Author Archives: realartisbetter

About realartisbetter

Real Art Is Better! Real Artist living and working in Anchorage and McCarthy, Alaska, making Real Art - colorful oil paintings and prints that brighten any space.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #127. Kriek Ale at Cascade Brewing Barrel House.

Last week when I was in Portland, Oregon, I was lucky enough to be granted permission to paint live at the Cascade Brewing Barrel House.  A few years ago I was introduced to Cascade barrel-aged sour beer at my friend Sam’s birthday dinner in Philadelphia, and I was impressed from my first sip.  Sam is an avid collector of fine beers, so I was able to try not only the Kriek, but the Pêche Fumé, the Elderberry, the Blueberry, and the Cassis, among others.  Yes, the tasting was that remarkable!  Cascade offers a perfect blend between fruit, oak and fermented barley that is simply exquisite!  I chose to paint the Kriek in the taproom, because it is probably the most famous of the Cascade offerings.  I have painted live at breweries many times, and my experience at Cascade exceeded expectations!  The beertender made sure I tasted the most notable beers on the extensive menu.  The staff was amazing, and the beers… well they speak for themselves!  If you haven’t been to the Cascade Brewing Barrel House, you must make a pilgrimage to this beer Mecca, home of the best American sour beer!
Cheers to inventive and creative breweries!

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

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #127. Kriek painted live at Cascade Brewing Barrel House. 8"x10", oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #127. Kriek painted live at Cascade Brewing Barrel House. 8″x10″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel


Fur Rondy and Iditarod Open Studio Events

In less than a week, our favorite events begin just in time to help us get through the toughest part of winter — Fur Rondezvous winter festival and Iditarod Sled Dog Race.  Fur Rondezvous has been an annual tradition in Anchorage since the mid 1930s when the town started organizing fun activities to coincide with the miners and trappers coming to town with their yield.  Iditarod is the most famous sled dog race in the world, attracting mushers and spectators from around the globe.  Downtown Anchorage will be transformed into a playground with a carnival, contests, snow sculptures, and a sled dog trail running down 4th Avenue.  Our studio happens to be on 4th Avenue, and we will be open during the busiest times of the festivities.  There will also be a craft fair inside our building — the 4th Avenue Market Place.  Stop by and check out the view of the carnival (hopefully Denali will be visible as well), to see the newest oil paintings and prints, and to have some home-baked cookies while you warm up between events.  We are located in Suite 4 of the 4th Avenue Market Place, which is in the NW corner inside the building.

When: February 24-25, Saturday and Sunday, 11-6pm AND March 3, Saturday, 11-6pm.

Where: 4th Avenue Market Place, 333 W 4th Avenue, Suite 4.  Inside the building in the NW corner.

Iditarod sled dogs racing downtown anchorage alaska

artist studio Scott Clendaniel Alyeska Resort girdwood painting


Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #126. Melt Down Stout by Root Down Brewing Co.

I think I feel like having a Melt Down right about now.  That’s right, the beer brewed by new Root Down Brewing in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania in a collaboration project with Beer N.E.R.D.s (Network of Educated Refined Drinkers) to remind us all that life is too short to get our underpants in a bind over waiting for a pint.  How many beer lines have you waited in?  I understand it can definitely cause anxiety if you can’t count how many folding chairs there are in front of you.  According to the story behind this beer, which is rapidly becoming a BeerNERDs legend, a gentleman saddled up to the brewery’s bar, and got impatient after waiting for the bartender to serve him, so he stormed off the premises without getting a pint!  He ranted about his experience online, and someone checked the security camera footage to find out how long he actually waited.  Needless to say, people had very little sympathy when they found out the wait was only 107 seconds.  So that’s the reason this beer is 10.7% ABV.
People have melt downs over strange things sometimes, so that is why Root Down and BeerNERDs are giving a big amount of the proceeds to support Main Line Deputy Dog, a non profit that trains and maintains service animals for people with challenges in life.  Root Down has generated over $6,000 for the non-profit so far!  I will donate 10% of sales from this painting and prints to MLDD to help with the cause.  So don’t wait too long before making it into Root Down… You might just have a real melt down, instead of the chocolate oatmeal stout that comes in a cool can with the BeerNERDs logo on it.  My friend Rich from PA sent me a can of this beer, and it knocked my hat in the creek!
Cheers to bartenders who work fast to get us our pints!

This original oil painting, and 52 limited-edition prints are available at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #126. Melt Down Stout by Root Down Brewing Co. 11"x14", oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #126. Melt Down Stout by Root Down Brewing Co. 11″x14″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel

Custom Beer Label Design

One of my goals is to do more beer label designs, because seeing my art on cans, or bottles that are filled with delicious beer, and distributed to thousands of people around the country, and possibly the world, is the most amazing thing for a beer artist.  The hurdle is being selected as the label artist by a brewery out of many other artists who happen to also want the honor.  So far I’ve designed several home-brew labels, and one commercial label for Midnight Sun BrewingCheck out my blog post about that awesome project!

At my Etsy shop I have a listing for a Custom Beer Label Design, and a few months ago, a couple who are in the process of starting a new brewery in New Mexico bought the label design package, which includes a design for your label, and an oil painting of that design.  So we got to work.  They sent me pictures of things they wanted to be included in the label design, and I put together sketches for their consideration.  Here are a couple examples of the sketches.

