The Pine Cone's fifth story of the week

Artist's realistic image marks food and wine fest


Published: February 8, 2008

'YOU LOOK at the stem of the glass and know what it would feel like to pick it up,” artist Thomas Arvid said last week as he scrutinized one of his paintings on an easel at the Beach and Tennis Club in Pebble Beach. “My paintings take you someplace.”

Arvid, whose work is highly regarded and sought after by collectors, is known for his tantalizingly realistic wine-related images. Sitting just inside the club’s dining room, he spent a few hours last Wednesday working on a piece depicting 10 bottles of wine — some open, some yet to be, and one with the cork stuck back in. Two glasses filled with red wine beckon.

Robert Weakley, co-founder of the inaugural Pebble Beach Food & Wine set for March 27-30, was particularly interested in the work, as it features the reserve vintages some fortunate attendees will taste during the PBF&W.

The oil-on-archival-paper painting will serve as the event’s official image, and after Arvid completes the original, he will reproduce, sign and number 300 copies to be sold during the food and wine extravaganza.

“He usually doesn’t do pieces for special events,” Weakley said. But when Arvid learned about the inaugural PBF&W, he decided he would like to participate.

Last week, as he carefully brushed paint on archival print paper, using a slim metal rod to steady his hand, Arvid explained what he wants the painting to convey.

“It’s as though friends have gotten together for the weekend and are deciding what to open next,” he said.
Arvid has tasted all but one of the wines in the painting — the exception being the Continuum, which is set for release at the PBF&W in March.

“There are some great bottles of wine, some of my favorites,” he said.

Before he starts painting a new piece, Arvid sketches concepts until he settles on one he likes, focusing on values and spacing that will make the composition compelling. During that creative step, he admitted, “I forget it’s wine.”

And that was true with this piece as well, but perhaps not for long. With wines like Kosta Browne, PlumpJack and Shafer as his subject, Arvid said he wants the piece — and all of his paintings — to convey a deep respect and understanding of the craftsmanship inherent in a spectacular bottle of wine.

Weakley is thrilled Arvid decided to create the image that will represent the inaugural Pebble Beach Food & Wine, which he and David Bernahl are organizing to feature more than 50 top chefs and more than 200 wineries showcased during lunches, dinners, tastings, a rare wine auction, cooking demonstrations and receptions throughout Del Monte Forest.