Monthly Archives: August 2022

Vending in Alaska

My wife, Maria, who is the Business Manager for our art business, was traveling in August for 17 days out of the last 25, which made me realize that I really rely on her for basically everything. When she is gone I have to do double the work I normally am expected to do. She also does the stuff that I don’t do as well on my own.  She was supposed to be back on Thursday last week, but my brother has been very ill and Maria volunteered to take my niece to Princeton, NJ to start college, so she was gone for most of this weekend too.  

While Maria was at Princeton, I was scheduled to set up my vending tent at the fabulous Chugachfest at my favorite ski area, Arctic Valley, on Friday and Saturday. Maria had one day in town between trips, and had spent it helping me get set up for vending at the festival. I was concerned, since there was a weather advisory for the weekend, because my merchandise is made from wood, canvas, and paper. It’s not that delicate, but wind and rain is not necessarily good for art. I decided not to bring my vending stuff up the bumpy Arctic Valley road, just to hurry back down with a billowing tarp and huge risk of damaged equipment and merchandise.

I drove up there on Saturday to see my favorite musician Michael Kirkpatrick play a short set, and saw the carnage from overnight. The Mountain Manager told me that every E-Z Up tent had flipped over and a few were halfway up the valley. The wind was still blowing, but we still had an awesome time listening to music.  The sound guy was doing a great job making the musicians sound their best!  So, I was really glad I made the decision not to set up my booth, eventhough Maria and I had spent so much time getting it ready. After Maria got back from Princeton, we went to Seward to catch Michael play at the Yukon Bar, and then followed him to Hope, like a couple of groupies, to see him play at the Seaview Cafe.  So much fun!  I love his new song Wrangell Mountain Rendezvous.

Not a good day to be a vendor at Arctic Valley!

This Saturday we have another opportunity to set up our vending tent — at the Alaska Craft Brew Festival! This is an event not to be missed!  The Delaney Park Strip comes alive with live music, and a huge amount of Alaskan craft beer, and some from the Lower 48, as well.  I love this event, because I never have to explain why I paint beer to the people there.  This is my crew! And most of the people already know who I am from Alaska Beer Nerds.  I have a good feeling about this weekend.  The weather is wonderful out right now, and historically this is the one weekend of August that has a break from the rain. I know, because Maria and I got married 19 years ago this weekend. It didn’t rain then, and over the last 18 years, normally doesn’t. So let’s hope for good luck, and at least a lack of wind!  Cheers to the upcoming Fest, I hope to see you there!   

It Takes Two

Maria’s cousin and her two sons have been visiting from Germany, and I have been doing a lot more work by myself, since they arrived about two weeks ago, while Maria and her Mom have been focusing on hosting. They’re taking a long holiday, visiting Alaska and the Southwest U.S. for two and a half weeks. First off, I was solo in McCarthy building the roof on Maria’s mom’s new cabin. I also finished a commissioned painting while I was awaiting their arrival. The new cabin is not too big, a 16x20ft log structure with a sleeping loft for overflow guests. It sure would have been nice to have the extra space when we had everyone visiting for a couple of nights last week! Before Maria left McCarthy to meet her relatives in Anchorage, we got all the log work done and installed the sleeping loft platform on the new cabin. I was forced to take the tarp down that had been protecting the building site from rain. The house had grown too tall to work under the tarp anymore. It is now the rainy season, which was worrying me, since I didn’t want the plywood and OSB flooring to take water damage. I successfully made and installed all the trusses and most of the metal roofing before the guests arrived. Of course it was raining. Maria had her cousin’s strong young sons help her bring out the large French door. When they arrived, we carried it to the site, and it was ready to install. The next day Maria and her guests went on a glacier hike and spent the afternoon in Kennecott. I was really worried about the lack of ridge-cap and spent the day putting it, and the last sheets of metal in place. I was also able to wiggle the huge door into place, and secure it to the log walls. When the crew got back from exploring the valley they helped me put the large window in. It sure is nice to have more than two hands to lift heavy stuff!

Mama Klava approves of her new cabin so far!

We all drove to Anchorage the next day, stopping off at the Klutina River to nab two Sockeye salmon. That weekend Maria and her guests flew around Denali, and then took a glacier cruise out of Whittier. I started catching up on work in the studio, and took down my art show at Dos Manos Gallery. We had an amazing dinner at Seven Glaciers restaurant at the top of Alyeska Resort. After resting up the next day, we went shopping for souvenirs downtown, and got all the guests packed up for their flight to Las Vegas. En-route to the airport, we had an amazing sushi boat dinner. Maria flew to Vegas the next morning, and I have been holding down the fort here in Anchorage while the Benner crew sees Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce National Parks, Sedona, and Mexico. They will have seen five National Parks when they are completely done!
Maria does a lot of work for the business. She makes, packages, and mails all the Etsy orders. She manages the business and home finances. She does half the house cleaning, she does a lot of the kitchen work, and makes sure I don’t mess up and miss out on stuff I should be taking care of. When Maria is gone, I have more freedom to do what I want, when I want, but the workload is probably doubled, so it really doesn’t make life any easier. In fact, life is way more difficult. My responsibilities are doubled, and my free time is cut in half. I really don’t know how single artists get everything done! I know that before Maria decided to become my business partner and manage the business end of Real Art is Better, I was decidedly less profitable. I will be fine, and she will be back after only nine days in the States. Cheers to our partnership! I can’t do it without my better half!