Have you ever been so excited to try something new and yet so scared at the same time? For the past few years I've been painting and illustrating using a lot of two-dimensional reference images from magazines of Internet images on my laptop. This is where I feel the most comfortable. I love to get lost in the detail and the nuances of each painting, and the more layers I apply, the more nuances I notice. It's a very intuitive way to paint, and I'm getting into a Zen head space during this process as I follow my instinctive observations and inspiration.
But lately I've been very intrigued by painting live. I'm so excited to develop a new skill and to grow my powers of observation and of filtering the three-dimensional information I see into a faster and more gestural illustration.
You may remember my previous two attempts at live painting with my besty Natalie here and here, and the one time we attended a workshop of painting from a live model together here.
When Natalie helped me practice live illustration, we had so much fun! She modeled several different outfits and poses, and we timed each illustration in an attempt to improve my speed.
And when her sister-in-law, Megan, planned to have a baby shower, we both thought this would be the perfect time for me to take the leap and do this 'for real', for people I didn't know. We asked Megan, and thankfully she accepted my offer to paint her guests during the baby shower. I was set.
Actually I was terrified. And super excited. I thought, what if I fall flat on my face? What if nobody likes my paintings, what if they all think I'm not good enough and my paintings are a joke? I was a nervous wreck. I had no idea what to expect.
But I took a leap of faith.
And so two weeks ago, I ended up painting for four hours straight at Megan's baby shower! I think I only made it to the bathroom once, grabbed a cookie on the go at some point and had a few sips of water. The rest of the time I was so absorbed into painting, those four hours just flew by!
I had such an amazing experience! And Megan's guests were so incredibly kind and supportive of me. All the kids at the baby shower had a blast, too. They were hanging on me like grapes on the vine. They kept asking curious questions and were mesmerized by my painting process. They could hardly sit still for their portraits, and they were all very excited. And everybody took home their personalized illustration at the end of the day.
Another satisfied customer: the lovely Nusha with her portrait - photobombed by Megan and her aunt :-)
Megan and her aunt. What a beautiful and joyful mommy-to-be!
Action shot! One thing I learned from this experience was that the scanner wand loses a lot of detail - plus I have to allow time for the paintings to fully dry before I drag the wand over them to scan - oops! Next time I'll focus more on taking photos.
My high-chair pseudo-studio. I hope the baby didn't mind sharing ;-)
And of course I wore white pants, which are practically a magnet for paint. Yet somehow they remained miraculously intact all day, despite the palette being knocked to the ground at some point and paint flying everywhere! ;-)
Thanks to everyone at the shower who allowed me to paint their portraits on the spot! You all looked beautiful and so cheerful. I had such an amazing time with all of you, and I loved sketching everyone. I appreciate all your kind feedback and comments more than you can imagine! You guys made my day!!
Thank you so much, Megan and Stephen, for allowing me to use your baby shower as a testing lab ;-) Congratulations, you guys are going to make the best parents! And thank you, Natalie, the best besty in the world, for your incredible support and for being there for me.
My experience surpassed everything I could've hoped for, so much so that I have decided to pursue this direction even more in the future. I can't wait to see where my live painting skills will take me next!
I'm Cristina Tudor, a Beverly Hills fashion illustrator. I paint live illustrations at fashion, retail, entertainment, bridal and lifestyle events for clients such as David Yurman x Galia Lahav, Badgley Mischka, Bloomingdale's, Warner Bros. Studios, Diptyque Paris, Ted Baker London, Eric Buterbaugh x Beverly Hills EB Florals, and Survey Monkey, among others.
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