Tag Archives: anchorage artist

Are you Ready to Rondy?!

Let’s Rondy! 36″x18″, oil on panel.

February 15th 1935, 24 years before Alaska was even a state, Anchorage local Vern Johnson started the first ever Anchorage Fur Rendezvous!  Miners and trappers were already in town awakening from the hibernation months of December and January with the hopes of restocking supplies and selling some of their recent harvest.  Only three days long, the original Fur Rondy hosted hockey, basketball, skiing, boxing and children’s sled dog races, and not much else.  

The event has grown over the last 84 years and people have come to expect a grand time during this traditional Alaskan celebration.  I remember Rondys of the past — the festival used to last three whole weeks and we got a day off from school just to enjoy the festivities.  My mom would bundle us all up in our snow gear and we would trudge off to downtown Anchorage to ride the Ferris wheel, eat elephant ears, and watch super cool events.  I remember the party kicking off with the amazing fireworks extravaganza!  Some of my favorite classic events as a kid were the Grand Prix Auto Race, World Championship Sled Dog Races, the blanket toss, snowshoe softball, the amazing Rondy Grand Parade, and one not to be missed — the snow sculptures. 

The festival was shortened from three weeks to ten days in 2008 due to budget constraints.  We don’t have the Grand Prix anymore, but we still race sled dogs down 4th Avenue and slam beers at every base during snowshoe softball.  Another popular event is the Miners and Trappers Ball, with a beard contest and many costumes made from blue tarps, duct tape and Carhartts.  The outhouse races are always a highlight, and of course the new favorite is the Running of the Reindeer.  A bunch of Rondy participants dress in costumes and brave running with a pack of horned reindeer.  I always wonder if the reindeer are infuriated by the hotdog stands lining the street, selling famous reindeer dogs.  Another new tradition is Anchorage Brewing Company’s Rondy Brew. This year it is a delicious NEIPA brewed with 100% Strata hops, which taste like passion fruit!  

Real Art is Better is strategically located in the 4th Avenue Marketplace, across the street from Rondy Headquarters, in the NW corner of the building.  We clean it up and convert it to a small retail space for the weekend.  There is also a craft fair inside the building.  I invite you to stop in and check out my newest work and take in the view of the Rondy Carnival from our amazing Inlet view window.  We’ll be open Saturday and Sunday, 11am – 6pm.  I have several new art cards never before released, and many new paintings.  I bake cookies for the event and there are great snacks to be found at the craft fair.  The studio is a great place to warm up after watching the mushers, or making the trek down the hill to 2nd Avenue to see the snow sculptures.  The blanket toss and fur auction are right across the street in the 3rd Avenue parking lot.  

If you are getting fed up with Alaska style cabin fever, Rondy is the remedy.  This is the biggest social event of the winter!  Celebrate the end of hibernation season and get ready to PARTY!  Dust off those styling furs and show off Anchorage style!

Wear your Rondy pin, or risk jail time!

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.

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.

 

Important Dates for Real Art Is Better this Holiday Season

~ by Maria Benner

For those of you who are considering ordering gifts from Real Art Is Better this holiday season, here are some important dates to keep in mind.

HOLIDAY SALES EVENTS

  1. First Friday Annual Holiday Open Studio Event
    1. What: we will transform our studio into a pop-up shop for the evening. Complimentary refreshments included.  Receive a free 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall poster with every purchase of $20 or higher!  Enter a drawing for a Clendaniel art print of your choice.
    2. When: December 1st, 5:30pm – 7:30pm.
    3. Where: Real Art Is Better Studio. Inside the 4th Avenue Market Place in Suite 4. 333 W 4th Avenue.
  2. Winter Maker’s Market
    1. What: 30 of Alaska’s most talented artists and crafters will set up shop at the Church of Love in beautiful downtown Spenard. Complete your holiday shopping all in one place.
    2. When: December 2nd, 12pm – 5pm.
    3. Where: Church of Love Spenard, 3502 Spenard Rd.

DEADLINE TO COMMISSION OIL PAINTINGS

The last day to order a custom painting is Friday, December 8th if the painting needs to be mailed, and December 14th if you’re picking it up at the studio.

IMPORTANT SHIPPING DEADLINES

When you order from us online, your order will be shipped within one business day.  Here are the last days that your package can be shipped in order for it to arrive by December 25th.

