Making it happen for my Clients. Improvisational experience. Exciting because we never know what will happen.
Not unusual for a Proposal Caricature, but the lady, who didn't know that her date had scheduled an Engagement Proposal, got a late start and then, lol, wanted to stop for a bite to eat. While the Artist was Set Up and excitingly waiting to do her part. That's me. I have to make it happen for them. Luckily, I left more than enoght time to get to my 2nd Event of the day, but I was starting to worry about it. My Client and his Intended arrived an hour later than expected.
Sometimes I draw the Proposal Caricature on the Spot, but I usually draw it ahead of time in my Studio. Just pretending to be drawing during the Event so I can focus on the Experience for the participants. They follow my directions, not knowing what is happening.... hold hands, look into each other's eyes, pose this way, pose that way.... that sort of stuff. This was the first tie that my Client ordered that the 22" x 28" Proposal Caricature be drawn on the spot.
He did sent me photos of his girlfirend, himself, and the location ahead of time. But he wanted to be sure we capture what actually happens Day Of. What dress, what earrings, what jacket is worn that day The weather...... Things like that.
Luckily I was able to plan out a little bit of predraw ahead of time. I was able to design the basic composition, and I was able to have an idea about what they look like. Because most of it was to be done during the event. The actual Caricatures and bodies. The inking. The colors. It was a large picture, but my Client wanted it to be finished in less than 1/2 hour. So she wouldn't get suspicious. We wouldn't want to spoil the surprise.
It worked out perfectly.
I had been feeling a little anxious (then relieved) when they showed up an hour later tha planned. I had gone over and over in my mind about what I would probably be saying. How I was going to be acting it out......
That brings up another issue. Where to set up my easel. I had handled 22" x 28" Proposal Caricatures before, but I never actually drew such a Large one on the spot. And there's only so much I could carry. I carried the large carstock in a cardboard folio, my regular 2-part easel, my drawing supplies in a sheeled cart, my own pocketbook and food, a sweater in case of weather.... Even if I had realized that I would need a bigger sturdier easel, it wasn't physically possible to carry it. I had to put everything into my car to drive to the train station, park and walk up to the LIRR platform, take all my supplies to my seat on the LIRR to Penn Station, walk to the Subway, wait for the subway (going up and down long staircases at some of the subway stops), take the crowded subway up to Central Park, and then walk all over Central Park to find the beautiful location that my Client had described to me. Carrying all my equipment.
Quite impressed, this Client chose the most beautiful spot ~ on top of the peaceful Park overlooking the magnificent City.
But I felt surprised to realize that the larger 22"x28" Picture topped my easel over. My easel ws designed for 11" x 17" pictures. Like half the size. So how was I to draw this picture when my Clients arrived?
Making it happen for my Clients. I would make it work for them. But what to do? What to do?
Sometimes I feel like I'm reinventing the wheel. I discovered that I could lean the 22" x 28" folio/paper onto the top of the cart that I use to transport my Drawing Supplies. But it was way to low for me to draw on. So what to do?
An Artist has to be Creative. I realized that the rocky lay of the land would make it possible for me to stnad a step down lower than this makeshift easel.
I had to choose a 'step' that wasn't quite as low as I would have liked ~ because another issue came up. The edge of most of the rock-steps was angled in such a way that the 'easel' immediately fell backwards. So I had to find a 'step' that was a flat enough. And designed in such a way that I wouls be able to stand close enough to the easel so my arms would be able to reach the drawing surface.
Okay. So back to the experience. Waiting. Looking for them to arrive. By the time they finally walked by, did I talk too fast? I wouldn't know. I wish I could have drwn out my lines more. Done more acting as I had dreamed of doing. But whatever it was that I had done, it worked. Here they are:
I bet you felt glad to finally see them too. The first picture in this post. Finally.
For the first part of their experience, I had to position them at the bottom of the rock ~ so they would be close enough for me to see what to draw. Then I asked them to stand on top of the rock. Because I knew the experience was wonderful Up There. Getting more exciting for them........ I had to hurry with my drawing. So many other things going on for me, that I could barely focus. "Just get it onto the paper, Alison".... that's what I told myself. "Keep it moving." Capture this scene of the moment. No chance to make a mistake. No chance to edit. She doesn't know yet:
Meanwhile, a crowd started gathering. They could see my picture developing from the street. Started with a handful of onlookers. Then I walked up to the top of the rock to pose my Couple, and as I walked down, the crowd was at least 6 rows deep and 20 people across. I tried to quickly photograph the crowd, but they apparently thought I wanted to photograph my Caricature ~ so they parted when I took the photo:
THE MOMENT IS HERE. I say "My picture is just about complete." I turn it so my Clients can see it.
She is not sure about what she's seeing from that distance. From the top of the rock. Could it be? She's making sure it is what she thinks it is. Could it be? Could it be? She looks at her date. This is it. It's really happening. She got the idea!
He looks so Happy. She's figuratively swept off her feet. Heart soaring. Heart beating. Gracefully living this magic moment.
He does it. This is it. Down on one knee Offers her the ring. The radiant cut diamond ring:
She says "Yes". Oh.
She neatly, boldly finished my Caricature:
Here are some photos from the Event. from the Experience:
You can click on some pictures in this blog to see them larger.
To Hire Caricature Artist Alison Gelbman: