Initially, I just wanted this post to be an easy way for my family and friends to see my newest art collection along with some of our wedding photos they have all been eager to see. But as it’s come together, I’ve realized this collection really is my magnum opus; it’s my most inspired collection to date, and a tribute to the most important event in my life. As someone who hates pictures of myself, and who’s quiet about my personal life on social media, this post was definitely a challenge for me.


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Brad — now my husband — who I met just a little over 5 years ago, has always indulged my obsession with flowers with surprise bouquets on random non-holidays, taking me to beautiful gardens, and ultimately proposing in a dreamy, tropical-planted conservatory. As I organized my wedding, it seemed fitting to also plan a future art collection inspired by the celebration. I wanted to be able to commemorate these priceless moments on canvas — brilliant, impactful memories in vivid color — thus a floral wedding theme was born.  

The following paintings are part of my Spring, 2018 collection called “Wild Hearts, Wildflowers.” The paintings in this collection are inspired and represent my own re-imagination of moments and memories; they are not meant to look identical to the photos I have also shared. Rather, they are a celebration of the events the photos helped capture.  

As you will learn in the captions, we held two ceremonies — both equally special to us — one with our local families in Raleigh, NC, and another with some of our closest, lifelong friends in Key West, FL. Raleigh being our hometown, our reasons for celebrating with family there are pretty obvious. But Key West may seem a bit of a brainstorm. Yes, it’s tropical and the weather is uniformly gorgeous. Yes, it’s a great party destination. But way more than that, we have both long-loved everything Key West represents. The people there are resilient and fiercely independent, and yet so open and welcoming. The island is diverse: culturally, biologically, musically. It’s the place where Brad’s grandmother retired, and where we now spend our most cherished time away from the hustle and bustle. It’s where Brad took me and asked if I would be his wife. Key West has become a big part of our story, and it seemed appropriate that we should repeat our vows there too.

My heart flutters as I reminisce, just as love and excitement fueled the creativity in this collection. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

With love,

Shalimar

More info: artbyshalimar.com

A Bouquet of New Beginnings

Valentines Day 2013. I had met Brad only a few weeks prior. I was having a busy day at work, and when I returned from lunch I was surprised to find a bouquet of beautiful Gerber daisies and roses in an orange vase on my desk. It included his first love note to me (I will spare you those details!). So here is my interpretation of that bouquet!

This painting is a 20in x 24in x 1.5in heavy oil on canvas.

The First Sign of Spring

A little over 5 years ago when Brad and I first started dating, he was busy finishing his doctoral program. Before we had even met in person, we spent many hours (usually late at night) talking on the phone. Always one to doodle, I started this painting during one of our first phone conversations. I will never forget how nervous I was to show him the final photo of the painting that he had heard me spend so many hours working on in the background of our calls.

This painting is called “The First Sign of Spring” it is a 36in x 48in x 1.5in heavy oil on canvas. I did a post just on this piece about a year ago. It took around 32 tubes of oil paint and 4 months to dry. This piece is another reason I decided to celebrate our relationship with a floral art collection. This was the very first floral piece I did with oil paint so my love for floral oil paintings started here inspired by the giddy excitement I had when Brad and I first started dating.

Wedding at Mordecai Historic Park in Raleigh, NC

It was only a few weeks ago when we found out my dad was diagnosed with Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that results in gradual paralysis, but cruelly leaves the mind unaffected. It is an irreversible disease, with a cure just out of reach.

The news came as a complete shock to all of us, so although we had been planning a destination wedding in the Keys, we changed and expedited our plans, choosing to host a small ceremony locally. Brad and I found Mordecai Historic Park, which has a lovely one-room chapel and unique, historic architecture, so we set the date. We pulled it together in less than six weeks. It was paramount to us that my dad had the opportunity — and the ability — to walk me down the aisle while he still could. Furthermore, Brad’s grandparents have also been struggling with their health and mobility, and he wanted to ensure they could attend since he knew his parents would not be able to bring them to Florida. It was as cold and as wintry of a wedding you could expect in North Carolina in January, but every bit as intimate and beautiful as we had hoped. It was truly a special event and we are so thankful for our families that made it.

*I decided to paint my interpretation of Brad’s tie.*

Click link:
Midnight Bloom
to see tie up close.

Image credits: www.instagram.com

Winter Roses

This painting is a 30in x 40in x 1.5in acrylic and heavy oil on stretched canvas inspired by Brad’s tie in the last photo.

