My exhibit Figures Of Speech went very well! Lots of people came! So many came that I hid in the kitchen watching the winery chef do her magic! Of course I talked to lots of people and gave art tours so when I say “I hid in the kitchen” that was where I chose to sit, whenever I sat, with my wife, our Fairy Goddaughter and one of our Fairy Goddaughter’s friends who we’ve now adopted. Come to one of my exhibits, stay that long and presto you’re family now!! 🤣
Anyhoo, the chef made a watermelon spinach salad that was incredibly yummy! And yes, I brought a sketchbook and pens with me…
The chef surprised and delighted me with some strawberries (one of my favorites) and some chocolate!!
The chef made apple pork burgers with a brie sauce that I started eating before remembering to take a photo.
There was very good live music too… this was what the winery said about the food and music! 👇
Art events are collaborative acts of community. I hold on to that thought whenever I’m tired as I am now prior to an art opening. I focus on the fact that while I might be a visible part of my upcoming art exhibit I am just one part: there’s the Burnt Bridge Cellars winery and all of the local people who have made the wines, there’s the chef who’ll make the dinner, the musicians who’ll play, there’s the Caplan Art Designs Gallery who organizes things and there are my friends and the public who will come and eat and drink and look at my art. Then there are extended friends who can’t come in person to the exhibit but who will read and comment and share my artwork online. This is a large community of whom I am honored to be an active part! We are all doing this fun thing together! That thought sustains me as I finish packing up the artwork for delivery on Tuesday and as I create one of the last videos and the webpage that the gallery, the winery and my friends can use to share the fun!
Here’s one of the boxes full of my artwork.
Here’s the most recent video in which I talk about what inspired my exhibit.
Anyhoo, all of this reminds me of the similarities between beetles and artists which I wrote about in a recent newsletter. To sum up the newsletter briefly: beetles work towards the health of our soil and artists work towards the health of our society.
To relax and restore myself I’ve been playing with my art supplies with no thoughts of anything beyond having fun. We got new inks from the Birmingham Pen Company and had a lot of fun playing! https://www.birminghampens.com/
This is one of the books I’m enjoying reading in the evenings.
I haven’t had much time to try new cooking methods but my rice cooker has gotten quite a yummy workout. I have tried numerous “new to me” recipes that are variations on rice plus vegetables plus herbs and spices themes. To save some time occasionally I’ve used frozen chopped vegetables and canned beans. I’ve really appreciated the toss everything into the rice cooker press the cook button and walk away aspect of using a rice cooker. That has made meals easy and has sustained us.
While my overworked rice cooker has given us some tasty meals I am eagerly looking forward to seeing what the chef makes during my opening! I’m especially looking forward to seeing everyone in person and reading your comments online! Thank you in advance!
I’m posting this blog early this week as Monday is Memorial Day. I’ll leave you with a poppy…
I hope your week is pleasant! See you next Monday!
This was the first Mother’s Day without my adopted Mom as she died last year. This month is also the month my adopted Dad died just days after sending us a box of books by mail. So it’s been rough. Also I’m very busy working on an art exhibit. So I’ve mostly been offline away from social media doing work stuff and generally taking care of myself.
Here’s a sketchbook page in which I list a few the the things I learned from Mom.
Because it felt good to do it I put a downloadable ebook version of “Pembral Forgets” on my email newsletter. It’s a book I illustrated that Steve Tubbs wrote about fall leaves, good food and a boy who forgets something important but is loved anyway. Here’s the link https://sueclancy.substack.com/p/pembral-forgets
I had dedicated my part of this book to my adopted Mom and she did get to see it!
This week we did take a books and beers break and joked that it was brought to us by the letter V – a local bookstore Vintage Books and a local brewery Victor 23.
My adopted Dad always insisted on having his beer in a glass. So in his honor we too insist on a glass!
I stayed up late several nights reading a novel “Rejoice” by Steven Erickson and would spend all day reading it if I only could. I’m absolutely loving the plot scenario of outer space beings who have made it impossible for any human on Earth to cause harm to another human …
Wow! It’s the perfect read for this difficult weekend.
