Alphapets: Y, Z, the book cover and Storyberries

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The Alphapets portrait project this week is brought to you by the letters Y and Z. Here’s my abecedarian poem to go with these letters and artwork :

Yolanda has a good attitude

Zoe says “We’re done! Let’s go get some food!”

Here’s the artwork (somewhere on each piece is an alphabetical letter):

I did portraits of a Bengal cat and a Basset Hound.

In thinking of a “good attitude” I thought of my adopted father, a psychiatrist, and his Bengal cat named Missy. He was fond of pointing out how a cat will adapt easily to things, take things in stride – or have a good attitude – that it’s humans, with our big-brains, that will often resist adapting, and will as a result make things harder on ourselves with a bad attitude.

The Basset Hound finished off this letter sequence because as a child I was best friends with a Basset Hound and loved getting to share an evening meal with the dog.

As I completed the original artwork for my abecedarian poem I also worked on the graphic design of Alphapets by Clancy. That’s part of what makes this an “artist book” – it was conceived and constructed like an art object – by me. My spouse did proofread the text, make some book design suggestions. That, in my mind, is akin to submitting a bunch of artwork to a gallery for exhibit. Here’s a photo of me doing the graphic design hocus pocus.

You can see a bit of my book cover design in the above photo but here, below, is a better view of the front cover of the printed book.

Alphapets by Clancy is now available as both hardback or soft cover printed books. The ebook version has a similar but slightly different cover. All versions can be accessed here: https://www.blurb.com/b/10071862-alphapets-by-clancy

I had dedicated my book “for reading aloud to P and J” – both P and J are under age 5 – so the day I uploaded my book to Blurb.com for printing I told P and J’s grandparents (our friends) about the book. Then I turned off all of my devices to make dinner and read a novel a while before going to bed.

By now I don’t remember why but a few hours later, after dinner, I turned on my smart phone. I had messages just about every way a person can be messaged these days, from Storyberries.com !

Long story short this publisher/distribution house wanted to release my book for free to their readers! I gave my author/artist permissions and now you – or your little ones – can access my book here: https://www.storyberries.com/bedtime-stories-alphapets-free-books-online/

Storyberries.com is also doing audio versions of Alphapets by Clancy which are appearing on their podcast channels on Apple, Spotify and Podbean! How fun is that?!

I’d hoped for my book to be read aloud….

Here’s a photo of my friends grandkids looking at Alphapets by Clancy – the twins’ mom was pretty happy too!! Yippee!!

I’m a very happy author/artist!!

You can find the previous set of letters for this project here.

I had such fun riding this ride – I think I’ll do it again! Meet here next Monday?

Alphapets: U, V, W and X

A Creative Life, Abecedarian, Alphapets, Ambassador for Small Frames, animals in art, art gallery, art techniques, artist book, artistic inspirations, author illustrator, books, cat portrait, Cats in art, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, ebook, fine art, illustrated poem, illustration, miniature art, pet portraits, visual story, words and pictures, writing and illustrating

The Alphapets portrait project this week is brought to you by the letters U, V, W and X. Here’s my abecedarian poem to go with these letters and artwork :

Udall grabs steaks right off the hob

Violet hopes for corn on the cob

Winston exudes a certain noblesse

Xavier’s in love with jolly Jo Beth

Here’s the artwork (somewhere on each piece is an alphabetical letter):

I did portraits of a Labrador Retriever, a Boston Terrier, a Greyhound and a Scottish Fold cat.

Udall, the Labrador, was inspired by a friends dog – who, though he’s had professional training, still occasionally steals unattended food off counter tops. Then, after licking his lips, sports a sweet face of innocence.

While thinking of food I remembered a long ago visit my spouse and I made to Boston Massachusetts. In one of the pubs there I had the best grilled corn on the cob I’ve ever had. As I recall it was served alongside beans and roasted zucchini. Sage and onion are in my memory too. And the need for a second cloth napkin. That corn on the cob…wow!! I’d hoped for more even after we’d finished our entire meal. Naturally such a delicious Boston memory had to be served by a Boston Terrier.

Winston is a real-life therapy dog. A friend nominated him for a portrait due to his heroic achievements as a canine therapist. He’s had some serious training – that’s why I depicted him in a uniform with medals.

