• Dan Nelson

Crazy Things That Happen Doing Wedding Paintings! (The first in a series, am sure.)

The craziest things that have happened to me doing a wedding painting.

I was doing a full-sheet watercolor painting in a huge cathedral a thousand miles from home. I typically start my watercolor sketches-- as I call them-- with watercolor pencils, then a little pen & ink and then I start the actual painting. So I was about an hour and a half into the piece when I made my first stroke with a brush. My hair stood on end. The paint did something I have never seen watercolor paint do in my whole life. It's hard to describe if you're not a watercolorist, but it kind of "squooshed" into the paper . . . it soaked in and got dark, and worst of all it wouldn't budge. I could't move it around at all, as you normally can with watercolor. The wedding still hadn't started, yet, so nobody could see me sweating. But, boy, was I sweating! After several very confusing minutes I finally concluded that I had inadvertently picked up a piece of BLOTTER PAPER in the art store, and I was trying to do a watercolor painting on a paper that was designed to behave in a VERY anti-watercolorist manner! I started scrambling for escape hatches-- No, the floor looked too solid to fall through, I might have an extra sheet in the car . . . but if I start over now, I'll NEVER be finished in time to start an oil painting at the reception.

So I decided to paint like a Ninja. Just throw everything at it-- Rub! Scrape! Blot! Push! Scrape some more . . . and little by little I began to invent a new style of watercolor painting. I used a lot more opaque paint than normal, and just kept working at it 'til it started looking like it was intentional. Really, all that matters is that is a beautiful painting, right? "I am a trained professional" I kept telling myself. All that matters is that it is a beautiful painting, doesn't matter how I get there. Well, here is that painting. I presume the bride and groom never had a clue-- until now, if they read this blog, which, of course is very unlikely.

Big lesson: Keep your head.Trust your instincts. Stay flexible. People don't really care about the process, all they care about is a beautiful painting. (And watch out what you're picking up at the art store!)

More Later.

Until then . . . Happy Painting!


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