“Radiant”, 30 x 40 Oil on canvas by Susan Patton

Painting at a wedding reception was not something I had experience with when I was asked to paint at Zack and McKenzie Stephenson’s wedding. I knew this would be a challenge not only for me as an artist, but also a challenge to capture a  “once in a lifetime” grand moment for them.

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Painting that night, I spent much of my time observing, photographing, and drafting my painting, with emphasis on capturing a moment between the bride and groom and making my painting focus on them. I also wanted to get the “feel” of the atmosphere, and take note of certain elements such as the warm and cool light and the “Silver and Gold” effects of the decor.

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I took a lot of reference photos, and got my painting to the stage of an established center of interest and element of design, but would need to finish it by photos at home. Once home, using my references from my photos and memories of the night, I completed the painting.

The experience helped me grow as an artist. Although the day was much more physically taxing than I had anticipated, it was also an exercise for me as an artist to narrow down and learn to draft a painting quickly, as well as learn the importance of taking a lot of photos which proved helpful later.

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What did I learn?

Plein Air + “30 x 40” canvas + A live audience + low lighting + Moving targets + A short window of time = Reception Painting

Would I do it again? Absolutely!

I got to witness an indescribable night and meet a wonderful family who has seen the Lord’s Hand on their life, and that = Priceless.

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