Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Brouwer's Manhattan

Brouwer's Manhattan. Oil on panel, 8" x 8".

I felt like a bit of an ass ordering a cocktail at a statewide triple-IPA event, but I'm glad I did.

Brouwer's Cafe, a slightly gothic, belgian-style pub built in an old warehouse in Seattle, hosted the opening party for the high-octane hopfest. Along with the rest of the Iron Goat Crew, I drank my share of beer before succumbing to the temptations of the cocktail menu. Thanks to the generosity of Lucas Brouwers, I came away with a surprise new addition to Mixology with a Twist.

Heavy wooden booths and bars, rock walls and lots of ironwork make Brouwer's both cozy and impressive. The problem was, how to capture the old-world feel of the pub without building a complicated set? After mulling it over for several days, I found a refreshingly uncomplicated answer: an old wooden yoga block and an 88-cent vinyl floor tile.

This small, simple piece was a joy to paint. I was afraid it might be a bit too simple. But the second I switched the light onto the beautifully-colored drink, the setup came to life. Colors projected gorgeously onto the ice cubes in the mixing pitcher, creating a series of bright, graphic shapes. The result, I think, is an interesting combo of modern style and natural materials.

I'm especially happy with the looseness of the piece. I only had a few hours to do it, which pushed me to make quicker decisions and bolder strokes. Maybe I should give myself a time limit for every painting!

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