Cliches, travels and a cat

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, Emotional health, Figures Of Speech, fine art, life of the mind, mental health, travel art and writing, visual thinking, whimsical art

I’m fascinated by language and have been for as long as I can remember. As a deaf child I would marvel when people who had very good hearing didn’t listen. I got curious when people used cliches and other slogans or phrases while seemingly unaware of what they meant. Hearing and using language were things I struggled hard with during my elementary school years full of speech therapy. It was difficult for the younger me to imagine anyone being so casual, even unthinking, with hearing and language.

Of course now as an adult I understand being busy and not paying attention when someone is talking. I’ve done that. As an adult now I also understand how we form habits of speech, hearing and using phrases without consciously thinking about what they mean. I’ve done that too. It’s easy to fall into wellworn ruts of habitual actions and attitudes.

These sorts of thoughts are what inspired all of the 25 artworks I’ve created for my upcoming exhibit at Caplan Art Designs titled “Figures of Speech“. I’ve taken common phrases and played with them and their meanings.

For example I painted an 8 inch wooden block to look like a cardboard box. The appearance of cardboard signifys our mundane life. One can read colorful handpainted letters around the 8 inch faux-cardboard box ending at the elephant character who is still in the process of painting the letters. This signifys our ongoing ability to look at and think about the mundane in new, more colorful, ways. In real life an elephant is much larger than a cardboard box – by humorously playing with scales and sizes I’m referring to how easy it is to forget that we humans have the power to choose our habits. My 3d sculpture is titled “Thinking Outside The Box” and will be part of my exhibit.

One of the many ways we can regularly think outside our habitual boxes, besides by reading widely, is to travel. My wife and I took a train trip to Seattle WA this week. Here’s a link to my newsletter about our adventures along with photos and my sketchbook pages that I did during our travels.

Below is our box loving cat during one of his outside-the-box moments near a window at home.

I hope your week is pleasant and is as much in or outside of boxes as you prefer.

See you next Monday.

Figures of Speech delivery

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, artistic inspirations, books, Figures Of Speech, fine art

This week I packed and delivered 25 of my artworks to the Caplan Art Designs Gallery for my upcoming Figures Of Speech exhibit which opens Oct 5 and will run until November. After my one-person exhibit finishes my art will become part of the ongoing Gallery group exhibits.

Here’s what my studio looked like prior to delivering it all.

Here’s Amy, the gallery owner, and I holding some of my art. Amy holds my framed painting “This Little Piggy” and I’m holding my sculpture “Independent As A Hog On Ice”

Amy has a really good “art easel side” manner and we chatted during delivery about the artwork I’d just brought and more generally about my artistic direction. She’s a very good coach, supportive while also giving gentle guidance that inspires me to make more art! I’m very lucky and I know it!

Here are some videos about the art we’re holding in the photo above…

Over on my email newsletter I shared more about my painting Ducks In A Row. Since I began sharing about it here on my blog last week here’s the rest of the story so to speak.

As a reward for getting this far with my Figures Of Speech exhibit my wife and I went to a local used bookstore…

… where I got some suspense novels! I’m going to take a few days to read and rest then I’ll get back to helping promote my exhibit as well as doing more drawing and painting!

I hope your week is pleasant. See you next Monday.

Colors, trees, art and books

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art supplies, art techniques, artistic inspirations, books, creative thinking, fine art, mundane and magical moments, reading, Sustainable creativity, visual thinking

I’m in the home stretch for my upcoming art exhibit at Caplan Art Designs which opens October 5th! There are 22 paintings, 2 sculptures by me that are ready now. Number 25 is in progress more on that in a sec…

Besides creating the artwork itself I photographed each piece for the Gallery’s promotional uses. This week I did more photos of one of my 3d sculptures (8 inch cube) that I’ve titled “Independent As A Hog On Ice”. These photos below show the colors better than the post I did about “Independent As…” when I first finished it.

I’m in this video working on piece number 25 for my exhibit. I’ll title this painting “Ducks In A Row” when I’m finished.

Clancy at work on “Ducks In A Row”

This week in my email newsletter I talked about my color palettes; why I select my own paint tube colors rather that buying manufactured color sets. Here’s the link that details that …

Here below are photos of things in nature where I live in the Pacific Northwest that inspired my new color palette mentioned in my newsletter.

I enjoyed looking at the grey-blue sky, the blue-lavender mountains in the distance, the grey-green-blue of the river… and the greens of the trees…

On a rainy day I enjoyed the grey sky, the deep green trees…

I love the grey-blue and pale grey-yellow colors of river rocks…the flower colors of orange-red and orange-yellow and blue-lavender…

With these real-life colors noted I looked in this resource book about colors so I could plan my palette.

Here’s what a page from this book looks like so you can see how it was helpful.

At my local art supply store I bought a new empty palette with a lid (and another water brush just because I love them).

I also got 2 new tubes of gouache paints: a Paynes Grey-blue and a Vermilion red. All of the other tubes seen in the photo below I already had on hand. This arrangement of color is what’s new.

