Every year during the holidays I get a surge of requests for commissioned paintings by customers who are very thoughtful gift givers. Arguably, a custom oil painting is one of the most unique, personal, and thoughtful gifts one can receive. My favorite part about working with people on commissions is hearing the stories behind each painting concept. This year I didn’t get as many commissions as in previous years, because after the earthquake on November 30th people had other things on their minds like cleaning up trashed homes, broken glass, and fixing cracks. Earth picked a bad time to shake us all up, and I think many retailers and artists felt the economic impact of decreased sales during that time. Nevertheless, I completed seven paintings in time for Christmas, and they were all gratefully accepted by their recipients. Now that they are no longer surprises, I can show them to you. Click on each one to see it in more detail. All paintings are framed in a natural wood frame, with hanging hardware installed. The turnaround time is 2-3 weeks. You can order a custom oil painting at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter, or by contacting me at info [at] realartisbetter [dot] com.
~ by Maria Benner
On the last day of the year, we always reflect on our accomplishments and struggles, close calls, notable events, and lessons learned. We also set one big goal, because one goal sounds much more doable than many little ones.
So, our top three accomplishments and notable events for 2018 were (drumroll please):
- Trip to Lake Baikal, Kamchatka Peninsula, and Germany.
- Publishing our first book How to Draw Alaska Baby Animals: 49 Lessons from the 49th State
- Our second 1% for Arts project at Gladys Wood Elementary School in Anchorage, Alaska.
For 2019 our one big goal is to pivot from beer-centric art to outdoor sports themed art such as alpine skiing and fat biking. Although the beer niche is very fun and profitable, and Scott will continue making beer paintings, he also wants to focus on outdoor scenery that promotes a healthy life style and a sense of adventure.
A couple smaller goals are to publish a second book (this one will be a beer-themed coloring book for adults), and to apply for international artist residency programs.
A non-work goal is to build a sauna on our property in McCarthy!
Cheers to 2019!
“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!
~ by Maria Benner
We are looking for people who have big empty walls. If that’s you, or if you know someone who fits that description, let us know. We can help them fill that space with large oil paintings by Alaskan artist Scott Clendaniel. Art for your office space is tax deductible!
Here are four large oil paintings currently available. The edges are finished with oak, so they are already framed, and ready to hang. Shipping cost will depend on location.
1. Susitna Pops. Oil on panel, 5ft x 2.5ft, 2016. Click here to purchase, or contact us to view this painting in person at our studio.
2. Bluebird Day at Alyeska. Oil on panel, 5ft x 2.5ft, 2017. Click here to purchase, or contact us to view this painting in person at our studio.
3. Athena’s Owl. Oil on panel, 8ft x 4ft, 2015. Click here to purchase, or contact us to view this painting in person at our studio.
4. Birch on Birch. Oil on birch panel, 4ft x 5ft, 2018. Contact us to view this painting in person at our studio.
Thirsty Thursday is here again, and this week I painted this comical painting inspired by the late great Alaskan artist Fred Machetanz’s painting End of the Hunt. It seemed fitting considering that Monday was National Homebrew Day. The polar ice is melting and this polar bear is not helping the problem by brewing and making a bunch of steam, causing a colossal meltdown. This bruin might be floating out to sea on an iceberg, but the good news is that he will have plenty of beer assuming his wort ferments correctly despite the cold weather. This must be an iced lager, I am imagining an eisbock. This painting also references my local homebrew shop Arctic Brewing Supply. The Logo for ABS is a polar bear stirring a big kettle. The name of this piece is Bruin Brewing. The fun just doesn’t stop around here at the Real Art is Better painting studio. Cheers to this Arctic Bruin! I hope the ice holds out until his lager is done fermenting, it would be a shame if this guy’s wort were to slip into the Arctic Ocean!
This original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are available at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
~ by Maria Benner
There are few gifts more unique and personal than a commissioned oil painting. If you’re considering giving one as a gift this holiday season, but don’t know how to commission a painting, here’s a step-by-step guide.
Step 1. Decide on the subject matter for the painting: a place, person, or thing (or all of the above).
Step 2. Contact us at least two weeks before you need the painting. During busy times, like the holiday season, the earlier you place the order, the better. Now is actually a great time. We will need to know the size, and when you need the painting. Then we’ll send you a price quote.
Step 3. Send us photos. The more, the better. Don’t be shy. You can either e-mail them to us, or stop by the studio to discuss the concept in person.
Step 4. Scott will create sketches of different options, or just one sketch (if the concept is straight forward), and send it to you for approval. This is the time to make changes, and dial in the painting concept.
Step 5. After the sketch is good to go, Scott will start painting. When the painting is done, he’ll send you a photo. Then you’ll have a very short window to make any small, last-minute tweaks, if necessary, before the paint dries.
Step 6. The oil paint will take about 10 days to dry. Then Scott will coat it with a clear protective varnish, and frame it. Then you can pick it up, or we can mail it to you, or to the recipient.
Another option is to give someone the experience of commissioning a painting, by giving them a Gift Certificate.
Here are a few examples of recent commissions.