the art of pumpkin biscuit production

A Creative Life, artist book, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, functional art, illustration, Kim Cooks Sue Draws, kitchen art, words and pictures

I’ve spent part of the weekend and most of today illustrating a new recipe for the unconventional cookbook “Kim Cooks Sue Draws”.  Chef Kim Mahan said that this is one of her popular easy-to-do recipes for her cooking school – and we had to have it in the book.  Since the recipe as typed up by Chef Kim was titled “Pumpkin Biscuits” and this is October… my mind went to, well, you’ll see:

PumpkinBiscuitsDesign72

Fortunately Chef Kim Mahan has a sense of humor and didn’t mind a Pumpkin making people-shaped biscuits!  Whew!  In fact it sparked a whole conversation between us about how humor and fun in the kitchen helps a good-food experience happen. And that food is more than just bodily nutrition – beautiful (and fun) looking food feeds our spirits too. Chef Kim went on to talk about her efforts to make her cooking classes fun and relaxed for this spirit-feeding reason.

She talked about her concepts better than I’m able to describe here. Sigh. I wish I’d been able to write notes as quickly as she talked!

Anyway, I’ve a few more things to do, like photograph the artwork after it dries, before I can turn this artwork into cards, prints and tea towels.  You can get a hint of what will happen with this “Pumpkin Biscuits” recipe art by looking at our cookbook “Kim Cooks Sue Draws” on this website here: https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/kim-cooks-sue-draws/

And now, after looking at recipes all day I’m hungry. Go figure.

an unconventional cookbook artist book

A Creative Life, Art Licensing, artist book, artistic inspirations, comfort food, creative thinking, food for thought, functional art, Kim Cooks Sue Draws, kitchen art

Followers of my artwork already know that I like to play with the book format. Does a book always have to be bound on one edge? I don’t think so. It also doesn’t have to be conventional-book-shaped. With this in mind I’m working with Chef Kim Mahan (www.class-cooking.com) to create an unconventional cookbook titled “Kim Cooks Sue Draws”.  More details here:  https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/kim-cooks-sue-draws/

Here’s the logo-label I drew using ink and color pencil. (and yes, this is a caricature of the Chef Kim and me)

KImCooksSueDrawsLable72

Our book is not, and will not be, conventionally bound. In fact it might not be called a “book” by some people because it has recipes as tea towels, art prints and greeting cards.  Eventually individual recipe-cards will be available (curated by the Chef for particular purposes) for home cooks to use on clipboards or under refrigerator magnets.

Though “Kim Cooks Sue Draws” is not bound along a spine it is a collection of related thoughts connected together in an obvious way. Which, in my opinion, is what a “book” really is.

So “Kim Cooks Sue Draws” is another artist book from me – and I’m lucky that Chef Kim is willing to play with me in this unconventional way. We both see this “book” as a set of playful yet practical artworks that you can use at home to cook, eat and share with people you love.

If this cookbook is to be considered “bound” in any way it would be on this website https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/kim-cooks-sue-draws/  – I use the word “bound” here to signify “collected together in one spot”.  I’m sure the Chef will have additional places to put “Kim Cooks Sue Draws” both online and in her classroom.

The Chef and I are in the appetizer-days of this project and we have a full multi-course menu of plans… oh boy do we have plans! Please stay seated at the table… more yummy to come!

today in British Shorthair cats

A Creative Life, animals in art, artistic inspirations, cat portrait, Cats in art, drawing as thinking, visual thinking

I worked today on some British Shorthair cats. I picked this breed because I enjoy British comedy. Silly reason I know. Anyway drawing this breed of cat was a challenge. When is a British Shorthair not a Tabby? The shape of the head, ears…. so many nuances are different. I had to pay close attention to fine details of the breed – I did research – so I kept my overall-artwork composition similar and simple. I used Sumi Ink to do this practice with.  Not sure I’ve ‘got it’ yet on drawing British Shorthairs so I’ll try again another day. Still as far as general-cat-art goes I’m pleased with my work. Now I’ll go make some dinner and see if I can talk my Sweetie into watching another British comedy with me.

