Mom, Dad, the books and beers

A Creative Life, art exhibit, artist book, artistic inspirations, books, creative thinking, fine art, hopepunk, mental health, sketchbook

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 β€œPembral 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 …

See you next Monday.

Of dogs, doodlebugs and damn good books

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art techniques, artistic inspirations, books, cat portrait, creative thinking, fine art, humor in art, life of the mind, poetry, sketchbook, visual thinking, whimsical art, words and pictures, writing and illustrating

This week we took care of 2 dogs belonging to our extended family thus bringing our inhouse pet count up to 2 dachshunds 1 chihuahua Jack Russell mix and 1 cat. Everyone got along peacefully at “Camp Rusty” playing and sleeping together.

Well, the cat did his own thing but wasn’t upset by the extra dogs. In fact I think the cat enjoyed watching them from a window. And one of the dogs enjoyed watching the cat watch the dogs. It was all very meta as they used to say in literature class.

Given all the doggy focus this week I read doggy related poems.

Here’s one I particularly enjoyed.

I got extra canine support this week when I shared my sketchbook on my email newsletter.

My fine art projects for upcoming exhibitions were adjusted so I could more easily work in short bursts around what the dogs needed. As you can see in this video all I have to do is put the cap back on my fountain pen.

Here’s the finished painting. I’ve titled it “Genus: Doodlebug Species: Yellow Short Line Beetle”

“Genus: Doodlebug Species: Yellow Short Line Beetle” by Clancy – 7 x 5 inches- ink and gouache on board

All that time I spent in the biological zoological illustration trenches came in handy when drawing the beetle! 🀣

We sat outside on our patio a lot so the dogs could play in the yard during a rare week of Pacific Northwest sunshine. Besides my portable lap sized art projects mentioned above I read books! Besides the book of dog poems here’s two of the titles I’m reading alongside a cold beer and a pitcher of water.

I’m continually amazed at how similar visual pattern construction is to writing poetry – including the rhythm design scheme “a b a b” and so forth. I’m also still enthralled by how fine art exhibit plotting is so similar to story construction.

And I’m sure you noticed that all 3 of the above books fit into my ongoing Ray Bradbury Reading Program in which I’m reading one poem, one short story and one essay per day. This reading program is easy to adjust around doggy needs too.

The novel I’m reading before bed is one I’ve read before and is a favorite! I picked it because this week had enough challenges without adding a challenging new novel to the mix. So I picked a novel for the spirit lift (pun fully intended) in it.

In the above novel there is a party in which several people take turns singing a “port a beul”. So I looked online for examples to listen to while I read. This was a favorite! πŸ‘‡

Saturday was Independent Bookstore Day so I did this drawing in honor of my local independent bookstores which have provided so many damn good books for me to read!!

Did you notice that my cat book buyer drawing is in a 4-beat “a, b, a, b” form?

Anyhoo, I hope your week is filled with many good things too.

See you next Monday.

The elephant in the room and we run outside

A Creative Life, animals in art, art book review, art techniques, artistic inspirations, books, creative thinking, fine art, mental health, mundane and magical moments, poetry, publications - publishing, reading, sketchbook, small things, Sustainable creativity, travel art and writing, visual story, visual thinking, whimsical art, words and pictures, writing, writing and illustrating

I asked my friends recently for ugly wallpaper suggestions that I could use for a painting I was working on. My friends are awesome and helped so much! The 1970’s avocado, orange and yellow combination was mentioned. So were weird rooster and chicken patterns and prickly cactus patterns. One friend talked about her pet peeve of framed pictures hanging askew.

Here’s me working on the painting and incorporating the suggestions of my friends.

… here’s a look at the painting on my easel in my studio.

Here’s a closer look at it in progress on my easel.

Here it is finished! I titled it “The Elephant In The Room”.

The Elephant In The Room – by Clancy – 8 x 10 inches – ink and gouache on board

Now for “Running Around Loose” aka Montessori time for grownups! The playtime method is fully described here on my email newsletter https://sueclancy.substack.com/p/running-around-loose
But here on this blog I’ll tell what we actually did intermittently over 3 days. Mostly I left my phone off and shoved deep in a pocket with a few exceptions:

First we went outside to walk 5 miles or so on the 7 acre Vancouver waterfront

… and when it rained we sat under awnings and marveled at how it can be sunny and rainy simultaneously!

Coffee shops abound… and I couldn’t resist drawing my coffee and the pastry we shared.

On the second day we spent time at Bob’s Red Mill in Milwaukee Oregon. Or as we call it “the petting zoo for people who like to cook”. They have in one building; a restaurant, a grocery store (with many flours, gluten free, specialty ingredients and all sorts of foods to cook with) as well as dishes, kitchen utensils and equipment! We ate lunch here…

.. and while we were there we noticed these cute little one person sized casserole dishes! Yes, we got two of them!!

