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.
This original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are available at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
I was thinking how much I love Wassily Kandinsky’s work, and so I decided to revisit the beer parodies of famous paintings once again. I might make a few more of these since I liked doing it so much. I put an icon of current artistic design in this painting too, the Teku glass. Teku is a combination of names Teo and Kuaska. Teo Musso from the Italian Baladin Brewery wanted a glass that was universally perfect to consume many styles of beer. He worked with sensory specialist Kuaska to create this shape glass which has been very well received internationally and is used in many upscale pubs, brewery tasting rooms, and beer specific bars. I find it to be awesome due to the reverse taper. It concentrates the aroma, and makes one savor the beer more as it seems to make the beer last longer when compared to a traditional pint glass. Plus it looks cool! I really enjoyed making this painting, because it was so fun to work with abstract forms, colors and shapes. I like channelling Kandinsky for beer art as he was a Russian who lived most of his life in Germany, working as a professor at the Bauhaus for 20 years. I wonder how much beer Wassily enjoyed, if any, while educating the most avant-garde design students. Sometimes art history leaves out the most pertinent information about an artist. Cheers to good design and keeping things on the cutting edge of artistic endeavors!
The original oil painting sold. Limited-edition prints are available at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
I painted this week’s Thirsty Thursday beer painting in response to the recent heat that Midnight Sun Brewing Company has received over the name and label design of Belgian Tripel called the Panty Peeler. I remember first tasting the Panty Peeler at the original facility on Arctic Blvd in 2003 when the beer was called Épluche-Cullote, French for Panty Peeler. In 2008 the name changed to Panty Peeler, because Americans were confused by the French name. This beer is now available on draft at the Loft at Midnight Sun Brewing, in 22-oz bottles, and in cans. Midnight Sun has won awards for this beer, the latest being a silver medal in the Can Can Awards in the Belgian style ale category.
So, the beer is sexy, the design on the can is sexy. Everyone knows sex sells. But is it sexist, and does it promote “rape culture”, as some critics have recently claimed? I think not. The term “Panty Peeler” is a bit ambiguous. The Urban Dictionary defines it as, “something said, or done that is almost sure to get a chick to sleep with you. A candlelit dinner with rose petals could be a huge panty-peeler.” This does not have anything to do with rape. Promiscuous? Yes… Criminal? Absolutely not! Courtship is part of sex and is completely natural. People who are looking for sexism and rape in anything and anywhere are in denial that women can choose to have sex. Consensual sex does not mean rape. Women enjoy sex too. Everyone knows that alcohol is an aphrodisiac. In my mind a delicious Belgian Tripel is aptly named Panty Peeler. Shame on you, prudish party poopers, for taking an innocent, whimsical product and linking it to a heinous crime. I stand behind one of my favorite breweries, and the wonderful people who run it. It would be sexist not to.
This original oil painting, and 52 limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
~ by Maria Benner
One of the most unique, personal and unexpected gifts is a commissioned oil painting. So we get to learn a lot of personal information about complete strangers, such as their hobbies, their past travels, their pets, family, etc. Most commissions are ordered online from far away places, so we rarely get to meet the customer, or the person/people that the paintings are for, but we end up knowing a lot about them. People send us photos of their babies, dogs, and other things that they love. Sometimes we end up exchanging over 20 e-mails back and forth, talking about their lives, and how to incorporate the most important things tastefully into one painting. The best part is being in on the secret. One customer was working out the details for a painting for her father who owns a store in Anchorage. Scott had to coordinate with her a time when her dad wouldn’t be there so he could stop by and take photos of the store front. She had to be sneaky, because she couldn’t just ask her dad when he would be gone from the store, without raising suspicions. And when someone orders a custom beer painting, the customers have to scheme to find out what the gift recipients’ favorite beer is, and we give them suggestions for what questions to ask. We love being in on these secrets, and learning about people’s lives, because that is such a personal part of our business. Making that connection with customers makes the paintings that much more special.
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.
This week’s Thirsty Thursday painting is a parody of Gustav Klimt’s world-famous painting The Kiss. I have always been drawn to the work of Klimt, but I had problems emulating it before. He used a large amount of gold paint, which I was forbidden to use in college classrooms until I went to UAA, where it was encouraged. Now I use gold paint in every painting as an under-layer, and you can see it when light hits my paintings at a certain angle.
Klimt painted The Kiss between 1908-1909, during the height of what art history calls his “Golden” period. Austrian, Klimt painted in an Art Nouveau style and was considered a Symbolist. The Kiss is considered his most popular painting, and is now on display in Vienna at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere museum. It is much larger than my interpretation, which I am dubbing The Sip. Mine is 11 x 14 inches, while the original is 5‘11’’ square. I hope you find this to be humorous and light.
The original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop.