Coffee and blank books

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art supplies, artist book, artistic inspirations, author illustrator, books, creative thinking, drawing as thinking, fine art, Patchwork Poems, sketchbook, words and pictures, writing and illustrating

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.

The portfolio page on my website has more photos and info.

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.

Here’s a delightful article about journaling and what’s good about keeping a journal.

And Sketchbook Skool is fun too – lots of videos with drawings in action.

Hope your blank books will soon contain your very own delights! See you next Monday or so.

Mundane magic – aka joy breaks

A Creative Life, art commission, art gallery, artistic inspirations, books, creative thinking, fine art, life of the mind, mental health, poetry, Sustainable creativity, whimsical art, words and pictures

A friend asked how I maintain creativity while doing a commission. My reply: a schedule and lots of joy breaks. I deliberately make the mundane magical. Especially via joy breaks.

Joy breaks, also called “Joy Snacks“, is purposefully taking time to recognize and savor small pleasures. Think of the old fashioned coffee breaks office workers were allowed within a work day but for me now it’s a scheduled “check in” with whatever seems pleasant to me at regular intervals throughout a day. It’s allowing myself to fully feel the pleasure I feel however small the feeling may be. I add a corollary that it’s also avoiding killjoy thoughts – including those U.S. Southern style self depreciating cynical put downs of my own pleasures. It’s taking time to make note of a memorable moment in my journal/sketchbook each day. Yes, notes of things I’m grateful for but also just things I enjoyed and the surprising things that pleasantly caught my attention during the day. It’s also taking a moment to maintain awareness of what is within my control and what isn’t – a crucial thing to remember during creative deadlines – while allowing myself to relax and let go of some things in the Stoic philosophical manner.

In a technical/physical sense while doing an art commission (my current one is for the Caplan Art Designs Gallery) there are times I need to wait for parts of the commission to dry before doing other parts. There are also times when I have extra paint that I mixed for the commission leftover. So part of the mundane creativity task is to monitor the commission as it dries – to stay on task – and yet also use up any excess paint. This week I did a painting of a pig titled “Red Eye Gravy Train”… (details of the painting, the related limerick and a view of my sketchbook is on my Substack  https://sueclancy.substack.com/p/early-starts )

Red Eye Gravy Train by Clancy

I had mixed a pink color for my commission and had a wee bit leftover so I added a bit more of the white and used it on “Red Eye Gravy Train”.

During another days work on my commission I was mixing a particular shade of light blue and the tube of blue suddenly smooged out too much color in a gush. So I had a huge amount of leftover blue color to deal with.

So I consulted my sketchbook for ideas and with a watercolor pencil quickly drew a design and filled in with the extra blue paint (and the wee bit extra green too).

Even after painting that there was still extra blue paint left so I covered two boards edge to edge with the blue till the paint was used up. No clue at this point how I’ll use these new blue boards…but that’s what creative thinking is for!

Since I’ve been so busy working we’ve had lots of beans and rice for our lunches. I have a keeper of my precooked magic beans in the fridge so I toss a scoop or two in on top of the rice in my “push here dummy” rice cooker, to quote my adopted Mom’s phrase for simple kitchen appliances.

I add spices, freshly chopped onions and other vegetables to vary the dishes from meal to meal, press the cook button and head back to the studio to work some more.

Even though these beans and rice bowls I make are simple and cooked in a busy-artist-hands-free-cooking way they still feel like homemade comfort food. (My beans and grains bowl recipe/strategy can be found in my kitchen sketchbook “Favorites So Far“)

I like handwritten works, homemade food and just about anything made by hand. So I  enjoyed this post by Austin Kleon about how AI (and algorithms) can’t kill anything worth keeping.

And I admit to getting a joy snack style chuckle from this article about today’s teenagers going luddite and ditching social media and smartphones in favor of handmade real life!

The additional poetry book title by Andrea Gibson, the new favorite poet I wrote about last post arrived this week! I love it that it looks handwritten. I know it’s a font…but I like the look. Gibson’s words feel so true to my own experiences and the semi-handwritten hand illustrated look adds a sense of comradeship for me.

