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Introducing Marietta's Premier Wine Painter

By S. Mathur

"Life without art is like dinner without wine. Why bother?" Thomas Arvid, famous for his paintings of wine and its associated objects and rituals, was first drawn to painting wine because of his fascination with the color red. He says, "I paint wine because I love wine, and art is an excellent medium for sharing that love with others. I'm also drawn to the complexities and depth of the color red." His work is eagerly sought by collectors and is said to define the modern still life painting, where an image tells a story of many worlds beyond its frame.

Arvid seems somewhat bemused by the reception of his work: "Wine is a great subject because people are familiar with it; they really connect to it. My paintings are really the landscapes between people sharing wine. It's amazing that my collectors find personal fulfillment in my work, especially when I'm just doing what I love." Clearly, the detailed, almost photographic images with an aura of their own - Arvid describes his style as American Realism - strike a chord with viewers. Collectors wait for years for one of his original works, which are also displayed in elite art galleries in the US, Canada, and Japan.

Arvid's advice to others is to "Be original, focus on a subject you love, live every moment to its fullest and the rest will come." He knows what he's talking about, having made the same choice himself. He was brought up in Detroit and expected to follow a career in the industrial sector. But after a backpacking trip to Europe, he changed direction to begin painting full time. He attributes his success to dedication and perseverance.

In time for the holiday season, a series of watercolors have touches like a string of lights waiting to be put up, bottles that have acquired Santa beards and hats, and Christmas cookies. Arvid does participate in special exhibits and other events, he says, "Most recently the Vinings Gallery hosted a show in early December. Coming up, I will be traveling to Sargents Fine Art Gallery for a two-week Artist in Residency in Maui."

The attention to detail, the connections to a larger world and the love of wine which reflects the instinct to share the good things in life: all distilled into a glass of wine. These are perhaps what Arvid shares with the vintners who are some of the most dedicated collectors of his work. This connection is reflected in a story Arvid tells about one of his paintings.

"Years ago, I donated one of my paintings to a charitable auction and the person who bought it actually gave it back to me! He was a budding winemaker in the process of making his first vintage and wanted to make a trade: 'when my wine is ready, I want you to paint it.' Two years passed and I finally got an invitation to Sloan Vineyards. As soon as I experienced the first taste, I knew this had to be a special piece. The fine detail of craftsmanship and commitment to excellence in the wine inspired me to create 'A Notch Above.'"

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