Category Archives: The Business of Being an Artist

The Difference Between an Original Painting and a Print

~ by Maria Benner

What is the difference between an original oil painting, a limited-edition print, a giclee, or a regular print?  Here’s a simple answer.

Original Painting

The artist actually painted every brush stroke by hand, spending hours, or even days applying paint directly to the painting surface.  There is only one original in the entire world, and even if the artist tried to paint it again, it would be almost impossible to replicated every brush stroke exactly.  So an original painting is one of a kind — no one else in the world has it.  This is why prices of originals are much higher.

Aspen Trees in Fall custom oil painting. 36"x18", oil on panel.

Aspen Trees in Fall custom oil painting. 36″x18″, oil on panel.

Limited-Edition Print

A print is a reproduction of an original painting.  It can be printed on canvas, metal, paper, vinyl, etc.  The artist does not even have to make prints, someone else who has legal rights to the image can produce prints using a camera or a scanner, and a printer.  A giclée is a print that is printed with an ink-jet printer.  We use an Epson ink-jet printer to make prints of Scott’s oil paintings, using archival ink.

So what makes a print limited-edition?  When we release a new print, we arbitrarily decide how many copies we will make.  We print on demand, so we don’t have to store thousands of prints.  So let’s say we decide that we’ll make 80 copies of a certain print.  That means that after all 80 are sold, we won’t make any more.  That’s it.  So the smaller the release number, the more valuable the print is, because there are fewer of them.  We number each print at the bottom of the image, so it will say 12/80 for example.  Many people prefer to have the first one, so if you act quickly after we announce a new print release, you can get #1.  Each print is also hand-signed by the artist.

A regular print is not limited-edition and often is not signed.  The artist, or anyone with rights to the image, can make as many copies as they want.  Usually these prints are the cheapest, because there are so many of them, and more can be made at any time.

Limited-edition print, numbered and hand-signed by the artist.

Limited-edition print, numbered and hand-signed by the artist.

The artist automatically owns the copyrights to his/her painting.  A person can purchase the copyrights from the artist.  The price is set by agreeing on the number of times the painting will be reproduced for profit.  So, if someone wanted to purchase the rights to a Clendaniel original, the price would be the cost of the original oil painting plus the number of prints that will ever be made of that painting x retail value of those prints.

 

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Our little log cabin.

What We Do in McCarthy

~ by Maria Benner

We bought property in McCarthy, Alaska 13 years ago, and built a log cabin on it.  We love spending time at the cabin, but the problem is that it’s 6.5 – 8 hours of driving to get there, depending on road construction and the condition of the 60-mile, mostly unpaved McCarthy Road.  So it’s not really an ideal weekend destination, and when we come here, we usually try to stay for about two weeks.  People often ask us what we do in McCarthy.  So we explain that we’re self employed; Scott is an artist, and I’m the business & marketing manager for our art business.  Now that we have access to LTE, we can work from our cabin.  Scott has a small studio in the little shack that we originally built as a place to stay warm and dry while we worked on the cabin.  I work on my laptop, and can use the Personal Hotspot feature on my iPhone to connect my laptop to the Internet.  When we first came here we had no cell phone service at all, so technology has come a long way since 2005, and now allows us to work while we’re here.

So this is how a typical day in McCarthy goes.  We drink coffee in the morning while checking e-mail, and catching up on the news and social media.  After breakfast Scott works in the studio painting commissions, or Thirsty Thursday beer paintings, or new pieces for an upcoming art show.  I work in the cabin on my laptop promoting Scott’s art, booking future art shows, working on grants and 1% for Art applications, and managing the business.  After lunch we usually work on cabin and property improvement tasks such as building a wood shed, improving the driveway, framing windows, tiling the kitchen counters, etc.  In the evenings we go for walks, burn brush in the big fire-pit, or play ping pong on the new table Scott made for his birthday, or we’ll bike or ride the 2 miles to McCarthy for a party, or to hear a band at the Golden Saloon, or at the Potato.  On weekends we try to go on an adventure like searching for an ice cave in the Kennicott Glacier, hiking up to an abandoned mine, or biking to Nizina River.

This afternoon we did some Real Art Is Better work in the morning, and then walked to town to visit a friend at the museum, and to buy a few items at the store.  Now Scott is painting while I’m writing this blog post.  Tonight we’ll probably stay home and play Yahtzee, or burn some more brush, which is never-ending around here.  We’re here for a couple more days, and our goals are to dig a deep hole for a French drain for our kitchen sink, to finish leveling the bumps in the driveway, and to cut down and cut up a couple dead trees.  The list of projects is never-ending!

