FEMtrepreneur: Mary-Ann Wiggill – Live Wedding Painter

Armed with a palette, paintbrushes and a superb eye for detail, Mary-Ann Wiggill creates unforgettable and unique pieces of wedding art which she paints LIVE at the joyous event. What we deem as a massive upcoming wedding trend, Mary-Ann encapsulates the charismatic beauty and veritable charm of a wedding day in a wash of colourful acrylics, sincerely illustrated on canvas. Based in Cape Town, her bespoke portraits add a personalised touch to any nuptial ceremony, and the striking results will be a centrepiece of conversation and reminiscence for as long it’s displayed on your wall. This talented, self-taught artist and FEMtrepreneur shares her insight into the undiscovered world of live wedding paintings.

How did you come up with the idea for ‘live wedding art’?

I’ve painted my whole life and largely sold my work through private commissions. When I reached the age where all my friends started getting married and engaged, weddings were at the top of my mind.

I realised how much I love the creative aspects that go into any wedding, and that I could use my painting skills to create unique wedding art that captures special moments and treasured memories. I immediately directed my art towards live wedding painting and custom bouquet portraits, and the transition has been very exciting for me.

I also recently added custom painted floral jackets to my offering, and I love the idea of using clothing to really express a special message 🙂

Tell us more about the ‘live wedding painting’ concept?

Live wedding painting is the creation of a piece of art from a scene at your wedding. I literally create a painting at your wedding of you and your guests enjoying the day!

What is really exciting is that a wedding painting is a couple’s unique memento of their special day.

There are tons of ways to capture memories at your wedding but many of these end up in books on shelves or coffee tables where they gather dust, whereas a painting hanging in your home is a more visible way to treasure the memories. It’s also an awesome conversation starter for guests.

A live painting also provides fun entertainment for wedding guests, as they get to follow the painting’s creation from start to finish. They can see the different stages of the painting being developed and find themselves on the canvas. The couple can also create prints and ‘thank you’ cards from the finished piece.

If you would like a live painting of your wedding, please get in touch for commissions! I would love to capture your wedding or event on canvas for you to treasure!

How long does it take you to complete a live wedding painting?

I generally spend between 8 and 12 hours painting on site at your wedding, and then another two weeks for touch ups and protective glazes.

Did you study in the field of your profession?

I am actually self-taught 🙂

My formal education was in accounting. I’m a qualified Chartered Accountant.

What was the very first project you handled?

The first wedding I painted was in Franschoek and it was beautiful. I felt very relaxed and in the zone, and everyone was extremely friendly! I arrived very early to set up and it all went very smoothly.

I had painted other live paintings of markets, friends and family occasions, as well as portraits before this, and I found the wedding painting process to be pretty similar although with more pressure and even more details to capture.

I really loved being a part of someone’s special day and interacting with all the guests, and my absolute favourite moment was when the bride saw her painting!

What challenges have you faced as a FEMtrepreneur in the creative field and how did you overcome them?

I find my biggest challenge is that creative work is very undervalued. There is a perception that because I enjoy painting, I should be willing to do it for free, which is ridiculous.

I’ve put a huge amount of time and energy into developing a unique creative skillset, and so I always find it bizarre when people ask me to paint for free. I’m sure this happens to everyone in a creative industry, but I’ve learnt to only work with people who value my art and the unique service I provide.

What has been the most effective way of marketing your business?

I find both word-of-mouth and Instagram to be very successful.

What is the most courageous thing you’ve done as a FEMtrepreneur?

The biggest leap for me was painting a Hindu wedding in front of an audience of 575 guests! It turned out to be absolutely incredible, and everyone was so friendly and welcoming… but gosh, I was super-nervous beforehand!

Describe yourself in three words:

Creative. Motivated. Innovative.

What do you love most about your job?

I absolutely love the reaction when a client sees their piece of art for the first time.

Is there anything you dislike about your job?

I find that as an entrepreneur you have to wear so many different hats; you have to be your own accountant, marketer, salesperson, CEO and of course, I have to do the painting! If it were my choice, I would love to focus purely on painting and marketing.

What has been your most important lesson with regards to entrepreneurship?

Not to be too hard on myself and not to burn myself out. I’m often tempted to take on more than I should, but my creative energy requires me to actually leave some energy on the table in order to do my best work.

Are there any career goals that you would still like to achieve?

I would like to keep continually improving on what I do, and I’d love to paint a wedding or two overseas.

What advice would you give to other young aspiring artists?

Focus on a specific niche and create work around that.

Fun facts about Mary-Ann

Favourite business tools:

Instagram, Zoho Social and Tailwind.

My personal style is…

Floral chic

Heels or flats?

Heeled boots

Favourite type of paint to work with?

Acrylic

I unwind and relax by:

Reading or walking my dog

Favourite shade of lipstick:

Deep red

The painting you’re most proud of:

All of my wedding paintings

Book recommendation:

Anything by Terry Pratchett

Favourite coffee haunt or restaurant:

Kalk Bay – any café 🙂

If you had an unlimited budget, where would you shop?

Any art materials shop

Which celebrity wedding would you love to live paint?

Ed Sheeran’s!!!

Dream destination:

Tuscany

The one thing required for success is…

Perseverance and optimism

We’re always in awe of incredible women who balance their corporate jobs with their passion projects. We imagine that a world of easels and undercoats is very far removed from a financial one, however, Mary-Ann is lucky to have a supportive employer who understands her need for an artistic outlet. While each industry requires special dedication and attention to detail, Mary-Ann finds that her corporate life is fulfilling in a way that’s completely different to her creative and entrepreneurial pursuits. We hope to someday be a part of wedding that is painted by Mary-Ann.

To commission an exclusive live wedding portrait, send an email to editor@loveandthemoon.com

View more of Mary-Ann’s art on her website or wedding blog

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