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May 31 2016

Wine Painting - Painting WITH Wine or Paintings OF Wine?

Look for "wine painting" on the internet, and the email address details are largely paintings of wine, bottles, or vineyards. Many reflect the style of paintings that hang in wine cellars or about the walls of the Olive Garden. Not many are actually paintings made out of wine. Not only are not enough people exploring this art form but those who are seem hardly able to distinguish the theme in the subject matter. In short, it's apparently tough to describe the semantics of painting WITH wine versus paintings OF wine. This enhances the obvious question: Is there a difference between the two styles, and is that difference even worth exploring?
Paint and sip

The short answer is, Yes. There's absolutely a benefit to doing any type of art that forces people to climb out of the cave and understand that they were just looking at the shadows. To further this out-of-the-box mentality, art students are often challenged to make a "painting" without using any traditional media. It's surprising what can be done with mud, lipstick, and any number of drinks.

However, wine, being an artistic medium, comes with a few limitations. Like every other monochromatic pigment, there are only so many layers which can be built up and so many values that may be manipulated. Also, considering that the medium is hardly thicker than water, tight detail can be tricky... to say the least.
Wine and paint

About the more optimistic side, some great benefits of this style greatly outweigh the hindrances. As an example, by painting with wine, the artist can depict a vineyard with all the grapes that originated from that exact location. It's not necessarily original, but it is a fun thought.

Wine makers often reference terroir (from the word terre, meaning land) like a defining element that makes their wine distinct and special. It is the soil, the climate, the vines' natural surroundings which are incorporated into the wine's qualities. This could make the difference between a $10,000 bottle of Romanee-Conti along with a $10 California pinot. However, for the good terroir does, it is a one-way relationship from soil to bottle. Wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms are often hungry for a procedure that goes the other direction. Taking the specific wine made out of that location and painting the surroundings completes the cycle, bringing the vineyard to itself.

While there are numerous painters out there who depict still lifes of bottles, or dark wine sloshing into glasses, there aren't many taking the road less traveled and, as we know, that makes all the difference.

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