Tag Archives: real art is better

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.

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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.

What we do in McCarthy.

~ by Maria Benner

My dentist asked me the other day, “So, what do you do when you’re in McCarthy?”

Maybe I should start by telling newer blog readers the background story.  In 2005 I dragged Scott to McCarthy in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park for the long 4th of July weekend, because I wanted to walk on the huge glacier.  Scott has always been reluctant to travel to new places, and grudgingly boarded the little plane that flew us to McCarthy in a rain storm.  Two weeks after that amazing trip we drove back to the little town to check out a 10-acre lot that the University of Alaska was selling.  In October we owned that lot.  I bought the land as an investment, but Scott had different ideas.  Before I could comprehend the implications of what he was about to do, Scott ordered 198 logs to be delivered to our lot in 2012.  That’s when we started building our log cabin.  It took us 182 days to finish it to the point where we could move in.  We still have many small projects left before the cabin is completely finished though.  During summers we go to McCarthy for two-week stints.  We can’t stay for the whole summer, because we have to come back to Anchorage to work on the art business.  So, if you’re wondering what we do out there, here’s a description of a typical day.

We don’t have to get up at a certain hour, but the birds’ loud chirping wakes us up at roughly the same time each day.  We drink coffee while checking e-mail and news, and then make breakfast.  We recently acquired a sourdough starter, and I brought it with us to McCarthy, because we went for three weeks, and I didn’t want it to starve while we were gone.  I’m really glad I brought it, because we made sourdough pancakes twice, and Scott baked delicious sourdough bread!

Sourdough bread that Scott baked in the cabin.

Sourdough bread that Scott baked in the cabin.

After breakfast we work on Real Art Is Better.  Scott usually has to work on commissioned paintings, or a Thirsty Thursday beer painting, while I take care of the business and marketing side of the business.  Luckily Verizon provides LTE out there!  Then we break for lunch.

Scott painting in the bug tent.

Scott painting in the bug tent.

In the afternoon we work on the cabin-building project.  Neither of us is a builder, and we learned from books and YouTube videos how to peel and stack logs in the shape of a cabin.  Every time we make a mistake, we think about whether it’s worth the money, time and effort to fix it, or if “it’ll be fine, it’s just a cabin in the woods in Alaska.”  Not like there’s a Home Depot in town where we can get some extra parts.  On our trip in May we insulated and installed the bottom floor, chinked most of the gaps between the logs, installed gutters so we can collect water from the roof for washing dishes, showering (not drinking), installed five windows, built a front door, AND…  MOVED IN!!!  The moving in ceremony consisted of nailing a horse shoe from a friend’s horse above the door.  Our friend gave us that horse shoe specifically for the cabin a couple years ago.

Cabin building project!

Cabin building project!

Hi! I'm moving in!

Hi! I’m moving in!

After about five hours of building we call it a day.  Sometimes we want to keep working to finish a task, but we learned the hard way that if we keep working when we’re tired of it, we’ll make mistakes, and get grumpy.  After work we take showers every other day, which involves heating several gallons of water on a propane turkey fryer and pouring the water into a bucket with a hose and spout on the bottom.  I built a shower stall out of plywood a couple years ago.  It’s simple and it gets the job done!

After relaxing, making dinner, and doing the dishes, we leave our lot on bikes or on foot (we rarely drive the dirt roads in McCarthy) and go for a little adventure.  We’ll either visit a friend, or go to a beautiful place.  On Friday nights we usually go to softball.  On most weekends there’s a band playing at the bar.  There’s a lot going on for such a small town.  Now that the cabin is mostly done, we can spend more time adventuring!

Evening canoe float on the Beaver Pond.

Evening canoe float on the Beaver Pond.

Friday night softball game.

Friday night softball game.

Now we’re back in Anchorage for a month.  The mosquitos are horrible in McCarthy in June, and we don’t mind skipping that stage of summer.  We’re getting ready for Scott’s art show at Midnight Sun Brewing Company this Friday.  His paintings and prints will be on display and available for sale all month.  Check out the details on the Facebook event page.  We also plan on doing a Kenai Peninsula breweries tour and go dip-netting for salmon before returning to McCarthy July 2 in time for another tremendous 4th of July weekend.

American Craft Beer Week Sale!

Happy American Craft Beer Week!  For the 11th year in a row the Brewers Association has declared the week of May 16-22 to be a tribute to local craft breweries.  A time for breweries to showcase their creativity and passion for the beverage, and for beer fans to support their local breweries.  I am celebrating by having a sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter, since most of my art is inspired by craft beer.  Enter coupon code ACBW2016 to save 10% on your order.
Cheers!

ACBW-Promo-IG-2016