Speaking of handwritten poetry… I read a fun article about a park ranger who got creative and made a free little library style kiosk for poetry in the park!

One of the most delightful joy breaks was this video of what happened when a girl gave a street musician a coin.

And I hope today’s post itself gave you a small joy break. Remember to take breaks and notice pleasant things. See you next Monday or thereabouts.

Painting, poetry, pasta, pretty cups and books

A Creative Life, art commission, art gallery, artistic inspirations, books, creative thinking, drawing as thinking, fine art, Fine Art Commission, mundane and magical moments, poetry, sketchbook, small things, words and pictures

I’m very busy working on a top secret painting commission for Caplan Art Designs. So instead of talking about that – look! Poetry! Pasta! Pretty cups! Books!

Poetry: Two books of Andrea Gibson‘s poetry came by mail from one of my local bookstores! Gibson is my latest favorite poet.

Here’s one of Gibson’s poems on page 32 of You Better Be Lightning.

Pasta: My wife got a mixer with the pasta attachments for Christmas! So we’ve been making pasta together! She makes the pasta from scratch while I make the sauce.

Here she’s making large elbow noodles.

I made a butter and parsley sauce for our first pasta attempt so we could primarily taste the homemade noodles. Yum!! Homemade noodles really are worth the effort for the flavor!!

Pretty cups: Recently we’ve been to a few special events with dear friends. There were pretty cups at each occasion. Having recently made a calendar of coffee cups perhaps I was primed to notice them. Even so the cups, and my awareness of them, added a soupecon of extra special to the time with friends.

Here’s a related-to-cup-thoughts page from my sketchbook.

Books: I finished reading this book about books and oh my! What a marvelous invention writing things down and storing them in a book format has been for us humans! And how easy it is to stand on the shoulders of giants simply by reading.

I enjoyed this video about why we should read more. This article about how reading is itself a creative act. And this article about how creativity is actually a practice of resiliency.

So here’s a photo of one of the books I’m reading now in addition to Andrea Gibson’s poetry, a book of short stories and a book of essays.

Hope your week contains good books in it. I’ll see you next Monday or thereabouts.

Adventures in the dining room: holiday art and Jolabokaflod books

A Creative Life, art supplies, art techniques, artist book, artistic inspirations, books, greeting cards, poetry, whimsical art, words and pictures, writing and illustrating

So as to not spoil holiday surprises I’m sharing the advent calendar adventures on my social media, including this blog, and celebrating Jolabokaflod. A friend gave us an advent calendar of Arteza art supplies – which has been lots of fun to open! Even more fun is discovering a new source for good quality art supplies!

I designed a few projects my wife and I could do together. Here’s the first one.

I made triangle tree shapes.

My wife did the tree ornaments.

And then she did the stars on the tree tops.

I did the shadows and hint of snowy landscape.

Then I did red wrapped gift box shapes.

And my wife did the gold bows on the gifts.

Another joint project is our gift book to be given away for Jolabokaflod aka holiday book flood. This gift will be given Dec 23rd on my email newsletter so please be sure you’re subscribed! You can give a subscription to someone else too.

Here’s the Jolabokaflod poem I wrote and recorded – in case you missed it.

Yes, were getting very serious about Jolabokaflod now and here’s how it goes at our house!

And here’s some of the books that have come by mail from 3 of our local independent bookstores!!

Happy Jolabokaflod to everyone! Happy Holidays too!!

P.S. please make sure you’re subscribed to my email newsletter so you can get your gift ebook on Dec 23rd!!

Author of the month because of a cow fart and other books

A Creative Life, Alphapets Too, art gallery, art prints, art supplies, artist book, artistic inspirations, author illustrator, books, cat portrait, dog portrait, drawing as thinking, humor in art, illustrated recipe, Kim Cooks Sue Draws, published art, recipe illustration, sketchbook, Storyberries, words and pictures, writing and illustrating

Turns out I’m author of the month at Storyberries! Wahoo! And all because of a farting cow and a bird who says “F”!! Actually it’s thanks to my readers!! And thanks to Storyberries itself of course!