 

 

My Art Show at Crush Wine Bistro

A year and a half ago Maria (my wife and Business Manager) contacted Crush Wine Bistro about the possibility of me having a First Friday art show there.  That’s definitely the longest waiting list we’ve been on for an art show so far.  That gave us a lot of time to think about which paintings to show.  Then, about two months prior to my art show, we found out that Sacks Cafe closed, and that Crush moved into that space.  We went with the flow, and adjusted the number of paintings to hang on the walls, since the space was now totally different.  This is my first time showing at this venue, and so far I’m pleased with the exposure and sales that it has generated.  If you haven’t gone to the new Crush location yet, check it out this week.  My art is coming down on Sunday, October 29th.  You can purchase paintings and prints directly from Crush.  The best part about this venue is that the commission is only 5%!  That’s unheard of in this town.  Normally, it ranges between 20% – 50%.  That’s one reason I like having First Fridays at my studio.  Speaking of which, we’ll be hosting one in November.  Our studio is inside the 4th Avenue Market Place in Suite 4 (333 W. 4th Avenue).  Stop by between 5:30 – 7:30.  We’ll clean up the painting studio and turn it into a pop-up gallery for the evening.

Scott Clendaniel Art Show at Crush Wine Bistro

My newest oil painting of a de Havilland Beaver sold to a new patron in Tacoma, WA.

Scott Clendaniel art show Anchorage

My oil paintings hanging at the new Crush Wine Bistro location.

How a Clendaniel Art Print is Made

~ by Maria Benner

The work beast, a.k.a. our printer.

The work beast, a.k.a. our printer.

When Scott finished the 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall series, we went to a local print shop, and ordered 5-10 prints of 20+ paintings.  We ended up paying nearly $600 upfront, and stored the prints until they sold.  The hefty upfront investment deterred us from ordering more prints, until we had a game-changing idea in 2012 to buy our own printer, and make the prints ourselves on demand.  Epson had relatively affordable printers available, and one we chose, the Epson Stylus Photo R3000, was on sale.  The printer arrived via FedEx, and when we turned it on, it refused to work, because it insisted that the ink cartridges that it came with could not be recognized.  So we mailed that one back, and Epson sent us a replacement, which worked.  Our printer requires nine different cartridges, each one costing $31.99, plus shipping (they are not available in Anchorage).  I usually wait for a coupon code from Epson to arrive in my e-mail box before placing an order, but today I noticed that I was running dangerously low on one color, and ended up paying full price.  Doh!

The first step in making a print is taking a quality photo.  I take several pictures next to the large windows in our studio in the best possible light.  Then I choose the best photo and use Photoshop to adjust levels, brightness, contrast, saturation, etc., trying to match the image to the original painting as much as possible.  Next I connect my laptop to our work beast, the printer, load it with high quality Epson photo paper, and print the image from Photoshop.    Most of the time, the printer is a champ.  Sometimes it bleeds ink, or prints lines on the image, meaning the heads need a cleaning.  So we throw away the rejects and try again.  Then we consult our list of paintings that have been released as limited-edition prints, and find which number comes next, and we write the number at the bottom of the image, like 54/365.  Scott signs each print, and then we package them in plastic sleeves with heavy duty backer board, and a certificate of authenticity.  Then it’s ready to be mailed, or sold in our studio, or at a venue that sells Scott’s art, like Dos Manos, or Midnight Sun Brewing (in January and June).

Our prints come in three standard sizes that fit in store-bought frames.  Some people choose to have them professionally framed, but you can also buy a more affordable frame at many stores.  Unfortunately, the size of our prints is limited by the size of the printer, but maybe someday we can upgrade.  Our printer’s max paper size is 13 inches wide.

The name of our business is Real Art Is Better, because we believe that original art is better than reproductions, but we understand that not everyone can afford the originals.  The other major upside to making prints is that once an original painting sells, we can still keep selling the image, allowing more people to have it, and enjoy it.  Last year prints accounted for about a quarter of our sales.

Putting Together an Art Show

~ by Maria Benner

Last night Scott and I hung an art show at Midnight Sun Brewing, which was a culmination of planning, painting, and getting everything ready for the venue.  We’ve done this many times, so we’re getting pretty efficient at it.  The process begins several months in advance when I book a venue.  Then Scott and I brainstorm about a theme, decide how many new paintings he needs to paint, and what they should look like, and which existing paintings to hang.  About two weeks in advance, I submit event information to the venue, ADN, and the Anchorage Press, and a couple days later, create a FB event, and schedule on my calendar the e-mail blast, and social media posts promoting the art show.  A day before we hang the art, we work for about five hours making prints, framing paintings, pricing everything, creating an inventory sheet, and signage.  Normally we have to wait until the venue is closed to the public to set up.  Midnight Sun Brewing closes at 8 PM.  So we packed everything up and loaded it into our truck from the studio around 7:30 PM, and arrived at the brewery with just enough time to order a beer before last call.  Setting up took about two hours this time.  We always have a great time at MSBC after hours, because the employees have a lot of charisma, and they appreciate Scott’s art.  They get first dibs, because they’re the first ones who get to see all the paintings, and sometimes, someone buys their favorite piece.  Last night the Banksy beer parody sold.  The theme for this art show is Beer Art History, and it features many of the beer parodies of famous paintings that Scott released in 2015 on Thirsty Thursdays.  We are also unveiling the new Pops series, which is several bright oil paintings of poppies in front of Anchorage scenery.

