Arts + Culture
Napa Valley Artist Beverly Wilson


Published On: January 20, 2023

Shortly after graduating from UCLA with a fine arts degree in 1972, Beverly Wilson traveled to Europe and became enamored with the beauty of the land and the slow-moving pace of rural life. “My plan was to spend three months traveling from country to country, but I wasn’t ready to leave when the time was up,” said Wilson, who was raised in San Mateo. “I canceled my return flight and headed back to Italy where I began my journey as a street artist, exploring the small towns of Tuscany and Umbria, selling my sketches along the way.”

After a year, she returned to San Francisco, working for a graphic design firm, but she never forgot her love of the countryside. “The Napa Valley has the peace and beauty I had always wanted, and I have never regretted my decision to relocate here in 1983.” Wilson loves the region’s scale, its natural beauty, the dramatic, seasonal color changes, and the variety of activities. “I find that most of the people who live here share my appreciation for the unique beauty around us, and I discovered a sense of community I had not experienced until I moved here. I feel gratitude and appreciation for my life here every single day.”

A full-time professional fine artist since 2000 (her original painting Up & Away is the featured image for the 2023 Napa Valley Mustard Celebration), Wilson found herself busy with winery clients when she first moved to the area. Freelance illustration and design commissions led to designing food and wine labels, creating merchandising materials for retail sales, and designing cookbooks. As a result of her busy schedule, her paints and art supplies languished in her paintbox for many years.

When her mother passed away in 1991, she was motivated to rethink her priorities and refocused her energy on her art. “Looking back, I feel the graphic design stage of my life influenced my ability to push the boundaries beyond ordinary subjects and to experiment with bold colors and compositions.” Wilson’s parents recognized her art interest at an early age and signed her up for art lessons when she was ten years old. “My teacher was a traditional still life oil painter, and every Saturday morning I went to his class to paint a new still life. Today, I use the same color palette I used sixty years ago!” At UCLA, where she studied painting and drawing with influential mentors, including Richard Diebenkorn and Jan Stussy, she was impressed by the vast range of courses offered by the fine art department. “These teachers taught me to see the world from different perspectives…not just the most obvious or most convenient.” Wilson loves to travel and immerse herself in other world cultures. “I have many sketchbooks filled with images and memories from my journeys. I also play tennis doubles with friends as often as I can.”