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Betty and Orion

Monster Weeds is available on Amazon. Great reviews.

"Bird Nouveau"

The Unorthodox label

The Tiller label

Label for the Shadow Canyon

The Match label

"Vineyard of Good and Evil"

"Smoking With the Devil"

"Fantastical Mr. Crow"

"Blown Away"

Meet Betty Wick: The Artist Behind the Dilecta Labels

March 6, 2017 - The Wine Write

"I love those labels."

We suspect if Orion Stang of Dilecta Wines had a dollar for every time he's heard that...well, he'd have a lot of dollars. We've gotten those same comments after posting shots of Dilecta bottles on Instagram.

This week we'll talk with the lady behind that art work, Betty Wick. She also happens to be Orion's mom.

The Wine Write: How did you get started in art?

Betty: I started back when I was in high school. My art teacher turned me on to black, which is still my favorite color. That's where it started. I then went to Ohio University and majored in Printmaking.

I moved into design and worked at The Design Center in Boston. That was pretty awesome. That was Interior Design. I was involved with wallpapers, fabrics, and other materials.

After that, I moved into the newspaper world. I was an Art Director for quite a few years. I also worked in advertising and as an illustrator for a writer who worked for The Boston Globe and The Washington Post.

The Wine Write: So how did you get to California?

Betty: We were living on St. Simons Island, Georgia, and came to visit a friend who had moved from St. Simons to California. We loved it. So we moved, too! We went back to Georgia, sold our home, and came out here. Orion was in the third grade. We didn't have jobs or anything.

We wound up doing a lot of work for Warner Brothers Studio Stores. Collectible furniture and stuff like that. I painted a lot of tile tables. My husband built the tables. We did a lot of stuff together.

The Wine Write: You've done a children's book together, haven't you?

Betty: Yes, pretty recently. Orion's business partner, Steve Sellers, is our partner in that project. We've known Steve for 35 years. We met him when we all lived on St. Simons.

Doing that book was a real learning process. My husband has written about twenty stories centered around Harmony Beach. He's very talented. He works as a contractor during the day and writes at night. We're going to pick away at completing more of them. It's so much work, doing all the illustrations. The first one, Monster Weeds, took me about eight months to finish.

Doing two completely different styles at the same time, the kids stuff versus my black and white edgy art, was hard. I'm sure it really confuses people when they see such different work from the same artist. But I love both!

The Wine Write: How did the arrangement to do Dilecta's labels come about?

Betty: Orion liked some of the things I was working on. At the time, people were starting to do some art-driven labels, but a lot of them were really conservative. We wanted to drive down a different road. It definitely works for him.

The Wine Write: The art on those Dilecta bottles consistently generates buzz. Do you try to connect each drawing to your impressions of that wine or are the art and wine independent of each other?

Betty: I really love that attention! I guess the connection of art to wine varies by bottle.

On "The Unorthodox", the art and wine aren't really connected. On it, I was sort of trying to symbolize the Orion Nebula. I did a poster and wound up cropping it to create the label.

For "The Tiller", the original image looked more like a man out in the fields tilling. He was in a baseball hat. But he looked sort of like a crow. So I drew into that a bit more. It's sort of a mythological image now.

For "Shadow Canyon", I thought about an old pickup truck and how that road on York Mountain is very country. One of Orion's favorite paintings is "The Starry Night", so I added that image to it. So that one is just things Orion loves: old pickup trucks, country roads, and that painting.

For "Match", I had to do a couple. That was my interpretation. Two people, matched up. I was working on that at the time and sent it to Orion. He liked it.

The Wine Write: Does the small size of a wine label restrict your art?

Betty: Sometimes it does. I get into reducing things and do a lot of cropping. But sometimes great things come in small sizes. For instance, Orion's business card was derived from a tile that I did with his daughter when she was 3 years old. She painted this tile and I fired it in the kiln. The tile was in color, but I put the image in Photoshop in black and white and cropped it...it made an awesome image for his business card!

So now Orion wants her to do an upcoming label. That would be great. The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. She's an exceptional artist in her own right. She might take my job!

The Wine Write: Do you enjoy wine?

Betty: We love wine. You look back...if we had stayed on St. Simons, Orion probably would never have gotten into wine.

The Wine Write: Is there a wine variety you wish Orion would make?

Betty: Well, I do love Bordeauxs. He is getting into that a bit with Petit Verdot. He's also done a Cabernet/Syrah blend, so that's exciting for me. I love the Rhones, but I do like those blends with some Bordeaux in them.

And he's coming out with a Chardonnay. One of the reasons is that Steve Sellers loves that variety. That wine is really cool. It's in oak, which runs against the grain these days.

The Wine Write: Any new projects you'd like to talk about?

Betty: I've moved into the Studios on the Park! I'm very excited about being in there full time with a studio space. It's on Pine Street in the Square in Paso Robles. A lot of artists have studios there. It also serves as a retail outlet for us. It's open every day. I have prints and other stuff available there.

And we're starting to think about the next children's book. It's just a matter of getting to them.

The Wine Write: How can people connect with you to view and purchase your art?

Betty: My studio space would be perfect. And when Orion's tasting room is complete, we plan to have prints of the labels and other art available for purchase.

My thanks to Betty for taking time for us. Delightful lady. And talk about a talented family! If you're as taken by her art as we are, go visit her studio, check her website, and follow her on Instagram and/or Facebook. We've made it easy for you. And, if you're thirsty for some really nice wines, Dilecta's link is there, too.