BritishShortHairCats72

an open Fur Suit of Happiness

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, cat portrait, Cats in art, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art

Last night was the opening of my art exhibit “The Fur Suit Of Happiness” at Caplan Art Designs in Portland Or. Lots of people came. Many nice things were said about my artwork. Many good questions were asked. Several people used the “M” word when referring to my artwork and I still get a warm fuzzy feeling when I hear such evidence that people “get” my work! The “M” word is “metaphor” or “mythology”.

And yes, the work of Joseph Campbell has inspired much of my artwork!

During the opening last night I found it was helpful that I had just given a speech the day before (blog post about the speech here) – so I still had my “talking shoes” on.  There have been openings where I’ve gone to a gallery directly from my work in my studio – with a slight pause to change clothes – at such times I get to the gallery and find I’ve almost forgotten the English language. Or any language but pictures. And I need a few minutes to “find my words”.

Didn’t have that trouble last night! I was almost chatty Cathy!  Here are a few pics:

And one of our friends came to see my new work and gave me a whole sack full of sheet music for my future collaging pleasure!! Wow!!!

MePattiMusicCADArtwall72

Here is a photo of what the gallery wall of my artwork looked like without people standing in front of it. The pedestal in the photo holds a portfolio of 50 of my small ink dog art pieces.

WallOfArt

The way the owner of the Caplan Art Designs gallery arranged the wall proved to be a wonderful way to help people zero in on details within my work. The over-stimulation seemed to help the viewers focus.  One person had an epiphany while looking at the wall saying to me “Oh! I get it! You’re talking about human behavior metaphorically with your dogs and cats!”

I almost hugged them. But I didn’t because I’d never met them before last night. Wow! They used the “M” word!

Swoon.

 

the tale of Heroes Journey

A Creative Life, animals in art, art commissions, art exhibit, public art, published art, words and pictures

Today I gave a speech during the unveiling of my public art piece for Salmon Creek Journal and Washington State University Vancouver.  The artwork is titled “Heroes Journey”.  Here’s a full image of it (up till now I’ve only been posting teaser bits on my blog) and below the image is more-or-less the text of my speech. I adlibbed bit.  And below the speech are two statements I was asked to write for this project; One is about “Heroes Journey” and the other is a document related to the days event at WSU.  I include them here for additional information’s sake.

 

HeroesJourney72

Heroes’ Journey
By Clancy 
22 x 30 inches – Ink, watercolor, color pencil and acrylic – framed

Speech (roughly) for Oct 4th Dis(covering) Ability event by Sue Clancy

 

Thank you, Amanda, Sky and Washington State University Vancouver, for asking me to create something to help you celebrate Dis(covering) Ability – and diversity today!

I’ve created an art piece for you titled “Heroes’ Journey”.

To create this piece, I consulted both my inner world and the external real world of the WSU Vancouver campus.

When Amanda contacted me about possibly doing this for you I began thinking of what parts of my inner world might be relevant for this project.

Here are parts of my inner world that I pulled from:

As a Deaf kid growing up in Oklahoma in the 1970’s I didn’t know any other deaf kids – or even any deaf grownups and I didn’t see myself, or any deaf people in any of the storybooks.  Books were very important to me. Television was not closed captioned back then and I didn’t become aware of subtitled movies until I went to college. So, for my grade-school self, books were my link to the wider world. As an 8 year old kid I asked the school librarians and the public librarians for books with deaf people in them. One librarian finally came up with a book on Helen Keller.  The book was slightly above my reading level and it only had a few black and white photographs – but I read it anyway. While I appreciated the librarian finding the book my 8 year old self found Helen Keller to be terribly old-fashioned.  Where was the action? The adventure? The fun? I decided to create my own storybooks with my own characters. I began making small hand drawn books and learning about creating stories, and drawing people and action as realistically as I could. I traded my little books with my grade-school classmates for pencils, erasers and crayons.  In the process of growing my “subscriber list” I learned that other kids didn’t see themselves in books either. So I included them in my stories. The school-yard bullies became the villains in my books. My books (zines really) were popular with some of the kids and not so popular with some adults.

