Last night I read an article in the *New York Times Style Magazine about terroir. It describes a vintner in Cleveland who planted vines in an abandoned city block to make his wines. It also features a baker who put out sourdough starter in various spots in New York City so that each one would pick up flavors from its environment. (Note this was pre-COVID times.)
If you’re interested in wine, you might know terroir as a French word used to describe the environment in which a particular wine’s grapes are grown. The makeup of the soil, altitude, sunlight and rain, all of these factors influence the flavor of a wine. This got me thinking about how I could apply the concept of terroir to portrait painting.
Last week, I made a painting of my husband Tim while he napped in my studio. I’ve drawn him many many times, but over the course of 16 years together, I hadn’t painted him yet. I purposefully included the studio space, tools, a cool chair and bright blanket around him. All these elements were fun to paint and gave me an excuse to play with line and colors. And all of these elements around Tim contribute to how his finished portrait turned out. All the elements in the space around him are a sort of terroir for this portrait.
Making that painting reminded me of how much I love painting people, so I decided to launch portraits this week.
I’d love to make paintings of people in either indoor or outdoor spaces… with things that bring them joy… a bike… some books… plants… musical instruments perhaps…
You’ll notice I’ve included my painting of two dog buddies on a mountain top because our fur babies make great portrait companions!
I currently have some beautiful birch wood panels I’ve been preparing, and these will be ready this week to start making paintings. They are 24×18 inches with 1.5″ edge (painted white), and will come wired and ready to install on your wall. A portrait of this size is priced at $2300 for 1-2 people (or pets!), and I’m happy to work in other sizes and with larger groups as well.
*Ligaya Mishan. “The Growers, Bakers and Beekeepers Embracing the Terroir of American Cities.” The New York Times Style Magazine 26 Mar. 2021.