Saturday, December 26, 2009

The art of French winemaking, the process of California painting

The painting process. Artists approach painting in unique ways and it is much the same for the great winemakers of the world. There are basics of course, but we all have our methods, our aesthetics, and the love of what we do. Both are passionate.

I am very lucky to have wonderful and interesting people in my life, and Valerie Aigron, is no exception – she is an amazing and passionate women who loves what she does. Yes, yes, Val, I still owe you that “Martini” painting – soon I promise! (Valerie is currently the Export Manager of Cave de Rasteau in Provence and when she was in San Francisco last spring she introduced me to yet another amazing and passionate women, Mulan Chan-Randel.

Mulan is the French Regional and Rhone Valley wine buyer at K&L Wine Merchants (she knows her “stuff” to say the least and is currently a candidate in the Master of Wine program). Mulan has started a wine blog that I would like to share, mumu vignes. The web address is … check it out it’s fantastic!

The painting… getting there. It’s interesting, with the current paintings I am not doing any pre-sketches, I find that with the subject matter of these painting they seem to take on a life of their own anyway, so why bother. I just sketch out directly onto the canvas (abstract I approach differently, still doing a pre sketch). I have stopped fighting with the canvas, well, for the most part.

I get an idea in my head and just start painting (like my friend Matt said to me while having a glass of wine in my studio and looking at the paintings; “I’ve always wondered what was in your head… kinda frightening”).

The first step is to sketch in the idea/ basic composition.

2nd, I lay in base colors and start laying in the color flow around the canvas.

I tend to paint “off the canvas”, meaning, not ending the “story” at the edges. Next I start “developing” the full canvas. Somewhere at this stage is when the unexpected happens, that’s when it gets exciting… one color leads to another.

Then the fear factor. I think every artist goes through this. The “I don’t want to screw it up” part. But, I have learned that’s the process, you go on, and when it’s done, you know. At that point, you walk away and just let it be what is meant to be.

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