Another element of my inner world: Fast forward to the mid 1980’s: I went to the University of Oklahoma on art scholarships and I was working as a graphic designer/ photographer. Still college was expensive so I also sold my fine artwork and freelance illustrated every chance I could.

At one art exhibit Dr. Bob Hoke, a psychiatrist, and his wife Penny bought some of my fine artwork and commissioned me to make a companion piece to the one they bought. Over the course of working on that project Dr. Bob asked me to illustrate some of his teaching stories that he used in his “Emotional Repair” seminars. One of his stories that I illustrated became my favorite. I’ll tell it to you now because it has direct bearing on this artwork I’ve done for you. The story goes like this: Once upon a time there was a grandfather who was asked to entertain the kids. He gathered all the kids around and said “Kids, inside every one of us are 2 wolves and they fight. One wolf is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.  The other wolf is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, charity, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, patience, goodness, gentleness, self-control and faithfulness.” Then the grandfather was silent. After a bit one of the littlest kids asked “Gran’pa, which wolf wins?” The old man replied “The one that you feed.”

From Dr. Bob (psychiatrist, medical science guy) I learned that human brains often respond better to stories than they do to flat statements however factual and true the flat statement may be.  Telling a person “You’re being mean” is likely to be met with resistance because people, no matter how cruel their actions, often don’t think of themselves as “mean”. But a story-like description of how someone can be impacted by an act of meanness – or a story description of people treating people kindly – may have a better chance of getting the point across.

Around that time I began to consider using animal characters in my artwork rather than realistic-looking people so as to be more literary than literal in my depictions of the way I see the world.

Also Dr. Bob had a deaf brother named Dick. I finally got to meet another real-live deaf person! I asked Dick for suggestions of how to deal with being a deaf person in a hearing college/world. He encouraged me to create my own support network in college, including making use of professor’s office hours – to focus on my allies and work with them – to respond to any bullies I might encounter by leaning on my support network and going on and living well.

A 3rd element of my inner world: When I started college in 1986 I joined the GLBA social club – Gay Lesbian Bisexual Alliance – the rest of the alphabet had not been discovered yet. Remember this was the 1980’s. The world was just becoming aware of HIV and AIDS.  The GLBA group – which wasn’t allowed to meet on the OU campus – partnered with ACT UP, a world-wide Aids awareness group formed in 1987 – a chapter of which met in nearby Oklahoma City. At the time – in the 1980’s – gay people were regularly shunned from their biological families (I was). Gay people risked expulsion from school, eviction from apartments, being fired from their jobs and being denied healthcare.  Most of all they risked being beaten up, shot and killed – and their cases not fully investigated by the police.  In the face of all of that ACT UP was focusing on empowerment, urging us to come out, to be visible, to tell our stories, to write poems, create plays, write essays, to have polite conversations, to make music events, fashion shows, art exhibits and to sew quilts. We were encouraged to get creative and find ways to remind people that gay people were still human, we were still sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors and coworkers.  We were encouraged to form our own families of choice, to form alliances, to care for each other. We were encouraged to fight injustice not with violence or shouts but with love, friendship and stories.

That is some of my inner world which I took with me to meet the external world of Amanda and Sky and the WSU Vancouver campus. During our meeting I took notes from what Amanda and Sky said, my wife – who has better hearing than I do – also took notes. We went on a campus tour. I took well over 45 photographs.  Some of the things that I noted were: that WSU Vancouver is a commuter campus, it’s people-focused, campus is on a hill, you can see distant mountains (on a clear day), there are clear lines of sight from most areas on campus, there’s a walking trail around campus, lots of trees, a network of squirrels, the gridded columns on some of the buildings…  I also learned that the mascot is a cougar and that Clark College is a major “feeder” school.  After our campus tour was over I asked the Ambassador who’d led our tour what kind of animal he’d be if he were an animal. “A Squirrel!” He said.