Scottish Fold cats, the very few I’ve met anyway, seemed loving sorts generally but were especially attached to their particular human. One of the cats was a trained therapy cat.

As I write this blog post I realize I thought a lot this week about pet training, pet therapy and food. Isn’t it curious how the mind associates things?

Anyway, this artwork, too, was created with ink, gouache and color pencil. I do these portraits on board, size 3.5 x 2.5 inches. The original art will be framed…eventually … and be a miniature art exhibit at the Aurora Gallery. But due to the current pandemic I’m full-steam ahead on both a print and ebook version of my Alphapets.

I’ve said it before: Art, in my opinion, is there to give us solace, to help us get thru whatever is happening in life. So I’ve no grand plan with all this work other than to make myself and others smile.

The previous set of letters is here. As I said earlier, my Alphapets project is still aimed to be an art exhibit; both the framing and exhibit eventually done by Aurora Gallery and Frameshop. https://auroragalleryonline.com/ – this all began as part of the Ambassador for Small Frames program. Not waiting till the exhibit happens tho…I’m going ahead with making a book of Alphapets! I enjoy creating books as an art object and as a way of extending the gallery exhibit space.

The rest of the poem will be revealed in next Monday’s post as I get the last two pieces of this project done. More of my artist books are here.

See you soon with the remaining English alphabet letters – and details about the book!

Alphapets: Q R S and T

A Creative Life, Abecedarian, Alphapets, Ambassador for Small Frames, animals in art, art exhibit, art techniques, Art Word Combinations, artist book, artistic inspirations, author illustrator, books, cat portrait, Cats in art, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, ebook, fine art, graphic design, illustrated poem, miniature art, pattern design, pet portraits, words and pictures

The Alphapets portrait project this week is brought to you by the letters Q, R, S and T. Here’s my abecedarian poem to go with these letters and artwork :

Quincy is rarely upset

Rufus requests a 3 egg omelet

Snickerson eats all the whitefish

Tippy, age 2, is still kittenish

Here’s the artwork (somewhere on each piece is an alphabetical letter):

I did portraits of a Maine Coon cat, a pug dog, a Sphynx cat and a tuxedo cat. This seemed to be cat week.

The world also seemed a bit topsy-turvy this week so when setting out to work on this pet portrait project I sat and thought of calming pets, including some professional therapy cats and dogs I’ve done portraits of in the past.

While thinking I remembered a pre-quarantine visit my spouse and I made, several years ago, to a cat show in Portland Oregon. It was a tumultuous event, generally, but one area seemed particularly chaotic: a group of small kids were clamoring around a large Maine Coon cat, taking turns holding the cat who was almost as big as the kids doing the holding. The cat was poured from lap to lap, he was hugged, kissed, patted, fur ruffled, his tail and ears were tugged – and through it all the cat serenely meditated. A Zen monk would surely be impressed. I certainly was. Still am.

Anyway I combined those thoughts with memories of a long ago trip we took to Maine where I discovered thick “fisherman’s sweaters” with shawl collars and big pockets. I feel serene when wearing one. So all of these thoughts combined for Quincy.

For Rufus I was thinking about omelets; omelets with veggies, omelets with cheese… and Pugs are fun to draw. The background pattern was just playful fun – thinking of oval eggy shapes.

A dear friend of mine suggested Snickerson and Tippy – suggesting both the names, the breeds and giving me some resource photos for each cat. As I looked at what my friend shared I thought of fish, and the fishing in my local area – and I can imagine that with Snickerson’s big eyes he’d charm any fishmonger out of all their whitefish.

I combined my friends info about the tuxedo cat Tippy with my awareness that lots of people are doing school at home now – including teaching and learning to write. Writing seems a thing to learn and practice one’s entire life anyway … which keeps one kittenish. 😄

As usual all of this artwork was created with ink, gouache and color pencil. I do these portraits on board, size 3.5 x 2.5 inches. The original art will be framed…eventually and be a miniature art exhibit. But since the pandemic I’ve decided that rather than wait for the physical art exhibit, (I normally wait to release a book in conjunction with an art exhibit) to go full steam ahead with the book. Since these posts of my Alphapets, especially on Instagram and Facebook, have seemed to cheer people….perhaps it will also cheer people to have the choice of a printed or an ebook of these portraits? Anyway, now that I’ve reached the letter T my thoughts are turning more firmly towards book design – and that’s fun for me too. Art, in my opinion, is there to give us solace, to help us get thru whatever is happening in life.

