Monthly Archives: July 2015

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #31, July 30, 2015

Rainier Beer!  How does a Rainier Beer taste?  Like American adjunct lager, but it goes down smooth when you are in the mountains.  Lighter than Budweiser, or even Pabst Blue Ribbon, this West Coast classic beer is a mere 4.6%.  The iconic red R has been in use since the turn of the 1900s, and to this day frames an image of the mountain that people jokingly say was named after the beer.

I found this can at the McCarthy-Kennicott Historical Museum.  The President set it aside for me to treasure.  I said I would return it, but she said, “Oh, don’t worry about it.  We are drowning in these old bottles and cans.”  Along with the Rainier there is a German Budweiser bottle, a classic Pabst Export can, and some steel Budweiser cans.  We also found a capped bottle of Guinness that is still half full of a dark liquid.  We assume it’s beer, but don’t really want to find out.  I guess someone was saving it for later.  I was trying to find out what date this can is from, but I guess it could be as old as 1911, or as young as 1950, or so.  Not much activity in the area after that, until cans were aluminum and didn’t require a can opener.  Anyway, we thought this can has character, so I made a painting of it.  I hope you enjoy the mild flavor and choicest ingredients of this classy beer container.

The original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop

beer painting of old rainier beer can

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #31 by Scott Clendaniel. July 30, 2015. Rainier Beer. 6″x12″, oil on panel.


Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #30, July 23, 2015

For this painting I decided to just put the paint down with a palette knife. Sometimes my palate is overwhelmed by thirst and the beer disappears. Did you catch that play on words? I haven’t worked with only a knife for a while now, but it feels good to watch the thick impasto go down. Like being thirsty, palette knife paintings take a lot more paint than traditional brushwork. Since I have upgraded my paint to the highest grade I can find, which seems to be 400% more expensive than the student grade paint, yet only 25% better, I have steered away from such thick work. But I just felt like splurging, and wanted to make this painting. I had fun working with so much medium. Unfortunately, I have been paying for it in more than just more expensive paint. The thicker the paint, the longer it takes to dry. I painted this piece in McCarthy, 310 miles from my studio in Anchorage, and I have been cleaning purple paint off a lot of things as a result. The painting spread some purple paint all over a stainless steel growler, as well as the keg hose. I was glad it didn’t get all over the inside of my truck. It rode home on the dashboard after I realized it was falling over in the back seat, thanks to the McCarthy road being so bumpy! I hope you enjoy this piece as much as I enjoyed making it! Cheers!

The original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop.

10 Life Lessons Building a Cabin in Alaska Has Taught Us

Framing the roof.

Framing the roof.

Scott and I started building a log cabin in McCarthy, Alaska in 2012. We expect to finish the project this September. This isn’t the first time we endeavored to do something big. In 2009 we rode a tandem bike all the way down the Pacific Coast from Vancouver, Canada to the Mexican border. In 2011 we toured on individual bicycles from Kaliningrad, Russia to Paris, France. In 2014 we started and completed the Year of Beer Paintings project. So working on a time-consuming, long-term task is not new to us, and we have a 100% completion rate so far. Each endeavor has taught us important life lessons, and this cabin-building project is no exception. So here are the ten things we’ve learned so far.

1. We don’t like to take steps back. When we make a mistake, we try to find a way to work with it, rather than starting over and fixing it right away. The farther along we get, the more evident the mistakes become as they pile up. Sure, had we gone back to fix every error, and started over with a new log, or made a new notch, we wouldn’t be as far along as we are today, and would have had to buy more materials, but the house would have fewer flaws. We’re hoping all of our errors will be smoothed out by finishing touches.

2. We stopped expecting a perfect cabin. When we started, we had high hopes that every notch would fit perfectly, and everything would be square, but the reality is that this is our first big building project, and we’re not professional builders, so we had to get over the disappointment that our cabin wouldn’t turn out as perfect as the Parthenon.