…and look at these adorable tea pots!! A jade green one came home with us!

On the third day we went for a 5 mile hike in Mt Tabor Park a 176 acre park in Portland Oregon.

On our hike I noticed these ivory-green flowers and liked the color. I want to try to mix paints to match it at the studio later.

It started raining slightly while we were still on our hike. By the time we got home it was raining harder! So it was nice to be home and reading “What To Read In The Rain” an anthology of short stories created as part of a writing workshop between kids (age 6 and up) and adult professional writers in the Seattle WA area. The non-profit that organizes these writing workshops is now called “The Bureau Of Fearless Ideas” and they work with teachers, students and the community to encourage writing and storytelling of all sorts. It’s a fun anthology to read on a rainy day!

Thinking later of things I’d noticed while we were outdoors I wrote a haiku poem and illustrated it in my sketchbook.

I hope you are able to go outside and play some too! See you next Monday.

Rhythms, a doodlebug and little piggies

A Creative Life, animals in art, artistic inspirations, books, creative thinking, fabric design, fine art, illustrated poem, kitchen art, mental health, poetry, reading, sketchbook, visual story, visual thinking, whimsical art

I recently read “Hare Brain Tortoise Mind” by Guy Claxton and was reminded of how rhythmic things like weeding a garden or doodling can be calming to the human mind. This physical neurological response to “uniformly random rhythms” is also part of the human reaction to rhythms in songs, poetry or prose – we respond neurologically to refrains and repeated patterns, with variations, in all of the arts.

I include cooking here – it too is one of the fine art forms that has comforting rhythms both for the person stirring the stew and for the person eating. I think of how soothing it is for a small child to be held and rocked – what if all of the human fine arts are basically rhythms that can hold “rock” and soothe our physical brains?

So I’ve been thinking more about rhythmic patterns in my own creative efforts. I’ve begun doing doodlebugs… and other projects that involve “uniformly random rhythms” of patterns. I’m also making some changes to my morning sketchbook sessions that involve making more patterns.

As you know things that encourage good mental health skills are important to me and if I can foster my own mental health via rhythmic pattern creativity – and by sharing my work perhaps help others too – that seems a worthy artistic goal.

Here’s a doodlebug I did in my sketchbook and a fabric pattern I made from it.

Here’s my orange doodlebug pattern on a throw pillow.

Orange Doodlebug by Clancy https://www.spoonflower.com/en/fabric/14583100-orange-doodlebug-by-sueclancy

Recently someone sent me some photos of one of my wallpaper designs that they applied to their kitchen island. They were pleased and said it was “just the whimsy we were looking for”! I’m glad they were pleased!! I’ve learned in the process that grids are fun ways to make visual rhythms!

Here’s a painting I finished this week that I’ve titled “This Little Piggy”. It was inspired by the nursery rhyme: (please note the rhythms) “This little piggy went to market. This little piggy stayed home. This little piggy had roast beef. This little piggy had none. This little pig cried wee, wee, wee all the way home.” As you can see in my painting below I also repeated visual rhythms, like the rhyme, and did a few playful alterations.

This Little Piggy by Clancy

In the video below is a look inside my studio at “This Little Piggy” – I created using ink, gouache and color pencils many of the supplies you’ll see briefly in the video.
It will join my other paintings for exhibits later this year via Amy Biederman Caplan at the Caplan Art Designs Gallery. www.caplanartdesigns.com

In my email newsletter this week I shared my “This Little Piggy” painting and I’ve been sharing my sketchbook pages. I’ve finished sketchbooks C and D and am working on E currently. The doodlebug image above is in book “D”.

This book is my current evening and weekend reading. It has a library in it that is dedicated to poetry… be still my heart!

And because I like to share particularly good things: here’s a link to a good recipe for LENTIL CHILI along with my additional notes and variations: Add a can of roasted chilies and use chicken or veg broth or water (whatever available/handy). Add cumin, dark cocoa, Mexican oregano, chili powder, salt, pepper – cook 30 or more mins on simmer, stir often and add more broth or water if needed.
Variation: add a chopped carrot, frozen corn and or chopped bell pepper

And look at the rhythmic visual pattern of the beans in my cookpot too!!

I hope your week forms a pleasant daily rhythm for you.

See you next Monday or so.