As you can see by looking between the color chart on the front of the book and my paint palette (and my palette note sheet) these colors are more natural, classic even.

I’ve been rereading “The Overstory” by Richard Powers. In this mind boggling jigsaw puzzle of a fictional story there is a character who begins photographing one tree regularly over a span of time.

Since there are many beautiful trees in my neighborhood that I can see from my front windows …

…. one of the ways I decided to test my new palette is to paint a tree multiple times. The character in the book by Richard Powers uses a nondigital photographic camera to record their view of a tree over time. But me being me I’m going to try to paint and draw some trees by hand…

Which of course led to drawing that same tree in ink.

There’s a few other trees I can see from my windows that I want to draw and paint too… and I realized I have a lot to learn about drawing trees. So I went to my local library for books on the topic.

Here’s a view out my window. The tree I’ve already painted is to the right in these photos. Notice how different the trees are in different times of day due to the changing light? It’s amazingly magical!

I did a couple of efforts at drawing and painting the birch trees to the left in the above photos.

Yes, I’ve got a lot to learn about trees! It’s exciting to be starting a new project just as one project, my Figures Of Speech exhibit, is finished as far as the creative process goes. Figures Of Speech is just beginning it’s life at the Caplan Art Designs Gallery – and is in the early stages of being talked about in a more public sense.

Talking about completed art that’s in an exhibit is very different from creating the art itself. I prefer doing the creating part to doing the publicity part but I know talking about my art is part of it and I find, ironically, that being in the midst of creating art – even when it’s wildly different from the work currently on exhibit – helps me to be able to talk about the art I’ve already completed without too much shyness.

Anyhoo, there will be more about my upcoming exhibit and my new projects in progress in upcoming newsletters and blog posts.

I hope the trees grow well and beautifully in your neck of the woods too.

See you next Monday.

Movies and noticing stuff

A Creative Life, artistic inspirations, books, creative thinking, food for thought, life of the mind, mundane and magical moments, sketchbook, small things, Sustainable creativity, visual thinking, words and pictures

My wife and I went to see the movie Barbie at the Mcmenamins St. John’s Theater and Pub – a friend suggested seeing Barbie at this particular theater because it might be easier for me to hear. She was right! And this theater has a closed captioning device that sit in the cup holder and has a positional gooseneck!!! This made it possible for deaf me to comfortably enjoy the movie! And boy did we enjoy it!! Had to have a beer afterwards and discuss it! What fun! We discussed the many subtle jokes in the backgrounds, small allusions to elements of consumer culture, in the various scenes. It made me aware all over again of how important small things are in our daily physical and mental lives.

In the walkway leading towards the theater I loved all of the trees and the various colors of greenery…

….and the “enchanted forest” entryway into the theater and pub.

Stepping inside the neighborhood pub itself was magical. It had an old-world  artsy, funky, steam-punky, weird odd whimsical vibe that I enjoyed.

We want through the pub to go inside the wooden domed theater. It was possible to order food and beverage to be delivered to our theater seats. In front of each of the rows of seats were long communal table ledges just wide enough to hold plates and glasses. We didn’t order anything as I felt I had enough to do to prepare to “hear” the movie. The wooden dome and the art all around the perimeter were amazing to look at while we waited for the movie to begin.

The screen was at one end of the round room that seated perhaps 50 people.

When we bought our tickets I requested use of the closed captioning device. Then I wedged one end of the device into the cupholder and positioned the captioning end so it’d be under my view of the screen but yet not impeding anyone else’s view. Here’s me positioning the device.

Then the movie started and I turned my phone off and didn’t turn it back on till we got home. After the movie was over we sat in the pub having food and beverages while talking about the movie. There were so many fun things to see in the pub itself that besides going back for another movie – the captioning device worked wonderfully for me – I want to bring my sketchbook and draw. The food and beers were very good too but there were so many things to notice in the pub and outside around the pub that I ached for my notebook and sketchbook!

As you know, as part of my art practice (fully described in my recent newsletter) I try to notice 7 small things each day. That’s harder to do than it sounds. And I recently  read this seriously-jaw-dropping newsletter by Rob Walker which explains why it’s so hard.

Here’s a look at my notebook where I write stuff I notice every day…

I find it such an odd curious thing, about myself and about most humans, that 9 pleasant things can happen within a day but the 1 unpleasant thing will usually get all of the emotion and attention. And besides that often we wait until something grabs our attention (usually negatively) before we tune in. So I try to be contrarian and give more of my feelings and attention to the good things. Also I try to do my own purposful noticing instead of waiting for something external to move me … but I take the pressure off by only asking of myself that I notice 7 small (hopefully) nice things per day.

This is a book I have appreciated, and highly recommend, about noticing things.

Kirt Vonnegut also writes about trying to notice nice things that happen every day specifically to notice when you’re happy. This book is ostensibly for young people but I figure the young people I’ve been in my 5-years-past-half-century lifetime are still inside me so I reread this book fairly often.

So I hope you’re having many pleasant moments today and that you remember to notice as many of them as you can.

See you next Monday.