3. Plans will change. Scott spent countless hours researching how to build with logs, and drawing plans. We have a stack of graph paper with different versions of cabin plans, and when we settled on the one, we really did intend to build it as planned. Yeah right. Once we got started, we realized what would actually work, got new ideas, and plans changed. Not dramatically though.

4. When working with your spouse, give compliments on tasks well done. Compliments are encouraging and do wonders for boosting morale.

5. A stitch in time saves nine. Before beginning a task, think about what you’ll need and get everything ready. That saves so much time and frustration.

6. While building a cabin, your social life will suffer greatly. We were in denial about this during our first building summer and made a special effort to be social butterflies, but now that we’re building the roof, going down to town is just not a priority.

7. Don’t start building a log cabin if you don’t have a lot of spare time. You’ll end up hiring someone to finish it, or it won’t get done.

8. Women can build too, when the right person is teaching. Men have to be patient and explain things really well. That’s how Scott ended up having a building buddy who works for free.

9. Quit working when you’re tired. We set goals for each day, but when we get tired we start making mistakes and that costs more time and materials later. Also, most injuries happen when people are tired at the end of the day. So just quit for the day.

10. You can accomplish big projects if you break them up into smaller stages, and just take one step at a time, and don’t stop until you are done.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #29, July 16, 2015

The Skilak Lake is a popular destination on the Kenai Peninsula. If you go, don’t forget to bring the Skilak Scottish Ale from Kenai River Brewing Co. Skilak is one of the biggest lakes on the Kenai and is easily accessible from Soldotna and Anchorage. The fact that it’s a popular destination makes sense, because there are two campgrounds and square miles of beautiful crystal blue water to enjoy. The views are nice too.

Skilak Scottish Ale pours with a robust creamy head that is more than ample. The aroma is of licorice and smoke. This is a very malt-forward beer that finishes with a hint of piney hops. The taste is robust of licorice candy and caramel dark grain. It is sweet and satisfying. A nice dark amber beer with a hint of peat. The mouth feel is a bit boozy even at only 5.3% ABV, and this beer is creamy and smooth. Overall, highly recommended for drinking during out of town adventures, preferably by a lake.

Cheers to Kenai River Brewing, a great Alaska brewery producing unique brews! Keep up the good work!

The original oil painting sold.  You can purchase limited-edition prints, or order a custom painting at my Etsy shop.

Beer oil painting of skilak scottish ale by kenai river brewing by scott clendaniel

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #29 by Scott Clendaniel. July 16, 2015. Skilak Scottish Ale by Kenai River Brewing Co. 8″x10″, oil on panel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #28, July 9, 2015

Henri Emile Benoît Matisse (1869-1954) was quite the prolific artist. He painted all types of things, but was mostly noted for his use of bright colors and his stylistic representation of different forms. He was a leader of the Fauve movement, of which the literal translation is, wild beasts, and which became famous for usage of color and loose painting techniques. This painting I emulated is in Matisse’s mature style, and was originally painted in 1937. The woman is Matisse’s assistant Lydia Delectorskaya dressed in Moroccan garb, sitting next to a vase of flowers and some citrus fruits. I swapped the three fruits for a beer pint (thinking of a citrusy IPA). I have always respected the work of Matisse and I chose to paint this one because a beer-loving friend in PA passed on the idea to me from one of his buddies. Reproducing Matisse’s work made me respect the artist more. It has so much more eye-popping quality in paint than a reproduction on a screen or on a printed page. When I was painting this copy, my eyes were strained from the reverberations caused by the contrasting bright color. As one steps back from the painting, the reverberations calm and the cohesive work stands out amongst other paintings. Thanks Henri for giving me something so wonderful to study and to incorporate into my Thirsty Thursday paintings series.

The original oil painting sold.  You can purchase limited-edition prints, or order a custom painting at my Etsy shop.

