Art of Taste
Penelope studies the wine in her glass as she swirls it, breathes in its aromas, and thoughtfully takes a sip. A visual storyteller, Penelope depicts her sensory impression of a wine’s essence with “Palette of the Palate,” an art collection of abstract paintings.
Claude Monet and Jackson Pollack have had a significant influence on her work. Quoting Monet, Penelope said, “I would like to paint the way a bird sings.” Citing Jackson Pollock, she said, “I want to express my feelings, not illustrate them.” After a creative breakthrough, she shifted her art from realism to abstraction. About the switch, she said, “I am no longer interested in ‘painting the bird.’ I want to paint its song. I am dedicated to achieving that with wine; every wine has a song. My inspiration is infinite.”
Before she married and moved to Italy in 2017, she founded ArtHaus NAPA (a secret society for creatives and hedonists) and became the toast of Napa Valley’s art and events world. Her art was often on display in local wineries and resorts such as Meadowood, and through her Palette of the Palate presentation, she was commissioned by local wineries to paint tasting notes live and curate pop-up exhibitions at events such as BottleRock and the Napa Valley Film Festival.
During the two-plus years she spent in Italy with her husband, she cultivated a new form of creative expression: Art of Taste. “Italy elevated my art and deepened my passion for expressing flavor,” Penelope said. Together with an event company, she produced luxury events around wine – events that married wine and food, fine art, fashion, and music into one synergistic experience. Each painting was an expression of emotion, storytelling through the senses.
During an Art of Taste Benefit at Museo Santa Giulia in Brescia, Italy, the artwork was paired with vibrant bites by Chef Beppe Maffioli, inspired by colors, textures, and flavors of the art-wine fusion. As Penelope visually transformed her tasting notes, acclaimed pianist Giancarlo Prandelli simultaneously composed an original score based on his interpretation of the wine muse, Pilandro Arilica, Lugana DOC. The result was an immersive, avant-garde affair in celebration of culinary arts, viticulture, music, and painting.
She explained synesthetic creativity (experiencing one sense through another) with a musical analogy. “On a piano, you would play Petite Sirah with low and heavy tones. Sauvignon Blanc would have high and bright notes. Music has many parallels to wine and painting. I translate wine characteristics into a visual form,” she said.
Penelope and her husband have returned to Napa Valley to reestablish roots. She is innovating and pivoting again with ArtHaus NAPA at Hoopes Vineyard in Yountville. ArtHaus NAPA is an art studio, wine lounge, and exhibition space that will also become a private social club to celebrate creativity, cuisine, and international diversity. Once possible, she will debut her Italian art collection to the beautiful Napa Valley, ready to rejoice.
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Article By: Layne Randolph