Back at my studio I consulted my inner world: I looked at all of my photographs. I read my notes and my wife’s notes and in a bound sketchbook I worked on possible designs and possible characters that might reflect aspects of the external world, meet the project needs and also include my inner world. There’d be a cougar, a penguin and a squirrel – and who else??…  I also sat and brainstormed listing in my sketchbook word associations (so to speak):  commuter campus, hill top, grids (tile/brick), sight lines, mountain views, squirrel network, groups of people from all over the world.  All of these concepts pointing toward “travel” “movement” or “Journey” – which led me to think of what I know of story formation – specifically the archetypal story format.

Heroes Journey is an archetypal story – a plot style – has been used from Homer to Star Wars and nearly everything in between. It generally goes like this: very different characters meet, somehow they get a mutual goal, as they work toward the goal they learn about themselves, each other, they discover ways of working together and somewhere along the way they form a community.

The physical attributes, flaws, strengths, weaknesses of individual characters play a role in driving the plot and those things drive the discovery of what’s important and how to listen to and work with each other.  In fiction at least the characters individual traits, once discovered or accepted, eventually become an asset to the success of the journey.

In my artwork design – because it was said that people are the focus of campus – I created a crowd as the focal point and designed the crowd as an overall shape. For obvious reasons I made the Cougar the tallest character, Penguin (Clark College mascot) is another big character.  I balanced those two large characters with a large Dalmatian dog. The attributes of those animals led to my choices of the other animals. All of the animal characters have obvious and not obvious abilities –  If this were a storybook as readers we would discover their abilities as the characters did within the unfolding story. Since this is a fine art piece and a single visual story panel so to speak I’m working with your imagination and your knowledge of animals/animal zoology to tell my visual story.  Just as you can’t tell by looking at a person how smart or kind they are – you can’t tell by looking at one of my animals exactly what capabilities they have you only have hints.  This is my way of reminding us that all we have of each other are hints – to really know another person we have to allow for discovery time, an unfolding of words and actions over time to reveal who we are.  We create the world, the community, together.

After I got my characters developed and lightly sketched onto my “good paper” I asked my friend and next-door neighbor Kevin to come and look. Kevin knows local sports better than I do and I didn’t want to accidentally put in some rival sports team colors.  He looked carefully and declared me good to go.

So with the animal characters now in place I put the setting – real world elements pulled from my campus observations – around the crowd but adjusted to emphasize the journey/potential community formation.  Then I spent many days working on the characters and the setting to deepen the colors and the details.

 I used watercolor, Sumi ink, color pencil and acrylic on handmade paper.  To get my lines and angles this way I used a large 20 inch triangle, some rulers and French curves. I worked in my studio on a large easel. I also worked in a bound sketchbook to develop my idea and the individual characters before transferring my idea and characters to the “good paper” on my easel.

There, now in the external world exists an art piece from my inner heart called “Heroes Journey”.  As you take it with you on your journey remember to feed the good wolves along the way.

Thank you for listening.  Are there any questions?


About “Heroes’ Journey” by Sue Clancy

I think each of us are the hero of our own lives. We’re also the author of our own stories as communities and individuals. As an artist, I practice the art of telling stories in a variety of media. I study how to craft a tale.

For example, I’m familiar with two fiction story device/situations: absurd characters in a normal world or normal characters in an absurd world.

Well, life being stranger than fiction I see another story device: a disabled character in an able-bodied world.

Many fiction stories are archetypal “journey tales”: Characters meet, they travel and encounter villains and obstacles. Along the way they form a family, a community or somehow agree to work together to meet a goal.

Attributes of each character often play a story-role. These attributes may be physical qualities, mental abilities or life experiences. Somewhere along the journey each character discovers some strength they didn’t know they had at the start.

What if one (or more) of the characters were differently abled? How would that affect the story?

As a deaf kid growing up in Oklahoma I did not see stories with deaf kids in them. Certainly not as the story hero or as a subject for fine art. I realized that many other people – differently abled, as well as different ethnicities did not see themselves in stories or fine art either.  I knew I could draw well so I began to create visual stories, graphic novel type stories, and fine artworks that featured many “different” kinds of people as characters.  I created fine artwork that depicted, somewhat realistically, people who were “different” i.e. not always white or heterosexual or male or able bodied.

Some people loved my work. Other people sent me hate mail, threatened me at grocery stores or at my art openings.