Thank You

My dad has truly been my biggest fan throughout my life. His spirit is undefeatable. Case in point: his biggest source of anxiety since his ALS diagnosis has been about whether his family would be cared for. I haven’t always appreciated it, but he has been present for every major event in my life. I will never forget when he helped me move into my college dorm room, he was so reassuring and made me feel at ease even though I was terrified to be on my own for the first time. I remember looking at him as he drove away, and in that moment, felt so much love and gratitude toward him. How lucky I am to have had his blessings and his presence at my wedding.

Image credits: www.instagram.com

Success

We were freezing, if you can’t tell, but it couldn’t keep the smiles from our faces. I love the bottom photo, and how it features both sides of our families.

Image credits: www.instagram.com

Mordecai Flowers

You’ll meet my talented cousin Chelsey later in this post, but I was running super behind on the day of our ceremony. Of course I failed to pick up flowers to decorate the Chapel. I gave Chelsey a $100 budget to put together my floral arrangements, so she went to Trader Joe’s, bought half of their floral section, and put together 10 vases with lovely white laced ribbons. Included in her project was this perfect bouquet. She did this all in the back seat of her car on the way to the ceremony. I was pleasantly shocked and so thankful when I first stepped into that Chapel, as I walked in with my dad by my side at the start of the ceremony. The chapel was beautifully decorated and it really brought a huge smile to my face.

Image credits: www.instagram.com

Fresh Flowers and White Laced Ribbons

This painting is an 18in x 20in x 1.5in acrylic and heavy oil on stretched canvas.

Valentine’s Day at Sarabeth’s in Key West, FL

Brad ensured we arrived in Key West on Valentines Day with 8:30 reservations at Sarabeth’s for dinner. After a bottle of Cabernet we became fast friends with the couple one table over, who had been together for over 15 years. When we told them that we were getting married only days later, they offered us heartfelt, experienced advice: every night, spend at least an hour away from technology or other distractions, just to talk and reflect together. They said that they do this every day, sometimes on a walk, sometimes at home over a drink; in any case, it has helped to keep their relationship strong. They concluded by reminding us that marriage is a lifetime commitment and it will take a lot of work from both of us. What a night. Cheers to that lovely couple out there who gave us this advice, we will always remember you. (And that strawberry shortcake!)

Dinner at Sarabeth’s

I wanted to paint the picture of us at Sarabeth’s. The atmosphere, the ambience, everything was perfect about that evening. Brad argued that my dress looked orange but, the label did say red! So I decided to paint with red that had strong hints of orange. I wanted to capture some of the flickering candles in the background and the lush greenery surrounding us. Our host (who captured this moment for us) and waiters were superb. It was an unforgettable evening.

This painting is called “Dinner at Sarabeth’s” it is a 20in x2 4in x 1.5in acyrlic and heavy oil on stretched canvas.

“First Look” at the Casa Marina

We stayed at the Casa Marina Key West, a Waldorf Astoria Resort for our wedding weekend. We decided to do a “first look” and I remember Brad walking down from the hotel to join me at this moment, his suit pants rolled up as he made his way through the sand. We had a little audience of people, some of our friends trying to make me smile for the camera, and a sweet, drunk lady on the beach who kept yelling “keep your hair to the side like that, it looks best!” Our stay at the Casa Marina was among the highlights of our trip. The service was unparalleled, especially from Patrick who really made our stay extra special.

Image credits: www.dp3studio.com

Krewe de Key West

We are so lucky to have such awesome friends and family. There were a handful of people who were there but are missing in this photo, and a few who couldn’t make it but were still there in spirit. We had guests from Mexico, California, Illinois, North Carolina, D.C., Virginia, and many other places to spend the weekend with us in Key West. We love you and cherish you guys so much!

Image credits: www.dp3studio.com

Family from Cali

My sister, Mary, is not just family. She has been my lifelong best friend. She was able to join us along with my two gorgeous nieces and ever-dapper brother-in-law.

*Pay close attention to my brother-in-law’s tie*

Click link:
Mardi
to see tie up close.

Image credits: www.dp3studio.com

Fresh Blossoms on Sandy Beaches

This painting is a 20in x 20in x 1.5in acrylic and heavy oil on stretched canvas.

The Tie That Inspired the Centerpiece of My Collection

I wanted to have my wedding at the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory — I knew it from the moment we were engaged there 9 months prior — and the botanical garden landscape was the perfect backdrop for the floral theme I envisioned. I found this floral tie online, and I knew it was the tie I wanted Brad to wear. It had all of my favorite colors with a really fun pattern. I decided that I wanted all of the men to wear floral ties, and every one of them delivered!

