Here are the 6 pieces I created last night during my 3 hour demo at Burnt Bridge Cellars. I worked on these dog portraits while people talked, drank wine, watched me work and asked me questions. One of the staff at the winery took a brief moment to watch and said “Oh! Each of your pieces have either a glass of wine or a wine bottle in them!” I grinned and said “Yes, I’m aware of where I am!” And everyone laughed. It was a fun evening! Thanks again everyone!
Tomorrow at Burnt Bridge Cellars I’ll be signing copies of my book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” and doing a dog drawing demonstration. This means you can drink wine while watching me work. Here are 5 things I think about when getting ready for a dog drawing demo:
- What dogs shall I draw? I plan in advance, sketching lightly in pencil, what dog breeds I’ll draw during the live-action demo. In other words before I even go to the demo I’ve already done the largest part of the “creativity” and double checked my dog-breed drawing accuracy. This way people can talk to me while I’m doing the demo and I don’t need to be concentrating on getting a dog breed drawn correctly.
- Locate my demo apron. Ink is messy. ‘nuf said.
- Pack all necessary materials in one portable container in a “push-here-dummy” fashion. People will often start talking to me while I’m setting up to work. So I make sure to have all of my necessary materials packed – but I also take care to pack in such a way that I can unpack in a distracted manner and still be set up correctly to work. Keep it simple!
- Remember to smile and talk to people. A demo is about sharing – not about zoning out into creative never-land. So if a drawing isn’t “perfect” because I was answering someone’s question and not paying attention to where my ink was dripping – I don’t sweat it – in fact I’ll freely tell people that 90 percent of being an artist is knowing how to fix mistakes.
- When the demo is done I make sure to thank everyone for coming, for hosting the demo – for doing anything anyone did that helped me out. The world doesn’t owe me a thing. In fact I’m grateful I get to do what I love for a living – and people around me help make that possible. So in advance: THANK YOU!!!!!!!
Here’s me in my demo apron
And if you’ve just arrived at this party you can find copies of (or info about) my book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” on Amazon or here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy
Other relevant links:
Burnt Bridge Cellars http://www.burntbridgecellars.com/
Caplan Art Designs http://www.caplanartdesigns.com/
Sweetie and I did a short road trip to Mount St. Helens in Washington. We hiked around, saw a lot of birds. Sweetie heard the birds singing and said they were quite a musical chorus. At the visitor’s center people “danced” about getting photos in front of the mountain. I drew this in my sketchbook using ink and watercolor:
Then at the visitor’s center we went into the Mount. St. Helens gift shop. From past experience we’ve learned that their collection of books for sale on the topics of botany, zoology and biology is a gold mine. Several books come home with us each trip. This time was no exception. One of the titles that came home with us is “Natural History of the Pacific Northwest Mountains.” by Daniel Mathews.
On page 429 I read (about birds caching food) “Phenomenal ability to remember precise locations evolved separately in the chickadees and the jays that cache food for winter, and in many migrating species. Some of these species have nonmigratory or noncaching relatives whose powers of recall don’t amount to diddley squat. Another kind of memory that must be worth holding on to is a male warbler’s memory of conspecific males’ songs. As long as each singer remembers his neighbor’s song from the year before, and stays on his own territory, both are spared a fight. They remember songs from year to year as they return from Central America to reclaim their old haunts.”
That got me to thinking about the traveling troubadours of ancient times. And from that thought I migrated (pun intended) to thinking of how, here in the Pacific Northwest, there is a “new” tradition of traveling musicians who give what is called “living room concerts” in private homes. The home-owner hosts the musicians, putting them up for a night or two, and invites a number of family and friends to come to a concert. A certain amount of money is collected per attendee and most of that money goes to the musician. The musician also sells their CD’s and what not during the evening.
I’m quite addicted to this ‘living room concert’ tradition. I find that even though I’m deaf I can “hear” the music better in a small intimate setting. There are also several local small independent theatres – and there’s fairly good hearing there too. My point being that the music I’ve heard since we’ve lived here in the Pacific Northwest has inspired a lot of my recent artwork. And I suspect this trend will continue.
The concept of a birds ability to remember where they put their food also made me think about the seasonal offerings at the local Pacific Northwest restaurants. When I say “seasonal offering” I mean it. There’s a short time when a certain fruit or veg is available at the local farms so the pubs and restaurants will offer special dishes that use that fruit/veg and then when it’s gone. It’s gone.
