Friday, November 6, 2009


"Late Afternoon Red"
© J Licsko 09
36"x 36" oil on canvas

I live in the Paso Robles wine country, up on a hill, surrounded by grapes, amid hundreds of wineries, and a multitude of tasting rooms. At almost every social gathering, local vintners offer samples. In the five years I have lived here, I have witnessed first hand the subtleties of the seasons in the vineyards. From bud break (that's the first sign of leaves in the spring) to the rich red and gold colors of harvest, I have watched enchanted, but never been inspired to paint the scenes.

Recently, I was asked by one of my art dealers if I could paint for a show that featured wine culture as the subject. He had a specific nationally known artist's style in mind, when he asked. It is my observation that one always learns from stepping outside my comfort zone, so I took the challenge. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed painting all the sparkles of light on the glass, the sumptuous curves of bottles and glass, and the deep rich reds in the wine. I felt restrained by the requested style of painting, but overall the experience was very stimulating.

What I like best about my new series of wine paintings is the curves. Those who have gone to art school may have done endless exercises in creating the perfect curves, but it is relatively new to me. I have been learning as I go. Each glass offers the chance to study how light changes as the curve does. Curves change abruptly if two glasses are layered one in front of the other, or when a reflection breaks the line. A line that appears to be too long is very often too thin.
The most important lesson for me is that there is an noticeable emotional satisfaction when the line becomes correct. Either intuition, gut feeling, or visual recognition ( I'm not sure which) confirms in the most satisfying way that it is right.

"Late Afternoon Red" is my first painting of this series.