The very creative Veronica Lichter is a local Tahoe artist, musician and new owner of the Painted Vine. Lichter is a bright presence. You can’t help but be drawn in by her big green eyes and infectious smile. She instantly captures you and draws you into her sphere of enthusiasm and love.
“I got a late start and didn’t study art until I was 25. I was always drawing but didn’t think it was something I could pursue,” said Lichter, who graduated with a degree in psychology from University of Florida. After graduating, she moved to Tahoe become a ski instructor and worked odd jobs. But, her passion for art called her.
“I’d always wanted to live in New York. I took a summer, intensive drawing-painting program at Parsons School of Design. I then got a portfolio together and applied for the Academy of Art in San Francisco,” she said.
She moved to San Francisco, received her MFA and continued to pursue art. She created a series of Burning Man art that documents her experience. She also does commissioned work, which depicts “epic portraits of epic scenes.” She hands me her phone and shows me a painting of a centaur fighting a dragon. In addition, she creates cover art and graphics for bands.
Lichter eventually moved back to Tahoe where she also teaches Pilates at Tahoe Mountain Fitness, is the lead singer and guitarist for the all-female band Burning Nylon and became the new owner of Painted Vine in April. The new incarnation of the business is what Lichter calls “a traveling painting party.” Different working artists teach classes lending insight and skill.
I recently participated in a Painted Vine Paint and Sip event at Philosophy. It was a blast. Tables with easels, canvas, paints and brushes were laid out for the participants. Lichter moved to the front of the room and explained what we’d be painting. Each class is unique; for our evening we were paining a mountain/lake landscape. Two finished paintings sat on an easel that we could view as examples.
Lichter held up a blank canvas and instructed us to pick up the large brush, dip it in water, dab it dry and start brushing on the color purple across the top. Laying out the sky, we gradually used a variety of colors from the palette. She showed us techniques to lighten the sky, add streaks and play with colors.
With a glass of wine in one hand, I brushed purple and white across my canvas, then added some pink, orange and yellow as I worked on capturing an alpenglow effect. Lichter walked around helping participants achieve the vision they desired. Next, it was time for the mountains. Lichter dipped her brush in black and white to outline the mountains first and everyone followed her lead. There was laughter, some cursing — mostly by me — and some deep concentration. The mountains took shape. Then came blue swipes across the bottom of the canvas for the lake and boulders and a green shoreline. I looked at my painting and groaned. Lichter picked it up off the easel and walked back 10 steps.
“Now look at it,” she said.
It actually looked like a painting. Lichter explained that it is important to garner distance to see what you’ve created; it is difficult to see your work close up.
Lichter has made learning to paint accessible and fun. She was patient and took time with each participant. This was a great way to spend an evening. It’s totally fun and creative.
The next Painted Vine Paint and Sip event is on July 31 at Philosophy in Truckee. The Painted Vine hosts private painting parties and offers special events. | painted-vine.com