Beer painting inspired by Henri Matisse by Scott Clendaniel Woman in a purple coat with beer pint

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #28 by Scott Clendaniel. July 9, 2015. Woman in a Purple Coat with a Pint of Beer. 11″x14″, oil on panel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #27, July 2, 2015

Wow, Fourth of July is right around the corner!  I can hardly believe that it is already this far through the 2015 year!  My friend from Philly sent me this bottle of Sour Monkey Brett Tripel by Victory Brewing, which I really wanted to try, but couldn’t get here in Anchorage, even though Victory distributes to us.  Thanks Rich!  It is the standard Golden Monkey Belgian-Style Tripel, but with a sour twist of Brettanomyces added.  I found it to be a nice, refreshing sour beer, especially in the summer time.  I love popping a champagne cork out of a bottle of the good stuff.  At 9.5% (same percentage as the Golden Monkey), it is a good idea to share a bottle of this.  Maria and I enjoyed every last drop.  Sours are becoming more popular, and it is a good thing to develop your palate to enjoy this type of brew, as well as solid bitter pilsners, hop-aromatic IPAs and sweet Belgians.  Beer is like a rainbow of flavor — there are so many different kinds of tongue-tantalizing varieties.  I just returned from the annual Salmon harvest on the Kasilof River and finished smoking ten big Sockeye Reds late last night.  Makes me think of smoked beers.  Here’s an idea for Ron and Bill, Smoked Monkey!  I bet it would be great!

Cheers to the wild Sour Monkey — a great beer with a great label!

You can purchase this painting, or a limited-edition print at my Etsy shop.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #27 by Scott Clendaniel. July 2, 2015. Sour Monkey Brett Tripel by Victory Brewing Co. 8"x10", oil on panel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #27 by Scott Clendaniel. July 2, 2015. Sour Monkey Brett Tripel by Victory Brewing Co. 8″x10″, oil on panel.


June Recap

June was packed with backyard barbecues, hiking, fishing, and camping.   In between, we managed to do some work.

One of the highlights was the Great Northern Brewers Club annual camping trip near Seward. We made sure to visit Seward Brewing Company, and bought a crowler (an aluminum 32 oz to-go can) to sip on the beach. Then we decided to climb up Mt. Marathon, and estimated that we would finish the hike in about two hours, since the winner of the race can do it in about 43 minutes. Three and a half hours later (we paused at the summit to enjoy the scenery while sipping on beer), we got back to the parking lot, and when we arrived back at the campsite, the GNBC party was in full swing. So many great beers to taste, so little time, and only one liver!

The view from the top of Mt. Marathon in Seward.

The view from the top of Mt. Marathon in Seward.

Some of the beers we sampled at the GNBC camping trip.

Some of the beers we sampled at the GNBC camping trip.

Yesterday we returned from our annual dip-netting trip to Kasilof where we pulled 19 Sockeye Reds out of the water. Each year we get one chance to go, and catch all the fish for the winter. I’m keeping an eye on the fish smokers as I write this. We are very grateful for the salmon, and for the unique way we are allowed to harvest it here in Alaska. Hopefully it will be available for many years to come.

Smoking the salmon harvest.

Smoking the salmon harvest.

The art show at Midnight Sun Brewing Company was a success, thanks to the wonderful beeristas who help me sell art there, and to the beer-loving patrons who buy it. Tomorrow evening I’ll be taking down my paintings after 8 PM. If you have your eye on one in particular, be sure to make MSBC your lunch destination, and if you can’t make it, you can always stop by my studio. I’ll be hosting an open studio event for the First Friday Art Walk from 5:30 PM – 8 PM. 333 W. 4th Avenue, Suite 4 (inside the 4th Avenue Market Place).

Clendaniel art at Midnight Sun Brewing Company.

Clendaniel art at Midnight Sun Brewing Company.

The next big task is to buy roofing materials, to load everything on to a trailer, and to make the long drive back to McCarthy on July 7th where we will spend a couple weeks building the roof. Finally those logs will get covered from the elements!

Cheers to June! Bring it on, July!