Wine Painting — Painting WITH Wine or Paintings OF Wine?

Search 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 around the walls of the Olive Garden. Very few are actually paintings made out of wine. Not only are few people exploring this talent but those who are seem hardly in a position 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 improves the obvious question: Is there a difference between the two styles, and it is that difference even worth exploring?

Sip and paint

The fast answer is, Yes. There’s absolutely a benefit to doing just about any art that forces people to climb out of the cave and understand that they were just looking on the shadows. To further this out-of-the-box mentality, art students are often challenged to make a “painting” without needing any traditional media. It’s surprising what can you do with mud, lipstick, as well as any number of drinks.

Wine and paint

However, wine, as an artistic medium, does have a few limitations. Like all other monochromatic pigment, there are just so many layers that may be built up and so many values that may be manipulated. Also, since the medium is hardly thicker than water, tight detail could be tricky… to say the least.

Around 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 isn’t necessarily original, however it is a fun thought.

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

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

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