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Conversations with Jacqueline DelBrocco

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jacqueline DelBrocco.

Hi Jacqueline, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
Hello! I am a live event/wedding painter. If you’re not familiar, the idea is that I paint your event while it’s happening. I start out with a blank canvas and as your celebration unfolds, the scene that I’m painting develops right before your eyes. It’s a wonderfully unique form of entertainment for guests as they watch the scene come to life over the course of an event and it’s been especially popular for weddings. Not only is it a unique way to wow your guests, but the end result is a completely one-of-a-kind work of art capturing the energy and memory of the couple’s big day – Something that can be cherished and passed down for generations.

I started live painting by chance. A friend who lives in Vermilion, Ohio told me about a city-wide musical festival they have each month. She suggested that my musician husband join in, and that I set up my easel and paint him while he performed. She thought people would find it entertaining, and turns out she was right! This was almost 10 years ago… I started live painting my husband’s performances in Vermilion each month, and that was when I realized how thrilling it is to paint in front of people, instead of alone in my studio.

Several months later, another friend was telling me about an event she was involved in planning at the Cleveland Museum of Art. It was a 50th Anniversary Celebration for The Lillian and Betty Ratner School, a Montessori school on the East side of Cleveland. The event was art themed, and I asked her if she thought there might be interest in having an artist on-site during the event, capturing the celebration in a painting… It would entertain guests and they could raffle the finished artwork to raise money for the school. She loved the idea so I wrote up a proposal and next thing you know, I was painting my first official event and it was at the Cleveland Museum of Art!

I went on to paint several other events for local charities, where the paintings were part of live auctions, raising money for these various causes, (within less than a year of doing this, one of my paintings auctioned for $5,000, benefiting the National Huntington’s Disease Society of America)!

I have to thank CMA (Cleveland Museum of Art) for nudging me in the direction of weddings because it was by their recommendation that I was hired to paint my first wedding, which took place again in their magnificent atrium. Everything spiraled from there and now over 90% of my event painting business consists of weddings.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Because I sort of fell into the niche of live painting, it was all learn as you go for me. I didn’t really have a teacher or anyone to show me the ropes. It was a lot of trial and error, so many unknowns!

At first, it was scary to throw myself out there. I felt a lot of pressure and remember getting SO nervous before events. It’s true what they say about forcing yourself out of your comfort zone. If I didn’t force myself to power through the nerves and those uncomfortable, uncertain situations, I would never have gotten to the point I’m at now. I actually prefer painting on-site at events to painting in my studio these days!

Every year I’ve been doing this, I’ve refined my process and painting style more and more. Each new painting has lessons of its own to teach me, and it’s exciting to look at the evolution and progress I’ve made over the years. I think it’s even more exciting when I look ahead to the future. The great thing about painting is there’s never an end to your learning…. I can always continue to refine my craft more and more, each year, each painting at a time.

We’d love to learn more about your work.  What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
I’d have to say the thing I am most proud of is my painting style. It’s evolved a lot since I was in school, and after exploring a variety of styles and techniques, I’ve come to appreciate impressionism as my very favorite. It’s a way of painting that feels most natural to me and I believe it to be especially well-suited for capturing the dynamic energy of a celebration. My own personal flavor of impressionism includes a lot of exciting brushstrokes and paint splatters, particularly in the crowds. I try to paint not only what I see, but what I feel while I’m there, while I’m in it.

I’m a huge fan of Renoir and Impressionist paintings that really celebrate the brush strokes and the paint itself. I’ll never forget when I first saw a Renoir painting in real life… Luncheon of the Boating Party was on display as part of a traveling exhibit at CMA… I remember being completely awestruck. When you stand close to the painting, you see chunky brushstrokes that are messy and energetic, but when you back up and view the painting from a distance, those brushstrokes blend together and create a perfectly orchestrated, completely realistic scene… it is MAGIC.

A lot of the other wedding painters I’ve seen online tend to lean more towards realism, and that’s totally fine. Art is subjective, that’s part of what makes it art! But for me, I prefer the messy energy, the brushstrokes, the paint splatters… it communicates more emotion, more feeling. And the thing that really keeps me going is the challenge of finding that perfect balance between realistic, recognizable portraits and raw, inspiring, energy! It makes me happy to paint this way – truly, passionately happy… and I hope that shows through my paintings. I like to believe it does.

Another thing that makes my paintings stand out is that I don’t typically include facial features. It’s not that I can’t paint faces (my background is actually in portraiture) but there’s something intriguing about a portrait that achieves recognition without the obvious. I think painting this way gives the overall piece more feeling and makes it more captivating.

I’ve had so many clients comment to me about how amazed they are that they can recognize people in their painting, without the faces… “That is definitely so and so!” I hear it all the time… and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it. 🙂

What does success mean to you?
In order of importance from least to most:

Success in the Business of Art? When you have constant bookings and your artwork sells at a high price.

Success as an Artist? That’s trickier… When you create artwork that comes authentically from your soul, and when the quality of that artwork is the very best you are capable of.

Success in Life? When you are able to spend the vast majority of your time being around the people you love, doing things that you genuinely enjoy doing.

Pricing:

  • Depending on canvas size, my current pricing for a live painting ranges between $2,000 and $8,000

Contact Info:


Image Credits
Emily Millay Photography
Imagine It Photography
Moriah Ice Photography
One Red Door Photography

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