Melissa Proudlock: Painting With Wine
By David DeRocco
Every winemaker knows there’s an art to making great wine. If you ask artist MELISSA PROUDLOCK, however, she’ll tell you that even an average wine can make great art.
For the past four years, the graphic design artist for Vineland Estates Winery has been creating impressive paintings using wine – and not just by drinking it for inspiration. Instead, she’s been utilizing a mixture of wine barrel sediments called “lees” and local varieties of wines as the foundation for her artistic creations.
“It started almost four years ago to the day,” said Proudlock, a Niagara College grad in Fine Art and Design Fundamentals/Graphic Design Production. “I did a label up at Vineland Estates and I wondered, what else can I do with wine. So I Googled it and saw that there was only a handful of people in the world doing it, so I thought I should try it out.”
Until she first put wine to canvas, the innovative young artist – who just happens to have colour deficient vision – had mostly dabbled in sketching with charcoal or graphite. Her experiments with wine painting were so successful she moved onto more ambitious works, including a painting of Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie in full performance mode.
“Once it was finished I had a lot of people asking me if I was going to do prints of it,” said Proudlock, who estimates she needed nearly 30 hours to complete her adaptation of the original photograph. “I had never thought about doing that, so when I had permission from the photographer that took the original photo I brought it to my printer. He professionally scanned it and then did some Giclée (fine art digital print) reproductions for me.”
When The Hip announced Gord's cancer diagnosis in 2016, Melissa began donating to the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research, eventually allocating a percentage of print sales to the charity. Now, with the singer’s untimely death October 17th, Proudlock is putting the original painting up for auction, with 100% of proceeds above the reserved bid being donated to the cause.
“There’s a free on-line auction site called 32Auctions.com,” says Proudlock. “The painting has a reserved bid to cover the cost of framing and site fees. And I’m going to provide one of the Giclée prints to go along with the original, just so the buyer can see how the original ages. Because it is wine, and even though I’ve sealed it like crazy, it does change. I find it interesting to see what shades (the paint) goes over time.”
Fans of fine art, great wine and Gord Downie have until November 15th to cast their auction bid for this truly unique creation. In the meantime, Proudlock will continue putting bottles of wine to good use in both her leisure time and her painting passion.
“I open up a bottle, I pour a glass for myself, then I pour a cup for painting. I don’t need a whole lot to finish a painting. It’s just a lot of going over the same layer in order to create those different depths. Younger wines have more vibrant colour, so maybe the cheaper wines are the better ones to paint with!”
Proudlock's paintings can be seen on display at both Vineland Estates Winery and Andy’s Gallery and Boutique in Port Colborne, and through her on-line Etsy store at https://www.etsy.com/ca/people/melissaproudlock.
To place a bid on the painting pictured above, visit the auction site: https://www.32auctions.com/organizations/36320/auctions/44046/auction_items/1132818.