Today is the first day of snow! This is a very exciting day for most people, and this year it happened on a Monday, making the dreaded first day of the week a bit interesting. We all know the first day of snow is coming, but for some reason most of us choose not to do anything about it. But this morning we quickly realized that we’d have to add some extra chores to our list today if we want to continue with our regular daily tasks, like driving.
Change tires on our vehicles to winter tires. Preferably studded ones, which have the best performance on ice versus the ones that claim to be studd-less winter tires. Some stores, like Costco, stopped carrying studded tires, because they cause so much road damage, but we found a place just a couple blocks from our studio that still sells them, and tomorrow we’re dropping off our truck so it can get brand new studded tires put on it.
Switch to our fat bikes that also have studded tires. We ride bikes to the studio from our condo, because the studio is only 1 mile away, and we have to pay for parking. So today we had to air up the tires on those bad boys, and get them ridable again for the first time since last March.
Put the big brushes that we use to clean the snow off our truck back into the truck. We took them out for the summer to have more space in the back seat.
Pull out winter boots, and put away summer shoes. Same goes for winter jackets, hats, gloves, etc. Good luck finding all that stuff after several months.
We live in a condo, so we don’t have to worry about snow removal, but most people had to clear their driveways on top of all the other snow-related chores.
We still have to wash our summer bikes to make the transition to winter complete. Right now we’re excited for winter, and all the activities we’ll get to do like ice skating, skiing, and fat biking. Ask me again in a few months how I feel about it.
In case you’re looking for some indoor activities now that it’s cold outside, this Friday we’re hosting a First Friday Open Studio event. Stop by and see the newest oil paintings for the first time, enjoy some complimentary refreshments (Scott always bakes fresh cookies), and meet the artist if you haven’t already. Click here to see the event on Facebook. If you’re not on FB, here are the deets: November 2nd, 5 – 7:30pm, Suite 4 inside the 4th Avenue Market Place on 333 W 4th Avenue.
One of the newest oil paintings never seen by anyone in person yet, except the artist and his Business Manager. 36″x18″, oil on panel.
Which bike is the coolest, most drool-worthy, Alaska-designed, full carbon fat bike? Anybody in the cycling community will tell you it is a Fatback Corvus. Perfectly designed for Alaskan expeditions by Greg Matyas, owner of Speedway Cycles, this fat bike is getting rave reviews all over the country.
Basically this is the lightest, strongest, and best fat bike you can buy! It is such a great bike that Gabe Fletcher of Anchorage Brewing Company made a beer in honor of it — the Corvus Imperial IPA. This NE DIPA is no joke at 8.4% ABV and teeming with Mosaic hops. Getting a beer made by Gabe is an honor and you know that the Corvus is the real deal.
Corvus refers to a crow, or a raven in Latin. The label of the beer has a crow with a crow skull, so I decided to paint one in the composition, grabbing hold of the grips of this bad boy.
Cheers to bikes and beers, and two guys who make great examples of both, Gabe and Greg. I hope you get to ride and drink beers for a really long time!
Today is the first day of March, which begins my favorite stage of Alaskan winter — early Spring. We’re still in winter mode, but we get extra daylight, and with a bit of luck the snow is in perfect condition to get outside and play. Here in Anchorage we have a big festival known as Fur Rendezvous. Dating back a bit longer than 80 years (originating in 1935), local Alaskans (miners and trappers) traditionally met up for a huge fur auction and a bit of fun. Today we still don our furs (or fur like garments) as it is still cold outside, only 2 degrees above zero this morning. The fur auction is still on, but there are so many great events and traditions that it’s hard to name them all. Maria always buys a Rondy pin, but my favorite tradition is to buy a Rondy Brew from Anchorage Brewing Co. This year available in pint-size cans and served up in a four pack as well as on draft around town. I am impressed with this year’s recipe, a nice IPA at 6.4% with 55 IBUs. Brewed with Mosaic (one of my favorite aroma hops) and Idaho 7, which is new to me, but seems to be just right for drinking while watching the fireworks display. Maybe don’t have more than one before getting on the Tilt-a-Whirl at the annual Rondy Carnival. Best save that for afterwards! This weekend is the end of the festival, and also the beginning of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. The ceremonial start is this Saturday in Anchorage on 4th Avenue, right in front of our studio building. If you are in Anchorage, stop by the Real Art is Better headquarters (333 W. 4th Ave, Suite #4) this Saturday, March 3 for some fresh baked cookies, or to warm up. We’ll be open 10 – 5pm.Running of the Reindeer, another epic Rondy event is to be held at 4pm. Don’t delay getting your Rondy-Brew on, as this is a once a year beer, and next year will be changed. Who knows? Gabe Fletcher may make a sour lemongrass saison again (also very good, but decidedly different).
Cheers to Rondy — a great festival, and to Rondy Brew — a great beer!
Have you ever wanted to just “Hop on a Plane”? This pilot is a hop head, and I painted him flying over Denali. Good thing he’s flying a Super Cub, because those planes are considered the best bush planes. Owners of these planes make upgrades called mods. Lots of mods means lots of STOL, or short take off and landing. A good plane is like a good IPA, you have to have lots of late additions of good stuff. This pilot is thinking about getting back to Talkeetna to grab a Twister Creek IPA, or even better, a Big Dipa DIPA — both good dry-hopped brews from Denali Brewing Co. The more hops for this hop head the better. Maybe after this remarkable flight he will be on his way to F Street Station, a pilot themed bar in Anchorage. F Street is a great place to grab a Morning Wood IPA from Kassik’s Brewery. I know plenty of pilots who love hoppy beer, and I love witty puns, so here is my most recent painting Hop on a Plane.
Cheers to the Alaskan in all of us! Get out and get hoppy!
The beer painting of the day is Twister Creek India Pale Ale from Denali Brewing Company in Talkeetna, Alaska! Here’s a beer from my home state that I am proud to call an Alaska IPA. Fresh, floral, 6.5% ABV, so it’s not too strong, and the hops are all aroma, not bitter. When they brew this batch they must dry hop the crud out of this particular brew, and as a result, it tastes so fruity and fresh! I will be mailing out a sampling of this one to my buddy in PA, and one to my cousin in CA. This brewery is serious about beer and just built a beautiful new facility in Talkeetna. I’m glad, we need our craft brewers to be successful, or we won’t have good AK beer to consume here in the Last Frontier! Last week I was beer tripping to Fairbanks, and on the way back home I nabbed this shot of Denali.
To Denali Brewing Company — a fabulous brewery from a fabulous town! You go Talkeetna! You just get cooler as you gain infrastructure! What could be better than a great IPA and a great view?
The original painting sold. You can purchase a limited-edition print at myEtsy Shop.