A new twist on live painting


In anticipation of a large and supportive crowd, the organizers of the Calgary Canuck's Battle of Alberta asked if I would be open to doing two paintings of Mark Messier and Lanny McDonald, one before the event - which they would keep hidden until the auction, and the other live at the event. The idea being that they would get two bidders fighting against each other and give both the option of going home with a painting signed by the two hockey stars.

I spent all of Monday sketching out the first painting and methodically working on the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Canucks jerseys and their helmets. I was also able to do a few layers on their faces. The detailed work happened on Tuesday morning. In going through this process I had a good idea of what it was going to take to complete a painting from scratch at the massive BIG 4 building on the Stampede grounds.

Over the years, I have done more than a few live paintings in front of large crowds. However, the Battle of Alberta event ended up being the biggest. They had over 900 tickets sold by the time the crowd started rolling in. 

I started laying down some background colours between 4 and 5 pm, and then dived into the jerseys, helmets and faces. The painting was completed in about three and a half hours, with plenty of time to spare before the live auction. For the first time ever, I had a little breathing room to enjoy the lovely meal that was served at the event. 

I was on stage during the live auction, but was completely tuned out to what was happening as my focus was on Mark and Lanny as they took turns signing both paintings.
I was even able to show Lanny the painting I did a number of years ago at the Gordie Howe C.A.R.E.S. Pro-Am with Bob Cole calling his 500th goal. 
"Wow," he said. "That is absolutely terrific!"

By the time both paintings were signed and I got off the stage, I found out that each had sold for $9,000.  

I have a spreadsheet where I record all my painting donations and silent and live auction proceeds. I knew going into the event last night that if all went well I would cross the half a million dollar mark. Sure enough, the $18,000 raised blew right past that unfathomable figure. 

There are no illusions on my part that my paintings are worth as much as people pay for them. I realize that it is the signature of the stars that really creates the value. But I am still humbled that my paintings get to play a small part in this fundraising magic. I also get the sense that people LOVE watching a painting come together and are blown away how quickly it happens.
I'm not going to lie, I was exhausted by the time I got home. It had been two full days of intense painting and a certain amount of pressure to perform. I'm writing this blog post the next day late in the afternoon and I'm still drained, both mentally and physically.
But there is tremendous satisfaction in the fact that this gift/talent/obsession that I've developed over the last 10 years is a vehicle to make a positive difference in the world. I'm deeply grateful for these unique opportunities to create in front of large groups of people. On to the next one!

Have a large fundraising event and want to find out how you can have me do a live painting for you? Don't hesitate to get in touch. 


Popular Posts