Live Event Paintings

I paint oil paintings, live, at wedding receptions and events, anywhere in the world. Click my profile to find my email, or call (206) 382-7413.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Convention Party at Experience Music Project, Seattle

An evening at EMP, by Sam Day, 2014, oil on canvas, 24 x 30

   I guess if you haven’t been to EMP, this painting of hundreds of guitars takes some explaining.
  This year, the American Land Title Insurance Association chose Seattle for their annual convention, and after the usual meetings, came to the EMP Museum at Seattle Center to let their hair down.
   Experience Music Project is the brain child and pet project of Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, and was originally an homage to Jimi Hendrix— expanded to laud all popular music. It is now an exposition of all things pop culture. The museum is housed in one of the most infamous creations of architect Frank Gehry, a building as controversial as anything shown in the museum.  Its Sky Church concert hall, with one of the world’s largest indoor HD LED screens, was the center of our soirée. An incredible cover band played popular hits, decade by decade, from the 60s to the present.
  At the center of the EMP, towering over Jimi Hendrix (pictured in the lower left of my painting), is a sculpture titled If VI Was IX: Roots and Branches. The sculptor-composer is known as Trimpin, a MacArthur Genius who is kind of an extreme hybrid of John Cage and RubeGoldberg. It is an assemblage of about 700 instruments, including drums, brass, a few keyboards, and a big white bass viol. But it is mostly guitars, many of them donated by the great guitar makers such as Gibson and Fender. More than forty of these instruments were custom made to Trimpin’s designs, so that they play robotically as directed by his software. The title of the piece— If VI WasIX: Roots and Branches— refers to the origins and diversity of rock music. It is a massive tree; a whole forest, vibrating with color and majesty.
 This painting was given to the client’s outgoing chairman and his wife, who appear at the lower right of the painting with their friends.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Painting A San Ysidro Ranch Wedding, Montecito, California

The Savitt-Diamond Wedding, San Ysidro Ranch— oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches, by Sam Day

Forbes Magazine recently called this “America’s Best Hotel," but the San Ysidro Ranch has been familiar with such accolades since it became a resort in 1892. In its early years it became a darling retreat for a new industry: Hollywood. Winston Churchill brought his family here. John Huston wrote the screenplay for The African Queen here. Sir Lawrence Olivier married Vivien Leigh in this same garden. The Kennedys honeymooned here; a cottage is named for them. Jessica Simpson got married here this summer.
But it is not a place of glamour and glitter to the glitterati: it’s a place to get away from all that. Indeed, it seems like Eden. Originally deeded along with the Santa Barbara Presidio by King Charles III of Spain in 1780, and for much of the 19th century a working citrus ranch, the property still covers five hundred acres. Two hundred of those acres are meticulously gardened, with not a pebble out of place. (I know, I tried to look for one to weigh down the vase that held my brushes. I probably would have had to hike down to the creek to find one.) The forty-one cottages are secluded and homey, unostentatiously decorated with antiques, oriental rugs, and fine paintings. It seems every structure is covered by bougainvillea.
Detail of couple 
Though there are many separate gardens— from the Rose Garden to the Chef’s Organic Garden (plotted with traditional Spanish geometry, with a fountain in the center)— this couple were married on the main lawn behind the hacienda, between the pergola and the reflecting pool full of water lilies, under a chuppah laden with hydrangea and roses.
I painted from mid afternoon until the end of cocktails, just before the sun set. The bride and groom found a few minutes to stand for their portraits between photos and dinner at the Stonehouse Restaurant, a short stroll away. I then took the easel down to the Hydrangea Cottage, where the painting was displayed during dancing in the courtyard.
Adjacent to that structure, I relaxed in what became my favorite building on the property: the old faithfully restored adobe cabin, which dates to 1825. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hu-Cheung Wedding, Grace Chinese Lutheran Church, Seattle

Hu-Cheung Wedding, 2014,  Oil on canvas,  by Sam Day. 

Kristy and Will had a simple, family centered wedding, packed with guests from both the United States and Taiwan. The ceremony was presided over by two ministers, and conducted in both English and Chinese, with translation for each. It was filled with music, performed by friends of the musical couple, and also sung by the congregation as a hymn, and included the serving of Communion. I more often paint receptions than ceremonies, but the length of this one made it possible. The couple met in this church, so a painting in the chapel itself has special significance for them.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Caricatures at a Company Picnic

As much as I love doing oil paintings at weddings, every time I get a caricature gig, I wonder why I don’t do this more often. There’s nothing I love drawing  more— or painting— than people.
This was a fun gig, because of the people who make up the company, which produces well known games for every digital platform. They’re young, smart, hip, and wear a wide variety of facial hair. Just reading their tee shirts requires some thought. And, of course, they brought some kids.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Laina and Mo at the Fremont Foundry, Seattle

Laina and Mo at The Fremont Foundry, oil on canvas by Sam Day

Event venues can be made from anything these days. The Fremont Foundry is a magnificent space that preserves an old industrial metal works, including a fully functioning gantry crane (not pictured). It mostly just lifts a massive chandelier, but it’s there if you need to lift something really heavy.  That’s in the atrium, of course, where dinner was served. The setting for my painting was the penthouse. The ceremony was outside on one of the expansive roof decks, as were cocktails, during which guests flowed in and out of the penthouse. After dinner downstairs, they came back up to the penthouse for dancing.
My painting depicts both ends of the evening. On the left, through a window, we see the ceremony, with the wedding party lined up against the skyline. It’s a small, loose rendering; a detail in the background. On the right, through another window, we see the guests at cocktails. Through higher windows, we see the changing light at dusk. And in the center of the dance floor, the couple poses with their mothers. 
The couple and their mothers

Monday, June 23, 2014

Dinner with Heart – American Heart Association Gala

I’m pleased to paint at this auction every year. The American Heart Association funds vital research that has saved countless lives.
Steping back a bit from the usual black tie affair, this year’s event was held in the perfectly preserved barn at the Kelley Farm (est. 1864), in Bonney Lake, WA.
The painting in progress— I arrive early and paint the scene, then add people during the cocktail hour, as a live performance. 
I'm indebted to Nicole Ryan Photography for this great sequence of images documenting the progress of my painting. Daniel Smith Art Supplies donated the Fredrix Pro canvas. 

The working palette

On stage during the live auction— the painting is finished, except for the buyers' portraits. At the end of the night, the winning bidder  and company will be painted in to the central space in the foreground. 

Painting from life: putting the winning bidders into their painting

The finished painting at twightlight
The brushes at rest

Dinner with Heart, American Heart Association Gala, 2014, by Sam Day. Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Live Painting at Northwest Corks and Crush Auction, 2014

Live Painting at Northwest Corks and Crush Auction, 2014
Northwest Corks and Crush is a benefit for the Good Samaritan Foundation, of Good Samaritan Hospital  in Puyallup, Washington. As I always do when I paint at auctions, I painted the scene during the silent auction and cocktail hour. Then during the live auction, I carried the painting onstage and did my best Vanna White impression as the bid paddles were raised. Then afterwards, the couple who bought the painting met me at my easel, where I painted them standing next to this lovely 1956 Cadillac Eldorado.