This week I emulated the post-impressionist style of Georges Seurat (1859-1891), who died when he was only 31 years old. The impact he had on the world of painting and color theory in his short time on Earth is impressive. Trained classically in France, and influenced by the Impressionist movement, Seurat took painting to a new level with what he called Neo-Impressionism. Today we refer to Seurat as a Post-Impressionist, or, more exacting, a pointillist. Pointillism is the use of small dots to make up the images on the canvas. The small dots blend in the viewer’s eye, yet not on the surface. Seurat’s most famous piece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884 – 1886) took two years to complete. He worked in a small studio only slightly larger than his canvas, which was 10 feet wide. This piece was rejected by the Salon de Paris (the art “authority” of the period), but he submitted it to an independent show across the street from the Salon known as the Societe des Artistes Independants, which Seurat formed a few years earlier. The concept of Pointillism was instrumental in the history of art, and Seurat, who was truly a remarkable artist, although short lived, lives on in his work. I call this painting Pint of Pale Ale on a Balcony Bannister.
Valentine’s Day is coming up next month, and if you are looking for a thoughtful gift, especially for a person who has everything, then consider ordering a custom oil painting. Now is the time to contact me, because oil paint takes up to two weeks to dry. I can paint a person’s favorite beer, a dear pet, a cherished car, or a special place. Of course, there are plenty of existing paintings and prints available at my Etsy shop, and you can search for a specific item using the search box within my shop. I am offering FREE SHIPPING on any item until February 14th (no coupon code required).
This week the Thirsty Thursday beer-themed painting is inspired by Mark Rothko, a Russian Jewish artist who was born Markus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz in Latvia in 1903, and died in New York City in 1970. Recently one of his paintings sold for $67 million, which was a major controversy among art lovers. Color field painting is a unique style of art that takes a visionary to understand. Many people think that they could paint a similar painting, or that their six-year old could. The thing is, they don’t, and they probably can’t. These paintings were remarkable and unique when they came out in the 1930s. The only reason people think they could paint them is because they are simple and elegant. Rothko thought of something that nobody else did, and became assimilated into our current culture immediately. Rothko’s paintings took the world by storm, because they were so unique. Today, in 2015, his art doesn’t seem very exotic after we have seen all that the abstract expressionist movement has had to offer well over 50 years ago. Jackson Pollock’s paintings were the next step after this style of abstract paintings, and led the way to what we know as abstract, or non-objective paintings today. I painted this color field painting to resemble a glass of beer. I call it Yellow, White, Beer. I hope you like it, but if you don’t, stay tuned. I am sure you will find one you do like. I plan on painting some more famous paintings turned into beer paintings in the next oncoming weeks. Cheers!
You can purchase this painting, or a limited-edition print at my Etsy shop.
This painting was inspired by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, and is an example of what Mondrian would call Neoplasticism, or new plastic art, a non-representational form of art with a white ground, black grid, and primary colors filling in sections of squares created by the grid. I took this concept and added beer right where I felt that pint would be emphasized most, on the largest color block. Mondrian lived from 1872-1944, making it to the ripe old age of 71. The Neoplasiticism movement, also called De Stijl was founded in 1917 by a group of Dutch artists. They all followed the strict white ground, black grid and primary color blocks formula in their creations. The painting I emulated is from 1921, and is entitled Composition with Large Red Plane, Yellow, Black, Gray and Blue. I call this painting Composition with Large Pint, Yellow, Black and Blue. The original is 22”x22”, and the prints are 11”x11”. This one took me three days to complete.
This painting sold. You can purchase a limited-edition print, or order a custom painting at my Etsy shop.
The Year of Beer Paintings project was a colossal endeavor! I decided to paint a beer painting every day to gain exposure as a beer artist, but I didn’t realize how much effort it would take, or how many people would start following the daily posts, or the friends and contacts I would make along the way.
At first I felt a bit overwhelmed, like when my wife and I started building our log cabin, or when we began the tandem bicycle tour from Vancouver, BC to the Mexican border. From these experiences we knew that we could accomplish a large project by taking small steps every day toward the goal. What I didn’t factor in was the lack of days off. I had to work overtime this year and harder than I have ever worked in my life. Surprisingly, if you post a painting everyday on several websites, people take notice, which increases the chances of getting requests for custom paintings. So, in addition to making a painting a day, I also had about three extra commissions to complete per week. I had to keep painting while building a log cabin in McCarthy, where we had extremely slow Internet, while on a trip to Hawaii (where we also had really slow Internet), and during a tour around New England. Oil paint takes about ten days to dry, so how do you get paintings home from Hawaii, McCarthy and Philly? I learned this one from my painting professor at UAA. After showing her a few paintings that were damaged during transit, she told me to put thumbtacks in the corners and one in the middle, and to wrap them all up together in a stack. It works 99% of the time. This tip alone was worth the college tuition! I carried home a package of 14-16 paintings from HI and PA on the airplane as my personal item. So if your painting has small holes in it, then I painted it during my travels.