Now to work on paperwork and framing for my upcoming art exhibit …
I’m emulating the bunnies in my recent paintings and artist books and taking a short social media break. I’m busy getting ready for upcoming art exhibits via Caplan Art Designs. I do plan to release a special artist book this week on my email newsletter A.M. Sketching but otherwise if I have any spare time I’m going to read books and cook something. Thank you for your support and encouragement. I’ll be back soon.
Here’s an advance peek at new paintings…
There’s a bunny taking a break in this recent artist book…
There’s a bunny taking a break in this artist book too…
I hope you’ll also have a break whenever you need one!
We had a fun visit this week with our wonderful Fairy Goddaughter, the very best Goddaughter since once upon a time! We had a delightful conversation about books and she gave us this one by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
It’s a delightful cheerful sort of poetry book. A restorative way to begin and end a day. What a beautiful gift and even better is having a wonderful Goddaughter to share life and books with!!! 💙💚
Also this week some bunny made a Mysterious Mural – https://sueclancy.substack.com/p/mysterious-mural-2 It’s a small 16 page artistbook story about the creative process that I made using fountain pens and gouache on one sheet of handmade paper for the encouragement in it. Details at the link above.
Knowing how you feel, what you think and being able to talk clearly about it is an important skill to cultivate. This is true for everyone and especially true for anyone trying to do anything creative.
Creativity comes from a regular habit of observing the world and listening to yourself to your own thoughts and feelings. Creativity comes from trusting your own voice. Creativity comes from cultivating your attention, deepening the depths of your thoughts and playing with the possibilities there. Creativity, even humanity itself, relies upon individuals having an active inner life.
Basically this week I’ve been thinking a lot about how it’s helpful for mental health’s sake, to somehow make time everyday- at least 5 minutes- to check in with your five senses, to explore your own thoughts and have therapeutic conversations with yourself. Pens and paper are so useful for such inner conversations. My friend Neera also discusses this in her email newsletter and kindly mentioned me and my morning sketchbook efforts!
Speaking of my sketchbook efforts: This week on my sketchbook newsletter I finished sharing my entire book “C” and will begin sharing sketchbooks D and E soon.
I’m enjoying publishing my sketchbooks sequentially, warts and all, in a Substack email format – A.M. Sketching. I see it as a creative art project. I can share digitally whatever I’ve created in real life in a reader supported way – via both paid subscribers and free subscribers. The Substack format enables me to share my creations directly in an ebook or other downloadable format on a regular basis with people who have said (by subscribing) that they want to see my stuff. This way of publishing feels more sustainable both environmentally and creatively. Substack also feels like a more sane, humane platform for authors and artists and readers …fewer trolls… so far.
Anyhoo, the creative arc for creating a one of a kind artist book, printed book editions, fabric design productions and fine art prints can take multiple weeks or months of time. (And can be expensive to produce.) To create a one person fine art exhibit – 20 or more paintings in a themed group – can take a year. You see evidence of these long creative arcs here in this blog. So it’s nice to have my email newsletter that goes a bit faster and the dollars and support I get there gives me the encouragement I need to sustain my longer arcs. The support I get here on WordPress is valuable too – and I heartily thank you for it – yet I’ve never figured out, successfully, how to share downloadables here on WordPress. So I do my actual books and downloads on Substack where it’s easy. On the other hand WordPress doesn’t have word count limits as Substack does so here on my blog I can write in more depth about my creative life and why I created something. But then again WordPress can be buggy, cumbersome, with gremlins… Some pros and cons to both publishing platforms. The main thing I’m discovering is that it’s less expensive for me to share my actual work via an email newsletter on Substack and as a result of both its ease of use and less expense I’m able to share more of my art – and that itself feeds my soul!
And on my Substack newsletter I shared a Rabbit… more about that in a second…
To be healthy mentally we all need to regularly see beauty, we need gentle humor, we need to see patterns in our world and even to attempt to make them with our own hands.
Humans need rhythms as I’ve mentioned in recent blog posts. We simply, physically, need times when we can wander slowly, aimlessly and hear ourselves feel and think. Throughout our lives in order to have satisfied minds we need to repeatedly test what we think we know and what we think we like. Reading novels, writing and doodling are easy ways to give ourselves time to mentally wander and play.
