A painting is not meant to replace a photographer or videographer, but it can add something truly one-of-a-kind to not only be enjoyed by guests during the party, but to be displayed as an heirloom (and conversation piece!) in your home for years to come. I think in an age where every guest is taking and posting photos and the couple is inundated by thousands of digital images of their wedding, there’s something timeless about having just one painting that captures all your favorite elements of the day.  A painter can also take direction from clients in ways a photographer can’t even with the best Photoshop tricks–for example, capturing the first dance but with the most important guests and decor also visible at the same time, and less picturesque elements of the wedding (i.e. speakers, exit signs) nowhere in sight! Or adding in a dog, cat or baby nephew who couldn’t make it to the wedding. Also with a painting you get to see your event through an artist’s eyes, which in itself is pretty special!”
What advice do you have for couples for their wedding?
“Choose a painter whose style you love and who is willing to work with you to make your vision come to life! Remember you want to not only impress guests at the wedding but love the artwork that will be in your home forever! Along those lines, make sure to have a detailed consultation in advance with your painter to discuss not only scene, important guests and details but your color and design scheme.  At the same time trust the artist to make certain decisions that result in a beautiful and dynamic painting!”

Carol Lake Studios based in CTwebsite + insta

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How did live event painting come to be? How did it start? Who started it? 
“Live event painting has actually been around for a lot longer than event photography – think of all those renaissance paintings of parties and yes, weddings! So it’s actually a long-standing tradition that is steeped in history and elegance. Nothing can quite capture the mood and feel of a wedding like a live painting can.” 
How did you learn to do it and how did you start? What kind of training did you take? How long have you been painting weddings? 
“I’ve been a professional portrait artist and figurative sculptor for over 25 years – and I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawing! I happened to see a handwritten request for a live event artist at an art supply store in Norwalk, CT, several years ago. That turned into my very first live event (wedding) painting (on the banks of the Hudson river!) I’ve been creating live event paintings ever since!”
How many weddings do you do a year?
“Although I could work every weekend, I try to limit my event paintings to less than 20 very special weddings per year. I’m getting more and more particular about which events I agree to paint – it’s really a labor of love and I want the final work of art to be just that – a work of art clients will have in their homes for a lifetime.  I have a few slots I’ve left open for 2018 but I’m booking into 2019 and 2020 now!” 
Do you travel worldwide?
“Yes, I recently returned from some of the most exquisite scenery I have ever painted, in Tuscany, Italy!”
Is it distracting when guests watch you work?
“No, not at all, in fact I very much enjoy involving clients and their guests in the painting itself! I love the look on the guest’s face when I hand them a paint brush and coach them on where and what to paint!” 
What is your favorite part of the wedding to paint? Ceremony, Reception, First Look, etc.?
“That’s like asking what my favorite color is! I love them all! Seriously though, I truly love capturing the feeling of the venue, and the love the couple shares with one another. Each painting is unique, and each couple will want to see something different. I strive to capture what it is that each couple would like to see – whether it’s the bride and groom dancing under the stars, or a crowd of happy, dancing guests, or the solemnity and elegance of the ceremony itself.” 
Will the painting itself become damaged with time or will it always look good?
“Barring any major accidents, the painting itself is created on archival canvas, with the highest quality oil and acrylic professional artist’s paints. A final, protective varnish is also applied after the work is completed. It will last for many generations.” 
What kind of tools do you use and what size paintings?
“The highest quality, professional and archival artist’s canvas, oil and/or acrylic paints, brushes and varnish. Sizes range from 18″ x 24″ to over 30″ x 50″, with most falling somewhere in between. I also offer wedding bouquet paintings, ranging in size from 11″ x 24″ and up. Custom sizes are of course always available.” 
For people whose wedding has passed, can you still do a painting for them?
“Of course! I accept a limited number of paintings from photographs, most are completed during the winter months.”
What is the pricing range for the live wedding painting vs a painting from photos?
“Paintings from photographs are generally 50% less than live event paintings.” 
Why should someone hire a live event painter?
“Having a live event painter at your wedding is an exciting, unique opportunity to document your beautiful day in a very unconventional, yet timeless way. Photographs are essential, of course, but an artist has the special ability to capture not only actual moments, but the feeling, mood and essence of the day – not to mention I can include loved ones (pets too!) that have passed away or are unable to attend. How many people do you know that have had a real live artist painting at their wedding? :)”