Maria, my wife and Business Manager, had to step it up a notch this year, not only on the marketing and editing of the blog posts, but she also took 95% of the photography and did 75% of the graphics required for the series. My paintings are lustrous, painted on a gold ground, and there are reflective spots that need to be shot in low light on an overcast day, otherwise there will be glare. If it is raining, or really sunny, that can be a problem, and with time constraints and every-day photography necessary this can become very trying. Maria did as best as she could, and nailed every shot, or at least did the best with what was available. Then, when lighting permitted, she would reshoot, and upload again as soon as possible. Since I was swamped, often spending over eight hours in the studio every day, including weekends, Maria also ended up taking care of more chores. She deserves a gold medal as partner of the year!
One of the biggest goals for the project was to drink and paint at least one beer from every state in the USA. I guess I should explain how this goal started. Maria posted my blog to Reddit, and I was discovered by beer columnist Joe Sixpack (Don Russell) of Philadelphia in the first three weeks of the project. I got to meet Don in Philly, and had a couple beers with him. He’s a great guy, and has given me numerous shout outs on his blog, for which I am grateful. As a result of his column, I gained several commissions from the area, including a painting of Tröeg’s Mad Elf for a fellow named Rich Morgan. I spent many days communicating back and forth with Rich, getting the details for his painting just right, and he insisted on sending me a bottle of Mad Elf as reference material. That was my first beer mail, and we started trading beer back and forth, and I became a fan of Philly beer right away. We started texting about interesting beers we were drinking, or chasing, and soon became friends. At one point, I boldly said to Rich that I bet I could drink and paint a beer from every state during the year, and he thought that was a good idea, so I was on the hook, and now had to deliver! As you can imagine, not many breweries distribute to Alaska, so Rich sent me over 90 beers during the year, 30 of which are featured in the series, and he encouraged me to reach out to the beer community to acquire a beer from the remaining “hard-to-get” states. So I did, and the response was amazing. This is a good time to mention that the beer community is a tightly knit group of great individuals! I reached the goal on December 10th, cutting it pretty close! Many people sent me beer, or even hand delivered it to me here in Anchorage! I couldn’t have reached my 50 states goal without everyone’s help, and it really added depth to the project.
The best beer I drank during the Year of Beer is probably A Deal with the Devil Barleywine from Anchorage Brewing Company, although Gluttony Triple India Pale Ale by Midnight Sun Brewing is a really close second, as well as 120 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head. But there are many others that were noteworthy, as well. A few great breweries along the way were White Birch Brewing in NH, and Brewery Ommegang laid out the red carpet for my arrival, providing me with a luxury basket of beer to take home, as well as great food and a personal table in the tasting room where I could paint. Our visit to Dogfish Head in DE was amazing! We went to the Ancient Ales beer dinner after painting in the pub. We made friends at our table (Marcia and Michael) and got a shout out from owner and founder Sam Calagione. I learned about breweries big and small across the country, like Back Forty Beer Company in Alabama, New Glarus Brewing Company in Wisconsin, Wind River Brewing of Wyoming, and Grand Teton Brewing in Idaho! It has been an epic project for sure! The year in review makes me realize 2014 may be the best year of my life! I want to personally thank anyone who has helped contribute to this project and give words of encouragement to anyone who wants to do something big in their life! Thank you for making 2014 the best year!
Cubism and Futurism are huge contributing Art Movements from the beginning of the 20th Century leading up to what we consider to be “Art” today. This painting is inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase. Cubism is fractured images attempting to show more than one facet of an image, concerned with showing more in painting than was possible through photography. Cubism was a direct response to the earlier development of Modern Art and was a step along the way on the route to what is considered contemporary art of today. Futurism is similar to Cubism, but attempts to show movement in a still image. It was the next progressive step after Cubism, and was produced by a group of artists who coined themselves Futurists from 1910-1915. I hope you enjoy this painting entitled Man Consuming Pint.
This painting sold. You can purchase a limited-edition print, or order a custom painting at my Etsy shop.
Happy New Year! Pretty jazzed to be putting up the first Thirsty Thursday painting! I made this one bigger and less product-specific. I don’t know what is going to happen with the Thirsty Thursday paintings. There aren’t any specific rules that will apply as in the 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall or in the Year of Beer Paintings series. This is an Andy Warhol inspired piece of art that I made after making a new batch of beer painting magnets for the art show that is beginning tomorrow at Midnight Sun Brewing Company. I will kick off the art show by tapping a firkin at 5 PM. Last call is at 8 PM. I started by making several colorful beer art magnets, and then I realized they looked cool next to each other just like a Warhol screen print. So, I thought, why not try a Warhol-like piece as a magnet? This painting is 11×14 inches. If you are disappointed that the Year of Beer Paintings is over, then I hope this Thirsty Thursday painting will cheer you up!