IPA Double Release: Ice Sizzle and Resilience

Hark! This Saturday, 29 December, heralds perhaps the second most important festive event of this merry season: a double-the-flavor, double-the-fun, double IPA release at the taproom, kicking off at 12 noon. The first IPA is our contribution to the Resilience IPA movement, with proceeds going toward relief for the victims of the California Camp Fire disaster. The fire burned more than 153,000 acres, killed at least 85 people, and destroyed more than 13,000 homes. As a response, Chico-based Sierra Nevada mobilized the craft beer community nationwide, and we are proud to be one of over 1,400 breweries making our version of this beer to help out the survivors. This is a west coast IPA with a refreshingly crisp bitterness and a burst of hops on the nose.

Our second IPA is a hazy version of the style: Ice Sizzle, a juicy treat inspired by Ann Vandervelde’s label art and named after the strange phenomenon of glaciers emitting an effervescent sound when they melt, as the retreating ice releases air bubbles formed in the process of the glacier’s creation.

Forest fires and melting glacier ice are at the heart of Ann Vandervelde’s art at the moment. Her most recent work is part of an exhibition at the MoNA – SURGe 2018 – which brings together artists and scientists to draw attention to climate change and its impact on the Northwest’s coastal communities. Ann’s particular contribution to this exhibition is a collaboration with glass artist Lin McJunkin and forest scientist Dave Peterson to showcase trees and their adversaries (drought, insect infestation, fire, flood, and human activities). Below is one of the pieces she made for the exhibit, and it's title, "Ghost Trees," seems eerily prognostic given it's composition predates the Butte County Fire.

The simultaneous release of the Resilience IPA with the Ice Sizzle IPA might be seen as a catalyst for conversations about the world around us. It’s a wonder how beer, like art, brings people together.

They certainly brought Bearpaw River Brewing together with Seattle-based Ann Vandervelde. I recently sat down with Ann for a (virtual) conversation about her life in art, and how she came to paint “Alaska Glaciers,” which now beautifully wraps cans of our beautifully juicy Ice Sizzle. She told me about the education she got from Mr. Schroeder and Miss Mahlor, her art teachers in school, and the encouragement of her mother. She told me of her love for fast-drying acrylic, of her love for layers and textures achieved by scraping and scratching clay bord, of using oil pastels over and under acrylics, and of using handmade papers from around the world. She also told me about a growing sense of urgency and activism in her work.

Below is more from Ann in her own words. If you want to hear – and see – more, check her out at www.annvandervelde.com.

Q. Was there a pivotal moment when you started on your path as an artist?

A. I worked back and forth between jobs and painting. I was a graphic illustrator for a number of years and then went back to get a Masters in education. I taught English lit in high school. I spent summers painting during the teaching years. When my husband took a job at the Cleveland Clinic it was an opportunity for me to transfer my energies to painting full time. I got lucky in connecting with the curator at that time with the Clinic. They have a tremendous art collection and she liked my work. She encouraged me to transition from paper to canvas and I have not looked back since.

Q. What’s your typical creative process?

A. I work in fits and starts. I am motivated by sights, sounds, tragedy, humor and mostly this gorgeous planet Earth. I dream brush strokes and colour. I begin a canvas with swift strokes of graphite to establish an early composition and a sense of balance.

Q. If you could travel through time and be part of a past art movement, what would it be?

A. Abstract expressionism

Q. What runs through your head while you are painting?

A. I think lyrically, but no particular music. I once spent two hours in and out of an MRI. I had a head set to quiet some of the pounding, but I got through it by thinking in terms of repetitious waves and rhythms. I actually produced several very interesting works as a result. I thought perhaps Philip Glass, the composer, got his inspiration from one of these tunnels.

Q. Why abstract landscapes?

A. I’m not really interested in the human form. I love asymmetry and angularity. I never tire of walking in the woods or climbing out on bluffs to see the waves breaking on rocks. It’s all so organic and real.

Q. Who should we be following on Instagram right now?

A. My husband, Peter Cavanagh, a brilliant bird photographer.

Q. Was it by chance or purpose that you ended up painting in Alaska?

A. My husband and I have taken wonderful small boat trips to Alaska. I also went years ago with my mother. I think Alaska is an amazingly beautiful, ancient place that deserves a climate conscious people in order to survive. The colours, drama of calving glaciers, the forest greens, the rain all played a part in my developing works.

Q. Your work has a powerful ability to evoke strong moods or feelings. How do you do that?

A. I am constantly blown away by the power of nature. I think you have to be a hardy bunch to live in Alaska. It’s like living in Iceland where I recently visited. Lots of weather! I’ve always loved the water. I grew up on it Wisconsin. But I have a healthy respect for the power of air, wind and wave. It can be your friend and it can be your enemy. You need to pay it respect. I love boulders – the etching, the rounded curves, the angles. Even though they aren’t living, I wonder, what ancient history they have seen. I often use papers as well as graphite and acrylic to evoke depth.

Q. How did you come to paint “Alaska Glaciers”?

A. It was easy. I came to Alaska.