During my first few trips to McCarthy I met people who had lifestyles that allowed them to spend long periods of time here, and I wanted to change things in my life so that I could also come here for longer than just a three-day weekend.  So we both quit our jobs, and started our art business, and I credit McCarthy for motivating me to change my life.  We’re still not completely location-independent, since we lease studio space in Anchorage, and have to mail orders ourselves, but we get enough time here to justify the time and money we spent on building our cabin here.

The Solstice party in McCarthy.

The Solstice party in McCarthy.

An ice cave in the Kennicott Glacier.

An ice cave in the Kennicott Glacier.

First Firkin Friday Art Show at Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Twice a year I get to have art shows at Midnight Sun Brewing Company in Anchorage.  Once in January, and also in June.  There are a couple perks to showing my oil paintings at this venue.  First, I get to tap a firkin (a small keg) at 5pm of opening day to kick off the month-long show.  Usually the firkin is filled with one of MSBC’s delicious brews cask-conditioned with special ingredients.  For example, at my upcoming art opening this Friday, June 1st, the firkin will be Panty Peeler Belgian-style ale cask-conditioned with tequila-soaked oak spirals and lime!  That sounds festive and refreshing!  Another benefit of having an art show at a brewery is that every time I go there to check on the show, I order a beer, which is tax deductible!

I’ve been working on several new pieces for this show, including paintings of the Homer Harbor, a K2 plane flying by Broken Tooth Mountain, a tandem bicycle, and a 5ft x 4ft piece of birch trees that is for people who have big empty walls.  I’ll be posting pictures of these paintings each day for the rest of the week on my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter feeds.

Click here for details about the event, and please invite your friends!  I hope you can be there at 5pm on June 1st to watch me tap the firkin, but if not, we’ll be there until 8pm on Friday, and my art will be on display and available for sale until July 5th.

I hope that when I tap the firkin, this happens, because a beer shower is always fun, although I don’t want to waste too much beer.

May First Friday Art Walk | Open Studio Mode vs. Work Mode

~ by Maria Benner

This Friday, May 4 is the first Friday of the month, which means that most local art galleries will have new art shows and will be hosting receptions.  The artists are normally present at these events, and often there is live music and complimentary refreshments.  Most of the action happens downtown, but there are many venues around town that host First Friday events.  The Anchorage Press is a good source for event listings.  Scott and I usually open our studio to the public for First Friday Art Walk, but not every month.  This one in May will be the last one we’ll host at the studio until October.  Scott will have an art opening in June, but it will be at Midnight Sun Brewing Company.  In preparation for an open studio event, we always have to do quite a bit of cleaning and rearranging of paintings and studio equipment.  Work mode and open studio mode are very different.  We completely clear my desk to make room for prints and greeting cards, put away all the painting stuff and scrub the floor.  Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what the studio looks like in work mode, versus how we make it look for visitors during open studio events.  We hope you’ll stop by this First Friday from 5:00 – 7:30 pm.  We’ll have cookies that Scott will bake from scratch, and new paintings that have never been shown before.  The address is 333 W 4th Avenue, Suite 4 (inside the 4th Avenue Market Place).

Work mode

Work mode

Work mode

Open studio mode

Open studio mode

BREAKING: President Trump Threatens to Bring Back Prohibition if Congress Doesn’t Approve Mexican Wall

WASHINGTON — Congress has rejected Trump’s demand for $25 billion for construction of the Mexico border wall that he promised during his campaign. The budget that Trump reluctantly signed a week ago includes $1.6 billion for border security, enough for just about 33 miles of new barrier plus about twice that much of replacement fencing.  However, that was not enough for the President.  On April 1st, President Trump tweeted, “Enough is enough. If Congress doesn’t fund the Mexican wall, I’m going to bring back Prohibition. That will teach them!”

Only 69 of 292 Republicans on Capitol Hill supported the wall project, but after Sunday’s tweet, 100% percent of Congress agreed to fund it, rather than risk losing easy access to alcohol.  Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) had concerns about paying for the project, but is now in full support, saying, “I don’t care how much it costs, we just can’t have Prohibition again!”  That was a common sentiment among members of Congress on Sunday, as many consider the threat of Prohibition real, and are afraid that it would significantly harm America’s economy, not to mention increase crime rates, and inflict significant damage on citizens’ morale.  Members of the House were especially concerned about a huge public outcry, and large demonstrations if President Trump followed through with his ultimatum.  Congress scheduled an emergency session on Easter Sunday, which also happens to be April Fool’s Day to pass a bill that would appease the President, and eliminate the possibility of Prohibition.  Many Democrats were seen shaking their heads in disbelief that one tweet could have so much impact on the country’s leaders.

This story is developing.  Check back soon for more updates.

Maria Benner is the Business & Marketing Manager for Real Art Is Better, and has no journalistic credentials, but she did want to prank blog followers on April Fool’s Day.

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, 10-5pm.

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

 

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.