Tag Archives: scott clendaniel

Zip Kombucha Taproom Review

~ by Maria Benner

I try to find places to hang out before they get discovered by everyone else, and become too crowded for my comfort.  Mostly because I dislike waiting in line (like a typical Alaskan), and prefer less noisy environments where I can easily communicate with my friends.  The Zip Kombucha tap room is one of those places that is still mostly under the radar.  I shouldn’t even tell you about it, but at the same time, I want it to prosper.

I prefer brewery taprooms over bars, because they offer a comfortable setting without the meat-market/sketchy vibe that most bars have.  This taproom is unique in that it offers draft beer in a brewery-taproom setting, but can stay open past 8pm.  It can also have live music and games.  The craft beer selection is really top-notch.  Last week it was the only place in Anchorage that had No Woman No Cryo IPA by Girdwood Brewing on tap.  The price is a very reasonable $5 per pint!  For those who don’t want to drink alcohol, or are gluten-free, kombucha is on tap in several delightful flavors like blueberry, ginger, or mint.  Wine is also on the menu.  Delicious and healthy food is available as well.  Recently, Glacier Bowl teamed up with Zip to offer poke bowls.  Several nights a week there is live entertainment including open-mic night, and music by local musicians.  The large space in the brewery even has enough room for dance lessons.  The taproom also exhibits art by local artists.  In April the featured artist is Scott.  His oil paintings and limited-edition prints are on display and available for sale through Zip until May 2nd.  This place has it all!

What is kombucha?  It’s a beverage produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria.  It tastes sweet and sour at the same time, but the flavors are not overwhelming.  The yeast eats most of the sugar, so this beverage won’t rot your teeth, and it’s loaded with probiotics.  Added flavors like ginger, berries and mint really shine in this clear and fizzy drink.

So next time you’re looking for a quiet, yet hip space to meet your friends where you can get food, craft beer, and non-alcoholic, gluten-free beverages, along with entertainment, and art, check out the Zip Kombucha taproom at 3404 Arctic Blvd.  The location in midtown is convenient, with plenty of parking.  Open every day 4-9pm.

Kombucha and draft beer menu.

Live music in the Zip Kombucha taproom.

Ahi poke bowl by Glacier Bowl.

Mint kombucha.

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First Friday at Turnagain Brewing Company and Iditarod Start

Iditarod oil painting by Alaskan artist Scott Clendaniel

The saying goes, “Strike while the iron is hot!”  That’s exactly what we’ll be doing this weekend, as thousands of people arrive to Anchorage for the Iditarod start this Saturday.  The ceremonial start of the race will begin at 10am sharp, on 4th Avenue, right in front of the building where out studio is located.  So we decided this would be a good time to turn the studio into a pop-up gallery for the day, and invite people to visit.  There will also be a craft fair inside the building, making it an amusing place to warm up.  After the Iditarod start, one of the most popular Fur Rondy events is happening — Running of the Reindeer at 4pm.  Our studio will be open 10 – 5pm.  Stop by for a home-baked cookie, and check out my art, not to mention our great view of the carnival (and maybe Denali).

This week is First Friday, and I’m having an art opening at Turnagain Brewing Company, which is a new-to-me venue.  I created four large splatter beer paintings inspired by Jackson Pollock for this art show.  I’ll be there 5 – 8pm this Friday, March 1.  If you haven’t been to this brewery yet, I highly recommend it, especially if you like sour beer.  If that’s not your thing, the brewery also offers traditional beer styles in a cozy atmosphere.  Click here to see the Facebook event.

splatter beer paintings by Alaskan beer artist Scott Clendaniel

Paintings Commissioned during the Holidays

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.

We Published Our First Book! How to Draw Alaskan Baby Animals: 49 Drawing Lessons from the 49th State

~ by Maria Benner

This is a big day for us here at Real Art Is Better, the day we published our first book — How to Draw Alaskan Baby Animals: 49 Drawing Lessons from the 49th State.  The book features 49 drawing lessons, teaching any aspiring artist how to draw Alaska’s cutest baby animals.  Each easy-to-follow, step-by-step illustration shows you how to turn lines and circles into detailed drawings with a pencil and pen.  Anyone can learn to draw by practicing with a bit of direction! This book is a fun way to learn drawing skills, inspire creativity, and boost confidence for anyone who likes to draw and loves animals.

We’ve been working on this for about three years, which sounds like a long time, but when you think about the scope of the book, and the fact that we also run an art business full time, in addition to traveling occasionally, then three years doesn’t seem so long.  Scott had to draw 49 different lessons, then I had to edit the book, which means that I drew every single baby animal, at a rate of one per day.  Then summers would happen, travel, the holiday rush, and the list of excuses keeps going.  But we finally made this project a high priority, and worked on it a bit each day, with the goal of releasing the book in time for the holidays!  The book is available for sale on Amazon.  I want to make one thing clear: this book is not just for kids, adults can learn how to draw cute Alaskan baby animals too!

Click here to purchase the book.

As a small token of appreciation to our blog readers, here is a free page download.  See if you can draw this adorable polar bear cub.  And we’d love to see your drawings!  Post them in the comments.

 

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #159. La Potato Restaurant in Spenard.

