Monday, December 30, 2013

Life in Layers

“Layer by layer art strips life bare.” - Robert Musil

I stumbled on the quote above from Robert Musil the other day. After reading it several times, I was in complete awe. Read it again if you haven’t already. Wow!

What in the world is he talking about? When you start painting and really appreciating the elements of any artistic piece, your perspective of the world changes. You start to notice the colors, the details, the imperfections, and the basic elements that were seemingly not there before.  It’s almost as if your eyes are open for the first time.

"Morning Mist"
Also, as many of you know, painting can be a layering process. From a blank canvas you build the background. Layer upon layer of paint. Layer upon layer of color to create the perfect shades. Then comes the actual subject being painted. Take “Morning Mist” for example. The shoreline takes shape. The bones of the trees make their appearance on the canvas. The foliage adorns the trees. Suddenly the trees are reflected on the water’s surface. A mist rises up off of the water. The painting that started as a blank canvas now portrays the morning mist of Saluda Shoals Park. Layer by layer, starting from the bare bones, you create your own version of reality, your vision of life.

Life itself is a layering process. Every day we build knowledge, grow, improve and have experiences that make us who we are. The same is true in business. You may have noticed some of the changes that have been happening at Grapes and Gallery. We have spent the last two years creating an environment where you can explore your inner artist and paint your day. At the same time, we have been building the background for a larger vision. Over the past few months, we have expanded our offering to include painting supplies, rearranged the easels, repurposed wooden pallets into a bar, and gotten visitors accustomed to the idea of having a divider between the the front area and the painting area. We have also renovated the downstairs to make it a relaxing area people want to visit. Layer upon layer, we are painting a new tomorrow.

Part of the new rock wall downstairs. Painted by Allison Fowler.

We look forward to sharing the new version of us in the new year, and we hope that our new creation will enhance your experience. Stay tuned for more.

Happy New Year...Paint your day!

Monday, December 9, 2013

What is ART worth?

What is ART worth?

What is anything worth for that matter? From an economic perspective, it is a question of supply and demand. Any object is worth what someone will pay for it. So, what are you willing to pay for a piece of art?

Think about da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” local artists’ pieces, and even your OWN art work. How do assign value to these? What are they worth?
From an artist’s perspective, a painting may be as valuable as his ear (Van Gogh) or even as much as life itself. An artist never feels like he is finished with a piece of art. As Leonardo da Vinci said, "art is never completed, only abandoned."

In a sense, a painter leaves a part of himself in every piece. A vision. A creation. An interpretation. Every line is valuable. Every color represents a temperature that sparks the fire. Every mark means something. Even the marks that do not make the canvas but that were brought to the front of mind occasionally; the ones that were thought to be paired with another; THE mark that made the entire piece; or even those that were stifled or instantly regretted and covered, all of these create the piece. As such, a painting is a rare glimpse into an artist’s mind. Without this expression of thought, life might be unimaginable.

Some artists use the most traditional of tools, while others find art even in their instruments. We know of local artists that turn garbage into art. Thomas Crouch found construction blue prints in the trash, turned them into the canvas, and created fascinating images of crows. 

"Congregation" by Thomas Crouch (

Others create art on tin. Some take minutes to create. Some take days or even years. How much of the artist are you getting in each piece? What parts do you enjoy? Respect? Admire? Envy? Crave to experience?

Art can "move" one person and be considered good art. A toddler’s art is priceless to his mother. It can move lots of people and be considered great. The meaning and value, however, will be different for every viewer. The next time you consider the value of art, remember that you are getting a glimpse at the artist himself, and think about the meaning you draw from it. If a piece moves you, it has value.

Express your inner artist! Find your perspective and be confident in what you enjoy about art. Pick up a brush and proceed with reckless abandon. The experience is invaluable.

Paint your day!