And yes sometimes finding the time to mentally wander feels impossible in these days of 24-7 information onslaught, when our days seem so full of activities that it’s difficult to find moments of quiet respite … While thinking about that I drew in my sketchbook a pig with wings, hovering in the quiet air doodling…
That sketch led to my finished painting titled “When Pigs Fly”. It’s a tall skinny size, 18 inches tall by 8 inches wide. Eventually (the long arc of creativity again) it will be in fine art exhibits via Caplan Art Designs later this year.
Even though it’s hard sometimes to wrangle time for them the repeatable motions like walking and reading and doodling are reliably accessible, more accessible than a vacation cabin in the woods. And besides vacations we need regular mundane ways we can enable ourselves to hear ourselves think. This physical brain fact about the value of quiet and repeated motions as a self-care technique is related to why adult coloring books are a “thing” – coloring is another rhythmic activity that gives us space to calm and connect to ourselves.
Toward that notion this week I hand drew a coloring page and set up my artwork so that it can be downloaded and printed via my email newsletter. Alongside the coloring page I told a personal story… here’s where the Rabbit mentioned earlier comes in…
Teaser: As a deaf kid I had “Easter Bassets” from my mishearing of the word basket. My coloring book drawing in my newsletter was inspired by my Easter basset memory… you can download my drawing page to do coloring yourself or to read my personal story. Here’s the link: https://sueclancy.substack.com/p/leggs-easter-bassets-and-rabbits
Yes, I grew up and learned about the “k” language sounds … but I still like to think of the Basset Hound as the delivery system for treats this time of year … the rabbits may have done the egg decorating but the eggs got to you via the hounds !!
Now you know!
Here’s what the coloring page looks like. Again the actual download is here.
Also in the same Substack newsletter is a link for a book I wrote and illustrated for Storyberries titled “This Rabbit” – its about rabbits liking things – and as I mentioned knowing what you like is a skill to cultivate all of your life. (Watch out! More rabbits!)
I hope you can see how I’m experimenting with using both the Substack and WordPress platforms- more to the point I hope you’re enjoying what you see from me in both places!
Speaking of enjoying things – here is a photo of books I particularly enjoyed this week: one is a list of things the author Barbara Kipfer likes. I enjoy trying some of her preferences that are new to me. I also enjoy the reminders of things I’ve enjoyed in the past. The book on Zentangles is a wonderfully relaxing doodle prompts book.
A pleasant digression: A fun thing happened when we were at the Powell’s bookstore on Hawthorne street in Portland this week. In the poetry section where I was browsing was another adult, also browsing. With that adult was a kid sitting on the floor at their adult’s feet. The kid, maybe 10 or 11 years old, was looking, with a furrowed brow, at 8 books from a series, looking from one book to another in fairly rapid succession. After a bit of that activity the adult leaned down, picked up one of the books, looked at the price tag then at the array of 8 books and said “Let’s get them all.” The kid’s jaw dropped. “Really?” “Yes!” Said the adult. “Ooooh!!” breathed the kid scooping up the 8 books and hugging them. Big grin from the adult hero of the day.
Below are the used books we hugged home ourselves. Bread and poetry in our future! Both bread making and short poetry involve patterns and rhythms…
Here’s a novel I’m currently reading. It’s just relaxing and fun.
The text below was on a bookmark found in one of the used books we bought …it made me laugh.
I hope your week is has as many pleasing patterns and rhythms as possible.
See you next Monday.
P.S. if you’re curious about the books mentioned in this post you can find them here on Bookshop.org which benefits small independent bookstores.
In my last post I talked about creating rhythms and patterns. This week I created rhythmic art based on my real life. For example I saw a plant skeleton which inspired part of an artist book I made and shared earlier this week on my email newsletter (there’s a video flip-through on my newsletter). In my book titled “Mysterious Mural #1” I was thinking of the power of art, of books and of coffee… in my whimsical way of course. But the book contains a story sequence around a large pattern inspired by the plant. Here’s the plant…
Here’s a look at part of Mysterious Mural #1 so you can see the sortof resemblance to the plant above. More details on my email newsletter post here.
