By Brooke Schultz
Live wedding painter captures the details of your special day.
For Brittany Eddowes, seeing her wedding come together through the lens of a painter was “more than we could have ever dreamt up.”
The painting, featuring the newly married Eddowes during their first dance, depicts the couple’s Chesapeake Bay Beach Club venue, their centerpieces and drapery, the bridge in the distance, the Bay itself — and even their dog.
“I just feel like it’s a different kind of keepsake,” she says. “It’s the wow factor.”
The artist is Brittany Branson, whose career in the field began about two years ago, after she had a live wedding painter at her wedding.
After watching the painter work at her wedding, Branson felt that, with a little bit of courage, she could do that, too.
“The painting is one of the most precious things I have from the big day,” Branson says. “Now that we have our own painting, and it’s so special to us, it’s very wonderful to be able to offer that to my own couples, because the painting is probably one of, if not the only thing, that you’ll be able to keep from that day.”
Through her work, Branson complements what wedding photographers capture.
“I can have a little bit more fun, in terms of the flexibility of the paintings, because it’s not just documenting what’s happening,” she says.
Like with the Eddowes couple, Branson says that she tries to include little details from the wedding into the painting.
“I just want to make sure your painting captures as much of what guests are seeing as possible,” Branson says. “I do my best to make sure that the painting captures a lot of other elements that may not immediately be in front of people during the first dance, or another moment.”
During the Eddowes’ first dance, the Bay was behind Branson as she was painting, but she knew it was important to include it for the couple. In the final piece, the Bay stretches out behind the Eddowes as they dance.
Branson notes that it’s popular for couples to have their pet included. She can also add in loved ones who have passed.
“The painting can be a really nice way to honor them,” she says. “That’s where we can really have some fun with the painting and really create a memory.”
Using acrylic, it takes Branson about five hours on site to render her work. She typically arrives at the venue about two hours early to set up where the moment will occur, so she can lay in the background and additional details.
“That timeframe helps me complete the background and work on the composition of the painting,” she says.
“Hopefully, it’s a little bit dry by the time, let’s say, their first dance happens and then I just paint for a few more hours.”
She doubles as a form of entertainment, too, she noted.
“A lot of guests love to just do quick laps to see the progress of the painting,” she laughs.
“The amount of people that came up to us to say, ‘Wow, your portrait looks amazing’ — that’s a good feeling, too, that people enjoyed it as much as we did,” she says. “You don’t see live wedding portrait painters as often.”
Branson offers two sizes of canvas — 18x24 or 22x28 — as well as the option to have a painting from the ceremony and reception commissioned. Typically, she says, couples choose to have a moment from their reception, and the 18x24 is her most popular canvas size.
This year, Branson has 30 weddings lined up so far, but she’s still booking.
“The painting just incorporates all the details. It may take eight or nine photos to show the whole picture of the wedding, but this hits it all in one,” Eddowes said.
“She did way more than I ever asked for.”