Whiskey and watercolors don’t sound like something that normally goes together, but Whiskey Paintings are a real, recognized art form. It’s not painting watercolor pictures of whiskey—it’s actually painting with whiskey (or another spirit). According to the Whisey Painters of America, a typical whiskey painting is no larger than 4” x5” and is painted with a brush dipped in some form of alcohol. Mixing alcohol with fine art? Count us in.
Joe Ferriot of Akron, Ohio started whiskey painting in the 1950s. He was an artist and owner of a plastics manufacturing company that made artists’ palettes. Joe travelled a lot for work and he wanted to bring his hobby with him. Sheets of 4” x 5” watercolor paper fit perfectly in his coat pockets and he designed a special traveling watercolor palette and brush set. After a hard day’s work on the road, Joe would go to the local drinkery and paint, using his alcoholic beverage instead of water. Back in Akron, he introduced the method to the Akron Society of Artists and turned it into a social event where participants would exchange their completed paintings.
In 1962, fourteen or so members officially founded “The Whiskey Painters of America” with Joe Ferriot as president. According to their bylaws, the purpose of the organization is to promote the fine art of paining and good fellowship among artists that enjoy a drink and to prove that watercolor painters know how to party. What’s the best thing about whiskey painting? In our opinion, it’s that more you drink, the better your painting will look.