It probably won’t surprise you that my wife and I went to Beaches, a local restaurant, to attend, (along with half of Vancouver! ❤) the fundraiser for the local library system Ft Vancouver Regional Libraries. At the restaurant Beaches we sat by big windows looking out over the Columbia river watching the weather changing as we looked. We also saw seals leaping and geese swimming…
As you can see when we got our food and drinks it was bright and sunny.
Then the light changed and the color of the river changed… I find it endlessly fascinating how light affects the perception of colors.
Later we visited the main library downtown. It’s a 5 story building occupying a city block. Five glorious floors of public library goodness! There’s a sculpture garden on the walkway to the front doors. The top floor has a balcony with a garden and seating areas for reading outside but you can’t see that from the ground.
One whole floor, the 5th floor, is devoted to fiction and it’s the floor that has the outdoor balcony. Here’s a view from inside the fiction floor.
Here’s a view from the 5th floor balcony. If the day were clear and sunny this view would show snowy mountains in the distance. Even on a cloudy rainy day I think the view is pretty.
I went to the library in search of particular titles that were referenced in other books I’ve been reading. Of course I didn’t “stick to the list”. 🤣 Here’s what I came home with. My wife has her own stack!
Our library day was so pleasant that on another day I created a pictorial diary page about our pleasant day – which I shared on another email newsletter this week too.
I used fountain pen and a water brush in one of my larger sketchbooks. I find the ink wash technique an easy, no fuss, quick way to get things documented. And yes, I selectively edited when mentioning the weather and documented only the sunny parts of the day. I enjoy the rain too but for my pattern I needed to edit and simplify in order to explore my pleasant feelings within my 20 panel grid format. I also simplified the flower garden we saw and what we had for lunch. The story format, what is included and what is left out of a story are rather arbitrary artistic choices of the moment…another day I might’ve made different ones… anyhoo I think the pleasure of the day still comes through. 🤞
I enjoyed the challenge of making a story sequence that is also an overall rhythmic pattern. I’m thinking I might try to make this sequence into a fabric design. 🤔
I’m enjoying playing artistically with my daily rhythms, patterns, events and lists of pleasant things. It’s a fun way to combine life and art in soothing ways. It’s my way of practicing the idea in this story I illustrated in Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit.
I hope your upcoming week is as pleasant as it can possibly be! See you next Monday.
One pig leads to another it seems. On my email newsletter I shared a flying pig and what inspired it. The finished painting was called “The Plot”.
That in turn inspired another pig with wings to appear in my sketchbook.
Which then became a painting titled “Higgledy-Piggledy” which I also shared in my email newsletter along with other things not mentioned here because I’m trying to not repeat myself too much across my social media, but … this is what’s going on in my world.
This is now my 20th #childrensbook !! (There’s a search bar on Storyberries.com where you can type Sue Clancy to see all 20 of my books!!)
In case you missed my video flip-through…
Over on my email newsletter I had shared my original idea book notes in my poetry sketchbook… but so you don’t have to click away here it is below. My sketchbook is where everything begins…
We went out for pastries and coffee earlier this week before the snow descended. While there were muffins (like in my Higgledy-Piggledy painting above) I opted for a croissant. I thought about drawing these delectable morsels but instead of drawing I just enjoyed eating.
In an earlier post I shared about getting a set of Haikubes … well, this was the playful poem absurdity that happened this week…
…followed by a doodlebug dancing. Instead of being a “violet grace” color though the bug ended up grey blue-green with a purple shadow. 🤷♀️
Reading about creativity and how it works neurologically is fascinating to me. Creativity is what creative people do – whether the artistic method used for expression is writing, drawing, music or any of the other arts – and regardless of the mood or topic expressed. Much like heating food is what a kitchen stove does – whether the stove is used to boil, bake, saute or in any way apply heat to a soup, a sandwich or a casserole.
Anyway, hope your week is full of grace and playful creativity in whatever colors or flavors.
