Not too long ago I was a guest on the show The Brothers F Bookcast with my friend Francisco and his brothers. They invited me to pick an art-related topic for discussion, so I went with a short story by the incisive Dorothy Sayers.
We had a fun time. You can have a listen here: https://www.thebrothersf.com/episode/dorothy-sayers-making-art-with-john-folley-
Let me know what you think if you listen! Literature fans may want to add The Brothers F to their regular list!
Guest post by Deirdre M. Folley
Live Wedding Painting - also known as Live Painting or Event Painting - is something that John and I talk about so much that we forget that many people haven't heard of it and don't know what it is. We expect that that will change quickly, however, as the trend is on the rise! In a few years, running into an artist mid-painting at a wedding or other event may not be as surprising as it is now, but it's sure to cause a stir no matter what!
Hiring a Live Wedding Painter or Live Event Painter is somewhere between hiring a photographer and hiring an entertainer (like a juggler or a musician) -- only you end up with an heirloom-quality work of art commemorating your big day! To help explain, I'll run through a few of the most common questions we get about John painting live at events and weddings:
"What is this 'Live Painting' you speak of?"
John is hired to arrive at an event as a vendor, set up his easel and paints, and paint a painting right there in front of guests! Most often, this is for weddings, where the couple is looking for a crowd-pleasing add-on to the cocktail hour or reception and also want to have a work of art that depicts their wedding day. It is both entertainment at the event and a beautiful finished product to cherish after the fact.
Does John really paint live?
Yes! John's training in the Direct Approach actually makes him particularly suited to observe life in front of him quickly and comprehensively and efficiently transfer his vision to the canvas. He paints what he sees in real time while he's there, and then completes the painting with any necessary finishing touches back at his studio after the fact. He'll snap a few photos while he's there to make sure he has the visual information he needs to complete the painting, but most of the work is done right there, at the event.
Can guests watch John while he works?
Yes, and ask him questions, too! John is totally comfortable painting live in front of event guests, chatting and answering questions while he does so. We often hear that one of the favorite things people love about having John at their events is how much interaction there is between him and their guests, making the event that much more fun and memorable! We think it's a great ice-breaker at a party: if you have a moment between things at a reception, checking in on the progress of a painting and chatting with a friendly fine artist is always fun, and you'll be sure to have something about which to talk to other guests!
What sets John apart from other Live Painters?
Most Live Painters work in acrylic paint because it is a fast-drying medium, and some do Live Painting as their full-time job. Some Live Painters hand the painting over to the new owners that same night.
John, however, is a Classically-trained artist and works in oil paint, with Live Painting being just one part of his professional art business. Oil paint dries more slowly and needs to set, which is why John will take the painting back to his studio even if it is complete at the end of the night. He then varnishes it to ensure the most vivid color, which then involves a bit more drying and setting. While there's more of a wait time with John's artwork, the result is museum-quality fine art with a longevity worthy of a true heirloom piece (as oil paint is more stable over time than acrylic). We say that the delivery time is 4-12 weeks after the event, with the usual delivery generally being more like 4.
Furthermore, when you're hiring John for Live Painting (as with any of his artistic services), you're hiring a Classically-trained artist who will bring his Boston School vision along with him. He doesn't rely on pre-fab models in his head, he just honestly paints what he sees, with a focus on the light and color before him. Not every Live Painter who can capture the feel of an event on canvas and entertain guests also has a fine art portfolio of timeless quality. As he continues to do more and more Live Painting events, I expect his paintings will grow increasingly beautiful with his experience.
Where do John's events usually take place?
John is currently receiving requests for weddings and other events from across Massachusetts, from western Mass to all over Cape Cod (with, of course, lots of interest in Boston!). He also is sought from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut for weddings, with occasional requests from New York and New Jersey. While most clients prefer to look for a local wedding painter, you may find that you don't have a painter near you or that you particularly want John's style -- in which case, get in touch because we can arrange for John to travel to you!
When it comes to corporate or non-profit clients whose mission is aligned well with John's, he's especially up for travel to be of service at a gala, fundraiser, retreat, or other such event.
How much does Live Wedding Painting cost?
If you are searching around for a Live Painter for your wedding or event, you will see a range of prices. Depending on the artist's market, number of years of experience, and travel costs, you will pay a Live Painter between $600-$6000.
John's Live Painting prices are a great value, as he is relatively new on the market and especially considering the quality of his oil paintings. Depending on where their weddings are taking place and what they're looking for, local clients of John are currently paying $1400-$3500. Pricing for non-wedding events tends to look a little different, as the needs are different.
When you consider that you're getting entertainment for an event wrapped up with a personal fine art commission, you can see the value!
Click here to see John's Live Painting page.
Are there other questions I still haven't covered? Let me know below!
Guest post by Deirdre M. Folley
Have you ever been at a loss when it comes time to choose a gift for your loved one?
Whether you're a gift-giving maven or gift-giving-challenged, I think the story of Micah's thoughtful First Anniversary gift will inspire you.
Newlyweds Micah and Megan had agreed that they would not exchange presents for their first year anniversary. John and I have certainly been in that boat! In a busy season (in this case, a baby on the way), it does take the pressure off to know that you won't disappoint your spouse if there's a mutual agreement that no gift is necessary nor expected.
But Micah had other schemes in mind.
"Megan's father is a great gift giver. He's always great about giving his wife and daughters flowers - always so on top of it. I know I cannot compete," Micah told John of the family he'd married into.
When they discussed exchanging gifts on their first anniversary, Megan agreed that Micah could give her flowers - just flowers.
"As I approached the end of the first year of marriage I wanted to give my wife something special. She loves flowers, especially ranunculus. Their rose-like blossoms have tissue-thin petals and come in a range of beautiful colors. The dilemma I faced is that these exquisite flowers fade quickly. Thus the idea was born to capture these flowers permanently." - Micah
So the commission that John received was to paint a small oil painting - one small enough to fit standing up on Megan's desk, the way a vase of flowers would be set - of her favorite kind of flower, the ranunculus.
"It was a fun occasion for me to have some beautiful, florist-sent blooms in the studio," says John, "since of course I wanted to work from life to capture these flowers with all their delicacy and liveliness." We ordered a selection of the blooms and John chose the best colors for his composition, narrowing down on just a few in order to fit their detail onto a demure 8"x6" canvas.
"Working with John on the idea was a delight and he captured their beauty and delicacy perfectly!" Micah told me, "My wife proudly displays her favorite flowers on our living room mantle for all to see and enjoy knowing they will always be in full bloom."
Of course, the final cleverness of Micah's commission is that the first wedding anniversary is traditionally observed as the Paper Anniversary; thus, the gift delivered on canvas (close enough to paper!) ties in doubly well in this case.
We were impressed with Micah's thoughtfulness in bringing this project to John, and delighted to see it come to fruition in time for a late Fall anniversary. Our best wishes to the newlyweds, now one year in!
If you're interested in commissioning your own piece, be sure to take a look at my commissions page.
If you were to plan a commissioned fine art gift this year, what would be the occasion?
It was a pleasure producing a portrait of this impressive home in Ann Arbor for a friend and his wife to give as a gift to his in-laws.
We heard from the patron that the process and product met and exceeded his and his wife's expectations and that the portrait was well-received -- always a pleasure to hear that the gift-giving went over well after putting the love into the process!
I used pen and ink and watercolor on paper for this portrait. Please take a look at my portraiture page if you're interested in learning more about your own house portrait commission!
Hello there, I'm John H. Folley, an oil painter in the Boston School tradition. Thanks for visiting the Beauty Advocacy Blog, where it's my job to help you become a more discerning art appreciator.
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