Bonjour mes amis! I invite you to feast your eyes upon the Frenchness that was the 2016 White House Correspondents' Weekend Brunch.
I painted the artwork which graced the save the date, formal invitation, and various elements of party decor - all of which were produced by talented stationer, Kelly of Winifred Paper. And then On May 1st, I had the supremely fun job of attending the event, as artist in residence, where I set up shop with my easel and paints to capture the scene as the party unfolded...
If you're not a DC native or Political Junkie, you may not know that the White House Correspondents' Dinner is much more than just a dinner, it's a whole weekend of excitement for The District. A whirlwind of festivity, known affectionately by insiders as the "Nerd Prom" which comes to a glorious close on Sunday morning at the White House Correspondents' Brunch - an occasion that is anything but nerdy.
In fact, it may just be the chicest, most expertly orchestrated brunch of all time.
Hostess Elena Allbritton came to me with a pinterest board bursting with images of deliciously beautiful scenes of the French countryside and instructed me that this was her inspiration for the event.
I jokingly suggested perhaps they should hire some chickens to peck about the yard to really amp up the ambiance and Elena's team seemed to genuinely pause to consider this as a viable possibility. I knew then that I was going to really enjoy these people and this project. Chickens are always a good idea.
We settled on the below illustration as the digital save the date for the event. Don't you wish you lived on this street and that was your bicycle?
We then set to work on the formal invitation using the below illustration and some of my botanical pieces. Don't you love the subtle nod to Politico poking out of the wicker bag of flowers?
As I said, I knew I would like these people. We share a deep abiding respect for a truth we hold to be self-evident: Details. Are. Everything.
I mean, couldn't you just die for the "Oui | Non" RSVP card?!
By the time May 1 finally rolled around, I was beyond excited to see what was in store. Imagine my delight when I arrived at the event to find that the blue bicycle I had painted for the Save The Date had come to life for the event. Elena is a goddess.
There was also a tree, a fully actualized tree, made by the wizards at Amaryllis, inside the Brunch tent, turning the space into a sprawling vignette of provincial France...
After gaping at all wonders of event design that were unfolding around me and remarking repeatedly that this was "nicer than any wedding I'd ever attended" I finally calmed down enough to begin painting.
Here is a montage of pictures of me painting away on my first live event painting. At one point, you'll notice, I lose one of my shoes because I am so enraptured by my creative process. *I also ended up with a very large Yellow Ochre paint stain directly over my belly button, which thanks to the clever photographers, was not captured on film. I tell you, painting live at an event is truly a sink-or-swim experience. I think I more or less managed to dog paddle my way through it...
And here she is - my finished piece. It's not as clean or as perfect as the work I normally produce. As a perfectionist, this is kind of killing me. But, I do realize it's cool that I was able to capture it amidst the hustle and bustle of the brunch and am proud that I didn't knock the easel over and destroy it half way through or anything like that!