Click link:
Hot Mess
to see tie up close.

Image credits: www.dp3studio.com

Wild Hearts, Wildflowers

This painting is a 6ft x 4ft x 1.5in acrylic and heavy oil painting.

I can stare at this piece for hours. The amount of oil and texture is really indescribable, seeing it in person is a much different experience. It is longer than I am tall!

From to the Top Right Corner Looking Down…

From the Bottom Left Corner Looking Up…

Entering the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

If you haven’t visited this place, you need to immediately. It is like walking into a real-life fairy tale. Again, Andy our photographer absolutely captured these special moments perfectly!

Image credits: www.dp3studio.com

A Dream in Full Bloom

This painting is a 30in x 40in x 1.5in acrylic and heavy oil on stretched canvas. It is my representation of the vivid colors, the life, the movement that is all present in that small, dreamy space. I made sure to add a lot of hints of pink to represent Rhett, and Scarlett (the two famous flamingos who live there, and who were both guests at our ceremony). The conservatory went out of their way to help us plan our ceremony, they did a lot for Brad with arranging his proposal months prior too. Both times our experience were exceptional.

Start of the Ceremony

My nieces, and cousin, Chelsey (in the far back).

*Pay close attention to my cousin’s dress.*

Image credits: www.dp3studio.com

A Walk into a Fairytale

This is a 16in x 40in x 1.5in acrylic and heavy oil painting on stretched canvas.

My Key West Bouquet

Since the conservatory is a USDA accredited facility that houses plants and butterfly species with invasive potential, they must be remarkably strict about allowing any live plants or animals into or out of the building. So much for a traditional bouquet…

I spent way too many hours searching for silk bouquets online before finally giving up and making my own. When it came together and even matched Brad’s tie, I went ahead and made my hair piece and Brad’s boutonniere too.

Image credits: www.dp3studio.com

Floral Fireworks

This painting is a 24in x 30in x 1.5in acrylic and heavy oil on stretched canvas.

More Photos from Our Ceremony

Image credits: www.dp3studio.com

Greg, Our Dear Friend and Our Officiant

Oh Greg, how he pulled it off… He always does! Maybe it’s our careers, but both Brad and I work best under pressure. Which is to say we often put things off until the last minute… and our vows were no different! There was no rehearsal, Greg had everything printed and ready, and didn’t even break a sweat (well, not anymore than anyone else does wearing a suit in a tropical greenhouse one block from the southernmost tip of the continental United States). The ceremony unfolded perfectly. I even cried a little (OK, a lot).

*Pay close attention to Greg’s tie.*

To see it up close visit the site it was purchased from:
https://www.daziusa.com/collections/floral/products/coral-flor

Image credits: www.dp3studio.com

Effortless Love

This painting is a 30in x 40in x 1.5 in acrylic and heavy oil on canvas.

Cheers!

We will cherish these champagne glasses from one of our favorite spots in Key West!

Image credits: www.dp3studio.com

Views from the Gazebo

Many of our friends got to enjoy the ceremony from the gazebo.

*Pay attention to the floral dress that my stunning friend, Melodie, is wearing.*

Image credits: www.dp3studio.com

Gazebo Flowers

This painting is a 16in x 40in x 1.5in acrylic and heavy oil on stretched canvas.

More Friends Dressed in Floral

Marco and his lovely fiancé, Lo, came from San Francisco to be apart of our special day.

*I loved her dress, so pay close attention to it!*

Love from San Francisco

This painting is a 20in x 20in x 1.5in acrylic and heavy oil on stretched canvas.

All Clear, Go!

This photo makes me laugh. Brad and I decided to take photos at the Southernmost point right after the ceremony. It is a popular tourist spot but, also happens to be an area that many cars drive through. We had to run into the middle of the road for brief photo opportunities, back and forth between cars! Thankfully, my gorgeous friend, Rachel, and her husband had someone take their photo at this very moment, they happened to capture us in the middle of this ridiculous routine in the background.

*So I decided to paint Rachel’s dress.*

Southernmost Garden

This painting is a 12in x 36in x 1.5in acrylic and heavy oil on stretched canvas.

Catching the Sunset

Image credits: www.dp3studio.com

That’s a Wrap!

Thank you for visiting!

Image credits: www.dp3studio.com