Little did Rachel Orr know when she approached Randy and Alexander Schemkes, the father-son duo behind Orcas Island Winery, for a location to conduct her pop-up painting classes that she would be adding a second career. The two hired Orr to become their tasting room manager at their Orcas Island location, which she runs with her bright, bubbly personality on display, immediately making guests feel at home when they stop in for a tasting.
Orr also owns Island Artflow in which she hosts pop-up paint classes at locations around the island, now including the winery. She grew up creating and painting, and studied Fine Art at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. Her paintings for her pop-up classes are influenced by the island and are a fun way to learn a new skill, and often include a glass of wine.
1) What makes wine and art pair so well together?
I call it the creative juice. When I lead an art class I find it allows people to relax and enjoy the process without being so critical. I also think it brings a lot of people to take an art class who normally would be intimidated because a glass of wine is involved.
2) What is your favorite wine?
It depends on the season and my mood! I really enjoy [our] Roussanne, even though I typically don’t drink white wine. It’s mellow and buttery. I usually prefer reds such as Petite Verdot and Syrah because they are full of layers.
3) What are your favorite tunes to listen to while painting and sipping wine?
The first six months I worked at Orcas Island Winery it was Chopin. It also depends on the season just like with wine. Classical is always good and then I throw in a little David Bowie. My playlists for my painting classes are a mix of old and new.
4) What is your favorite thing about wine?
Before I knew anything about wine, I knew what I liked and what I didn’t like, I just didn’t know why. My favorite thing about wine is that each winemaker and vineyard has its own personality. I find it is so interesting — each has its own story or you could say each paints its own picture.