Last Saturday I painted at my first wedding of the new year. The bride contacted me over a year ago to set it up. She told me that her grandmother, who lived in a French Quarter apartment, would not be able to attend the reception. She asked if I would be able to paint their second line which went from St. Louis Cathedral to Pat O’s on the River instead of the reception. She wanted her grandmother’s building to be the backdrop of the painting.

I am always hesitant and nervous to do something new, but the more I practice it the better I get at saying yes to things hovering somewhere just outside my comfort zone.

Sadly, the bride’s grandmother passed away before the wedding, but she asked if I would still place her on the balcony of the building.

The whole event was probably my best wedding experience to date. The process was different. I pre-sketched the street scene at home, set up at Pat O’s, then walked the couple blocks to the Cathedral to take photos of the second line. The weather was perfect— more like a Spring day than January, and I followed the parade throughout the quarter snapping photos, which I then used once we made it back to the reception venue. As people danced at the reception, I quickly painted them into the second line scene that I’d created from the photos. It was joyful, different. I had more fun painting than I have had in a while.

Today’s watercolor painting is based on one of the photos I took that day of the brass band. Like that wedding painting, this whole watercolor thing has been a change in my process, a step outside my routine, a small break with my (pretty small) comfort zone. And wouldn’t you know, because of it, my comfort zone is getting a little bit bigger.

Risks are worth taking. I am almost sure of it.