If you’re just joining the fun the previous set of letters is here. My Alphapets project is still aimed to be an art exhibit. With framing eventually done by Aurora Gallery and Frameshop. https://auroragalleryonline.com/ as part of the Ambassador for Small Frames program. More of the poem will be revealed on each Monday’s post as I get more of the artwork done. More of my artist books are here.

Anyway, I’ll have more letters for you next Monday. See you then!

Alphapets: M N O and P

A Creative Life, Abecedarian, Alphapets, Ambassador for Small Frames, animals in art, art exhibit, Art Word Combinations, artist book, artistic inspirations, cat portrait, Cats in art, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, miniature art, pet portraits, visual story, words and pictures

The Alphapets portrait project this week is brought to you by the letters M, N, O and P. Here’s my abecedarian poem to go with these letters and artwork :

Maxine masters walking the beam

Nan enjoys cheering the team

Olive has a mysterious mystique

Pia loves long runs by the creek

Here’s the artwork (somewhere on each piece is an alphabetical letter):

I did portraits of a calico cat, a Lhasa Apso dog, a white cat and a Weimaraner. A friend brought to my attention that I’d not done a calico cat yet and gave me reference photos and the name Maxine. I combined those fun fur pattern thoughts with thoughts of a neighborhood cat who is skilled at walking atop our back fence as if it were a balance beam in a gymnastic competition.

Another friend has a sweet Lhasa Apso and this friend really is a wonderful cheerleader for a nearby town and their high school team. It was fun to think of my friend and imagine a dog cheering…

In mind while doing the white cat portrait: Recently I saw a video of Queen Elizabeth’s address to Great Britain and I thought of other female world leaders and their calming, informative addresses to their nations. I also thought of heroines in books and movies.

Before quarentine when we were able to walk along the riverwalk in town sometimes a lady would run past us with her Weimaraner. They ran so silently, smoothly, joyfully together it was a fun sight. That was fun to think of while painting a grayish pink dog.

As is my normal all of this artwork was created with ink, gouache and color pencil. Last Monday I wrote about needing to buy art supplies. Happy to report that I solved that issue and posted about it on my Instagram page (@artistclancy)

If you’re just joining the fun the previous post is here. My Alphapets project is aiming to be both an art exhibit and an artist book. With framing eventually done by Aurora Gallery and Frameshop. https://auroragalleryonline.com/ as part of the Ambassador for Small Frames program. I want to eventually bring them all together in a book – with my abecedarian poem. More of poem will be revealed on each Monday’s post as I get more of the artwork done. More of my artist books are here.

Looking forward to seeing you next Monday with more letters…

Alphapets: E F G and H

A Creative Life, Abecedarian, Alphapets, Ambassador for Small Frames, animals in art, art techniques, Art Word Combinations, artist book, artistic inspirations, author illustrator, cat portrait, Cats in art, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, illustrated poem, miniature art, pet portraits, publications - publishing, words and pictures

The Alphapets portrait project this week is brought to you by the letters E, F, G and H. My abecedarian poem to go with these letters and artwork :

Everett often warbles with glee

Farley is so easy to please

Gingerbread loves days when it’s snowed

Henry is sure he’s cracked the code

Here’s the artwork (somewhere on each piece is an alphabetical letter):

I did portraits of a Siamese cat, a poodle, an Alaskan Malamute and a tabby cat. While working I thought of a friends Siamese cat who “sings” constantly and I combined that with a memory of being in college art school which was next door to the music building and often hearing music as I went to class. While working on the poodle I remembered a poodle I knew in the 1970’s and the decor from that era – for some reason poodle haircuts remind me of the 70s. The Alaskan Malamute was inspired by a fairly recent portrait I’d done of a special person’s special dog – and I, too, love seeing snow. I am currently owned by a tabby cat who, I’m fairly sure, has this human figured out (and wrapped around his dew-claw).