Over time I realized that the people who sent me hate mail were scared by my idea that literal diversity is a beautiful and normal part of life. They were scared by the idea of different kinds of humans sharing the same pictorial space. But these same people were okay with diversity at dog parks, or in children’s books. They were okay with the fact that not all of the dogs looked alike, they were okay that in a kid’s book there could be a cat character talking with a mouse character.

I also learned that sometimes the best way to get a complex idea – especially a potentially scary idea – across was to use metaphors and tell stories that were literary rather than literal.

As a Deaf person in a Hearing world I often have to “read between the lines” – observe body language and actions over time to understand a speaker – so I decided that I would use animal characters in a wordless fashion and leave it to my viewers to “read between the lines”.  I would continue to talk about diversity but using animals to depict the possibility of humans getting along, traveling together, enjoying life and along the way discovering that our differences are potential strengths.

That’s what I’ve done with my artwork for “Dis(covering) Ability” – used visual metaphors – I’ve titled my artwork “Heroes’ Journey”. I’m sure you can see why.


Dis(covering)ability: Equity Equality and Justice – statement by Sue Clancy

A friend of mine has a t-shirt that says “Equal rights for others does not mean less rights for you. It’s not pie.”  I want one. The shirt nicely sums up my perception of the difference between equity and equality.

Equity, the quality of being fair and impartial, is when you’re trying to fairly divide a Chocolate Cream Pie between pie-eating friends. Equality is accepting your friends as they are, an awareness that not all of your friends want the pie. Some want only the ice cream. And that is okay. They are not “lesser” friends because they don’t want the pie. There may even be – gasp – a friend who doesn’t want either pie or ice cream because they had a 4th slice of the pizza and are quite full now thank you.  That friend – if you’re trying to give both equity and equality to all – is given just as big a hug at the end of the evening as the other pie eaters.

Now that we’re full of pizza, pie or ice cream I ponder the question of how artists help support and establish equity in the community thru pairing messages and their creative works. The shortest answer I have is “we do our best”.  My longer answer is to tell you a story:  Once upon a time there was a grandfather who was asked to entertain the kids. He gathered all the kids around and said “Kids, inside every one of us are 2 wolves and they fight. One wolf is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.  The other wolf is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, charity, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, patience, goodness, gentleness, self-control and faithfulness.” Then the grandfather was silent. After a bit one of the littlest kids asked “Gran’pa, which wolf wins?” The old man replied “The one that you feed.”

We artists provide our communities with “wolf food”; stories, essays, art objects, movies, music – all kinds of creative things and experiences – and artists can help support equity/equality in our communities by being very careful about which wolf we feed. Artists are not the only people who feed wolves by the way.

What facet of my identity as an artist makes me unique? I’m content to let other people define for themselves what they think makes me unique. It’s their story about me. Personally, I don’t worry much about being “unique”. I’m just me and my job is to be the best “me” and the best artist I can be. But since I suspect the question is really fishing for what qualities or definitions are often applied to me here is a list: funny, charming, cute, silly, smart, Deaf, gay, animal-lover, artist, un-apologetic sketchbook user, dog and cat lover, reader, book-lover who practices cooking as a hobby. I think it’s important to enjoy daily life and art-creating is my way of doing that. Also, I think participating in the arts (either as a creator or a viewer) can be a way of practicing good mental health skills. Some people have called these opinions of mine “unique” and sometimes “odd”.

How can we actively create change as a student or community member in furthering an inclusive campus that welcomes people of all abilities?  Smile. Say ‘hello’. Listen. Do your best to refrain from pre-deciding about people – or pie – based only on appearances. Be willing to watch a person’s actions and words over time and then decide if being around them feeds your good wolf. Be open and curious about everyone and everything. Choose love. Figure out ways to keep love in your heart. And enthusiasm. In short – feed the good wolf.

And if you know where I can get one of those t-shirts – please tell me. Thank you.


