On giving art demonstrations

A Creative Life, art techniques, Authors, books, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, published art, words and pictures

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?

 

 

business of art book review

A Creative Life, Authors, books, business of art, Sustainable creativity

Long ago, in what seems now like a galaxy far away, I organized a business of art seminar series called the Artist Survival Kit.  It was part of my work on the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s board. I also wrote a quarterly column on business of art topics for the magazine Art Focus Oklahoma. Part of my work included reading and reviewing published books about the business of being an artist.

Then I “retired” from doing all that and went on with my life as a fine artist and author/illustrator. Of course I continued to regularly read books on business topics.

Warp-speed ahead to the Pacific Northwest: when any two local artists get together we talk shop – creativity and business stuff – which includes discussions about books we’re reading. And the more-abundant bookshops and libraries here have impressive selections of business-of-art books sitting right there on a shelf!  (Imagine that!?!) Which brings me to this book I just finished titled “Real Artists Don’t Starve” by Jeff Goins. (and yes, that’s my coffee cup in the photo)

DSC_0041

My thoughts about “Real Artist’s Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins are below in random order:

It’s worth a read no matter where you are in your art career and worth keeping on your studio shelves for that moment when you need an “I can do this” boost.

I love the easy-to-read quality to the writing, how he clearly explains concepts about business in ways that don’t send your creative self whimpering into a corner.

I love it that he emphasizes thinking of yourself as an entrepreneur. Particularly on page 147 where he writes “Some artists tend to think making money is either a system you sell out to or something to be avoided altogether. But in reality, it’s neither. If you don’t make money, you won’t have any art to make. We must seek to better understand the business of being an artist. Ignoring this reality is the fastest route to stop creating all together. To be an artist is to be an entrepreneur. We must learn to embrace this tension and the beauty that comes from it.”

Yep – that sums up exactly what I tried to teach all those years ago in Oklahoma. But I think Jeff does a much better job of explaining things than I did – pictures being my preferred medium to words-in-a-row. Jeff Goins is much better at the words-in-a-row.  So I’m very glad he wrote this book and I’m glad to recommend it.  I’m also grateful that I now live in a place, in an artistic scene, where it was possible to  “happen on” to it.

As Jeff Goins writes on page 91 “As artists, we want to be where we feel understood. We want to live in places where our work and way of life are encouraged.”

After reading this book I certainly feel encouraged! Now I’m going to go create something.

(Oh, by the way, I sometimes post tid-bits about art related books on my Goodreads page…)

animals in my art

A Creative Life, animals in art, art commissions, art gallery, art techniques, artistic inspirations, Authors, psychogeography, visual story

Last evening I was looking up something in a book called “Drawing Masterclass” and I read this (again): “Animals as subject matter for the visual arts have a longer history than any other subject. The first images drawn by the human race depicted the animals that were hunted for survival [cave paintings]…. There is no period in art when animals have not played a major role.”

In my fine art animals become characters; my creative process is much like the way a novelist creates a character, a compilation of authorial thoughts and observations  – a “collage” of them you might say – merged into one person/character within their story. I create anthropomorphic animal characters because I see humans as part of the natural world and the natural world as part of humanity.  I’m inspired by both nature and culture.

So when I do animal portraits, people are there too.  When I do a portrait of a particular dog, for example, a particular person (someone, or several someone’s I saw in real life) is also reflected.  It becomes a visual story of that animal and that person. I define “story” as a plot where there is some surprise. The surprise in one of my visual stories might be the realization of how a human can be like a dachshund.

For example in my artwork titled “Happy Hour” (see image below) inside I sometimes feel happy and excited like my dachshund Rusty looks when he is bouncing around wagging his tail and dancing for his supper. (Places and objects enter in to my visual story creation too but that’s another discussion.)

My gallery agents often explain to clients that I create (as special commissions) portraits of pets as their pet owners; an imaginative merging of pet and person.  And that’s true.

