Sandi Whetzel's Wine-Inspired Art: A Visual Elixir of Seductive Twists on Wine

Wine on the Vine ©Sandi Whetzel  For Details, click

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The Pacific Northwest's regard for wine inspires me to celebrate the wine experience in my contemporary acrylic paintings. My images mirror the emotions, romance, fantasies or whimsy that consumption of wine fosters. My passion for sensual, curvy, shapes and scintillating color flows into the graceful wine vessels and alluring human forms infused in my creations.

I explore how to tickle viewers senses in ways they have not seen in typical wine-themed art. I imagine surprising, surreal wine scenarios: Sensual. Seductive. Tantalizing. Romantic. Playful. It's almost as if I produce advertisements for the wine industry.

Cropping my wine narratives to a close-up of the pertinent elements dramatically zooms-in on an intimate view of the novel event -- It suggests an engaging storyline and some mystery for the viewer. I think people are looking for a simple elegance in artwork that separates it from the ordinary. That is my goal in blending fantasy with reality. I aim to grab the viewers' attention: "Wow! I've never seen anything like that!"

Most people don't realize how much thought, creativity and risk of failure goes into each painting.  Like grapevines selected for wine production, the idea for a painting is nurtured, allowed to grow and take form through pruning and reshaping. As with wine after the harvest, the images are distilled and refined before they are served up for enjoyment. My art is a visual elixir of seductive, unexpected twists on wine.

My fascination with uncommon wine themes began when I competed creatively to promote a premiere wine event. Before this challenge, I created sensual floras, usually from some form of visual inspiration. The only inspiration this time was an imposed "Wine on the Vine" theme. I pondered all the "typical" wine images I had seen, but I wanted an exceptional concept to illustrate that theme.

As a starting point, I considered abstract wine bottles among grapevines. While sketching some robust, curvaceous wine bottles, I got a brainsmack! I could encase a cluster of grapes inside open wine bottles growing from grapevines! I was juiced!

As I continued sketching, ideas for the painting flowed -- glistening highlights, colored reflections and shadows in the grapes, bottles, and leaves revealed form and transparency. I added a pearly textured moon with light radiating around it into an evening sky. The wind-blown grape leaves, climbing tendrils and the skewed placement of the wind-tossed bottles, echoed the radiating pattern of the moonlit sky. It was an elegant, serene, scene that said, "Wine on the Vine" just about as well as anything could, in my opinion.

That experience, creating something entirely from my imagination, taught me what can be when I trust my imagination to lead me. Because that painting was so popular, I created more wine paintings. My wine images promoted the 2004 Art About Wine Exhibit, the 2005 Umpqua Valley Wine, Art & Music Festival and the Umpqua Valley Winegrowers Greatest of the Grape in 2006, 2011 and 2013. In 2009, one of my wine images won a wine label design contest for the Downtown Initiative for Visual Arts, (DIVA) in Eugene, OR.

When viewers connect emotionally with my art, when they experience it, the art is complete. I hope people feel about my art the way they feel about good wine -- I hope it elicits pleasure and enhances your life experience.
See more of Sandi Whetzel's art here

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