P.S. To support this project and because I thought it would be fun I’ve created some art prints with this image. You can find the prints (and some travel mugs because I liked the pun on “Heroes Journey”) by looking for “Heroes Journey” here https://society6.com/sueclancy/prints

You can see my illustrations (spoken about in the speech) and get more information about “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit” by searching Amazon for the ebook or clicking here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/dr-bobs-emotional-repair-program-first-aid-kit

 

the cats of happiness

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, artist book, cat portrait, Cats in art

During the evening of Oct 5 at Caplan Art Designs my exhibit titled “The Fur Suit Of Happiness” opens. There are some cats in this one. Lots of dogs too… but I’m working towards a new book of cat-art….and I’ll resume that work after this exhibit opening.

Anyway, here are a few of the new cats that are framed and displayed in the exhibit:

 

The Fur Suit Of Happiness

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, artistic inspirations, cat portrait, Cats in art, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, kitchen art

Today, after delivering one piece of artwork (see the last post here), I’m packing up 24 of my art pieces to be delivered to Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com . Oct 5th, First Thursday, during the evening is the opening of my new exhibit The Fur Suit Of Happiness.

Here’s a picture of some of the artworks ready to be loaded into the car. Yes, there are both dogs and cats in this exhibit!

FurSuitOfHappiness72

Here’s the exhibit statement:

The Fur Suit Of Happiness by Clancy

What if being happy isn’t a fleeting feeling to pursue. What if happiness is something to accept? I’ve been watching dogs and cats. They seem to specialize in enjoying a patch of sunlight, a walk in the rain, a warm comfortable lap and a good dinner. They seem to accept and be happy with very small things. I can learn something from this. This exhibit is me taking notes.

Heroes Journey arrives at WSU Vancouver today

A Creative Life, Cats in art, Dogs in Art, public art, publications - publishing

In my last post (here) I was packing up a new public art piece for delivery to Washington State University Vancouver. In my post I was planning for rain. It was a good thing I did because it rained today! Very light rain as we walked the art from the car to the building where it will sit in an office until Oct 4th. Then Oct 4th the artwork will be unveiled and I’ll give a 20 minute talk. Yes. There will be pizza.

Here, below, is a photo of me, the Salmon Creek Journal Editor and another Amazing Person (a V.I.P. administrative person on campus) looking at my artwork. Sweetie took this photo. Right after this photo was taken the artwork was quickly re-wrapped so as to remain top-secret until Oct. 4.

DeliveringHeroesJourney72

 

packing public art for delivery

A Creative Life, animals in art, Cats in art, Dogs in Art, public art, publications - publishing

Soon I’m delivering art to the Washington State University Vancouver campus. I’m excited! I’m also delivering the artwork incognito. It’ll be unveiled Oct 4th so the art-content is top-secret till then so only a teaser peek allowed here.

There’s no rain in the weather forecast for delivery day but I’m not taking chances.  I’ve protected the corners of my framed artwork with some cardboard corner-pocket-protectors and slipped the whole artwork in two layers of plastic wrapping.  In the car for the short trip I’ll pad the artwork with bubble wrap and blankets.  Still there is some distance from the University’s car park to the building where the artwork is to go – and I do live in the Pacific Northwest. Rain is the norm.

Here’s me wrapping on the 2nd layer of protection and only allowing a bit of the content to show in this photo.

wrapforWSUdelivery72

Another teaser – hint : there are both dogs and cats (Clancy style) in this public art piece too.  Aren’t you shocked to hear that? Lol!

After wrapping the artwork completely nothing of the art content can be seen.

If you just can’t stand the suspense – and want more details about this project – one of my last blog posts about this project is here – and that includes photos of me at work on it.

Now to work some more on my speech for unveiling-day!

 

feline feast-y

A Creative Life, animals in art, artistic inspirations, cat portrait, Cats in art, comfort food

I love fall and winter. I love sweaters, lap blankets and hot drinks. My favorite food to cook and eat is soup. So when I created this portrait of a Persian cat I imagined him with a bowl of warm soup…

This is Pete. Who likes good things to eat.

WorkingOnPeteCat72

And when Pete has finished drying (his whiskers) I’ll start getting all of my recent cat art pieces framed for an upcoming art exhibit at Caplan Art Designs. www.caplanartdesigns.com