We’ve lived here long enough now that I’m beginning to remember, for example, what pubs will offer the “fresh asparagus ‘fries’ ” during peak asparagus season. I’m also remembering which farmers market stands sell the freshest berries and apples. I love the seasonal randomness it’s like a perpetual surprise party but the ability to remember what is ripe during what season is helpful to know.
Needless to say I’ve been artistically inspired by the food. And that’ll prolly (as they say here) continue too.
There’s something about memory and food and music…. something that I just itch to make fine art about. So stay tuned. (pun intended again)
Next week at Burnt Bridge Cellars the evening of the 27th I’ll be doing another art demo and signing copies of my book “Dogs by Sue Clancy”. This means that you can drink wine while watching me draw dogs in permanent ink.
I’ve a whole exhibit’s worth of artwork hanging in Burnt Bridge Cellars. My exhibit is titled “Dogs In The Winery” and in this post are a few examples of what you’ll see at the exhibit. The new artworks I’ll make on the 27th while you watch will be like the black and white ones you see in this post – and in my book “Dogs By Sue Clancy” https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy
My sketchbook page from Sunday’s concert… I used ink and watercolor.
I strongly believe in taking care of oneself as a way of sustaining creativity. Keeping a go-to list of “things that feed your soul” and regularly using it can help maintain ones artistic battery. One item on my list, well okay two items, is cooking food and listening to music. So I also strongly believe that music belongs in the kitchen and dining room. Belongs there loudly.
Luckily I now live in a part of the country where I have friends who both play musical instruments and cook! I also now live in a city that holds music concerts in the park – a park ringed with food carts, restaurants and pubs/breweries – all of them cooking something that smells delicious. Picnics are often brought to these park concerts – baskets full of mouth-watering food and wine or beer.
To celebrate this music-plus-food life I’ve created some tea towels and dinner napkins with a music motif.
Now I’ll give you three guesses as to what I’m happily doing this evening.
Oh, and here are the direct links to information about the above pictured tea towels and napkins:
I spent most of the day at the “Words and Pictures Festival” at a branch of my local library – doing a drawing demo and promoting my artist book “Dogs by Sue Clancy”. It was a good day – only came home with 3 copies of my book all the rest have happy new homes! People were talking and asking me questions before I could even get set up and they continued to come and talk with me constantly even when I was packing up to go home! What fun!
Needless to say I didn’t have time to take photos of the crowd I was so busy! I did manage to do these drawings while talking to people. Yes, that’s a bit like rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time. Going to go have some wine after I post this.
On Saturday I’m participating in a “Words and Pictures Festival” at my local library. I’ll be signing two of my book titles (more about my books here: https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/ ) and doing some of my dog drawings and talking about how I create my images. I’ll talk about my ideas, show my tools and discuss methods.
The challenge for me is the talking-while-drawing part of the demo equation. So to help myself I’ve done a video of me drawing… this way I can watch myself and think of what I need to talk about. When you watch the video do you have questions that you’d like me to answer?
I’ve posted in this blog about my “running around loose sketchbooks” – sketchbooks that I carry with me and record my observations of daily life. My studio sketchbooks are a different breed. In these I’m using my imagination – like what is in “Dogs by Sue Clancy” https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy I make it a regular habit to play with my imagination like this.
I’ll be signing copies of this published version of my studio sketchbook Friday night during my art exhibit opening at Burnt Bridge Cellars. My exhibit is called “Dogs In The Winery” and the fine artwork exhibited is like what’s in the book… only more so.
I’m playfully experimenting again. I’m combining several things: my thought that knowing how to cook is an essential artist survival skill, my not-so-secret desire to illustrate a cookbook and the fact that I’ve been asked to do my fine artwork (dogs and food!) as prints for sometimes messy home kitchens.
So I’m collecting my kitchen art efforts together and publishing them on a web page – https://sueclancy.com/pattern-design/kitchen-tales/ — as you can see I’m doing a series of individual prints instead of printing a series of images in a traditional book. This way people can mix and match to their liking.
The same with tea towels and napkins… can recipes become something useable like a towel? Can I tell visual stories, that you can wipe your hands with, about enjoying food and drink? It’ll be fun to try!
And lucky for me I have a chef friend – Chef Kim Mahan of http://www.class-cooking.com – who wants to experiment with non-traditional cookbook notions too! We will do some practicing in public – on my blog as well as on the above mentioned web page.
Here’s a framed print… you saw progress towards this image in earlier posts.