All of this artwork was created with ink, gouache and color pencil. I love the forgiveness of gouache, the opacity of it, the buttery-smooth feel of working with it. It brightens my quarantine-days to make these Alphapets pieces – hope it brightens your day to see them.


If you’re just joining us the previous post is here. My Alphapets project is aiming to be both an art exhibit and an artist book. With framing eventually done by Aurora Gallery and Frameshop. https://auroragalleryonline.com/ as part of the Ambassador for Small Frames program. I want to eventually bring them all together in a book – with my abecedarian poem. More of poem will be revealed on each Monday’s post as I get more of the artwork done. More of my artist books are here.

Anyway, see you next Monday with more letters…

Way of all fresh food

A Creative Life, animals in art, art techniques, artist book, artistic inspirations, Authors, books, Books In Art, cat portrait, Cats in art, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, food in art, kitchen art, life of the mind, reading in art, story, visual story

I’ve been working on a large painting and posted a pic of me at work on my Instagram page. A friend asked me to explain my symbolism when I finished it …so here goes:

First the painting. It’s titled “The Way Of All Fresh (Food)“. The size is 36 by 24 inches and I used ink, gouache and color pencil to make it.

The Way Of All Fresh (Food) – by Clancy

As evidenced by recent posts of my sketchbook pages I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the life of the mind. I’ve also been reading classic fiction on the topic: “Stoner” by John Williams, “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin and “The Way Of All Flesh” by Samuel Butler.

When creating fine art I like to use symbolism that originates in literature and mythology as a way to orient myself in order to create a visual story.

In this case Butler’s novel had me thinking, as I read, of the ways mental development, new learning – like love – can sneak up on us, and yet it’s something that we process daily. The challenges and necessity of purposefully participating in one’s own mental life dominated my thoughts – especially after I finished reading Butler. I thought of how the maintenance of one’s mind is similar to the maintenance of one’s physical body.

With that as a bare bones thesis I sought, and selected from literary history, symbols with which to construct my visual story:

Lizards represent inner life, taking time to reflect. (I also remembered a quote from the children’s book author Madeleine L’Engle “Love is a funny thing, shaped like a lizard, that runs up and down and tickles your gizzard.”)

Celery, in Ancient Greek writings, represents victory and a warding off of evil spirits. Parts of the celery plants were woven into garlands, crowns, and given to the winner of sporting events. They were also woven into funeral wreaths.

Parsley stands for useful knowledge, joy and feasting. (Practical stuff of life.)

Apples have a long literary history signaling love, knowledge, self-awareness, attainable joys….all elements of life that have been, in some stories, forbidden or used to trick (think Snow White and the 7 dwarves). So I see an element of good critical thinking skill development in an apple but I digress.

Bulldog represents tenacity, courage, willingness to do the right thing.

Cat represents curiosity.

In addition to playing with symbols I’ve also hidden what’s known in the movie and gaming industries as “easter eggs“. Some of the eggs I hid are:

The cat portrait in this painting is a spoof of my own artwork, i.e. there exists an artwork by me that’s similar to this painting within the painting. (There’s also a jigsaw puzzle I designed with this cat artwork.)

I’ve waved “hello” to many of my friends – the kitchen furniture waves to my interior decorator, visionary friend, Carolyn. The cutting board high-fives Kevin, a friend who’s a talented woodworker. The lizards are a shared giggle with my friend Kim. The socks are a howdy to Frank and Elaine. The purple shirt is there because of Beverly, Kris H and Erica M. The book and the heart-art are for my spouse – as always.

Since the lizards represent time to reflect I’ve included a clock near the heart and brain artwork with a special time on it. Most days by 10:40 a.m. I have spent time writing and drawing in my sketchbook. One of my methods to cultivate my own inner life. (And yes, I post these sketchbook pages on Instagram and make artist books from them. You can see some of the books here.)

Oh, almost forgot, there’s a yummy celery, apple and parsley salad recipe that goes with this painting too.

There now. I’ve told most, but not all, of the punchlines. Enjoy!

