Tag Archives: real art is better

Shipping to and from Alaska is cheaper and faster than you may expect!

~ by Maria Benner

One of the biggest misconceptions we Alaskans deal with on a regular basis is that mailing things to and from Alaska is unreasonably expensive, and takes a long time.  Some businesses assume that only FedEx and UPS ship to Alaska.  We often get almost to the end of a checkout process on a website only to find out that shipping to Alaska (and Hawaii) is not available, or costs more than the item(s) in the shopping cart.  The struggle is very real, and completely unnecessary, because we know for a fact that USPS can deliver to and from Alaska at affordable rates.

Our business, Real Art Is Better, relies heavily on USPS Priority and First Class Mail to send online orders all over the world.  The cost to mail one print domestically is only $7.95, and an original oil painting that is 11″x14″ can be delivered as far as Vermont for under $15.  The shipping time is only 3-5 days.  Often on Monday mornings, we receive reviews from Etsy customers about art that we mailed on Friday afternoon!  So don’t hesitate ordering from our Etsy shop, even though we are in Anchorage, because the USPS somehow manages to deliver orders surprisingly quickly, and affordably.  The last day for orders to be shipped in time for Christmas is December 20 for USPS First Class and Priority Mail, and December 21 for Priority Mail Express.

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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.

 

 

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #106. Bleeding Heart Brewery Beet IPA.

Happy Autumn Equinox Ladies and Gentlemen!  

Well, Equinox isn’t until tomorrow at 1:02PM PST, so I am celebrating a bit early.  Why celebrate the end of summer?  I guess I am just feeling lucky to have survived the summer craze.  Now I have made it to the “chill” time of year when everyone goes home at 9PM and the beer lines are manageable.

I decided to start doing Thirsty Thursday beer painting releases again.  So follow along every week to see a new beer-themed painting and blog post.

I made this beer painting to honor Bleeding Heart Brewery’s flagship beer — the Beet IPA.  That’s right, this is not a Rosé wine, this is an IPA brewed with water, malt, hops, BEETS, and yeast.  I know, I thought it was very strange at first, and that’s why I had to order it.  The beets add an earthy and slightly sweet flavor to the hoppy brew.  Now I order this beer every time.  I have visited this Palmer, Alaska brewery three times and it makes me wish I lived in Palmer.  The irony of this brewery is the brewers are using a system not much larger than my home brewery, and yet, they seem to make enough product to stay in business and to sell commercially.  Often times brewing a batch twice to fill one of their tiny fermenters.  The price is a bit steep for a new start up brewery, but I have yet to try a brew from these artisanal brewing artists that wasn’t worth the $6 – $10 per 12 oz serving.  I love the farm setting, and the avant-garde beers are cutting edge.  This is a true farmhouse brewery complete with chickens and cows.  The beer garden is as fun to drink beer in as any I have ever visited.  Often there’s a food truck offering delicious grub that pairs perfectly with the brew.  If you are an Alaskan, or traveling in Alaska, and you don’t make a pilgrimage to Bleeding Heart, conveniently located behind the Alaska State Fairgrounds, you are making a big mistake.

Cheers to Bleeding Heart, a brewery that will “make it” from sheer tenacity, with great products, a wonderful setting, and fabulous personality.  A hidden gem waiting to explode.  I would invest now if I were you!  This brewery is a solid addition to the craft beer community of Alaska. 

The original oil painting sold, but 52 limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #106. Beet IPA by Bleeding Heart Brewery in Palmer, Alaska. By Scott Clendaniel. 8"x10", oil on panel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #106. Beet IPA by Bleeding Heart Brewery in Palmer, Alaska. By Scott Clendaniel. 8″x10″, oil on panel.

Incarnation IPA by 4 Hands Brewing Company

When Sam, Jerry and I were road tripping across the USA, on the way to Sam’s son’s wedding, we stopped briefly at an amazing beer store in St. Louis, MO.  I loaded up with a case of unique beers including a six-pack of Incarnation IPA by 4 Hands Brewing Co.  This beer was fresh and loaded with Mosaic hop goodness!  I had a hard time keeping one for Maria to try, but I was successful in getting it home to Alaska despite its delicious nature.  Since the beer is dry hopped with Mosaic, I made a hop mosaic for the  backdrop of this composition.  There are about three types of hops I like the most for a great IPA: Mosaic, Simcoe, and Citra.  I think that if you have one, or a combination of the three you have a recipe for success!  Incarnation IPA is not the only great beer from St. Louis.  The town is known for beer (ahem, Budweiser).  I feel lucky to have gotten to sample some great St. Louis offerings despite the fact that I am in a completely different distribution zone.  Cheers to the Incarnation IPA, may your beer be enlightening!    

This original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Incarnation IPA by 4 Hands Brewing Co.  Oil painting by Scott Clendaniel. 8"x10", oil on panel.

Incarnation IPA by 4 Hands Brewing Co. Oil painting by Scott Clendaniel. 8″x10″, oil on panel.

 

2×4 DIPA by Melvin Brewing Co.

2×4 is a great DIPA that will knock your hat in the creek with a 2×4.  I’m glad Melvin Brewing canned this strong beer.  Easier to pack on adventures that way, and more bang for your buck!  It has so much hop bitterness and floral aroma, you’ll feel more manly after drinking it.  There’s even National 2×4 Day, which I missed, because I didn’t know about it, but apparently it happened on 2.4.2017.  Oh well, next year.  I see that one bar in Alaska is supposed to have this beer on 2×4 Day, Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse, of course.  Better put it on my calendar.  This beer from Wyoming is one I was lucky enough to try when I drove across the country last fall with my buddy Sam.  We bought beer from four different distribution areas, and Melvin was one I was lucky enough to procure while stopping briefly in Colorado.  Brewed near Jackson Hole, this beer is making me feel like I want to plan a ski trip to Wyoming!  Maybe I will head there next year!  Cheers to strong bold DIPAs, this one is tremendous!

This original oil painting, and 24 limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

2x4 DIPA by Melvin Brewing Co. Oil painting by Scott Clendaniel. 8"x10", oil on panel.

2×4 DIPA by Melvin Brewing Co. Oil painting by Scott Clendaniel. 8″x10″, oil on panel.

Down to Earth Session IPA by 21st Amendment Brewery

What happens when you send a reluctant chimp into space and then let him return to Earth?  The answer is one happy monkey chillin’ at the beach sipping on session-able IPAs.  21st Amendment Brewery has been making a great session ale for years, but when I stepped into its San Francisco pub and saw that the Bitter American has returned to Earth, I couldn’t believe my eyes, nor the delicious taste on my tongue.  I have a love for simians of all kinds: apes, monkeys, chimps.  There is something primal about watching the animal that we are most closely related to.  I feel that humans often reject the instincts that our tree-swinging cousins embody.  The simple joys in life are what makes life worth living.  Having a cold brew, or three on the beach is one of those things that I simply do not want to skip.  A nice cool dip in the Pacific Ocean followed by a refreshing sip brings you Down to Earth in a way that this monkey finds simply refreshing!  I hope you enjoy this painting and have a cold one for me in the heat of the sun!

This original oil painting, and limited-edition art prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Down to Earth Session IPA by 21st Amendment Brewery. Oil on panel, 8"x10", by Scott Clendaniel.

Down to Earth Session IPA by 21st Amendment Brewery. Oil on panel, 8″x10″, by Scott Clendaniel.

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.