Updated: Nov 4, 2021
It was the perfect Paradise Valley Day at the Copper Rose Ranch in Montana. The wind gave me a little grief at first, but for anyone that lives in this area, we know wind and we know how to deal with it. Copper Rose Ranch is off East River Road, a favorite cruise of mine for the last 7 years.
When I arrived to set up my easel before the ceremony, I saw Vern and his groomsmen walking the property with their photographer, Keelia Jo Photo. To say they looked sharp and cleaned up would be an understatement. I loved the cowboy hat and jeans, and that their dog Finley was running around with them.
V and K left the decisions up to me for the day. What scene to paint, what to include, etc. etc. We had mentioned the barn because it is absolutely stunning, but as I walked the property I knew we simply had to get the Absarokee Mountains and the ceremony site on this beautiful day in the painting. And boy, am I glad I did!
When Kirsten came out to walk herself down the aisle, it was like the wind knew to add the drama as it tossed her veil and hair to the side. She looked absolutely powerful and beautiful as she walked up to Vern and their bridal party waiting for her. And then, not an eye remained dry in the crowd as they said their vows to each other and also to Willow, their daughter.
As a family, they exited the ceremony site in a way that showed familiarity, comfort, and happiness. And the crowd cheered, so excited to share in the love of these three.
I painted well into the evening, as folks ate and danced and sat around the big fire pit. I finished up the painting just as the sun was getting ready to set. One of my favorite moments was Dad's reaction... and I caught it on video!
And of course, Vern and Kirsten's reactions made my hearts soar. I'm not saying Vern teared up... but I'm saying Vern teared up. (also, wow, after a whole afternoon and evening, they still look so stunning!)
It was truly an honor to capture their day in this way, and to celebrate their newly formed family! We kept it a bit loose, and impressionistic but still bright and vivid. Way to go Kirsten and Vern and Willow and Finley!