Here, so you can see what I’m talking about, are some of my animal portraits currently available at either Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com and at Joseph Gierek Fine Art www.gierek.com  – please contact each gallery for more details.

loving dead feminists

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques, artist book, artistic inspirations, Authors, books, graphic narrative, visual story, words and pictures

Recently I took some of my artist books to the 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland Oregon. While I was there I saw the “Dead Feminists” exhibit by Jessica Spring and Chandler O’Leary.  I’m talking exquisite hand drawn lettering, illustrations and printmaking employed as a way of celebrating women!  And this exhibit also exists in a book titled Dead Feminists: Historical Heroines in Living Color published by Sasquatch Books.

Naturally I bought a copy.

deadfeminists72

My copy of Dead Feminists – you can get your own here: http://www.deadfeminists.com/

The book – which you can purchase via their website  http://www.deadfeminists.com/ and probably by book-sellers where-ever – is a wonderful nesting, interlocking set of artistic ideas.  There’s the historical stuff about women (those dead feminists) who have done exceptional work towards advancing women’s rights. There’s the stuff about how artist’s Spring and Chandler worked to create the lettering, illustrations and the print production. Then there’s the stuff about what non-profit organizations (often women’s orgs) benefited from the sales of Spring and Chandler’s artwork.

It’s a beautiful depiction of how an artist (and a woman in whatever profession) can do her best work and benefit her community both immediately and in the future.

The book is a powerful reminder that we are each an essential contributor to life as we know it – or hope to know it.

Thank you Jessica Spring and Chandler O’Leary for your wonderful work! And thank you 23 Sandy Gallery for sharing it!

Now that I’ve finished reading this book I’ll go fetch my socks from where-ever they went when they were blown off.

the universal drawer

A Creative Life, Authors, illustration, visual story, words and pictures

Here’s my recent effort at flash fiction – with illustrations by me of course.

The Universal Drawer

By Sue Clancy

“Papadopodada” said Nanotzee, said to an adult Alienatzoa who was holding a copy of The Universal times in his four hands. “Papadopodada!” Nanotzee insisted.

“Hmmm?” grunted the adult voice from behind The Times and far far away.

“Papadopodada… where did you get this?”  Nanotzee was looking at the Milky Way Galaxy which lay in chest of drawers.

Nanotzee was doing what all young Alienatzoa do – go through their adults private drawers asking personal questions.

(If you could hear them talking their words would sound a lot like this: “Gooartohozee.  Nanhumota Behoobustic”  and so forth, hard for us Earthlings to understand.)

A corner of The Times folded down and one of 3 eyes peered over it. “Oh. My Papadopodada gave that Universe to me for care and feeding when I was about your age. He thought it would be good for me to take responsibility” said the voice behind The Times.

Those words didn’t make much sense to Nanotzee who pulled the drawer all the way out, carried it and set it on a table carefully.  After looking with three eyes a while, reading the labels and admiring the colors, Nanotzee got out the Spectacularizer.  The Spectacularizer makes things appear larger than they really are. A Spectacularizer looks a lot like this.

illustration of a "Spectacularizer" for a story called "The Universal Drawer" by Sue Clancy

illustration of a “Spectacularizer” for a story called “The Universal Drawer” by Sue Clancy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Wowweezowee!” exclaimed Nanotzee peering through the three eye pieces and adjusting the Spectacularizer’s knobs, buttons and lenses, making the wonderful even more spectacular.

Eventually Nanotzee said “Papadopodada…one rock, labeled Earth, has a lot of little beings all over it. Is that normal?“  A few nanoseconds later Nanotzee added “And why is your universe so big? Mine is only half this size.”

The Times folded in half.  All three of the adult Alienatzoa’s eyes appeared above the fold. “Well… it’s all a matter of perspective.”

(What the adult Alienatzoa really said was “Garbledee garbledum harumphado.”  But that speech took several light years to reach Earth’s atmosphere and it is likely that much was lost in translation.)

