Janet Meinke-Lau

Art and Surf Blog

Conversations around the process of creating and being an artist and surfer.

Live Wedding Painting

After two days of drawing and painting, the final artwork.

In January of 2016, I spent a long weekend in Honolulu to interview for two jobs, and to check out a place that could (and later would) be my new home. The bus network in Oahu is both comprehensive and affordable. I took a round island trip by bus and decided to spend a couple of hours at the beach by Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore (thank you Hawaii, for mandatory shoreline public access). I took in the view – the bluest of blue water, beach chairs and beach goers, and gritty sand that I could feel between my toes – and I started to sketch. I had only begun playing with watercolor just the month before. There were a few disheartening attempts, but this time I was pleasantly surprised by how the sketch turned out – fun and relaxed – exactly how I was feeling at the moment. Little did I know then what would be in store for me. (The sentiment applies at any point in time, I suppose, which is magical in itself.)

Sketch of beach at Turtle Bay, dated 31 January 2016.

Last weekend, Mid-August of 2018, I was back at Turtle Bay, looking at the same beach and bluest of blue ocean, but this time as a professional artist that was hired to do a live wedding painting for a reception party held at Roy’s Beach House restaurant. There’s a great view of the coast from the outdoor dining area. My job was to capture the feeling of the evening through art. The client also requested that I transpose the band from the covered trellis area to the deck area to have the coastline as the backdrop.

Pencil sketch before pen. I swear, I did smile most of the time!

 I thought I would be more nervous but the great thing about sketching is the flow, the zone that one enters when one begins. I had work to do, and had no time to dwell on fear or anxiety or performance pressure. It was really cool to have people get excited about a drawing. But what was most rewarding was the joy and smile the bride’s mom expressed when she received the final painting, and for that I am very grateful.

 I notice that when I’m trying to get the details right, be more careful, I draw a lot slower compared to when I am loose and not afraid to make a mistake. It took me several hours the next day to complete the painting, but overall, I’m happy with both the process and the outcome. Next time, I’ll try to tap into that fun and relaxed mode a bit more, because that’s what wedding vibes are about – fun, relaxed, full of joy and love. And smiles.

As far as I'm aware, there aren't many other artists in Honolulu doing live wedding painting. So if you or someone you know is planning a wedding and want a unique way to capture the special moment, shoot me a message! 

Reminder: Check out my watercolor portfolio for recent creations and my instagram on updates of this artist-surfer-planner life in Honolulu.

Janet Meinke-Lau