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.
Bear Creek Winery at Hogwarts. 11″x14″, oil on panel.
Works of Love by Hill Farmstead Brewery. 11″x14″, oil on panel.
Custom Airplane Painting. 8″x10″, oil on panel.
Westvleteren 12. 9″x18″, oil on panel.
North 47 Brewing Co. 11″x14″, oil on panel.
Black Tuesday Reserve by The Bruery. 8″x10″, oil on panel.
Mythos beer pictured in Imerovigli, Santorini, Greece. 11″x14″, oil on panel.
It’s that time of year when people go nuts, wear strange clothing, dress their dogs as goldfish and hit the streets to beg for candy while threatening to vandalize their neighbor’s property. Also known as Halloween. I chose Russian River Brewing’s Damnation Ale for this week’s beer painting release for obvious reasons. Damnation is a damn good version of a Belgian golden strong ale. Rocking in at 7.75% ABV, it is aptly named. I know many barleywines are much stronger, but you can easily taste the booze in them. This beer will get you when you don’t realize it, good thing it comes in a 375 ml bottle. This is pretty much a great example of the style. With esters of fruit and pear and peppery overtones, Damnation is a poster child for Belgian golden strong ale. Yet it is made right here in the USA. Sadly, I am completely out of my Russian River stash of bottles that we brought back from our trip to CA two summers ago. I was just thinking it’s time for another trip there. I painted a wildfire in the background of this painting as that is the closest thing to hell I can think of. I give solid respect to all of our forest firefighters, you are doing one hell of a job. I can’t think of a more physical and mentally challenging career.
Cheers to the Damnation, one damn good brew! Great job, Russian River Brewing, you are one of the best breweries out there!
Let’s take it EZ today with a bottle of Session EZ IPA by Full Sail Brewing Co. in beautiful Hood River, Oregon. I painted the Hood River-White Salmon Bridge, with Mt. Hood in this composition to put a local spin on this painting. Brewed with Citra, Equinox, and Cascade hops, this unfiltered 4.8% ABV brew is just the ticket to avoid the afternoon brew coma. A lazy day in the sun sipping IPA all day can lead to an early evening, unless you stick to low ABV sessionable versions of this highly hopped American style of beer. IPA normally brings the buzz right to your brain, but when it has a lower ABV, it reminds me of a supped up version of light beer. The taste is right, and the body is there thanks to the unfiltered process, but it just doesn’t goat-kick you to the head. DIPA and imperial IPA still have their place, but if you want more than one or two, EZ IPA is your go to! Have the conversation last a bit longer and the afternoon extend ’til twilight with this beverage. Way to go Full Sail, you did it again!
I won’t be releasing new beer paintings for five weeks, because we’ll be traveling in Russia and Europe, and we’re not bringing oil paint, or a laptop. But we will be sampling local beers whenever we find notable breweries and pubs, and we’ll post about our adventures on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds.
Lucybelle from Sante Adairius Rustic Ales is a wonderful brew that is worth the effort to find. I was lucky enough to get a bottle in the mail from a patron who commissioned an oil painting of his wedding day in Monterey Bay, and wanted this beer in the painting. It might be easier to stay at home and drink your generic regular beer, but a trip to the coast is always worth the money, the effort, and the time. Looking west over the Pacific Ocean, a beautiful sunset on a perfect beach. A crisp, delicate, dry ale served in a classy tulip glass making the perfect accompaniment to the departure of the sun. A trip to find Sante Adairius beer is definitely rewarding. With a tasting room at the brewery in Capitola and a great pub in Santa Cruz, the destination is worth the trip, not to mention the delicious ales you’ll taste when you get there! Lucybelle is a great Saison, not that bubblegum sweet beverage some breweries call a Saison. This is a real, crisp, slightly sour, and refreshing version with a lower ABV so you can remember the night, and be ready for some late night fun!
Cheers to the California beaches, and beers like Lucybelle, a real Saison brewed the old fashioned way!
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!
Feeling lucky tonight? For this week’s Thirsty Thursday beer painting I decided to paint a vintage beer I grew up loving. This was the first beer I ever drank. Lucky Lager is not only a pretty tasty beverage, similar to beers nearly twice as expensive, but also has this vibe to it making me think, “If I drink this elixir I could win at gambling, I can dance better, or I might even get lucky tonight… If I play my cards right”.
General Brewing from San Francisco started brewing this American adjunct lager in 1934 with the intent to make a beer as well as the Germans on a large scale. Becoming the second most popular beer in America off and on during the 50’s and 60’s, its popularity dropped off in the seventies and the product name was sold to Labatt Brewing and Pabst, and is still sold today in parts of Canada. I’m hoping to find some when I go there next year. Although this is not a craft beer, I always thought it was very refreshing, and I loved the aesthetic of the label. This verbiage on the can sold me on the contents when I was young and impressionable, “This Traditional Lager Beer owes its distinctive character to the finest quality ingredients and purest brewing water. In addition, long aging in ice cold cellars makes Lucky a true Lager beer and is the reason Lucky has been a favorite since 1934.”
I hope you have fond memories of Lucky Lager like I do. Raise your cans, stubbies, or 40s high, and make a toast, “Cheers to getting Lucky!”
I remember when Red Chair NWPA came in a 22 oz bomber, and was dubbed an IPA. I loved the graphics on the bottle! Since I’m a skier, I bought a bunch of these and included this beer in the original 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall painting series. I revisited the production version rebranded NWPA for North West Pale Ale as my 13th Thirsty Thursday beer painting, pictured at Arctic Valley Ski Area up here in Anchorage, Alaska, since we have two beautiful Riblet red chairs nearly exactly as pictured on the NWPA label. A month ago we were cruising around Oregon and Maria and I hit up Mt. Bachelor to ride the “real” red chair that inspired this delicious ale. The original double chair was installed in 1964, and upgraded to a triple chair in 1981. Unlike the cushy modern quad chairs, this one comes at you fast and hot, and you better be ready for it, or it will knock you right down on your face! During our lunch break on the mountain I ordered a pint of… you guessed it… Red Chair NWPA. Maria and I shared a burrito that was larger than my head! Sure tasted great with the NWPA! The next day I went to Deschutes Brewery in downtown Bend and bought this growler, because it’s so cool, and I thought it would look good on the vintage chair in a beer painting. The Deschutes pub glass looks right at home riding the chair as well (how else do you think they get beer up the mountain?).
Cheers to riding the cool red chair! Raise your NWPA high to keeping the traditions alive! May your ski day be epic, and your Après ski be well-earned!