Scott’s art will be at the brewery until February 4th.  We hope you stop by and check it out.  You can take the paintings and prints home with you right away.  Scott will be tapping a firkin on January 8th at 5 PM, since First Friday was on January 1st this year.  Click here for more event info.

Hopefully the firkin will do this again.

Here are some pictures from last night.

We put together this list of things to do to get ready for the art show.

We put together this list of things to do to get ready for the art show.

Art-Show5

Art-Show4

Art-Show3

Art-Show2

Art-Show1

The Evolution of a Painting

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.

Sketch 1

Sketch 1

Sketch 2

Sketch 2

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″.

Small studies.

Small studies.

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.

Larger study of Anchorage skyline composition. 24"x12".

Larger study of Anchorage skyline composition. 24″x12″.

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.

Progress on day 1.

Progress on day 1.

Day 2.

Day 2.

Day 2

Day 2.

Final result.

Final result.

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.

November Art Projects

Winter is officially here with the first snow fall that didn’t melt, but we’re too busy working in the studio to notice the cold and the darkness.  Here is our list of projects for November.

  1. In October we offered a 10% discount on commissioned oil paintings, and as a result, Scott will be working on five pieces.  The largest one is 3ft x 4ft.
  2. This First Friday we are having an art opening at Resolution Brewing in Mountain View.  This is a new venue for us, in a different section of town, and we’re looking forward to seeing how things play out.  Click here for the deets.
  3. Scott recently finished building two large supports for new paintings.  He has interesting concepts for them, but today we found out that a major set-back happened.  The 8ft x 4ft panel warped.  We think this happened, because the wood fibers in the birch panel naturally wanted to twist.  Fighting the natural tendencies of wood is a losing battle, so Scott is going to dismantle the panel, and start all over with new pieces.  That’s a lot of wasted time and money, but we’d rather cut our losses sooner than later, and make a product that’s perfect.  Defects are not acceptable at this level.
  4. We will be hosting art lessons for a Girl Scouts troop in our studio.  They will be working on their collage and comic strip badges.
  5. This year the Maury Pottery sale is not happening for the first time in 30 years, so we’ll be hosting our own Holiday Studio Sale.  Scott will have new paintings and prints for sale.  Stay tuned for details.
  6. Lastly, if we have any extra time, we’re going to update our website with new images.

So that’s what we’ll be doing, in addition to managing the Etsy shop, fulfilling custom stickers orders, and maybe brewing some beer.

Have a great November!

Working on a commissioned painting.

Working on a commissioned painting.

The view from the studio has changed to winter mode.

The view from the studio has changed to winter mode.

Why I paint on wood panels, not on canvas.

When people talk to me about my artwork they often ask what I’ll put on canvas next. Then I get to tell them I prefer not to paint on canvas. I can, have, and will paint on canvas if a client insists. I think the last batch of canvas supports I built was in 2011, and I decided that the paintings come out better the way I have been painting them on panel. I use birch plywood of cabinet grade. Why do I prefer to paint on panels instead of canvas? The first reason is durability. Unlike canvas, a wood panel will not warp, or sag. The painting can be transported with less risk, and the paint is less likely to crack over time. A few months ago a client’s house flooded from a broken pipe and the only artwork that survived was my oil painting. The second reason is the way a wood panel reacts to the ground layers I put down before even thinking about what I will paint. First I put down three coats of a white primer, sanding between each coat. Then a coat of Colonial red, and finally a glaze of gold paint. The gold and red layers show through small gaps I leave in the oil paint so that the painting shimmers when light hits it at certain angles (this is very difficult to capture in a photo). On plywood this creates a smooth surface that paint is easily applied to and easily removed from until it starts to dry. I can simply wipe away if there is a mistake in the work as I go. On canvas this doesn’t work, and the paint layer absorbs into the texture of the canvas and it isn’t as lustrous. So I paint on plywood panels because they produce the best quality images with the best outcome overall.