Here below is the only known image of an Alienatzoa:

illustration for "The Universal Drawer" a flash fiction story by Sue Clancy

illustration for “The Universal Drawer” a flash fiction story by Sue Clancy

 

illustrated pie guy

A Creative Life, Authors, illustration, poetry, words and pictures

Creating an illustrated poem today…

Such A Nice Guy (poem and illustration by Sue Clancy)

Such A Nice Guy (poem and illustration by Sue Clancy)

Here’s the text all typed out:

Such a nice guy

by Sue Clancy

Hey silly Sally,

You gonna eat that pie?

Or you gonna sit

with your head in the sky?

You better be careful

with your head so high

that a bird don’t hit your nose

and not be able to fly.

He might fall

into your blueberry pie.

So I’ll do you a favor and eat that quick

’cause I’m such a nice guy.

watery sketchbook page

A Creative Life, Authors, sketchbook, words and pictures

Draw every day even if it’s only a glass of water. – Sue Clancy

Today’s sketchbook page and an attempt to remember a quote by a famous writer/author I recently heard/read somewhere:

Sue Clancy's sketchbook page with a drawing of a glass of water and a small puddle on the table. Plus some ruminations on writing/famous author's...

Sue Clancy’s sketchbook page with a drawing of a glass of water and a small puddle on the table. Plus some ruminations on writing/famous author’s…

pug mindfulness sketchbook page

A Creative Life, animals in art, Authors, books, fine art, sketchbook, words and pictures

I’ve been reading “Looking at Mindfulness” by Christophe Andre – and on my walks seeing and meeting Pugs. I’ve also had several conversations with people about marbles; the childhood game, the glass art techniques, keeping ones mental (ahem) marbles. Here’s my sketchbook page with some thoughts that are likely to become a fine art piece.

Sue Clancy's sketchbook page - with a drawing of a Pug dog and quotes about mindfulness

Sue Clancy’s sketchbook page – with a drawing of a Pug dog and quotes about mindfulness

 

poem plus illustration

A Creative Life, animals in art, Authors, illustration, poetry, visual story, words and pictures, writing
cut handmade paper illustration for a poem titled "What J. J. Said" by Sue Clancy  (art and words both are by Sue)

cut handmade paper illustration for a poem titled “What J. J. Said” by Sue Clancy (art and words both are by Sue)

What J.J. Said

By Sue Clancy

 

John Jerry Adler

climbed up, up, up

a very tall ladder

and whispered

in the ear of a giraffe

“you matter”

animals in art

A Creative Life, animals in art, Authors, fine art, food for thought, visual story, words and pictures

I have a gazillion-trillion reasons why I depict animals in my artwork and why I do it the way I do it. These two articles; one titled “Thinking With Animals” and the other titled “Why look at Animals?” lists a few of the issues often within my thoughts. In short within my artwork I contemplate the ways humans think in animal metaphors and our efforts at self-transcendence – and how to go on and living well with all the beings on our planet.

Why I do visual stories is another topic yet one that is intimately intertwined with why I depict animals in art and here is a wonderful article on storytelling titled “Susan Sontag on Storytelling, what it means to be a moral human being and her advice to writers”.

Possibly best of all, and what got me started writing this blog post, is this article titled “Neil Gaiman on how stories last”  – In that article at one point Gaiman says “Pictures, I think, may have been a way of transmitting stories.”

Because the Internet likes images I’m including one of my artworks that has – gasp! – animals in it.

Soup Moon by Sue Clancy (this piece is currently at www.caplanartdesigns.com)

Soup Moon by Sue Clancy (this piece is currently at www.caplanartdesigns.com)

Here are the full article links:

https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/04/16/thinking-with-animals-lorainne-daston-gregg-mitman/

https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/04/01/why-look-at-animals-john-berger-about-looking/

https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/03/30/susan-sontag-writing-storytelling-at-the-same-time/

https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/06/16/neil-gaiman-how-stories-last/?utm_content=buffer76d87&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer