The year started out with a bang, having just finished the Year of Beer Paintings project in 2014. We awoke in Talkeetna, safe and warm in a nice cabin that we rented with friends. We returned to Anchorage on January 1st and released the first Thirsty Thursday beer-themed painting that night, which was a parody of Andy Warhol’s work. The next day we hung my art show at Midnight Sun Brewing, which consisted of the second half of the Year of Beer paintings, having shown the first half at the same venue in June. After surviving AK Beer Week, we flew to Sun Valley, Idaho for the annual family ski vacation. I finally breathed a sigh of relief from work.
After releasing a new beer painting every day in 2014, I thought releasing one just on Thursdays would be a breeze, but I was surprised how quickly another Thursday would roll around. I managed to paint 53 beer-themed paintings, without skipping a single week. Most of them were beer parodies of famous paintings in history. Some of the noteworthy artists I emulated are Jackson Pollock, Gustav Klimt, Vincent Van Gogh, Matisse, and Mondrian, as well as many others. I found it interesting to spend time looking at art history paintings, and trying to find ones that translated best into beer art. After posting a couple of these parodies, I realized that my blog readers were learning about art history by admiring beer art!
I also started working on a children’s book called How to Draw Alaska Baby Animals. There will be 49 animals, because Alaska is the 49th state. The goal is to release it sometime next year. We’ll try to find a publisher, and expect the whole experience of releasing a book for the first time to be very educational.
In April we moved the studio out of our condo into a commercial space conveniently located on 4th Avenue, just a mile from our home. We have a corner unit with a large window that makes up a whole wall of the studio. Overall, we decided that the studio was a good move, because it generated enough revenue to keep it for at least another year. I was surprised that most people thought the studio was a gallery, or a store. So I kept having to explain the definition of a studio – a workspace where an artist creates art. I do invite people to stop by, but I don’t keep regular hours. I kind of like my privacy when I’m working on experimental stuff.
This year we made a big effort to get my art in front of more people. I had four art shows (three in Anchorage, and one in Juneau), and we also tried craft fairs, which were more successful than expected, so we’ll keep doing those. Having the studio as a venue allowed us to have a holiday studio sale, which attracted quite a few people. I already have several art shows lined up for 2016. Gotta keep the train rolling!
The summer was a whirlwind, as usual. Dipnetting for salmon on the Kenai Peninsula is a must for Alaskan residents, and a great way to get fresh local. I made the best Salmon stock this year that Maria canned, and we’ve been making some legit chowders this winter!
In August we made our first trip to the Midwest for our friends’ wedding, and visited several breweries, including Three Floyds, Bell’s, Goose Island and Revolution, to name a few. Grand Rapids lived up to its fame as the beer city, being home to Founders, Brewery Vivant, Perrin, and many others. Chicago was probably the most interesting place of the whole trip. We saw the famous Picasso sculpture, ate some deep-dish pizza, and watched the Cubbies win against the Colorado Rockies. I liked the Midwest, but I’m glad I live in Alaska!
Despite all the traveling, fishing, and painting, we managed to put a metal roof on the cabin in McCarthy. I can’t wait until I get back out there to finish up the project and move in. We just need to install five small windows, and a door. The little shack where we stayed while building the cabin will become my McCarthy studio.
In September we traveled to the Pacific Northwest and visited many friends and family. I had some epic beers throughout, but especially in Bend, a great bike ride on the Oregon coast, and we saw our first baseball game at Safeco Field. Once again, I was glad to come home to Alaska where there are fewer people, less traffic, and I know everybody here.
After that trip I started working on commissions and painted straight every day from November 1st to December 22. I made paintings of dogs, bikes, beers, planes, trucks and even a wedding in Barrow. The demand for commissions was definitely higher this year than last. I loved making people happy by creating paintings of their favorite places, and most cherished things, and realized what a special and personal experience commissioning a painting can be.
I’m sure I’m leaving out many interesting and important events that happened, but these are just the highlights that came to mind as I sat down to write this. Thank you to all of you who support my art career! Happy New Year! Cheers to an epic 2016!!!