Needless to say I’ve been carefully balancing my time between work on the commission for Caplan Art Designs and time for rest and playing towards the art exhibits scheduled for this year. The commission has a firm deadline and I’m steadily on schedule. In order to stay on schedule I’ve let go of much of my social media. If I haven’t responded to you this is why. Anyway, around the commission priority comes work towards a new painting series.
As I mentioned last week extra paint from the commission gets used on another painting in progress. This way I don’t get distracted from the commission and am still making progress towards future exhibits. Last week I was working on this painting and this week I finished it.
As I mentioned on my recent email newsletter I’ve been reading and thinking about time. Specifically time and creativity. Human brains simply need time in order to put ideas together. Here’s some of what I’ve been reading. (Details about the books are available here https://bookshop.org/shop/clancy)
Yes, despite being busy I’m still carefully making time to read every day. It’s how I maintain my creative focus, enthusiasm and fun. Same with my sketchbook work which I share via my email newsletter.
A book – whether a library book or a personal notebook/sketchbook – occupies time in uniquely personal ways. The reader moves through time and space as they page through a book at their own pace and magically whole worlds, memories and ideas are built letter by letter, word by word, page by page in the readers mind!
As I say on another page of my website the definition of an “artist book” is “… a book conceived as an art object. It reveals a story over time and space using a combination of content and art techniques in a way that directly involves the viewers participation. “
Books and artwork both use time – time itself – as a creative technique!!! These thoughts about time and the book format also lead me to thinking more about handwriting, hand created art, handmade books and the value of the handmade in this Artificial Intelligence, rush rush, hurry hurry, often prefabricated and canned world. Can both handmade paintings, handmade books and handwriting be analogous to homemade cooking? What does it mean to be real? To be authentic? To be human? To be a time bound being that exists in space?
There is no one grand answer to any of these questions (that would be too hedgehog-y – in reference to the book “The Hedgehog and the Fox” by Isaiah Berlin) but all of this is in my mind as I work. You’ll see some evidence of my musings on these topics in the upcoming illustrated short story about an alien in outer space on my email newsletter…🤣… but I digress.
I hope you too are being mindful of your time this week. It’s a precious resource. Thank you for sharing time with me. See you next Monday.
This week has definitely been caffeinated. My art commission for Caplan Art Designs is buzzing nicely. The Bainbridge Island Art Museum sent news this week that my book Coffee Beans Plus H2O is included in an exhibit catalogue “Open Sesame” that will come out in March 2023!
Lots of creative things are percolating! Here’s a video look at my book Coffee Beans Plus H2O.
In last Monday’s post I shared a pig painting I began with the excess blue paint I had as a result of the still in progress secret art commission. Well, here’s progress on the pig painting. The week has been very busy so I’m glad to have this much done on a new painting.
I still make many of my artist books from scratch – hand sewing the bindings, paper folding and all. Coffee Beans Plus H2O is one example. Patchwork Poems is another. But some time ago I got some very valuable advice from Laura Russell at the 23 Sandy Gallery (an artist book gallery I work with). Laura encouraged me to focus on my book content, my stories and illustrations, as not so much on creating complicated book bindings. So nowadays I buy and use well-constructed blank books to write and draw in. Many of the books I buy have sewn bindings and will lay flat while in use. Quality of paper and the ability to lay flat are attributes I seek in my blank books.
There’s a locally owned art supply store, not far from where I live, Columbia Art and Drafting, that regularly has good quality sketchbooks in their “buy one get one free” section. I like to go through this section like a vacuum cleaner, hoovering up sketchbooks!! 🤣
Here’s what I got: six 3 x 5 inch hardcover sketchbooks for pen and ink work, two 5.5 x 8.5 inch hardcover sketchbooks for heavy watercolor and gouache work, two 6 x 9 inch hardcover books and four 8.5 x 11 inch hardcover books all of which will accept ink, color pencil and light watercolor and gouache work! When we got home from the art supply store I started right away on a drawing in one of the new blank books… which will get shared on my email newsletter later this week and I will continue sharing as time goes.
Here’s a limerick I wrote and illustrated about blank books.