When you’re in the midst of planning a wedding, there a few big arrangements required: the venue, the guest list, the food, etc. But then there are a million small things that have the power to really make a wedding super memorable. You could deck your ceremony out in 4,000 pom-poms like our creative director Anjelika Temple did. You could provide guests with custom temporary tats OR you could have a live painter there to capture your day in real time.
The old-school art form seems to be making a comeback on the wedding scene. And to be honest, it’s no surprise why. Atlanta-based live painter Maggie Smith Kühn recently shared photos from a wedding she painted in North Carolina, and the results are totally stunning. We chatted with Maggie to ask her a little bit more about her unique job and why she thinks live painting is making a comeback.
She tells us, “The practice of live painting is something that is a dying art and live painters are exceptionally rare. Historically, it used to be the only way to visually record major events before the invention of photography. Artists would set up their easels at coronations, births, weddings and even on battlefields to capture moments in time! I always went through museums and thought the energy in those historic paintings was very moving. I think live painting is still an important and interesting way to document history, especially personal histories. That’s what draws me to weddings. It’s such a life-altering day for each bride and groom I paint!”
Maggie says each painting typically takes her three to four hours to complete and that the process goes a little something like this: “I set up my easel and start painting when the event starts, and I finish the paintings before the event is over. People can watch everything happen in real time, which is a lot of the appeal for guests. The best part is that at the end of what is essentially a performance, there is a beautiful artwork as a memento of the occasion.”
While painting the first dance seems to be the most popular scene newlyweds want captured, Maggie has also been hired to paint quick watercolor portraits for guests as a wedding favor – think of it as a super classed-up version of those caricature drawings you used to get at theme parks. While she admits that painting a live scene can be stressful at times, she remembers her most challenging wedding to be a beautifully lavish California wedding where she painted five-minute watercolor portrait of each guest. Maggie says, “I managed to finish 94 paintings over the course of six hours. It was insane!”
Now, we’re not saying you should fire your wedding photographer in favor of a live painter (unless you saw this bride’s wedding photos that she shot herself and now feel inspired to do the same), but we are saying that having a live painter contribute to the day could be a super special memento you’ll be able to keep and cherish forever.
Have you ever been to a wedding with a live painter? Share with us in the comments below.
(Photos via Robyn Van Dyke)