May 19, 2022

Charlie Doodle

Unique Art & Entertainment

Gardner artist John Folley works as a live wedding painter

3 min read

GARDNER — An increasing number of couples tying the knot are selecting an old-fashioned way of capturing an image of their special day — a live wedding artist.

In addition to hiring professional photographers and setting up photo booths, many brides and grooms are hiring an artist to set up an easel at their reception and create a painted work of art that will serve as a unique keepsake of their wedding day.

“I usually just go (to the venue) a couple hours early, bring my easel and paints, and set up,” said John Folley, an independent artist who recently moved with his family to Gardner. “And about two hours before anything takes place, I’ll just start painting the background, the ambience, whatever’s happening. I’m just trying to get colors down first.”

Folley, who studied art and philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, said he works with couples in advance of their big day to determine which moment of the event they would like to have preserved in oil on canvas.

“Usually, my couples will ask for one of three things: either the first dance, the ceremony itself, or maybe the cocktail hour,” he said, adding that the unusual sight of an artist at work provides a unique experience for the guests at the event. “People will watch and ask when I’ll be finished, and they can’t believe that it will be finished by the end of the night.”

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