You Know What Your Problem is?

IMG_6099“You know what your problem is?” a sassy little woman in a red hat asks me as I finish a stroke on my painting.

I’m intrigued. My problem? I’ve got 99 and, well, you know the rest.

“What?” I finally ask her.

“You aren’t afraid.” She says it with admiration. Like painting is something I should be afraid. It’s the way I would say it to a mountain climber or a shark vet or a bungee jumper.

Live paintings can be deceiving. What she doesn’t know is that I’m afraid all the damn time. Of not being a good enough mom. Of not being a good enough painter. Of not spending enough time with my friends and those relationships slowly dying. I’m afraid of the people who look at my work like it’s just an object, one whose value depends upon their approval.

I met the woman who told me about my “problem” at the Sophisticated Woman Magazine “Hat’s Off” luncheon where most of the guests wore elaborate hats. As each attendee walked in, she put one stroke on the painting I eventually created. It was a powerful exercise in giving up control. Most women began their painting stroke with this caveat: “You can fix this, right?”

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I didn’t fix anything. I enhanced, embellished, developed, added. It’s just paint after all. The marks we make don’t need to be covered. They need to be showcased.

At the end of the day, I trusted myself enough to let anyone paint anything on my canvas. I trusted them too. I trusted that lines and colors and shapes can always be lead to harmony. That none are damning in and of themselves. That I can direct them. I know how.

I enjoyed this practice so much I did it again the following night at Spring for Art in downtown Covington. There was a much bigger variety of participants this time– kids, adults, men, and women. The painting went in a hundred different directions. There were times I feared it would grow beyond my ability to control it. But it didn’t.

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My sassy friend was right– I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid to let my many fears exist– to feel them, breathe them in and breathe them out. And then move on. Keep painting. Parenting. Going to lunch with friends as often as I can. She wasn’t watching someone who wasn’t afraid of painting. I am. She was watching someone who wasn’t afraid of fear.

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Final product from the Hats Off Luncheon

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Final product from Spring for Art

 

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Kaci and Dustin, Balcony Ballroom 1/28/17

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Last weekend I painted at the wedding reception of Kaci and Dustin at Balcony Ballroom in Metairie. Let me tell you, it was a total party led by the dancing queen featured below. At one point she had a crowd all around her and she, well, let’s just say, she could cut a rug. And the band, At Fault, gave her plenty of reason to keep going. They are high energy and can work the crowd.

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What I like about the venue

IMG_5198I’ve both attended weddings here and painted at them. Never passed a bad time. It’s one big room, which is nice because all the guests are together in the action. The columns and the chandeliers always give me great visual interest for the painting. And, of course, there’s the balcony which didn’t make it into this painting, but provides a great spot for the photographer to get shots of the entire group of guests. Kaci and Dustin even had their first dance up there– a little different than most venues and everyone could see them (they were flawless) without having to peer over someone’s shoulder or elbow their way to a spot near dance floor. It’s almost like the ballroom was a wedding cake and they were the adorable little toppers.

I captured Kaci and Dustin when they’d made it down to the main floor and were giving it all they had on the dance floor. Seriously, the whole night was a dance party.

 

 

 

And the style award goes to…

This guy. His beard was awesome. 

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Once again, I left this reception feeling amazed that I get to go to people’s weddings and just paint. I’ll risk sounding like a teenager and just say it– it’s, like,  totally so much fun!

If you attended the wedding and are interested in a print of the painting, check out your options here

Day 47. Adventures in Wedding Painting

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When bride Marianne contacted me about doing a live painting at their reception, I was thrilled. After last month’s trial run, I was eager to keep going.

This one took place at the very beautiful Maison Lafitte in old Mandeville. I started setting up at about five o’clock. A light rain was failing as I unfolded my easel inside the outdoor tent.

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All set up and ready to go!

This was one of the most fun receptions I’ve been to, and I enjoyed every moment. But it did present a few challenges I’d never really considered.

1. It literally changed from day to night. When I started painting, everything was green and rain-kissed. By the end of the night it was quite dark.

2. Termites. Who knew. They attacked not only me but my painting as well. I had to keep pulling them out of the paint, and eventually had to turn off my spotlight to keep them from swarming. By the end of the evening, guests were coming over to look at the painting, and it became an interesting game of finding the termites. There’s even a few streaks in the painting where a few tried to escape their oily doom.

3. Rain. Oil and water don’t exactly mix. It was an interesting challenge keeping everything dry throughout set-up and tear down.

Despite these unforeseen challenges, I’m LOVING live painting and can’t wait to do more. Last night I got to chat with a teenager who is in the talented art program at my alma mater. He was so interested in what I was doing, that I gave him a brush and let him do a few strokes on the painting. The best part was being able to talk to him about art as a very real career path. I was always told art was an on-the-side gig. But the truth I have found is that when it’s on the side, it just doesn’t happen, and if it does happen, it doesn’t happen well. I was excited to talk to a young person about art in a way that was different from what I’d always heard.

Check out the live painting section of my site for more information on wedding painting. My prices are considerably lower than other live event painters since I’m just getting started. They’ll be going up soon, so now’s the time to book.