Katherine Gressel
Event Painting by Katherine Video, by Nathaniel ArmstrongGabrielle's bat mitzvah party site (East Meadow Jewish Center)Gabrielle's bat mitzvah party site (East Meadow Jewish Center)Background: painted mostly before guests arrivedNearly-finished painting at the end of the eventFinal painting: Gabrielle's Bat Mitzvah: completed with more detailed family portraits in the studioJeremy and Chelsea's wedding sitePainting in progress at the receptionFinal painting: Jeremy and Chelsea, completed at the receptionBonnie and Dimitry's wedding siteBonny and Dimitry's wedding sitePainting in progress at the receptionFinal painting: Bonny and Dimitry, completed in the studioRenee and Robert's wedding site at Osborn Castle (Cat Rock), Garrison, NYRenee and Robert's wedding site at Osborn Castle (Cat Rock), Garrison, NYRenee and Robert's wedding site at Osborn Castle (Cat Rock), Garrison, NYPainting in progress: putting in the background before guests arrive at the reception Final painting: Renee and Robert, completed the day after the wedding on siteDamon and Sara's wedding reception at Catoctin Quaker Camp, MDDamon and Sara's wedding reception at Catoctin Quaker CampPainting easel setup at Damon and Sara's wedding at Catoctin Quaker CampFinal painting, Damon and Sara, completed with details in the studioDetail from final painting: portraits of the bride, groom, and family members Janine and John's wedding site at Il Cortile Restaurant, Little Italy, NYCFinal painting: Janine and John, completed at the eventPhiladelphia Mural Arts Program "Wall Ball" Fundraiser, event site (PIazza at Schmidt's)Painting onsiteCompleted painting, Wall Ball
The Live Painting Process
SEE A VIDEO of me painting at a wedding in August 2009 at Osborn Castle in Garrison, NY, by Nathaniel Armstrong, to see the process in action!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What distinguishes event painting from regular photography or video?
A: Unlike a photographer or videographer at an event, who mostly tries to document the action, a live painter is an essential part of the action, putting on a subtle performance for guests; guests love to watch a painting unfold over the course of an event and see their own portraits being added. The resulting painting becomes an especially unique memento, because of its ability to capture the feel of an entire event rather than isolated moments.

Q: What is your goal as an artist in your event paintings?"
In my live paintings, I focus first on capturing the light, color, and architecture or landscape of a specific place and time as I believe this is the basis for a successful painting. I then hone in on the most important people and details as focal points. Rather than opting for the most traditional compositions, however, I apply the same interest in asymmetry, movement, juxtaposed images, and exaggerated scale and perspective that informs all of my paintings. I may combine several different vantage points of a site into one single painting, frequently incorporating mirrors or windows that reveal or reflect additional views.

Q: Can I have a say in how the painting will look?
A: I always talk or meet with clients before the day of the event to learn about the specifics of the festivities and customize the project. Clients may request a specific moment in the event to capture, or specific people or details to include.

Q: How long does a live event painting take? Can the entire piece be completed at the event?
A: A complete 22" X 28"-24"X36" painting (my most popular sizes) can usually be done over a 6-10 hour period onsite--for a shorter event, I would recommend a smaller-sized canvas. If I am not permitted to arrive onsite very early, or if a client desires a lot of detail, such as specific portraits, the painting can be completed in the studio after the event using photo references, usually at no extra charge. In a typical arrangement, I prefer to arrive on site 2 to 4 hours in advance of the event to start painting the background before guests arrive. This allows me to focus on capturing the details of the people during the event itself. However, I can tailor the schedule to the requirements of the event and site.

Q: What type of paint/materials do you use?
A: I paint with water-based acrylic paint on pre-stretched canvas. The paint is non-toxic and extremely quick-drying, allowing for easy clean-up and transport of the painting after an event.

Q: What type of set-up or materials does the event site need to provide?
A: The setup is minimal and does not require assistance from other event staff. I supply my own portable easel. The site only needs to arrange for a small painting area in advance of my arrival, which need not take up more than approximately 4' X 6', inside or outside, and a small table to hold the painting supplies. The site also needs to have a nearby power outlet for my lamp, and water source and place to dump painty water such as a slop sink or bucket. I need to set up in a spot that gives me a good view of whatever scene I am painting.

Q: Where are you based geographically? Are you willing to travel to paint an event in a different city?
A: I am based in the NYC area but have painted throughout the Tri-State Area, in the Philadelphia, Wilmington, DE, and DC metro areas, as far away as Newport, RI and Puerto Rico, and can travel widely. Travel expenses are often included in my total price but will increase for further-away events.

Q: What if my event has already passed? Can I still get a painting from photos
A: I am happy to create a customized painting for you based on photo or video documentation of your event. This also allows me the flexibility to not just copy directly from one photograph, but collage multiple memories from your event, and even other times in your life, into the same painting, similar to the fine art paintings I create from photo references. (See the "Paintings" section of my portfolio on this website)

Q: Can you do more than one painting at the same event?
A: I offer a NEW "sketchbook" package where I can create several small paintings or drawings of different moments at your event.

Q: Do you offer any bonus packages or special deals?
A: I am happy to create small paintings and drawings from photos of your event, to go along with your final large event painting. I also offer periodic seasonal deals where these extra services are included for free!

Q: Do you offer seasonal discounts?
A: I offer both discounts and special packages for November-March events.

Q:What are your fees and how can I learn more about your different services?
A: Please contact me to discuss pricing. I offer several different packages from which clients can choose.