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2.4.24 Brinkerhoff Mansion

The first event of the year was a blast - I was invited to The Bridal Expo open house for the Historic Brinkerhoff Mansion in Springfield by Tammy Fidler. I must open by saying: anyone who has a small intimate event needs to book this venue. It's truly a hidden gem.

The library opened up to my portrait booth, a huge window casting light into a spacious sitting area with old wooden ceiling-to-floor display hutches, a fireplace, and a crystal chandelier. I couldn't have asked for a more delightful setting. In the background, beautiful acoustic guitars with soft vocals by the After School Club filled the room with a nostalgic warmth. The other vendors, all talented and enthusiastic, dropped by from time to time, some looking for a sketch and others inquiring about my new business.

There were balloons sculptures, drop-dead gorgeous gowns, engaging photographers and their breathtaking work, hors d'oeuvres fancy enough for Mr. Darcy, the cutest sugar cookies you ever did see, delicate flowers - and free coffee. I may be a barista. My in-laws may own a coffee shop. But I always love a free hot coffee when doodling.

I had advertised my "Promo Drawings" as a quick $5 meet and greet, but had ample time to really talk with each visitor and hear their story. Needless to say, only three or four of the "quick" drawings were actually under 5 minutes as advertised. The others ended up being a little more in-depth like a character study. I suppose the lackadaisical atmosphere and historic sitting room seeped into my drawing hand and slowed the pace. For whatever reason, I had decided to draw some traditional pencil sketches, one of my cousin and another of my husband at the last minute. I hurriedly placed them on the display table just before the event began. And wouldn't you know it? Most people chose that style which was so boring and commonplace to me after years of practicing! Admittedly, they ended up being some of the most fun portraits I've drawn yet.

I had the honor to draw several couples, a very sweet bubbly bride who runs an up-thrifting business and is obsessed with Chinese Dramas, some of the other vendors, and two enigmatic BFFs who romp around the mansion. These last two had funny stories about the space and their friendship. After the event, they gave me a spooky (but not really, because there were three of us in the middle of the day) tour of the old basement where some of my writing professors had once hidden a bottle of spirits. We didn't find the bottle, but we did see a lot of cool bricks, chipping paint, and old handwritten notes.

This event was the perfect opening to a new season, and I'm excited to see what's in store for the rest of 2024.


This couple was too precious!
Major fan of Aaliyah's fit, smile, and style <3


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