Laura Jane based in CA: website + insta

live wedding painting  live wedding paintinglive wedding painting
How did live event painting come to be? How did it start? Who started it?
“This is such a great question and I wish I had a definitive answer.  The first thing that comes to mind in terms of art depicting modern life are the Impressionists.  Outside of that, there is a lesser known 19th century German painter, Adolf Menzel, who was rarely seen without at least a sketchbook in hand.  He painted all kinds of temporal scenes including balls, royal departures/ arrivals and concerts. I looked to him and the soviet realists when I was starting out.” 
How did you learn to do it and how did you start? What kind of training did you take? How long have you been painting weddings?
“I finished my BFA in 2003 and then went on to copy paintings in the Prado Museum in Spain before returning back to Baltimore (where I went to art school) in 2005.  I was working on my own still lifes and interiors by day, making ends meet waiting tables by night at the same place I had worked all through school: a historic Baltimore club from the 1800’s.  I’d do dinner service during the week then practically every weekend a wedding (as a server).” 
“We had a bride who wanted her wedding painted, she got the idea having seen Greg Kalmar’s work in a magazine, and my boss was like, well Laura went to art school, maybe she can do that.   I had never heard of it and Greg’s style was so different than mine I had no idea how I would do it, but I said yes.  So I started from scratch, working every day at the train station for a month, trying to find my own way of painting a constantly moving scene.” 
“I was completely terrified on the day of the wedding but much to my surprise the painting was a huge hit!  The photographer helped me meet people in the industry and it just took off so quickly, within 6 months there were two magazine articles done on my live paintings there in Baltimore.  Here we are 12 years later and it seems like it just keeps getting more and more popular.” 
How many weddings do you do a year?
“Last year I did 40 which was just too many. I try to limit it to 30 as I’m always trying to ensure max quality and the work can take time.” 
Do you travel worldwide?
“Yes!  Anyone getting married in Croatia? Dying to visit.”
Is it distracting when guests watch you work?
“Not at all!  I meet so many interesting people and sometimes guests will share family stories that add depth and meaning to the work. It fun to share the day with everyone.” 
What is your favorite part of the wedding to paint? Ceremony, Reception, First Look, etc.?
“I love to capture the moment when the couple is returning from getting married as there is so much movement, forward momentum, and joy there.  I also love to do the first dance as the body language between the couple is just beautiful.” 
Will the painting itself become damaged with time or will it always look good?
“The painting should remain as is for several hundred years.  I don’t do any varnish on top of the oils and the varnish is what tends to yellow over time on museum paintings.  It’s always a good idea to keep the paintings out of direct sun, but the oil is pretty strong.” 
What kind of tools do you use and what size paintings?
“I always use oil on canvas and offer two sizes: 24 x 36” and 36 x 48”” 
For people whose wedding has passed, can you still do a painting for them?
“Yes, on a case by case basis.  I like for things to have some spatial reality to them so I need a photo that shows people in the space for scale references.  When I’m actually at the wedding, this is a big part of what I do, along with the light, which is impossible to capture in a photo the same way the eye sees it.”
What is the pricing range for the live wedding painting vs a painting from photos?
“My pricing generally ranges from $2500-5000 but if it’s a single photo being painted, I can sometimes do those for significantly less.” 
Why should someone hire a live event painter?
“You can have the painting on your walls and re-live that moment over and over again!   I like describing them as “dreamy panoramas”, something almost ethereal, that brings you back to the feeling of the day.  For anyone who loves art or who is sentimental it’s a must.”
What advice do you have for couples for their wedding?
“I would say try to plan as far in advance as you can, you get better pricing and first pick of your favorite vendors!  For a live painting, choose a painter whose style you resonate with and let them know your favorite pieces from their portfolio so they can get a sense of what kind of artwork you’d like.  I like to have my clients fill out a questionnaire about the moment they want captured, the people they’d like to include, and any aspects of their venue or decor they are particularly excited about.”

Wed on Canvas based in SC: website + insta

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How did live event painting come to be? How did it start? Who started it? How did you learn to do it and how did you start? What kind of training did you take? How long have you been painting weddings? How many weddings do you do a year? 
I‘ve been painting professionally, full-time, for coming up on 15 years!  Jen and I will never forget the first inquiry that came in for a live painting. Years of painting plein air trained me for live paintings, which we’ve been doing together since 2012.” 
Do you travel worldwide?
“Yes. Our favorite international wedding so far has been at a private residence in England. We are looking forward to an upcoming wedding in Luso, Portugal.”
Is it distracting when guests watch you work?
“This is a question I get very often at weddings and my simple answer is that I can talk and paint at the same time. After many years of creating live paintings I’ve learned to greatly enjoy interacting with guests and it’s actually one of my favorite aspects of live wedding painting.  I love the social aspect of my work.” 
What is your favorite part of the wedding to paint? Ceremony, Reception, First Look, etc.?
“That is a tough question because each wedding is so unique. The energy, color, lighting, decor, setting, personalities and even the timeline all play a huge part in the painting process. I’d have to say that because many other factors like these play a big role in the painting inspiration, I enjoy all of these subjects equally.” 
Will the painting itself become damaged with time or will it always look good?
“With proper care, the painting should last for centuries. I use archival quality canvas and paints.” 
What kind of tools do you use and what size paintings?
I paint almost entirely with brushes and we offer canvas sizes starting at 24 x 30 inches and larger.” 
For people whose wedding has passed, can you still do a painting for them?
“Absolutely! We create paintings from photos very frequently.”
What is the pricing range for the live wedding painting vs a painting from photos?
“Our prices for live paintings open at $3500 USD.  Due to the uniqueness of paintings from photos, they are priced individually and we do offer smaller canvas sizes than live paintings.” 
Why should someone hire a live event painter?
“Live event painting has sentimental, entertainment and investment value. For the sentimental reasons, there are very few things that the couple will take home from the wedding day.  One of the sweetest compliments we ever received was that our bride planned for her wedding painting to one day hang in her daughter’s nursery as a symbol of her parent’s love. It’s our hope that each painting will one day become such a meaningful family heirloom that is passed down through the generations. Regarding entertainment value, we hear over and over again from our clients that the painting was the best part of their wedding day and that people are still talking about it weeks and months afterward. As for investment value, I have been a full-time, gallery represented artist since 2004. When a couple hires me to create a painting on their wedding day, they are not only making an investment in each other, but also in a work of art created by an artist whose work is collected inside and outside the wedding industry, and is included in museum, corporate, and private collections internationally.”
What advice do you have for couples for their wedding?
“Hire an artist whose work you love, connect with and can see enjoying for a lifetime.”

In Conclusion:

So my hope is that you enjoyed these beautiful works of live wedding painting art. I also hope that you were able to learn more about live wedding painting through the stories, advice, answers from the live wedding painting artists. In addition, please let me know if you would consider hiring a live wedding painting artist for your event. Moreover, please leave a comment in the comments section below if you have any questions or comments.

Thank you so much for reading and visiting my blog!

Additionally, have a wonderful day and night!

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