Once a sketch was approved, I started painting the main image.  Here is how the painting turned out.  I also made a smaller bonus painting that I used for the image on the collar around the bottle neck.

custom beer label design beer painting by artist Scott Clendaniel

Then I put together the beer label in Photoshop.  Here’s the final result.

custom beer label design by artist scott clendaniel in anchorage alaska

The Piedra Blanca Brewing Company is not open yet, but I am very excited about getting the chance to design its logo and beer label!  Best of luck to them, and I look forward to visiting one day!  If you own a brewery, or are thinking about starting one, contact me about designing your logo, or labels.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #125. Underdog Lager by Stable 12 Brewing Co.

This week’s beer painting is a tribute to the new Superbowl LII Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, the underdogs! And how fitting that Thirsty Thursday, the day I always release a new beer painting, happens to be on the same day as the victory parade!  I decided that Stable 12 Brewing Company’s Underdog Lager would be the perfect beer for this painting of the Eagles’ home stadium. The brewery initiated a campaign to get the players to drink this beer during the parade.  Although I’m from Alaska, I have many friends in Pennsylvania, and have enjoyed a couple trips there. So I could feel the “brotherly love” at our friend’s apartment we call the Upper Deck where we watched the game. Of the 23 odd people in attendance at our small gathering for the big game, there was nary a person rooting for the Patriots. Up here in Alaska we don’t have a football team of our own, and aside from the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, we don’t have any professional spectator sports. We support whomever we feel like, and this year we were in favor of the Eagles. Little to say, there was celebratory feeling at the Upper Deck when the Patriots let up the ball with just enough time for the Eagles to get one more touchdown solidifying their victory.   After the game we kept celebrating and then on Monday I made this painting of the Lincoln Financial Field in honor of the New NFL Champions. Cheers to The Eagles! They fly the highest!

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

Philadelphia Eagles football stadium and Underdog Lager by Stable 12 Brewing Co.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #125. Underdog Lager by Stable 12 Brewing Co.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #124. Porg Beer.

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away!  PORG BEER!  Brewed the easy way (using the Force).  Dry-hopped with 100% fresh Porgs.  Low in calories, this Rebel friendly IPA is completely session-able.  Politically correct, this beer is brewed without any profits going to support the Empire.  Available at your local rebel recruiting station.  Obi Wan’s favorite brew to coerce new Jedis into becoming hooked on the Force.  Brewed with water harvested from local condensers on Tatooine, the choicest Porg feathers, and only the finest grains harvested on Naboo.  This fine Itapi Prime Ale (IPA) is a smooth concoction, one that will be sure to taste great at your next intergalactic gathering, or simply enjoy when your spaceship is parked at the spaceport.  Just make sure you check your blood alcohol content before departure, as nobody wants a PUI (piloting under the influence).  If caught by Imperial Authorities, you risk impound of your vessel and they could get you for bootlegging this illicit beverage.  And remember when you sit back to enjoy a lovely Porg Beer, may the Force be with you!

This original oil painting, and 52 limited-edition prints are available at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #124. Porg Beer. By Scott Clendaniel. 1"1x14", oil on panel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #124. Porg Beer. By Scott Clendaniel. 1″1×14″, oil on panel.

Business Goals for 2018

~ by Maria Benner

As the Business & Marketing Manager, I’m the one responsible for keeping our art business alive, and an important part of that is setting goals.  I recently reviewed our goals for 2017, and breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that we accomplished all of them.  I also made a mental note to check in on our goals more often.  So, for the new year we have new goals.

  1. Create a new website to sell art directly to customers.  Currently all of our online sales are through our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.  Etsy has great SEO, and brings customers to us from all over the world, however, we have to pay a percentage fee for each sale, and potential customers can easily be distracted by other Etsy sellers while shopping for similar items.  Selling from our own website will hopefully generate more brand awareness, and we’ll pay a lower monthly flat fee.  We’ll also keep selling art through Etsy, just to keep reaching a broader audience.
  2. Design an autonomous order fulfillment system.  Right now we are fulfilling all orders.  We make prints on demand, and package all prints and originals ourselves, print the shipping labels, and drop everything off at the post office.  The drawback is that while we’re traveling, or spending time at our cabin in McCarthy, our business is on hold, because we’re not around to mail orders.  The goal is to find a company online that will print and mail our prints for us.  We will still have to mail originals ourselves, but prints make up the majority of our sales.
  3. Publish our first book How to Draw Alaska Baby Animals.  We have been working on this project for a couple years, but it always seems to take a back seat to more pressing tasks.  Scott designed how-to-draw pages for 49 different Alaska baby animals, and is in the finishing stages of designing the book cover.  He also painted several colorful oil paintings to include in the book.  I drew every single one to make sure there were no errors.  Now we just need a table of contents, a foreward, and to finish the final layout.  Then we’ll have to figure out how to publish a book, and to find buyers for it.  This task seems a bit challenging, but people publish books all the time, so I know it’s doable.

Those are our main three goals, and they will be enough for this year.  Most of the work gets accomplished in the winter time, which is already half way over!  In the summer we’re fishing, traveling, and just generally flying by the seat of our pants.  So wish us luck!