Pet portrait project

A Creative Life, animals in art, art techniques, artistic inspirations, business of art, cat portrait, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, small things

Most years near the holiday I do a miniature pet portrait project -creating small pet paintings people often give as gifts. This year I am doing this project as part of my popup shop at Vintage Books, http://www.vintage-books.net Dec 7th from 12 to 4 – and using people’s phone photos as inspiration.

This year I am also teaming up with a local frame shop, Aurora Gallery, http://www.auroragallery.com …. yes, Virginia, it is possible you could walk out of the bookstore Dec 7th with a small framed work of art!

As I have worked on this years version of this project I have been adjusting my portable art kit. .. I will be creating some of the pet portraits at the busy bustling bookstore. The main adjustment to my portable art kit has been the addition of the Pentel Water Brush. It is the blueish colored “pen” in this photo. The water brush stores water inside itself and allows me to work without a pan of water at my elbow. It works well and hopefully the “less potential mess” of it will be welcomed by bookstore staff

Bookstores are sacred places you know.

pop-up pet portraits

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Dec 7th during my pop-up shop at Vintage Books https://www.vintage-books.net/ from noon to 4 I’ll be doing some “live drawing”; I’ll work in my sketchbook and if anyone wants a small portrait of their pet I’ll happily do one using a phone photo as inspiration.

PortraitPractice

These portraits I’ll do at the pop-up shop are what I call “quickie sketches” – less complex than the portraits I’m often commissioned to do via the Caplan Art Design Gallery or the Joseph Gierek Fine Art Gallery – more like what I do in my sketchbook and still a fun gift for the holiday.  Each portrait I do will take about 20 minutes more or less.  A command performance art piece! (What fun!!!)

Since I’ll be doing these portraits on-site at the Vintage Books bookstore I’m currently in the process of testing my portable art kit to make sure I’ll have everything I need.  A dear friend let me come to her house with my art kit and do a practice session – on her kitchen table – with a pic of her dog on her phone! (pictured in this post)

I’m using my ink pens, my Pentel Water-Brushes (to minimize the need for a water source) color pencils and my gouache colors on handmade paper. During the practice session I discovered I need to pack a few more items – like more paper towels, some wax paper… –  so I’ll practice some more between now and Dec. 7th!

reading a dachshunds ode

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As I mentioned regarding the “Leaves and Grounds: Poems for the Canine Soul” painting I wrote of in my last post here, below, is another artwork with a concept related to, nested within, the afore mentioned painting. Also in this post is a poem that I wrote that relates to the ‘Leaves and Grounds’ concept.

ItsMagic-PrintThisOne

It’s Magic – by Clancy – ink and gouache on paper

A Dog’s Ode To Spring
By Clancy

Oh, there’s sunshine
Glorious sunshine
Makes a dachshund want to roll!
Let me out
To run about
Compost is good for my soul!
Oh, the mounds
Of leaves and grounds
This dog’s heading for the pile!
Where the digging is best
I’ll make my nest
Don’t wait I’ll be here a while!
I may be groomed
But that’s all doomed
‘cause I’ll do what makes me grin!
Oh, the sunshine
Glorious sunshine
I’m here till you shout “get in!”

 

personalized portraiture pleasure

A Creative Life, animals in art, art commission, art commissions, artistic inspirations, cat portrait, Cats in art, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, Fine Art Commission

I’ve enjoyed, this season, being commissioned to create several portraits of pets which included many elements that reflected the pet owners too!  Thank you for the privilege of making something special for you and your loved ones – that was the wonderful gift you gave to me this Holiday season!

You can read juicy details about one of my commissioned portraits of two cats here.

And there is a wonderful newspaper article in my local paper, The Columbian, about commissioning a portrait from an artist and how it can become a treasured family heirloom – and how a portrait by an artist is different from a photograph.  It’s true, at least by my experience, that people really do treasure portraits of pets and people that they know. Btw: portraits can be commissioned any time of the year – not just during Holidays.

As it may still be possible that some gifts have not yet been unwrapped in 2018 here, for your amusement, are a few commissioned portraits that I did in the past (and are thus safe to post!):

You can see more about my portraits, information about how to commission one, as well as more examples of my work on this page.

Thank you also for your support and encouragement of my work throughout the year! Happy Holidays and my best wishes for a Happy New Year!