Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wine & Art: A Natural Pairing

At Grapes and Gallery, there is an intersection between wine (Grapes) and art (Gallery). Some people might think that coming to the Gallery is primarily about painting. Others might focus on the wine component of the experience. In reality, this combination is more than a fancy tactic to encourage our guests to relax enough to paint a masterpiece.

Wine and art are natural complements. For starters, people of all experience levels can enjoy both wine and art. Think about how you evaluate the quality of a bottle of wine. Now, think about how you determine if art is good or not. The processes are very similar. Advanced connoisseurs of wine and art will take very different perspectives in evaluating a bottle of wine or a painting than those that are relatively inexperienced.

For example, a sommelier (pronounced som-mel-yeah), trained wine professional, might analyze the quality of a particular wine based on the region, the type of grape, the aroma, the bouquet, the acidity, the body, the taste, etc. Let’s face it, that’s too much for most of us who like to sit down with a good bottle of wine and relax. So how does a novice decide what’s good? Well, for starters, you rely on what you like. If it tastes good, it is good!

As you begin to understand more about wine, your world will be transformed. You will find yourself smelling wines in addition to tasting them, noticing the differences in acidity and body, and refining your idea of what constitutes good wine. Do you have to be a wine snob or receive special training? No. In fact, you can discover wine like a child discovers the world. Try new wines. Step outside of your comfort zone. Read about various wine regions and the characteristics of wine. Pick up Richard Bett’s scratch and sniff book - “The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert: Take a Whiff of That.” Have fun!

Evaluating art is very similar. An art critic might focus on the brush strokes of a painting, size of the piece, elements of the composition, color scheme, texture of the surface, context of the objects portrayed, implied meaning, etc. to determine what constitutes good art. However, all of us, even without any exposure to principles of art, know what we like and make judgments based on our preferences.

As you are exposed to more artwork and begin to create your own pieces, your preferences may change. You may appreciate certain techniques more than others, begin to notice subtle differences in paintings, and start to interpret meaning from pieces where you might have only seen something to hang on your wall before. In order to discover art, follow the same advice as with wine. Look at different pieces. Try new paintings of your own. Step outside of your comfort zone. Read about artwork. Have fun. Explore your inner artist!

Now that you know a little bit about why wine and art appreciation might be viewed as very similar interests, let’s address the association most people have between the two. Almost every night at the Gallery someone makes a comment about how having a glass of wine reduces her anxiety related to painting for the first time or how a glass of wine helps her paint. As it turns out, there is actually scientific evidence that supports the claim that wine helps our guests produce masterpieces. Research out of the Psychology department at the University of Chicago at Illinois indicates that alcohol reduces a person’s working memory, aiding the creative process. What does this mean? A glass of wine can help take you out of your normal mental processes and constraints and allow you to express your creativity more fully.

Nowhere can you see this intersection between wine and art play out quite like you can at the Gallery.  Does this mean we prefer you to drink alcohol when you come to our painting sessions? Absolutely not. Do we want you to release the worries of your everyday world and explore your inner artist without worry of criticism? That’s EXACTLY the point.

Paint your day!

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