The Art of Wine: Cathy Smale on creating our Alsace List Cover
Creator of our latest List cover, Cathy Smale, talks about the inspiration to be found in vineyards and the beauty of Alsace.
“My paintings often combine images of memories and place, focusing on interesting landmarks and viewpoints. Using a little artistic licence I mark out the image to include all of these in one unique composition. This original drawing is then built up with layers of oil paint, using brushes and a palette knife, in a distinctive style that builds texture, creates pattern, and retains the detail and characteristics of place. I enjoy the contrast between the human order of a linear landscape and the softer natural shapes of nature.
In this painting for The Wine Society, I wanted to include key features of the Alsace region to capture a sense of the area. The quaint villages, with their sloped roofs and century old buildings, nestle within the wider countryside, where vineyards colour and contour the geography of the slopes, stretching back to the mountains beyond. Some of this detail also inspired the research for the inside illustrations which focused on the beautiful town of Riquewhir and its iconic clock tower, plus the rooftops which provide perfect posts for nesting storks.
Vineyards have often featured in my paintings, with some of my early work inspired by memories of the Marlborough region in New Zealand, where, years ago, I spent almost a month working amongst the grapevines, sketching at break times. It was a beautiful area, with vast fields being cultivated for wine growing and the backdrop of the Southern Alps. I really enjoyed reflecting upon these memories when creating this work for The Wine Society’s July 2017 List cover.”