This week’s beer-themed painting is of my homebrewed Saison chillin’ in the snow on top of Flattop Mountain. After a vigorous hike to the summit we drank the beer while enjoying the view and then had a good time sliding down the snow on our way down. I chose to paint homebrew this week because May 7th is the day that National Homebrew Day was announced before Congress in 1988. Last Saturday the Great Northern Brewers Club put on an event known as Brew-a-thon where home brewers of Anchorage showed up to brew together. It is a national event that kicks off with a nationwide toast at noon CDT, 9AM here in Anchorage! I teamed up with newly retired Rick Levinson to brew a California Common Beer (like Anchor Steam Beer) we are calling the Steamy Retirement. I have been home-brewing for ages and consistently putting out homebrews for ten years now, but I recently upgraded my system from a less than five-gallon setup, to a ten-plus-gallon, all-grain, two-kettle brewery. I enjoy every aspect of the brewing process, except for cleaning fermenters, which is the most boring, although extremely important part of the job. In brewing, cleanliness is next to godliness! I have filled every fermenter I own with beer from the new system. Cheers to Arctic Brewing Supply for having every piece of gear a home-brewer could ever need, and all the ingredients to make world-class beer! I hope your homebrew tastes fresher and more delicious than any commercial beer! If you brew with the GNBC, you are on your way!
This week’s beer-themed painting was inspired by Henri Matisse (1869-1954). He is credited with many famous works and is known for his color and unique fluid draftsmanship. I have always been a fan of his work, mostly because of its rich color. I was lucky enough to see a version of The Dance, the piece that inspired this painting, on display at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. There are two of these in existence, one in Russia and one in NYC at the MoMA. Even though this painting is ridiculously simple, it has a flow and movement that makes is as important to view as any of the extremely detailed classical and Baroque pieces that are prevalent on the lower levels of the Hermitage Museum. This painting was done between 1909-1910, and is probably Matisse’s most famous one, aside from his portrait of his wife, the lady with the green stripe down her nose.
Matisse developed his style over a period of many years. Although he started out studying law, he fell in love with painting in his 20s, much to his father’s, a wealthy grain merchant, disapproval. Matisse is considered a leader of the Fauvist movement, a group of painters working in the 1920s that was dramatically influenced by color and painted in a way considered to be Neo-Impressionism. I have to say that, although the paintings are simple, the striking balance between color and form makes for impressive compositions that evoke thoughts and may require longer contemplation.
I put a pint in the middle of this painting to alter the composition, making the figures appear pixie-sized, or the pint keg-sized (your call), as well as creating a central focal point. Either way I feel it makes for a delightful play on beer and art, evoking a feeling of lightheartedness and celebration. I enjoyed looking at the color combination of this master’s work when I was executing the piece. I hope you enjoy looking at this delightfully simple piece, and that you savor a pint while doing so! I call this piece, The Dance Around a Pint.