Clos Cristal Winery
The idea for this series of 16 paintings began with the desire to paint the four seasons, which represents the cycle of life. I chose the grape vine growing, flowering, fruitification, pruning and renewal to represent the life cycles. I painted these paintings at the historical vineyard Clos Cristal in the Loire Valley in France from winter 2011 to autumn 2012. They are all done outdoors in front of the subject, "in situ", and are in large format. The paintings were exhibited at the Saumur Hospital and at the biodynamic wine show at the Château de Brézé. The Clos Cristal vineyard was innovative for its 19th century period. Mr. Cristal developed a method of planting the vines against limestone walls within the vineyard in order to create a reverberation of heat that made the grapes mature quickly. So he was able to make his wine earlier than any of the other winemakers of his day, and it arrived on the tables of the european gentry before the wine of his competitors. Upon his death, he donated the experimental vineyard to the Hospital of Saumur, thus the name of the wine is still today "Clos Cristal, Hospice de Saumur". They are in the process of being named a historical monument in France and have created a Foundation. I donated one of these paintings to the Foundation that will be used as their label for a vintage magnum wine.