On this Thirsty Thursday I am lucky enough to be in McCarthy, Alaska celebrating summer Solstice. I painted the Ma Johnson’s Hotel with a Sockeye Red IPA that I was drinking on the deck of the Golden Saloon. I took a bit of creative license when I made this one to show off more of the experience than what you can only see in one direction. I love that Neil Darish, the owner of the hotel and bar, bought a Model T Ford for the lodge, it really makes the place resemble its 100 year old origins. When I bought this Midnight Sun Brewing beer I thought it would be perfect for the Solstice Thirsty Thursday painting, because of the sun logo, and the brewery’s name. What’s in a name anyway? Actually a lot, especially when it is backed up by 23 years of brewing experience. I hope you all have a beautiful Solstice tonight and enjoy the midnight sun. Tonight sunset is at 11:16PM, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop partying! Cheers to the longest day of the year! Grab plenty of beer to last you the whole day.
The original oil painting sold. Limited-edition prints are available at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
“Life is Short, Drink Good Beer.” That’s quality advice printed on my steel pint cup. You might not always get a great beer, but the least you can do is try. This little painting tells a story. For three years now I have been trying to correlate a time to go with my collectors and friends, the Kirkpatricks, to their cabin in Humpy Cove on Resurrection Bay. After totally missing it for two summers in a row I finally nailed down a time when I wouldn’t be in McCarthy, dip-netting, or flying to a wedding somewhere out of State. Alaska summers are nuts, but also a blast. I try to just relax and let the insanity flow around me without letting it disturb my inner peace. This is hard to do when the midnight sun is pulling you to do more and rest less.
Our trip to the cove was amazing! After loading up the boat we stopped right outside Seward’s boat harbor to watch a pod of Humpback whales. We actually saw whales every day on this adventure. Then after arriving to the cove in the fast red boat we hung out on the dock and sipped delicious keg beer from our steel pints, while soaking in the sun. After Taiya the Siberian Husky attacked a porcupine, and had to have a dozen quills pulled out of her paw and snout (could have been much worse), we went for a hike up the hill where the bay vistas were unbelievable. Then Taiya went swimming and I got to play lifeguard, and got an armful of shivering wet husky. Good thing I didn’t spill my beer! I had to be careful around that pooch, because she likes to drink beer, so if I set my pint on the deck, it was likely to get the dog tax.
We went fishing and caught a halibut about the size of a chicken. Maria got one that was so small, we all agreed it was the size of a large keychain. After fishing I sat on the dock and made this painting while the boat took guests back to Seward, and Maria and Colleen went kayaking. Yes, I drank some beer while I painted. Overall a very noteworthy trip! Whales, waterfalls, bluebird skies and three draft beer options made for a very exciting weekend! Resurrection Bay is one of those places in Alaska that is definitely beautiful! I left this painting at the cabin as a gift to our hosts for being so gracious!
The original oil painting sold. Limited-edition prints are available at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
Happy Thirsty Thursday, beer connoisseurs!
A new, “modern” Pilsner is available from our local favorite brewery Midnight Sun Brewing Company — a brew known as Wolf Pack! I think it may be one of the best pilsners available in the city. It’s been my libation of choice lately when I go to Crush Wine Bistro to check on my current art show there, which will be up for the month of October. MSBC is known for brewing bold, big beers, but this one is a bit more on the normal side. Still a very hop forward version of Pilsner, but only 5% ABV, and compared to an IPA, not a hop bomb. More balanced, yet still hop forward. This beer is true to Pilsner style with more hops on the bittering end, and less in the aroma. It drinks like an aggressive Czech, or dry-hopped German Pils. Beers that come to mind when drinking it are Bitburger, Budvar, Pilsner Urquell, and one of my all-time favorite pilsners Berliner Pilsner. So now when I get a hankering for the Euro flavor, but don’t want to travel halfway around the world, I’ll save the airfare and just buy a 12 pack (coming soon) of the Wolf Pack Modern Pilsner.
Midnight Sun has a beer for just about anyone, and if you are a pilsner fan, this is a good example of a not boring version of this classic style. Thanks MSBC for not only making huge beers like Termination Dust (I’m a fan), but making great classic session-able styles as well! You can actually drink this beer at the brewery and still drive home safely.
This original oil painting, and 52 limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
Howdy, Thirsty Thursday beer painting fans! I was hitting a wall with the art history beer parody paintings, and I was talking it over with my friend, Kara, who I can credit with the brilliant idea I used for the Spotted Cow painting. Her uncle was visiting and had brought over a mix-pack of Alaskan Brewing beers. These are not the most sought-after beers, but are often the most consumed ones in Alaska, kind of like Yuengling in Philly. They are popular across the Pacific Northwest as well. I have some of my fondest memories sitting on the beach at Point Woronzof sipping an Alaskan Amber. Kara told me to paint a polar bear from the Coca Cola commercials drinking an Alaskan White, because it has a polar bear on the label. I thought that this was a great idea and here it is. Alaskan White wit-style ale is a very popular Alaskan Brewing offering, and was one of the first paintings snapped up from the original 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall painting show I did back in 2011. I hope you find this as humorous as I do, because I intend to extrapolate on this series. Cheers! I hope you are enjoying your Alaskan summer as much as I am!