Here’s a link to the cow on Storyberries

https://www.storyberries.com/bedtime-stories-how-the-cow-went-over-the-moon-sue-clancy-wordless-no-words-picture-books/

The printed book is available via the Storyberries bookstore or via mail from this link https://www.blurb.com/user/sueclancy

It’s also available in person at the Aurora Gallery

BTW besides the cow with digestive issues there’s a forgetful bird in the same printed book.

Another popular book on Storyberries is Alphapets Too at over 66,000 readers!

My pet portraits as holiday gifts project is still happening. Another person got an art print of their dogs portrait for themselves and generously let me share about it! Here’s the dog…

…below is the finished art …

…and here’s a link to the art print. (From that link my other art prints and etc can be found)

https://society6.com/product/jake7757579_print?sku=s6-25878334p4a1v45

The cookbook I illustrated for Chef Kim Mahan is featured in the Blurb holiday gift guide!!!

https://www.blurb.com/gift-guide

I love the word “wacky” as a description!! 🤣🤣

BTW: The window for getting prints or books mailed from my Society 6 or Blurb shops and having them arrive in time for the holidays is narrowing. Same too with my Zazzle shop. This next week I’ll be finishing up portraits for pickup at the various Galleries and I’ll be talking on social media about my books and cards being there for last minute gifts too.

It may be hard to tell from my recent posts, the gifting season and all that entails, but I think of art making as much more than a product to buy – it’s also a mental health service to oneself, to ones family or friends and to the community. I’m looking forward to creating some things during these holidays that will fit this whimsical lighthearted just for fun category.

The advent calendar of art supplies is still being unboxed on my social media. Soon I’ll begin using these supplies in a project…which I’ll show too.

Here’s a summary of what’s been unboxed so far…

Speaking of art supplies and projects: in past years my holiday pet portraits project has been 60/40 dogs/cats or vice versa. Some years it’s been 50/50. So far this year I haven’t done a single cat portrait. All dogs. I’ve lost count but I think I’ve done about 14 dog portraits and it’s still mid December. When the art print and artist book delivery windows narrow sometimes the get-it-in-person at the Gallery aspect increases. Sometimes not.

Anyhoo, I drew a cat in my sketchbook just to keep in cat-drawing practice.

I’ve also been enjoying doing sketchbook pages that include windows, landscapes, coffee cups and books… besides the animals…just to switch things up and relax. Subsequently that means new things are brewing over on my email newsletter. Please subscribe if you haven’t already because Jolabokaflod is coming and I can give my subscribers gifts there more easily than I can here… I won’t say more lest I spoil the surprise.

If you’re not familiar with Jolabokaflod here’s a link. And here’s our way of celebrating written out in my sketchbook.

Happy art and book buying season!! Thank you all for the gift you give me of letting me share my art and life with you!

BTW Here’s a wonderful book list I found of 99 children’s books!

And it’s sweater wearing season at last!

See you next Monday!

Books, games, art supplies and more dogs

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art prints, artist book, artistic inspirations, books, creative thinking, dog portrait, fine art, games in art, gift books, Gifts, Patchwork Poems, pet portraits, Sustainable creativity

I’m borrowing a concept: I create an original one-of-a-kind artist book and then make limited edition reproductions of that book. Just like a fine art painter might make art prints from a painting. Only my art reproductions are books! Anyway my artist books, both the original handmade books and the limited edition reproductions of the originals are currently at the Aurora Gallery  www.auroragalleryonline.com

Patchwork Poems is also available by mail via this link https://www.blurb.com/b/11318282-patchwork-poems

Here below is a video look… https://youtube.com/shorts/-7MjaMkkj5A?feature=share

The Aurora Gallery has Patchwork Poems and 14 of my other artist books on a shelf!