We’ve been taking a week-long break at our cabin in McCarthy, and this morning I rose before daylight at 7:30 AM here in the Wrangell Mountains.  We have been doing some fat biking around the roads and trails that connect key places in the Kennicott Valley.  On our ride from our cabin south of McCarthy to the town of Kennicott, the glaciers and mountains were spectacular, Mt. Blackburn looming in the evaporating clouds, and the Root and Gates glaciers glistening in the distance like diamond encrusted jewels.  Our route took us past the new and ever popular The Potato Restaurant in McCarthy.  It is slumbering like all the bears out here with a “Closed for the Season” sign and all the picnic tables put away for the winter.  Meanwhile in the big city of (Los) Anchorage, a new hipster hangout has popped up like a mushroom in the sun after a fall rain shower.  La Bodega teamed up with McCarthy’s Potato crew to make a pop-up restaurant called La Potato, located in Mr. Whitekey’s old haunt, the Fly By Night Club.  If you are newer to town you might know this place as the Taproot, or the most recent, and briefest occupant, Route 33. 

Pamela Hatzis, the proprietor of La Bodega, the cool liquor store where you can get boutique wines and by-the-bottle beers, wanted to have a place of her own where she could host tasting events.  She has been doing a righteous job running the ever popular liquor store with two new locations springing up in the last four years, one in Girdwood and a second Anchorage location at the Northern Lights Center Mall.  Rebecca Bard, one of the owners of the McCarthy and Valdez Potato restaurants has been wintering in Anchorage and working for Pamela at La Bodega for a while.  She has endeavored to school the Bodega team on how to run a successful restaurant.  The end result is a spectacular success with the pop up restaurant everyone is raging about, La Potato.  Raging is the word.  Maria and I attempted to go there on Saturday late afternoon, on the second day in business, and the parking lot was overflowing like Moose’s Tooth during a First Tap event.  We came back when we thought it would be less busy Thursday last week.  We easily found parking and came in to find a lovely draft menu, as well as great canned and bottled beer offerings.  I am sure there was some good wine and saké offerings as well, I just neglected to search them out.  I ordered some rosemary garlic fries and the duck egg kimchi plate, and I recommend both.  Watch out though, the garlic fries are a litmus test for how much your date really likes you…  Better if you both consume that much garlic in one sitting.  I ordered My 85th Rodeo IPA from Woodland Empire Ale Craft in Idaho (pictured in this painting in front of the iconic Spenard sign that hangs next to the stage) and a Solid Gold from Founder’s Brewing Co.  I exited right before a secret show began featuring The Lucky Chops, because I didn’t bring hearing protection, and I’m just too old to handle loud music at this point.  The place went from being modestly busy to teeming with people for the music.  It’s like Anchorage has been starved for a hangout that isn’t a bar and people are finally finding their fix.  We have Koot’s and Van’s Dive Bar, and even the newly revamped Carousel Lounge, but La Potato is different because it is a restaurant first. 

As I pack up my bags tonight and make the grueling drive back to the big city tomorrow, I am not sorry to leave, because the fun is in Spenard where the spirit of McCarthy is alive and well.  I will pass the slumbering Roadside Potato as I drive out and will look forward to its glory in the summer months, but this winter is all about Ancho“RAGE,”!

Cheers to Pamela and Rebecca’s brainchild that is rocking the socks off the block in Spenard!

Only one original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are available at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #159.  My 85th Rodeo by Woodland Empire Ale Craft, pictured at La Potato in Spenard, Anchorage, AK. 6"x12", oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #159. My 85th Rodeo by Woodland Empire Ale Craft, pictured at La Potato in Spenard, Anchorage, AK. 6″x12″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.

   

Life Changes on the First Day of Snow

~ by Maria Benner

First Day of Snow

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Talkeetna Air Taxi flight over Denali

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.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #153. Course Clear!

Well, today is day 4 of my semi-Sober October.  Normally I just roll through life drinking as much beer as I feel like without getting horrendously drunk.  I find I am successful at not driving under the influence and also not making a fool of myself most of the time.  My doctor said for my weight and stature I should not be consuming more that 14 regular, 5% ABV, 12oz beers per week, which is 2 per day.  I think I average about 3 per day, just because most of the beer I drink comes in pints, or has a higher ABV and, well, I am Alaska’s Beer Artist.  So I feel a cutback is necessary to allow my liver to regenerate, and I found from past experience that October is a good month for sobriety.  Technically you can still experience Oktoberfest, since it starts at the end of September, and then there are no real beer holidays until Halloween which is on the 31, so by then you are ready to go.  It really isn’t that hard this time around.  I guess I’m not that addicted to alcohol.  As I stated before, I am going semi-sober this October.  The 14 beers are cut to 4.  The intent is not to drink during weekdays, without binging on weekends.  The end goal is to have superb health throughout my life and enjoy beer until I am ancient…right.

So this Thirsty Thursday beer painting brings an important lesson.  Mario and Luigi toasting Oktoberfest beers.  I call this painting Course Clear.  My Mario performance has been enhanced without the beer.  I am playing better, getting farther and beating more bosses when I drink sparkling water instead of IPA, my favorite beverage.  Who would have guessed?  Not surprisingly this makes gameplay more fun.  So if you have to take a break, whether self-imposed as in my case, or for whatever reason, and you find yourself wondering what to do if you have to take an alcohol break, consider playing video games.  I’m sure your gameplay will be enhanced.

So I propose a toast to Mario Brothers (yes, I am raising my cup of green tea)!  The Japanese game about Italian plumbers eating magic mushrooms, and tasting pretty flowers.  Cheers!

The original oil painting sold. Limited-edition prints are available at our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #153. Course Complete! 8"x10", oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel. Maria and Luigi drinking beer.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #153. Course Complete! 8″x10″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.