Monthly Archives: November 2017

Important Dates for Real Art Is Better this Holiday Season

~ by Maria Benner

For those of you who are considering ordering gifts from Real Art Is Better this holiday season, here are some important dates to keep in mind.


  1. First Friday Annual Holiday Open Studio Event
    1. What: we will transform our studio into a pop-up shop for the evening. Complimentary refreshments included.  Receive a free 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall poster with every purchase of $20 or higher!  Enter a drawing for a Clendaniel art print of your choice.
    2. When: December 1st, 5:30pm – 8:00pm.
    3. Where: Real Art Is Better Studio. Inside the 4th Avenue Market Place in Suite 4. 333 W 4th Avenue.
  2. Winter Maker’s Market
    1. What: 30 of Alaska’s most talented artists and crafters will set up shop at the Church of Love in beautiful downtown Spenard. Complete your holiday shopping all in one place.
    2. When: December 2nd, 12pm – 5pm.
    3. Where: Church of Love Spenard, 3502 Spenard Rd.


The last day to order a custom painting is Friday, December 8th if the painting needs to be mailed, and December 14th if you’re picking it up at the studio.


When you order from us online, your order will be shipped within one business day.  Here are the last days that your package can be shipped in order for it to arrive by December 25th.




Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #114. Wit Beer by Cynosure Brewing Co.

Cynosure Brewing is one of the newer breweries in Anchorage.  If you haven’t been there yet, go check it out.  Cynosure is a term that originally denoted the constellation Ursa Minor, or the star Polaris that it contains.  I enjoyed a spontaneous live painting session there yesterday.  The owners, Clark and Cynthia, have been working really hard putting this beautiful brewery together right in the middle of Anchorage.  Clark used to be the head brewer at Broken Tooth Brewing, and does all the brewing himself.  Last night there were ten beers on tap!  Although a couple of Clark’s Belgian beers have high original gravities, the majority of the brews are sessionable and won’t put you to bed after one glass.  I grabbed a glass of the Wit (pictured in this painting), which has always been a favorite style of mine, and this one is true to style, one of the best Alaskan brewed witbiers.  Be sure to sample as many of these beers as you can.  A few I found noteworthy were the Schwartzbier, or black lager, the Clouds (a dry hopped lager), and the cherry sour.  You won’t find a hop-bomb IPA at this brewery.
When we go out to Kincaid park, we like to stop here on the way home, as it is directly en route. Not only conveniently located to visit after biking, or skiing, it also has the right kind of beer for Après-ski.  Every time I go to this place I feel extremely welcomed.  This is a true hometown brewery, built with heartfelt attention to detail.  I hope you get in before it becomes too busy and, God-forbid you have to wait in a long line for the very affordable ($5 glasses and $12 growlers) delicious offerings available.
Cheers to Cynosure!  A family owned brewery that makes you feel like you belong.

The original oil painting sold. Limited-edition prints are available at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #114. Wit Beer by Cynosure Brewing. By Scott Clendaniel. 8"x10", oil on panel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #114. Wit Beer by Cynosure Brewing. By Scott Clendaniel. 8″x10″, oil on panel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #113. Shiner Bock at Minute Maid Park.

I didn’t get to watch much of the World Series due to conflicts in my traveling schedule. The only nights I was free to watch it, there were no games. I have been a Houston Astros fan since I was a Little Leaguer, even though I have never been to Texas.  I’ve been doing a bit of research about Houston and am planning a trip there now.  Houston has a ton of breweries, Karbach Brewing is the only one I have sampled beer from.  I would have chosen one of these brews for this painting, but I didn’t know which one to pick.  I went with a classic Spoetzl Brewery’s Shiner Bock, which I know from experience is a good choice for overall consistency, and is an easy drinker to pair with sports.  I eagerly look forward to a trip to Texas.  Maybe a birthday trip in April.
Cheers to the new World Series champions!  Houston should be proud!

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

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #113. Spoetzl Brewery's Shiner Bock at Minute Maid Park. By Scott Clendaniel. 11"x14", oil on panel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #113. Spoetzl Brewery’s Shiner Bock at Minute Maid Park.
By Scott Clendaniel. 11″x14″, oil on panel.

How to Commission a Painting

~ by Maria Benner

There are few gifts more unique and personal than a commissioned oil painting.  If you’re considering giving one as a gift this holiday season, but don’t know how to commission a painting, here’s a step-by-step guide.

Step 1. Decide on the subject matter for the painting: a place, person, or thing (or all of the above).

Step 2. Contact us at least two weeks before you need the painting.  During busy times, like the holiday season, the earlier you place the order, the better.  Now is actually a great time.  We will need to know the size, and when you need the painting.  Then we’ll send you a price quote.

Step 3. Send us photos.  The more, the better.  Don’t be shy.  You can either e-mail them to us, or stop by the studio to discuss the concept in person.

Step 4. Scott will create sketches of different options, or just one sketch (if the concept is straight forward), and send it to you for approval.  This is the time to make changes, and dial in the painting concept.

Step 5. After the sketch is good to go, Scott will start painting.  When the painting is done, he’ll send you a photo.  Then you’ll have a very short window to make any small, last-minute tweaks, if necessary, before the paint dries.

Step 6.  The oil paint will take about 10 days to dry.  Then Scott will coat it with a clear protective varnish, and frame it.  Then you can pick it up, or we can mail it to you, or to the recipient.

You can order a custom beer painting, or a custom bike painting online at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter, or just send us an e-mail, call or text.

Another option is to give someone the experience of commissioning a painting, by giving them a Gift Certificate.

Here are a few examples of recent commissions.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #112. Elevated IPA by La Cumbre Brewing Co.

This week I was lucky enough to get a chance to visit La Cumbre Brewing’s tasting room in Albuquerque, New Mexico! We set up a live painting session ahead of time, and I worked outside in the beer garden right up until it was getting too dark to paint. I decided to paint one of the brewery’s flagship beers, Elevated IPA. This beer is aggressively hopped, and tastes just like advertised at 100 IBUs. La Cumbre is Spanish for peak, and the brewery is at 5,313 feet altitude, so its tag line, “Get Elevated” is right on target. This was the first beer I drank after we landed in New Mexico, and it seemed to be everywhere we went. A very enchanting beer from the Land of Enchantment. This brew pairs well with street tacos, burritos or enchiladas. Whatever it is that you are doing, I recommend pairing it with a great IPA. Goes well with hiking, biking, or warming up around the fire! Cheers to the Elevated IPA! A beer that takes it to the next level!

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

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #112.   Elevated IPA by La Cumbre Brewing Co. By Scott Clendaniel. 8"x10", oil on panel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #112. Elevated IPA by La Cumbre Brewing Co. By Scott Clendaniel. 8″x10″, oil on panel.