The joining of souls on canvas
Imagine a wedding day where the official photos are not the most personal memory of the occasion but the joining of two souls is captured in an oil painting. Artist Louis Parsons is doing just that.
Jude Parkin with her Wedding Soulscape
Cheltenham-based artist Louis Parsons has built his reputation by painting what he calls 'Soulscapes'.
It's a gift that Louis believes he has been given and one that has had individuals and companies around the world wanting to meet him. But what is a 'Soulscape'?
"It's an oil-on-canvas painting" says Louis, "which, when you look at it, reminds you of why you're here today and who you feel you really are on the inside."
Louis is now applying this to couples on what should be the most special day of their life. The wedding day.
Jude and Jon Parkin from Cheltenham are one such couple and Jude describes the finished canvas they now have hanging in pride of place:
"The two people in the middle are obviously Jon and myself and the light around is faith and God and the idea that we want to impact the world around us.
"There's a real sense of unity in the picture and yet there's a lot going on outside of the two of us in the colours and depth of colours.
"The swirls indicate to us the world that can spin around and be out of control, then there's the flashes of white and light amidst that which is the living out of our faith in a chaotic world.
"There's also an incredible bit to the right of both of us that almost looks like a hand that's holding us.
"That wasn't constructed at all and came out of the painting which really indicates the divine in it, that God's holding us still in the midst of the world and our relationship growing as a couple. All of that in one painting and more!"
To draw out the personal information needed, Louis spends about an hour with the individual or couple, asking questions and talking with them.
"Imagine you had a work of art." says Louis. "It's absolutely perfect, already created and it's on your wall. What would you want to experience as you look at it?"
"Amazingly everyone has the answer to that question. I listen to all that feeling and the emotion that's shared and then I go away and I turn that into an oil painting for someone.
Jude and Jon were really fascinated with the idea and knew it was something for them, as Jude explains:
"From a faith perspective we thought how amazing it would be on our wedding day to have people asking questions about it and having the opportunity to say what it was all about.
"We thought it would be something quite unique on our wedding day."
It was a really significant moment in itself when Jude and Jon met with Louis before their wedding to talk about colours and what the painting might look like.
"We just prayed really" says Jude, "and were like 'ok God, can you show us what this painting might look like?' and the picture that Jon and I both got independently was very very similar but maybe with our own personal take on it.
"Hence it was a piece of us in the painting so that was really significant and very exciting and deeply spiritual."
Louis accepts that it won't appeal to the masses but he has been pleasantly surprised at the range of people who have wanted a 'Wedding Soulscape'.
"Generally it is people who have got something of a belief, or want something a little different but still in an elegant and contemporary way.
"It's also for people who have a really amazing story to tell and a real journey to share, so that's where people have gone for it, got a lot from it.
"They've had an opportunity to share with their friends and family something that they'd never realised about them before."
Louis Parsons in his Cheltenham studio
If you'd like to see more of Louis' work, visit his website or take a look in person at the Montpellier Gardens Gallery, Cheltenham, from Wednesday 17th June to Monday 22nd June 2009.
last updated: 19/06/2009 at 09:18