Live wedding painting appeals to couples who want something unique — a way to capture their day beyond traditional photography and videography options. Bride Erica Negrin says, “After much research, my husband and I decided a live event painter would add a fun entertainment aspect while also giving us an extremely personal keepsake in order to remember our special day forever! It definitely gave our wedding that extra special touch.”
As Negrin alludes to, having a painter at your wedding isn’t just about preserving the memory, but it’s unique and memorable for family and friends. The live wedding painter that Negrin chose, Anthony Galati, says, “Guests often come over to watch me paint and engage with me, asking questions about my process and the painting itself.”
Negrin says that many of her guests had never seen a painter creating art at a reception before. “Our guests were blown away. Many of them went over to check out Anthony’s amazingly detailed artwork. He and his assistant were more than happy to discuss his painting and their techniques with anyone interested,” she adds.
While a live painter does work on a piece during the event, the work doesn’t begin and end there. The bride and groom should have a discussion in advance with their artist about what specific scene they’d like to capture, what they would like the mood to be and who they want included. Galati reports that often couples choose their first dance to be depicted, however the couple is free to choose whichever part of the day they would most like painted.
To render these truly detailed works of art, which is Galati’s specialty, the artist captures all of the important details of the scene and people. To that end, Galati visits the wedding space about a month before the event. He takes photos so that he may begin crafting the venue in the artwork ahead of time — if needed, he will adjust the specific hue of the lighting and make other adjustments on the day of the celebration. “From that initial visit, I’m able to lay out the scene and get all of the shapes where they need to be,” says Galati.
During the wedding celebration, Galati will capture the couple in their finery and the beauty of the decor while interspersing his time working on the image with snapping photos of all elements and the key friends and family that he plans to include later. He says, “The photos are reference material for my work back in the studio after the celebration.”
In fact that work — which is done after the event itself — is the most detailed and meticulous, with Galati reviewing photos and video clips of the event to choose the best facial expressions and poses for inclusion. “My paintings represent the most optimized version of all of the best parts of the event in a single image. I strive to capture each person’s most natural smile. My goal is to show the totality of the event in the best way possible and reproduce it with the most authentic appearance to send the emotion of that time flooding back each time you look at it,” he says.
Whereas a photographer is limited in candid shots by who is in one place at one time, an event painter has the ability to position the most important members of the family in the frame (though in reality they may be spread across a much greater distance), for example, watching the first dance. Galati adds, “I have the advantage of being able to edit out elements that are less ideal, like unattractive A/V equipment, or to move someone over who is blocking the cake.”
Freezing and re-constructing that single, perfect moment is an effort that typically takes Galati more than 400 hours for each live event painting. He does have three artistic options that vary the number of people and the scope, so the length of time for each heirloom piece isn’t fixed. Negrin says it’s well worth it.
“We were absolutely amazed at how Anthony was able to capture the essence and personality of the people in our painting after only having met them for a short time. My husband and I just bought our first house and plan to have our painting as a focal point; we’re excited to cherish it for the rest of our lives. We now want to have another event just so Anthony can create more paintings for us!” she says.
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