Love wins, kitchen leprechauns and Irish poetry

A Creative Life, Artist interviews and profiles, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, fine art, kitchen art, poetry, recipe illustration, sketchbook, small things, whimsical art

A local brewery was targeted because Drag Brunch is held there. Adults dressing as they like and eating a meal with other adults is offensive, it seems, to a hate group who busted windows and doors at the brewery claiming drag brunch to “justify” their violence. Here’s a recent newspaper article about this topic. https://www.columbian.com/news/2023/mar/11/heathen-brewing-feral-public-house-vandalized-saturday/ So in support of Heathen Brewing and our community my wife and I went with our Fairy Goddaughter to happy hour!

There was a line inside and almost every seat filled!! We had beer, nachos and sweet potato fries. We talked with people in line. We talked with people at the tables next to us. We petted dogs. We laughed! And we all had a grand time! Love is definitely winning!! The Go-fund-me page shows they’ve gotten more than 3000 dollars ABOVE their goal! Yea! Love wins again!!!

The current outpourings of love in response to hate reminds me of the late 1980’s gay rights activism in Oklahoma where I participated. We did what we called “Love Ins”. Wherever hate had happened or was happening many of us, LGBTQ and allies, would fill the floor space with our bodies. We would sit and spread out on the floor playing cards, coloring in color books, building things with toy blocks and we would sing or read poetry outloud. Sometimes a drag queen would read a story aloud. We had printed signs addressing the specific issue at hand. (The basic human right to access healthcare, the right to equal employment, the right to fairness in housing, the right to marry the person we love… to name only a few issues.) We also had general signs saying things like “We’re here, we’re queer get used to it”. But we did NOT verbally shout back at the people shouting hateful things at us. We played our games on the floor and ignored the haters. People had to step over and around us. Whenever a hater purposefully kicked one of us – the person who had been kicked said to another person on the floor “Ouch! Did you see that?” to which many of the floor sitters would loudly respond “I saw that! Are you okay? We love you!” and various other phrases in support of the person who’d been hurt. The perp, the kicker, was deliberately, overtly, ignored because we were focused on creating the loving world we wanted to inhabit. Often the shouting and kicking from the anti-gay side stopped in the absence of reciprocal violent exchanges – or if not completely stopping the violence failed to escalate – it seemed hard, for most, to keep yelling and kicking at people who were just playing cards and loving everyone even if some of the card players were wearing sequins.

And the LGBTQ community did, slowly, gain basic human rights – including the right to marry – even in Oklahoma. Love totally wins!

While thinking about all of this I created a sketchbook page and shared it on my email newsletter… it’s another description of why I do the kind of artwork I do.

Yes, it was so good to see love winning again more recently at the local brewery! Life, love and good things are for ALL of us! That’s what the ideals of equality and democracy are reaching for, however imperfectly, and it’s a worthy goal. It’s a goal for all of us by all of us!

What if our innovations, our future advancements, rely on how well we’re able to care for and about ourselves, people and plants? What if life, the future and everything is really all about love and how well we can do that loving of ourselves, each other and the natural world? (Rebecca Solnit writes a wonderful essay here about the real potential of this!)

Anyway, as I forcasted in my last blog post Amie McGraham at Cook &Tell interviewed me about my kitchen sketchbook and what was on my St Patrick’s Day menu! There are photos and sketchbook pages and recipes – https://amiemcg.substack.com/p/shot-in-the-kitchen-sue-clancy

Here’s a leprechaun, aka me, in the kitchen. πŸ‘‡

Below is a quick look at my St Patrick’s recipes and what they looked like when served… more details on Cook & Tell.

Here’s one of the Irish poems I enjoyed with my Irish Coffee. It’s by Andrew Cherry. I find it both fun and encouraging.

This is the book the poem came from. πŸ‘‡

Here’s some green plants in a recent painting I did titled “White Elephant” which I had also mentioned in my email newsletter.

Ah the hardiness of plants like those mentioned in the poem by Cherry! Love and luck to thrive anywhere and everywhere like clover! πŸ€”πŸ˜Š Such an inspiration for humans don’t you think?

We’re in this life together. See you next Mondayish.

Flying pigs, pastries and doodlebugs

A Creative Life, animals in art, artist book, artistic inspirations, books, creative thinking, fine art, humor in art, poetry, reading, sketchbook, Storyberries, whimsical art, words and pictures

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”.

The Plot by Clancy

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.

Higgledy-Piggledy by Clancy

My artist book “We All Count” is on Storyberries now!!!
Freely available via this link as an #ebook !!!! https://www.storyberries.com/bedtime-stories-we-all-count-by-sue-clancy-experimental-art-books-counting-books/

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!!)

We All Count by Clancy

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. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

I agree with Austin Kleon here when he says “Books are toys”. They are! Art supplies are toys too. So are cooking utensils. Here’s a stack of books I’m playing with.

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.

See you next Monday-ish.