Wine has long been a great source of artistic inspiration and a local Santa Barbara artist has tapped into this source in more ways than one. Wife of esteemed winemaker Michael Larner, of Larner Vineyards, Christina LoCascio Larner has been creating beautiful, inspired works in the Santa Ynez Valley, all painted with wine.
Earning her Fine Arts Degree from UC Santa Barbara before beginning her career in the wine industry in 2002, Larner’s fusion of her two great passions, art and wine, was formed with one fateful spill of a wine glass. The effects of wine on paper was a unique angle Larner sought to explore with her works and she began experimenting with wine’s evocative potential.
While painting with wine could easily be deemed a novelty, the fantastic pieces Larner paints stand on their own merits and the fact that they were created with wine only adds to their charm.
To create the works, Larner blends distilled wine with pastels to create her base paint. By utilizing different grape varieties for pigment as well as experimenting with layering techniques to provide the pieces with texture and depth, Larner has definitely crafted a style all her own and her pieces range from captivating vineyard landscapes to abstract human forms.
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect to Larner’s works is that, much like the wine she uses, they constantly evolve.
Larner explains that as the paintings age, the wine oxidizes and the colors begin to change. Her oldest work dates back to 2003, however she is still learning the effects of the wines’ acids on paper and as such, she photographs her works immediately in order to transfer them to print.
Currently, Larner has been exploring the idea of negative space to create the effect of exploding bottles and the results are outstanding.
Displaying her works at this year’s Santa Barbara County’s Celebration of Harvest Festival, Larner presented a color graph demonstrating the pigments of a number of the grape varieties grown throughout the Santa Ynez Valley as well as a cross section showing these grapes blended together. She also had on hand a fascinating study on wine fermentation, charting the various pigment stages fermenting tanks of wine undergo.
To purchase one of her uniquely crafted pieces, visit her website here
Or, the next time you are up in the Santa Ynez Valley, stop by the Larners’ family shop, the Los Olivos General Store, and take a look at some of her pieces firsthand alongside a tasting of the wines that helped create them.
Los Olivos General Store
2900 Grand Ave,
Los Olivos, CA 93441
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