This original oil painting, and 99 limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
Not often does a visual artist get to brew a beer in a commercial brewery. I was lucky enough to get to do just that! When my home-brewing buddy Chris Hilliard became the Chef for the Loft at Midnight Sun Brewing Company he told me he was going to see what he could do to get into the brewery and brew a beer. I told him that was a dream of mine as well and that I would like to join him. Another dream of mine was to do the artwork for a beer label. Many people have asked me which beer labels I have designed, and I have had to say the only beer labels I am responsible for are my home-brew labels, which I normally get rushed on as fewer than fifty bottles of beer hardly warrant much of my time. Home-brew is gone before anyone really takes the time to look at the label. Nor does it qualify as a commercial beer label. Chris went to bat for me and not only got me into the brewery to brew a beer with him on the big brew kettle at MSBC, but he also got the marketing crew to let me make a painting that would be the label design. The beer, which is called Feast, due to the recipe being created by Chef Chris, is a traditional German dopplebock aged in whiskey barrels. It is not a small beer, being around 7.0-7.5% ABV. Dopplebock has been referred to as liquid bread, which brings to mind monks drinking beer during Lenten fasts. We discussed all kinds of names and different images I could use for the label, but the marketing team decided to go with Feast, and I thought that it would be cool to put a bunch of Alaskan animals all around a big table at a huge feast. The animals represent the MSBC staff members as well as some of the regulars at the Loft (I like to think of myself as the mountain goat). I included images of the food you can eat at the Loft as well, in homage to Chris’ culinary skills. All in all, this label took me way longer than I thought it would, but I think it turned out better than I had hoped. The images in this post are of the original painting without any textual graphics, and the mock up of the label, which is subject to change due to the fact that it has not been fully approved by the marketing staff. I hope this will be the first of many label designs. I do love working with breweries. Cheers to the Feast! Act like a monk and drink your meal! The tentative release date is in April.
The original oil painting will be up for auction at the Loft when the beer is released. I am releasing 52 limited-edition fine art prints of this painting, which are available for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
About a month ago I stumbled on a photo online that caught my eye because of its striking colors, and the combination of blues, reds and yellows inspired me to create a painting using those colors. I researched other images online with similar colors, and then created a couple basic sketches of different compositions.
Then I painted a small study of each sketch to see what each one would look like as a painting. These are only 12″x6″.
I decided for now to continue working on the composition of the Anchorage skyline, and painted a larger study of it that is 24″x12″. I haven’t decided yet whether I’m going to paint a larger version of the Sleeping Lady composition. I’ll wait and see what feedback I get about it.
Finally, I was ready to start working on the large support, which is 5 feet x 2.5 feet. I spent about five hours a day for three days working on the final painting. I wanted this to be dry for my upcoming art show at Midnight Sun Brewing on January 2nd, so I came into the studio on Christmas Eve to finish the painting. Here is the gradual progression.
Right now this painting is drying in my studio, and will be on display, and available for sale, at Midnight Sun Brewing from January 2nd – February 4th.
Lightly snowing here in Anchorage, Alaska today on Christmas Eve. Beautiful, but cold. This week’s beer painting honors David Crewdson, a volunteer beer expert, who occasionally runs the Midnight Sun Brewing brewery tour. He called me one day in the summer of 2013, and said he had a dynamite idea that he would only tell me in person, and invited me on a brewery tour. I was in McCarthy when he called me, and since I was already planning to head back to Anchorage anyway, and MSBC is one of my favorite hang out spots, I told him I’d be there. After the tour, which I have done about six times at MSBC and countless times at other breweries, Crewdson presented his idea. He said simply with his arms waving excitedly, “Here’s the idea… Paint mountains in the beer foam, and call it Toast to Our Mountains!” I thought it was brilliant, and he said he didn’t want anything in return, because what good is a great idea if you can’t implement it yourself? So I put the concept to the test, making five original oil paintings that all varied, but all had at least one pint with foamy mountains, or the Anchorage skyline. I sold the last one just a few weeks ago. So I felt it would make a great Thirsty Thursday entry and painted a sixth Toast to our Mountains painting. The mountains in the background are the Chugach Mountains, which tower over Anchorage, and the one in the pint is Denali, the tallest mountain in North America, which I can see from my studio on sunny days, even though it’s 133 miles from Anchorage as the crow flies.
So I propose a Toast to our Mountains, and to David Crewdson — a man of honor, and integrity, with a fine mind!
P.S. I noticed that this year has 53 Thursdays, so stay tuned next week for a bonus, and last, Thirsty Thursday beer painting of 2015!
The original painting, and limited edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop.
Holy Grail of beer? Dom Perignon? Tom Dalldorf is a bit on the dramatic side when describing this unique Belgian Double IPA by Anchorage Brewing Company. He wrote the verbiage on the bottle. Don’t get me wrong, I dig the beer. It’s great, and I don’t doubt the 96 rating on Beer Advocate. Actually, I think it deserves a higher score, but calling it the Holy Grail may be a bit of a hyperbole. This beer is unique, and not what you would expect from a regular 9% IPA. First off, it has Brettanomyces added, and second, it was aged in Chardonnay barrels, imparting a unique flavor that very few breweries come close to. There is a reason it is 10 bucks, or more for a bottle of this caliber. It takes extra effort, and triple fermentation to brew something this special. I can totally see an aging monk thinking about this beer continually, going to the cold storage room to check on the barrel, just making sure it is safe. Why is this monk so bitter? 100 IBUs from Citra and Apollo hops would cause many people to make the bitter beer face, but not as bitter as if you were chaste as well. Imagine a lifetime of chastity, at least certain monks can enjoy the fermented juice of the barley. Think of the cold storage room and the entry by the special abbey key leading to a very special place where warmth is only provided by consuming the brew within. Don’t be bitter, give this brew a try. Its unique, delicious flavor will have you wishing you bought a case!
The original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop.