I have a confession to make. I once pimped my artistic services. I am, therefore, a painting ho.
Right before we moved from Tennessee in 2001, I was contacted by the fiancée of one of the Tennessee Titan’s coaches. They were planning their wedding, and they had come up with a right spectacular idea. To make their wedding ceremony complete (more complete than any ceremony I have ever heard of) they decided it would be truly wonderful if a painter could paint their portrait capturing their initial moment of wedded bliss as soon as they were pronounced husband and wife.
As stunned as I was by the ingenuity of this plan, I had to inform the love blind couple that it would be one LONNNNNG ceremony if I was to paint a double portrait of them on stage in front of the throngs of well wishers which would include the entire Tennessee Titans team as well as the head hunk coach Jeff Fisher. Not to be derailed by this logistic, they came up with a very clever solution. If I could paint the portrait ahead of time, and then set up AS IF I were going to paint on the spot, I could then reveal the finished portrait to the audience, and they would think it was magic, or I was a freaking genius.
The day of the wedding arrived. Working from a photo taken by a wedding photographer (bless his heart) I had completed a head and shoulders portrait of the happy couple posing together in their wedding clothes (apparently their desire for the portrait superseded the tradition of hiding the blushing bride until wedding day). I had agreed to dress in a long blue gown I had that would go well with the colors of the wedding, and over the gown I was to wear, are you ready? A PAINTERS SMOCK…over the GOWN.
The wedding took place at a beautiful antebellum mansion in the country. The ceremony was on the steps leading up to the great columns at the front entrance before an audience of very big men and Jeff Fisher. After the minister pronounced them husband and wife, the band began playing something sentimental. This was my cue to hustle on “stage” with my french easel, my blue gown and my smock, and feign painting. The idea was I had the length of the song to deceive the audience as the couple struck the same pose they were holding in the already completed portrait. It took quite a bit of swashbuckling strokes with the paintbrush to affect the illusion. (David Copperfield, I have a patent on this.)
In the end, I got quite a round of applause for my virtuosity, and the happy couple rode off into the sunset with their wonderful dry portrait tucked safely under their arms. As difficult as the commission was I felt good about making their day complete. It probably hangs over their fireplace and I’ll bet they look at it every day if they’re not divorced.
Unfortunately, I never took a picture of the painting to post here, perhaps a bit of selective oversight going on, and instead I have posted a wedding portrait by Marc Chagall above.
I can’t help but to mourn the fact that had I stayed in Nashville, my reputation as a wedding painter may have grown and I could have captured a niche that has been untapped until today as of this post when I am sure that a number of you viewers are going to run with the idea.
Pssst–please don’t tell anyone I did this…