Local artist captures special moments as a live event painter

Kristen Catalano

Something old, something new, something borrowed and something …. painted? Wedding traditions are changing, and one local artist is ready to help capture a wedding couple’s special day via live event paintings.

Kristen Catalano Schenck was born in New Orleans and raised in St. Charles Parish. She is now raising her own family here and launched Nola Live Painting by Kristen Schenck in 2016.

“My PawPaw was a sign painter by profession and artist,” she said. “Art was something I was always around and something I loved from my earliest memories. I recall during my grammar school years, between school and gymnastics, I would draw gymnasts and other people.”

She said she remembers bringing her drawings to her PawPaw as he relaxed in his recliner.

“He would critique my work by offering advice and suggestions on how to improve my drawing and shading skills … although at the time I don’t think I appreciated what I was being taught,” Schenck said laughing.

Schenck said she can remember watching in amazement as he drew cartoon characters for her.

“He would create wonderful images in seconds which back then would take me hours to draw,” she remembers.

Her interest in art significantly increased while attending Archbishop Chapelle High School, Schenck said.

“I had wonderful instructors who inspired me to go beyond what I thought were my limitations,” she said. “At this time I was able to greatly improve my abilities with pencil and charcoal. Throughout the next several years I had various jobs that had nothing to do with art, but I never lost my desire to create and draw. I was commissioned to draw murals for businesses in the New Orleans area, sketched out t-shirt designs for other entities and I even painted slates for the Ursuline Sisters.”

Live event paintings was something Scheck said she’s always been interested in.

“I purchased an easel twelve years ago for this exact reason but never used it,” she said. “It wasn’t until a friend who heard me talk about my desire to paint live multiple times offered for me to paint her wedding.  Within that same week, another friend who worked for a wedding venue asked if I would like to paint their open house. That was really how it all started … I painted those two events and I fell in love.”

Most of Scheck’s live paintings have hidden things in them – such as butterflies or other symbols honoring people who have passed away.

“Painting live has been the most enjoyable and exciting adventure,” she said.

Scheck has painted hundreds of weddings and live events, including the Tri Centennial Gala for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. She said the flexibility of the job allows her ample time with her two children.

“It allows me to really stay home with them,” she said. “When live paintings slow down for summer for me it’s crunch time to create art to sell at the Destrehan Fall Festival.”

The wildlife paintings she creates for the festival and her live event paintings have little in common, except for Scheck’s affinity for them.

“I love both of the things, but they’re totally opposite,” she said. “It’s funny that I’m doing this for a living because my mom always says that when I was little and sitting in church I would draw the back of everyone’s heads … it was something that kind of came naturally to me at a young age.”

For information on Scheck’s art, email kristen@nolalivepainting.com or visit her Facebook page by searching Nola Live Painting by Kristen Schenck.


About Monique Roth 919 Articles
Roth has both her undergraduate and graduate degree in journalism, which she has utilized in the past as an instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University and a reporter at various newspapers and online publications. She grew up in LaPlace, where she currently resides with her husband and three daughters.

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