A talented young artist in New York hit the news recently as she uses her favourite beverage to make detailed portraits. Wine lover Amelia Fais Harnas creates her artwork by first drawing in wax before pouring layers of wine on top. She creates the portraits on pieces of white cotton and adds six or seven layers of wine to achieve light and dark shades.
Amelia is continually experimenting with the complex process which she sometimes combines with embroidery in separate designs. She tries to always work in right temperature, ideally around 27ºC so the wine dries at a good speed. And depending on the size of her works, they can individually sell for up to £650.
She says she normally works with cheap bottles of wine that produce good colour and are low in residual sugars. Amelia told the Daily Mail:
‘I wondered if wine – because I love wine – could be used as a pigment for my portraits.
Finally, I decided to use a wax resist with the repeated wine stain effect to render the portraits.
I’d love to be able to say it happened by accident, where I spilled wine and saw Jesus’s face in it or something, but it really resulted from a series of what-ifs.’
Amelia has exhibited in galleries as well as at a local winery, where she almost exclusively uses their wine. The American artist, who is also an apprentice translator, plans to move to Paris, France, soon to work on miniature portraits – using French wine of course.
There is a precedent to painting with wine Philippe Dufrenoy is an artist who paints with wine who has painted several châteaux and vintners in Bordeaux. His paintings include Chateaux Rauzan Segla, La Lagune, Franc Mayne, d’Issan, La Couspade, Figeac and including Anthony Barton from Leoville Barton and Alfred Tesseron from Pontet Canet . . . using their own wines.
His story begins in the year 2000 when the 53-year-old engineer living in Bordeaux, lost his job. Sitting in a café, solemnly meditating on how to get his life back on track, a glass of red wine changed his life forever.
Just to keep his fingers busy, he dipped a brush into the glass and drew a garnet sketch with the luscious red grape wine. This was the first time Philippe Dufrenoy stumbled upon his craft.
Dufrenoy only paints with very strong, young wine. Older wine fades faster and loses colour quickly. He uses either wine from Bordeaux or California. His colour palette ranges from garnet to cranberry.
Another French artist who paints with wine is Elisabeth Seguin. Based in her studio in Liernais in Burgundy Elisabeth paints with Cotes de Nuits, Cotes de Beaunes, wines of Burgundy or wines of the Gard region.