Meghan's responses to the most frequently asked questions.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
Whatever you are comfortable in, and have fun! You can use this as an excuse to get playful or creative together, collaborating on each others' outfits, or if you are naturally kind of formal, go ahead and wear fancier digs. Keep in mind that most of the time I select the elements of a garment that are interesting for the painting, and sometimes details are left out or simply invented. It all depends on the inner demands that present themselves in that particular painting.
DO WE GET TO CHOSE THE POSE AND LOCATION IN OUR HOME/DESTINATION WEDDING?
Usually it involves a group conversation and is a collaborative decision. Sometimes I have a notion of what would work well for the painting. Ultimately, it works best painting you in your natural habitat -- whichever room, or spot that might be -- relaxed, being fully yourselves, together.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
Sessions can be anywhere from four to six hours. Actual pose time is usually about two to three hours. It depends on multiple conditions: canvas size, clarity of vision from the outset, amount of detail the painting demands, time to set up/take down, and overall vibe of the day.
Plan to set aside a day or a long evening to savor the experience.
WE'D LIKE TO HAVE OUR BEST FRIENDS BE THERE TO WATCH OUR ENGAGEMENT PAINTING COME TO LIFE. IS THAT OKAY?
Absolutely; bring on the friends and the champagne! The only request is that friends remain in the background as observers and give the artist and the muses space and respect while working. Having friends around works best when they understand their role as supportive witnesses to the process.
IS THE SESSION FEE REFUNDABLE?
The session deposit is refundable up to 72 hours prior to the session. This is studio policy, as three days is still reasonable lead time for the artist to book another session in your place; two days is not. Further questions about pricing and policies? Reach out - we're still finalizing the legals for the site and the project; happy to answer specific questions via contact form at bottom.
The session fee is otherwise non-refundable, and goes towards the acquisition of the painting. The deposit, should you acquire or not, covers the artist's time and investment in providing a heartfelt, personal, and unforgettable experience. Emergency cancellations may be considered on a case-by-case basis, but refunds cannot be guaranteed.
I'M CONCERNED; I'M NOT VERY PHOTOGENIC...
Fortunately, painting is long and slow and personal; basically, the opposite of a photograph.
If you haven't yet, please view the Pas de Deux Project painting portfolios. You will notice how the paintings capture an essence, not a likeness. Being mildly unflattering and honest is part of their charm. The aim is not to "look like you;" my paintings are interested in capturing relationships: the relationship of bodies to one another, the relationship of shapes, colors, lines, to one another, the relationship of space to the living breathing embodied beings in it. Since the work comes alive over time, with the loving gaze of a person, the whole experience is validating and empowering rather than, like a "bad" photo, mortifying. I can almost promise you will be at ease during this experience. It honors your humanity first and foremost. And, if you've never been painted it is, much like any first, something you can't fully understand (or predetermine) until you've been there first hand. I include one sitter's response to being painted for the first time below.
Joan, a beautiful, talented musician who is tremendously camera shy, sat for a painting with her partner at my studio and wrote about the experience.
"I know there is a peace in just sitting still, especially beside someone you love… but I was still nervous. [Alex] and I arrived for our long-awaited portrait, in time to chat with Meghan, admire the view and enjoy a beer. It was relaxed, but her excitement to get started was contagious, and soon we were on to the business at hand. While she prepared her work space, I was hoping for a little instruction, as this was my first time sitting for a painting. There were no concrete rules, and she told me not to expect it to look exactly like me, as her style doesn’t really aim for that. That was a relief. I am not a photogenic person, and can often be found turning away or jumping out of frame as soon as a camera appears. I crossed my fingers and hoped my face would end up far from the painting’s focus.
With her work station in order, and the canvas prepared, we found our pose position. To be honest, the position just happened to be where we had settled… he in a chair, I on the floor. It felt relaxed and comfortable, though I regretted my twisted leg position about half way through the process. Luckily, Meghan had completed that portion already and I was able to shift. There was a wonderful and unexpected looseness to the situation. It was understood that this wouldn’t be a photographic representation, and that permitted us to talk, laugh, and shift minutely throughout the posing. The relaxed nature of Meghan’s personality and painting style made it so easy, not at all the rigid, frozen 2 hours I had expected. It flowed. A joyful experience. She did not paint us as objects in a still life, she captured our moment, and it was beautiful.
I had no idea what to expect when I finally rose to view the piece. In the end, my face was indeed prominently featured in the painting, and for once, I didn’t mind one bit."
CAN OUR PETS BE IN THE PAINTING?
Sure! Well-behaved pets are absolutely welcome. Depending on my inspiration once on site with you, they may or may not factor in predominantly. Because the point is to create in a natural way, based on in-the-moment inspiration, it's best not to make promises. But generally speaking: pets are welcome and have often been included. A favorite is Matilda the cat whose ear makes an appearance as a pink triangle in the Sallie and Dave engagement painting.
DO WE HAVE TO SIT STILL THE WHOLE TIME?
Yes and no.
I will guide you and let you know if I'm, say, about to paint your hand, so you can help keep that hand still for a moment. Generally holding still in the pose is helpful but it depends on the couple. We often talk, drink coffee or tea or wine, though some couples just whisper to themselves and never engage me. It's a vibrant, full spectrum of ways to "be." I am thrilled to work with you as you are!
WHAT IF I HAVE TO USE THE BATHROOM/EAT/CHECK EMAIL?
You can of course check email or eat or drink during the session. We can set it up so you don't have to move much to do the above. However many people love the excuse to disconnect from phones entirely and be fully immersed in the moment. I remind muses to use the restroom before starting the session, but any human needs are accommodated mid-session as needed. Worth noting: generally sessions are relaxed yet done in one shot.
AM I ALLOWED TO TAKE PHOTOS DURING THE SESSION? CAN I POST THEM ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Absolutely - so long as it includes a link to the website or somehow tags the project. I will happily tag back in my images as well as introduce you and any of your ventures on our blog and social media as well.
I'D LIKE TO USE OUR PAINTING IMAGE ON OUR WEDDING INVITATION, THANK YOUS, AND CREATE PRINTS TO GIVE GUESTS. HOW DO WE ACQUIRE THE IMAGE RIGHTS? CAN YOU HELP US CREATE PRINTS?
Great question. When you acquire any original work of art, the right to distribute the image of it is sold separately. Image licensing based on single or multiple use is available and is affordable. The studio handles the paperwork for you and will gladly advise on printing options. Please contact us below for further details. We are honored that your painting would be included in your wedding in this way!
I'VE NEVER PURCHASED ART BEFORE. HOW DO I CARE FOR A PAINTING?
It's pretty easy, fortunately, but sometimes not very intuitive! There are at least two tricks to caring for a painting that surprised me when I first started out.
Since I get this question a lot, I created a custom painting care guide PDF. Anyone who acquires a painting receives a complimentary copy, as well as a collector's resource guide PDF with recommendations to help you keep your art safe and your investment well cared for.
I DON'T SPEAK FRENCH. WHAT IS PAS DE DEUX?
Pas de Deux literally means "step of two." It is the famous duet, or partner/couple's dance in many classical ballets, including Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Don Quijote, and Carmen. My interest in the physicality of the couples I paint and how intimacy is expressed through the body is deeply paralleled in dance and the grand pas de deux pieces. Thus, the ballet inspiration for this project's title.
HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE IT?
Here are two ways, a French speaker's take and a slightly more Anglophone way.
Grossly oversimplified version? PAH - DUH - DUH.
Still have questions?
I encourage you to reach out.