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Whiskey Painters Of America

Updated: Jan 14

Whiskey Painters of America (WPA). Yep, it's a real thing. I have been a member for several years yet I haven't done many of late. I was recently inspired, (more accurately guilted) into creating a few for a local gallery exhibition, The Hudson Fine Art and Framing.


Remember, while viewing the following images that the overriding concept of WPA is small watercolor paintings (no larger than 4" x 5") done in cramped quarters (local liquor establishment) using a certain distilled liquid for a "water" color medium. My originals are 3" x 5" and my favorite medium is Bourbon, preferably Bullett or Woodford.


Here is the background story of the Whiskey Painters of America. I've borrowed the following from their website. Check it out, there's more.




"Often shrouded in mystery the history of the whiskey painters' unorthodox studio surroundings led others in the art community to not approve of their free and liberal style of painting.


For centuries, those artistically inclined met in dimly lit saloons, whether it was off a cobblestone pathway in London, England, or in an underground distillery in Holland. They would pass the time of night painting to the wee hours of the morning on small pieces of paper they would keep illuminated by candles or gas lanterns.

Now enter into the Baroque era of the 1800s with the exquisite art of Vincent Van Gogh and music from Johann Sebastian Bach.


Vincent Van Gogh once said, “I can create art even on a tissue that would represent a part of my life, with my tears and spirits to mix my watercolors.”


Now just imagine the 1800’s in America, the Wild West. There were Bars, saloons, sunsets, artists painting and Whiskey. Water was scarce so the whiskey they drank was the whiskey they used to dip their brushes.


The famous American artist Fredric Remington was often seen in the saloon painting on the napkins at the bar. He would say there was no better place to gather with friends and paint, where no one noticed him dipping his small brush into his shot glass of whiskey.

The secret society of artists known as the Whiskey painters would create miniature works of art, on the go. This method of painting became a ritual amongst fellow whiskey painting peers. Armed with a glass of Whiskey and a brush by their side these Unique and talented artists, The Whiskey Painters, would meet and paint as art legionnaires, comrades and as a collective unique society of artists."

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