Below is a fun video by Caplan Art Designs about my 3d sculpture “Dogs On The Block”!! On Dec 1 from 6 to 8 there was a reception at the Caplan Art Designs Portland gallery – and my work found a new home! The Gallery specializes in shipping and delivery of artwork and will handle delivery of my sculpture to it’s new place! www.caplanartdesigns.com

Below are some recent books that have come via mail! I’ve had time to peek at them but not to do any serious reading. It’s a fun to tease myself with them. Thanks again to Liz Gauffreau who suggested “Rescuing Socrates”!

Games have come via mail too! Our cat loves the practice golf balls more than any other toy. We joke that he must have been a golf pro in a former life. So we got him a new package of balls. Which meant that, to be fair, we needed to get the dog a new toy too. Of course then we decided that the humans needed some new toys too…

Rusty loves his new toy! First he checked to make sure it didn’t have much stuffing. Here’s my wife demonstrating that the new toy is flat and floppy as per his preference. Once that prerequisite was shown Rusty loved it!

On my email newsletter I shared my sources for sketchbooks, pens and other art supplies in case another creative person like me is looking for a gift for themselves. BTW: My paid subscribers will get an 84 page ebook from me this week!! (Hee hee hee 😁 and yes, let Jolabokaflod begin!!!)

Just in case another creative person wants a source of inspiration for creative thinking I also shared one of my favorite books that stimulates my own creativity. “How to be an explorer of the world” by Keri Smith

How to be an explorer of the world – by Keri Smith

As you know many of my art projects this time of year are someone’s holiday gift so I can’t talk about them online. But recently I was asked to do two different pet portraits for two different people who were getting art prints of the portrait as a gift for themselves so they generously allowed me to share…

Here was one of the photos of the dog for the portrait to be. Trusty lived to be quite an elder dog and he’s passed now so for the portrait painting I compiled the various photos his human sent of Trusty throughout the years. This photo below is of him as a younger fellow. Trusty was a mutt with Terrier in the mix. His hair had to be groomed and he greyed over the years. So creating this portrait was a challenge. This photo below showed the nose and eyes best though this hair style wasn’t quite the normal. Like I say… a challenge

Here’s what I came up with. The human, thankfully, was pleased!

And here’s the other portrait… it was of a West Highland Terrier. The photos I was sent were taken of the dog that very day and more photos were possible.

I created the original artwork using watercolor pencils and brush and sumi ink.

Then I made an art print of the original artwork. This human too was very pleased!

I’m primarily doing my portraits through the galleries I work with yet I’ve found that some people prefer art prints as they can fit a budget better. There are several size options and frame style choices for all of the prints I create. Here’s a link so you can see what I mean. https://society6.com/product/jozy_framed-print

Am I tired from all of the commissions and recent art exhibits? Yes. But I suspect all of Santa’s helpers are tired this time of year. So I’m content to restore myself each evening with time to read or play a game with my spouse.

Since I can’t show or talk about the main pet portrait work I’m doing I’m especially grateful that a dear friend gave both of us an advent calendar of Arteza art supplies !! I’m posting pictures on my Instagram and Facebook of each days unboxing and showing what was inside. We will also share whatever we make with the supplies too.

I hope your week contains many moments of restorative fun! See you next Monday.

Dogs on the block and places

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This week the holiday begins at Caplan Art Designs with seven artists who have created 3D box sculptures. I’m one of the seven! My box sculpture is titled “Dogs On The Block”. Here’s a series of photos of my box. You know I like dogs…

More details about the exhibit of holiday boxes by seven artists.

Speaking further of dogs in art…there are several dog related artist books by me available at the Aurora Gallery. Here’s one of them…

And a dog appeared in my sketchbook this week

I’m also busy doing a few dog portrait commissions for holiday gifts so I’ll say no more about that.

Poetry about dogs is helpful reading material in the mornings before beginning a days dog portrait work.

On a non canine topic: I’m leaving Twitter. Besides here on this blog you can fetch me on Substack, Instagram, Facebook and now on Mastodon.

I hope your week is a pleasant one! See you next Monday.