Sunday, May 31, 2009


Last night was the big Savor beer event at the National Building Museum. A group from work were planning to meet at RFD around 3:30 to make sure we got some food in us. We knew there would be food at Savor but we wanted to makes sure we had some solid stuff already in our bellies. Well, of course, the organizer of this meeting never did show but he did arrive at the event just in time for our first "Salon."

Sam Calagione led us on a tour of Ancient Beers in the Modern World. As could be expected from Sam, there were no notes or PowerPoint slides. What we did get was a sampling of 4 beers and some information on the history of brewing. This was a great session since I had never had two of the beers. It start with the 90 minute but moved quickly to the Midas Touch which was excellent with the aged cheddar pairing. Then why tried an even older recipe recipe, from China of all places, called Chateau Jiahu. I was enjoying these beers but really thinking that it is a shame Lori was not there, I think she would have loved them- all this was before the Theobroma which is based on a 500-1200 year old Honduran recipe. Now this baby was made with some very fine cocoa powder- paired with some Askinosie Chocolate (You must try this chocolate!). With the Theobroma, I knew that I needed to stop by the store and pick some up.

I'm guessing that crowds are simply following me around because the Building Museum was packed like Artomatic was on Friday. Some stand outs for me were Brooklyn's Local 2, Rock Bottom Highland Courage Scottish Ale, Saint Louis Brewery/Schlafly Oak Age Barleywine, Arcadia Cocoa-Loco Triple Chocolate Milk Stout (yes, I was in a chocolaty mood after the Salon).

There were a number of breweries that I simply love to drink though they don't excite the way those listed above do. I love high-gravity beers but I usually like to drink more than one so last night reaffirmed how good St George, Clipper City (Marzhon), Great Lakes (Burning River), Legend and Oskar's Blues are at crafting delicious "session" brews. Another brewer I enjoy, Smuttynose was only pouring Belgian-styled brews- It would have been nice to show one of their more straightforawd beers.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Opening Night

Last night, The team all went down to opening night at artomatic and were blown away. The place was so jammed- using the elevator was simply a joke and even the stairways were filled with people. We did trek up to the ninth floor and back down so at least a little exercise was had. We spent the last hour or so that on the 3rd floor near our work. Lori and I kind of hung back and let people look. We didn't have too many people stopping to look at our stuff- we're guessing that we are not flashy enough. Plus we have a very subdued floor. I did see a lot of people take my postcards but no comments (not even a "U SUCK") were left in the comment book. Heather on the other hand was working the crowd and really charming them. We keep our eyes out, looking to see if people were trying to get away but they really seemed to be enjoying talking to her about the work. We ended up staying to nearly 11pm. I forgot how infrequent the trains are later at night. We didn't get home until after midnight.

On the beverage front- good beer selection (Yuengling and three Flying Dog brews) and not a bad call on the wine (Barefoot) in terms of a drinkable inexpensive wine. Yep, I got beer. I may suggest that they offer a premium wine choice at a higher price to give wine lovers an option but then they may want me to volunteer as bar manager and I see that is a tough job.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Artomatic Opens Today

Well, I'm not so sure why I'm excited about Artomatic opening today but I am. It was satisfying getting the work together and installing. I learned quite a bit in this foray back into painting and I can't wait to get back to work. I believe my work will continue to get stronger. I'll make sure to chronicle my progress.

So what I'm really concerned about is whether they will have decent wine or not. Tomorrow I'm going to the big Savor beer tasting at the Building Museum where I will taste at least 50 high gravity craft beers so I'd rather have wine tonight.

Monday, May 25, 2009


As mentioned previously, Lori was anxious about us completing the AOM install. To celebrate, we met some friends at Night of the Museum Battle of the Smithsonian. The kids loved it as did the adults- pretty fun stuff- though not quite as good as the first. The movie didn't allow me time to cook anything special so we ate the pulled pork from yesterday- Since it takes about 6 hours to cook the Barbeque, I was able to cook it in between layers of paint. I look forward to making some good meals now that i won't be painting every waking hour. Anyway, this post is about wine isn't- well, I didn't have enough time to run by our store in McLean so I picked up a bottle of Beringer Cabernet Knights Valley. As usual this is a good, reliable Cab though I do miss those mid-90's vintages that were excellent- Well its still about the same price as it was then so I guess we can expect a little slip in quality. All in all, not a bad substitution for the Chateau Chevalier Cabernet (made by Spring Mountain Vineyards) I was planning on. Must remember to pick up a couple bottles next time in the store.

Artomatic Install Complete

I was glad to finish up installing our spaces today. I expected there to be tons of people waiting but I was one of the first to arrive at about 11:30. I guess hoping to avoid some kind of rush, they had the loading dock open. I finished hanging my paintings and title cards for Lori and Heather by 12:45. This gave me a little time to preview the show.

There has been plenty of discussion regarding the adult subject matter being shown but as I walked around there was little that I could not easily steer clear of. From what I can see the quality of work looks better than last year. Since that was the first AOM I visited, I can't comment on previous shows. I'm still surprised at how many people have done so little to their spaces. I guess I fit into that category but I knew it would take less than an hour to hang all of my work.

Lori was really worried about me finishing my work. I was ready to cut one painting (Shoes) since it wasn't coming together. After explaining to Lori that it may be best to leave it out, I went back down to the studio and nailed the part that kept tripping me up. Of course, this had me back in the studio at 6:30 this morning trying to finish it up. It turned out pretty good. I've learned a lot with these paintings but the biggest thing is making sure to take more time to draw instead of simply roughing in the basic composition thing winging the details.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Well, somehow things are coming together. The main goal for doing AOM this year was to force me to complete some work. Its been more than 10 years since I have completed a painting so getting four ready to show is an accomplishment. Well only one is complete right now but, hey- I've still got two days.

Overcoming a long inactive period would be hard enough but I also switched from oils to acrylics. Since my style relies on numerous layers of thin paint, getting used to the transparency of acrylics is difficult. I'm arriving at some techniques that are getting the job done though I hope to be able to refine them soon to get the results I want. As it stands, I'm about 80% there. I believe the future paintings will be stronger as I incorporate what I've learned from these works.