Tag Archives: Alaska Artist

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.

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Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #137. Live painting at Odd Man Rush Brewing.

Hello beer art lovers!  It’s Thirsty Thursday yet again!  How did the last week go by so fast?  There is a sweet brewery in Eagle River, not far from Anchorage, called Odd Man Rush Brewing.  The brewers there are making some pretty great beers like the coffee-infused red IPA, a new hazy IPA, as well as many other great new beers.  You might ask what the name Odd Man Rush means.  It is a hockey term referring to when one player is in the penalty box, which creates an odd number of players on the ice and the team with the “power play” (another hockey term referring to the team that has more players on the ice) has an opportunity to rush the goal.  So there is a serious hockey theme going on at OMR Brewing.  Combined with 80’s and 90’s nostalgia as well.  Hockey sticks and cassette tapes along the walls create an ambiance that brings me right back to my youth.  The huge scoreboard on the wall is very iconic to this brewery and sums up the aesthetic of the establishment.  I painted their popular flagship brew the Enforcer IPA.  I was amazed how the head on this American IPA held until I nearly finished the painting.  That’s well over an hour!  I would also like to mention how refreshing it was to not be drinking a NEIPA (New England IPA) for a change.  There is nothing wrong with the NEIPA style, but a great West Coast IPA will always have its place in my heart.  Enforcer is another hockey term, meaning a defenseman who dishes out the punishment, aggressively slamming the offense into the boards, and maybe even getting put in the penalty box for roughing.  In my humble opinion, that’s a great name for this particular beer!  If hockey is your game, you’ll feel right at home at this taproom.  Put on the foil, these goons are making some great brews!  Cheers to your victory on the ice and in the brewery!

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

Thirsty Thursday #137. Enforcer IPA by Odd Man Rush Brewing. Painted live at the brewery's taproom. 8"x10", oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel

Thirsty Thursday #137. Enforcer IPA by Odd Man Rush Brewing. Painted live at the brewery’s taproom. 8″x10″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel

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

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #133. Day Old White Beer by Anchorage Brewing Co.

What do you do with some day-old bread… besides eat it?  If you are Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop, or Anchorage Brewing Company, you make an avant-garde Belgian wit-bier with it.  Some 130 pounds of day-old sourdough bread from the delicious Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop were added to Anchorage Brewing’s mash tun to make this untraditional wheat beer.  Wit-bier by definition is a Belgian-style wheat beer with as much as 50% wheat in the mash.  It is spiced with coriander and orange peel.  The world’s most famous wit-bier, Hoegaarden, made in a huge factory in Hoegaarden, Belgium makes the whole town smell like SweeTARTS candy.  ABC’s Day Old White Beer is a good representation of the style despite its unique addition of whole loaves of Alaskan sourdough bread.  I thought I would taste some sour notes, or funk, but I guess that was all killed in the boil.  Delicious beer made by one of my favorite breweries and tied to my favorite neighborhood bakery!  If you haven’t had some baked goods from Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop, you are due to take a field trip there and get some goodness!  Also get in to ABC to pick up a four pack of some of the last remaining cans of Day Old White Beer, as this is probably a one of a kind batch.
Cheers to Anchorage making some artisanal goodies!

The original oil painting was a commission, but 52 limited-edition prints are available at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #133. Day Old Wheat Beer by Anchorage Brewing Co. 8"x10", oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #133. Day Old Wheat Beer by Anchorage Brewing Co. 8″x10″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel

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

Commissioned Paintings for Holiday Gifts 2017

Every holiday season I get many requests for commissions, and this year was no exception.  By now I know what to expect, and how to get ready for the holiday rush.  As always, each painting had a special story behind it, and I loved being in on the surprises.  My favorite painting this year was the view of looking up at aspen trees in the Fall (Maria wanted to keep it).  The best response was from a customer in Texas about the Shiner Bock painting, “OMG THIS PAINTING IS ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!!! You’ve officially made me cry! Today has been an absolutely horrible day and you’ve made it so much better. Thank you doesn’t even begin to cover it!”  Messages like this make me happy about being an artist.

We take a picture of every painting that leaves the studio, so here is a slideshow of the paintings I made this holiday season (click on the pictures to view a slideshow).  They are all oil paint on wood panel, framed in a natural ash wood frame. I prime my paint supports red and gold before applying the oil paint, so you can see the gold paint shining through gaps in the oil paint.  This is my signature technique, and one way you can always recognize a Clendaniel original.

If you’d like to commission one, just let me know, or you can read Maria’s blog post about how to commission a painting.

 

A Tale of Two Homes… in Alaska

Back at the cabin after a skiing adventure.

People always ask how I like living in McCarthy.  They must see my Facebook posts and just assume since I spend a lot of time there that it’s my primary residence.  As of now, I live in an efficient downtown condo in Anchorage.  As much as I love going to McCarthy, and the Wrangell – St. Elias National Park that surrounds this cool mountain town, I will probably never spend more than five months of the year there.  It’s really remote without a real gas station and only a small seasonal grocery store.  Maria and I have been building a cabin on our lot two miles south of the town of McCarthy for about four years now.  We bought the lot in 2005, and I convinced Maria that we should start to build a cabin there in 2010.  In 2012 we broke ground on the foundation and started the log work.  Three summers later we were putting the roof on.  This year we installed the wood stove and moved in!

