Painting figs with wine

Ever since I saw the paintings in wine, I’ve been keen to try it for myself. So when our neighbour brought round a dish of fresh figs the other day, I decided they would be the perfect subject. And as the wine makes a fairly light wash, I thought I’d work small so as to build up my layers faster. We’d been creating small paintings this week for our art swap, and that seemed a good format – so these are 2″ x 3″.

To start with, here is the still life with figs as I would normally paint it in watercolours.


Drawing the same outline in magenta ink, I poured out a glass of Carić Plovac Ploški and dipped in my brush. It’s like painting with a very dilute wash of a warm russet colour, and the layers take some time to dry. I poured out a separate glass to drink, and set my painting in the sun.


The advice on the internet said that younger wines go on with stronger colour, and will last longer. Something to do with the tannins. As it happened, we were at Dvor Duboković for dinner, and a side trip to paint at Ivica Duboković’s wonderful vineyard with Frankie. What a spectacular view! But that’s another story. Ivica invited us to taste his 2012 plavac mali direct from the barrel, and as young wines go, it was very promising. Perfect. So let’s see what kind of a painting this wine makes!


During the afternoon, some friends arrived with a bottle of Don Petar, the excellent port produced by Ivo Duboković. We poured out some glasses and sliced some cheese to go with it. I took out another piece of watercolour paper, drew another copy and washed out my brush…


For each of the wine paintings, I had to paint a layer, then leave it to dry completely before going to the next layer. If I got impatient, I was basically adding more wine to the same shape, therefore I missed making each layer different shapes. It was interesting how the two Plavac Mali wines came out so different in hue. Ivica’s 2012 wine was so much more purple than the russet tones of the Carić Plovac Ploški. Ivo’s Don Petar remains a fairly light pink because it didn’t get so many layers. Somehow, it got mostly drunk!