Artist Thomas Arvid visits Beaver Creek gallery Saturday |

Artist Thomas Arvid visits Beaver Creek gallery Saturday

Caramie Schnell
Beaver Creek CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyAfter painting wine for 15 years, artist Thomas Arvid is unveiling his first sculpture piece tonight at the Grand Bohemian Gallery in Beaver Creek. Arvid sculpted the three-foot cork out of clay. "You can see all the cracks and crevices and at the end, you can see where the wine has stained the end," Arvid said.

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” As a young artist, Thomas Arvid realized the artists who made it big focused on a single style. He started painting things that were red ” Red Converse high tops, Radio Flyer Wagons, crushed Coke cans and eventually red wine.

“I was trying to teach myself focus,” the painter said during a recent phone interview. “I recognized that I struck a chord with people.”

To Arvid, the painting was just of his ratty tennis shoes, or just a wagon, but people came to him with their own stories.

“This woman said, ‘I remember how my brother had to get married with these red canvas tennis shoes on. I just have to buy this painting for him.’ I realized as an artist, it’s about connecting people.”

The first time Arvid painted a wine bottle ” the thing that’s he’s known for worldwide now ” someone bought it before the paint dried.

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“It happened four times before I recognized, hey, people are really into this,” he said.

Influential wineries such as Silver Oak Cellars, and Diamond Creek Winery collect Arvid’s paintings. Doug Shafer, of Shafer Family Vineyards, likens Arvid’s skill to that of a winemaker. “Arvid’s style is big and bold, with enough selected detail and softness to create a sense of balance … this blend of elements is precisely what winemakers hope to bring to their top vintages,” Shafer said.

The artist, one of the foremost painters of American realism, is visiting Beaver Creek this week. He’ll be at The Grand Bohemian Gallery inside Beaver Creek Lodge for a reception tonight where he’ll showcase rare and sold-out editions of his works, all of which revolve around wine and the rituals surrounding it.

The artist: “As a young artist, I was really just searching for what would make me different. At the time I was painting everything ” landscapes, portraits and still lifes. With that I found a little success, but I came to a point where I realized the people who really made it big, had a focus.”

The medium: Though Arvid mostly paints with oils on canvas, he’s recently delved into sculpture. He’ll be unveiling his first piece ” a three-foot cork he sculpted ” at the artist reception tonight in Beaver Creek.

“As an artist you’re always trying to stay with the same thing but keep reinventing yourself, by coming up with new ideas. I’ve primarily done oils on canvas, but I’ve also done watercolors and charcoals. I’ve painted inside old wine boxes and on barrels of wine. To have the art movement continually moving forward, you have to stretch your mind and take the people along with you.”

The process: “When you look at my paintings, it’s not a composition of a bottle, or a glass or a case of wine. What I’m trying to do is let you enjoy different textures and movements of lines by interrupting what you’re looking at. The bottles are never completely on the canvas. You might be looking at a corkscrew, then see the stem of the glass, then that takes you up to the bottle of wine. It’s a conscious effort to make you look all around the painting, all on your own. It’s very interactive and people find that stimulating ” even people who don’t drink wine. That’s the true compliment as an artist, people who say ‘I don’t even drink wine, but I love that painting ” I don’t understand it.'”

Redefining a genre: “In a sense, when I first came out into the market, people were not buying still lifes. It was a dead subject matter. People thought of still life as flowers, things sitting on a table, but as you look through my pieces, I try to show you something you might be interested in ” a bottle of wine, yes, but I twist the bottle, put it behind a glass or something to make you look around a painting.”

The fun side: One of Arvid’s favorite sayings is “Life without art is like dinner without wine. Why bother?”

“I love wine. I’m staying in Beaver Creek here and my first stop was the wine shop, to stock up. I’ll be out here for a week. I bought three chardonnays, two pinot noirs, a syrah, a few cabernets. From what I do I’ve been introduced to so much more wine. I’ve learned to really enjoy the intricacies of it.”

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or

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