We have lived in a small apartment style condo in Anchorage since 2006.  It has been really efficient, and at 730+ square feet, two bedrooms with a small bathroom, it is not luxurious, but cozy and comfortable city living.  I just cleaned the entire pad in about an hour this morning.  However, it feels cramped after a long winter and I was just dying to go to McCarthy in the winter now that the wood stove is in.  Hanging out on our ten acres in the woods after living near the heart of Anchorage without an outlet to private outdoor space left us feeling hankering for some wilderness solitude.  I convinced Maria it would be cool to head out for a week in March, ski in with sleds of supplies and just hang at out mountain home.  I did some painting and Maria did some business work in the mornings and we would adventure in the afternoons.  Later in the day, which are getting longer and longer as spring rapidly approaches, we would burn large fires of forest brush in the outdoor fire ring.  On a couple of noteworthy outings we skied around the sleepy town of Kennicott, explored on skis the icebergs on the West side of the glacier, skied up McCarthy Creek, and in and around our neighborhood.  Overall, it really gave me a great feeling of mountains wilderness beauty that satisfied our itch to leave the hubbub of the city  behind.

Working next to the wood stove.

The trip was great, but a week was long enough during March.  First off, water is a problem in our subdivision.  We are up on a bluff, so you have to spend some serious cash to put in deep wells, so most of the time we collect rain water from our roof.  This works really well during the summer months, and in winter there is snow, but it takes a lot of energy and time to melt snow.  We can’t drive to our lot during the winter as the bridge is covered in three feet of snow and so is the road up to our place.  It is a snowmobile haven, and a good place to ski as well.  I ski, since I don’t have an Arctic Cat or a Ski-Doo.  Water is heavy, so we had to ration it to avoid too many heavy loads.  Another problem with wilderness living in the winter is using the outhouse, which is really far away from the warm house, and is frozen.  Lastly, the wood stove is an archaic technology that is a lot of work to keep a log cabin warm.  It’s hard to find wood that isn’t too wet from snow.  It seems that it rained and froze right before it snowed, and even though I stored the wood under a tarp, there was a lot of it full of moisture.  Yes, we are in the process of building a necessary woodshed, but as I said, we aren’t even fully done building the place yet.  The house has a bunch of drafts and we need to finish chinking, as well as installing a bunch of important trim pieces.  It seemed I was constantly loading the stove, until the creosote clogged the pipe.  This turned out to be a major cluster, but fortunately it happened at the end of the week so we just went home.  Next time I head out, I have to bring a chimney brush, climb on the roof and maintain the stovepipe before we have heat.  Then we will have to hope we don’t burn the place down.  It seems silly to have a house that is made of the same combustible stuff we heat it with, but it’s working for now.

Maria skiing past an ice berg on Kennicott Glacier.

Icebergs on Kennicott Glacier.

After a week in the woods, I’m glad to be back in Anchorage.  Working at the comfortable studio with running water, and hanging out in my small cozy condo at the corner of downtown and Fairview.  I can buy groceries and gas, drive on plowed roads, have indoor plumbing, and a thermostat.  The wilderness is very inspirational, and I loved my trip, but I also know that the people who live out there are some tough hombres.  It isn’t easy living off grid especially as you are building systems.  One thing goes wrong and you could be living in a cold cabin… or worse.

We waited for this giant slab of snow and ice to crash all week, and it finally fell with a loud thud on our last night at the cabin.

The gray jays were happy to see us. They finally started eating out of our hands last summer.

The Kennicott Mill building.

The Kennicott Glacier.

Honeymoon Hefe by Kenai River Brewing Company

Kenai River Brewing has bottled another beer, and it’s a great session-able brew.  I’m glad it’s not another IPA.  Don’t get me wrong, I love big, bold beers and session IPAs, but it’s nice to get a good beer that is highly drinkable that is a little bit different.  With 45% wheat malt, the Honeymoon Hefe Ale is a true marriage between flavor and refreshment.  This fine fermented beverage would be great out on the river and even late at night around the campfire.  Not only is it delicious, the yellow can perfectly compliments the cool blue of the Kenai River, won’t get lost easily, and the cans are easy to pack out. 

I included a pair of Rufous Hummingbirds in the painting to emphasize the honeymoon part of the name of this beer.  This mated pair is completely in love with each other, and this beer.  As long as we’re talking about honey and birds, I also had to include Fireweed, one of Alaska’s truly amazing flowers, and of course Alaska’s official State flower, the Forget-Me-Not.  So grab a sixer of this tasty beer, and head out to the Kenai to really have a good time recreating!  This beer is a perfect accompaniment to the Alaska outdoors.

Cheers to drinking the best beers in the Last Frontier!

The original oil painting sold. Limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Honeymoon Hefe by Kenai River Brewing Company in Soldotna, Alaska. Oil painting by Scott Clendaniel. 8"x10", oil on panel.

Honeymoon Hefe by Kenai River Brewing Company in Soldotna, Alaska. Oil painting by Scott Clendaniel. 8″x10″, oil on panel.