Here are a few of the artworks I’ve recently sent to Joseph Gierek Fine Art (www.gierek.com) for the upcoming Holiday Art Show. I’m sure you’ll notice my “still life” object practice work now combined with characters. Yes, I’m trying to make every element count toward the visual story. You know, like a writer tries to make every word count.
Here’s “Mandolin Man”, a piece I finished that tests my new red gouache color. On the musicians neck strap you can most clearly see the new red I’d mentioned in my last post. I also used the red as a “mixer” in the brown of the Labrador fur – so it’s more of a dark red brown. I also played with the opaqueness of the gouache – and tried to leave some colors “transparent” in places too. I’m enjoying working in gouache. Of course “Mandolin Man” also has ink and color pencil (besides the gouache) and is on vintage sheet music.
Last night was the opening of my art exhibit “The Fur Suit Of Happiness” at Caplan Art Designs in Portland Or. Lots of people came. Many nice things were said about my artwork. Many good questions were asked. Several people used the “M” word when referring to my artwork and I still get a warm fuzzy feeling when I hear such evidence that people “get” my work! The “M” word is “metaphor” or “mythology”.
And yes, the work of Joseph Campbell has inspired much of my artwork!
During the opening last night I found it was helpful that I had just given a speech the day before (blog post about the speech here) – so I still had my “talking shoes” on. There have been openings where I’ve gone to a gallery directly from my work in my studio – with a slight pause to change clothes – at such times I get to the gallery and find I’ve almost forgotten the English language. Or any language but pictures. And I need a few minutes to “find my words”.
Didn’t have that trouble last night! I was almost chatty Cathy! Here are a few pics:
And one of our friends came to see my new work and gave me a whole sack full of sheet music for my future collaging pleasure!! Wow!!!
Here is a photo of what the gallery wall of my artwork looked like without people standing in front of it. The pedestal in the photo holds a portfolio of 50 of my small ink dog art pieces.
The way the owner of the Caplan Art Designs gallery arranged the wall proved to be a wonderful way to help people zero in on details within my work. The over-stimulation seemed to help the viewers focus. One person had an epiphany while looking at the wall saying to me “Oh! I get it! You’re talking about human behavior metaphorically with your dogs and cats!”
I almost hugged them. But I didn’t because I’d never met them before last night. Wow! They used the “M” word!
Today, after delivering one piece of artwork (see the last post here), I’m packing up 24 of my art pieces to be delivered to Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com . Oct 5th, First Thursday, during the evening is the opening of my new exhibit The Fur Suit Of Happiness.
Here’s a picture of some of the artworks ready to be loaded into the car. Yes, there are both dogs and cats in this exhibit!
Here’s the exhibit statement:
The Fur Suit Of Happiness by Clancy
What if being happy isn’t a fleeting feeling to pursue. What if happiness is something to accept? I’ve been watching dogs and cats. They seem to specialize in enjoying a patch of sunlight, a walk in the rain, a warm comfortable lap and a good dinner. They seem to accept and be happy with very small things. I can learn something from this. This exhibit is me taking notes.
This coming Friday at the Joseph Gierek Fine Art Gallery (www.gierek.com) an experimental art exhibit of mine titled “The Rough Bark Of Culture” opens!
Yes, there are dogs. Lots of dogs. About 24 of them. Dog art that is. Clancy style.
The experimental part of this exhibit is that instead of being 24 works framed and hanging on the wall like a typical art installation – I’ve added my artist book thinking to my fine-art exhibit idea. Which means my entire exhibit is intended to be an intimate experience. Think curling up with a book. Or playing with a deck of cards.
Lucky for artist-me the gallery owner is willing to be playful.
Here’s what gallery-visitors will find: a box that looks like a leather bound book. I made the box and covered it with my hand dyed paper, paper that I’ve given a rough physical and visual texture. I designed the cover and the spine and various elements so that it appears like a book. When closed this book-box measures 9 inches tall 7 inches wide and 2.5 inches deep. When you open the top “cover” it opens out to be 14 inches wide.
Below are a couple of different angle-views of the cover so you can see the spine has the typical book-markings and that the edges of the box are painted to look like book text block “pages”.
Inside the book-box cover is a handwritten statement that puts my art-object-exhibit in a context.
Then further inside there are 24 individual hand created dog art pieces done in my ink on handmade paper style. Each artwork is in an archival sleeve so that a viewer can flip through the box-contents like a book. (there’s even a ribbon to help people lift out the ‘pages’) Or the viewer can take out the pages and lay them out on a table and re-sort them.
Below is some of my thinking behind the exhibit – including my resource book list. I referred to some of this book-research-resource mining in an early blog post here.
General exhibit thoughts for “The Rough Bark of Culture” by Sue Clancy
It is said that humans are the only animal that laughs, cooks (using heat and spices/herbs), develops music, creates art, writes/collects/organizes/shares information across time and space, sorts things numerically and devises elaborate rules for playing games simply for amusement. The ability to read and absorb information via symbols in pictorial and written form is also a uniquely human ability.
Humans are curious, they experiment, seeking novelty and creativity. Wanting enthusiasm – not boredom – they play. Play is part of being human. Play is also an essential component of being creative.
Creativity, communication and organization are attributes of being human. But in modern times it can be hard (rough) to carve out time to play, to be creative, to sort and organize information – to do those very things that make us human.
This exhibit is about what makes us human.
Why dogs? Dogs are enthusiastic about being alive – that’s why I’ve chosen them as my character “actors” in my artwork. It’s a way of remembering that humans have the ability to create the world around them in ways that make life more comfortable, more fun – so that we can be more enthusiastic about being alive.
“Wonderland: How play made the modern world” by Steven Johnson
“The Creative Spark: How imagination made humans exceptional” by Agustin Fuentes
A quote I used as a guiding light – so to speak:
“To imagine is everything. To know is nothing at all.” Anatole France
Exhibit statement (which means I neatened up for handwritten inclusion in my book-box the thoughts outlined above):
It is said that humans are the only animal that; laughs, cooks (using heat and spices/herbs), specially crafts beverages, develops music, creates art, writes/collects/shares information across time and space, sorts things numerically, reads books/information in order to learn and devises elaborate rules for playing games simply for amusement. Humans sometimes share with dogs an enthusiasm at being alive – seeking novelty and creativity rather than boredom. Unlike a dog, humans are able to plan and organize our time. We can defer gratification. Yet modern life sometimes makes it hard to carve out time to be creative – rough to do the very things that make us human; play. This exhibit is about remembering to be human and enjoy life.
If you want a flavor, a hint, of what this exhibit is like there’s my conventionally printed and bound book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” – https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy
Creating a conventional book on this exhibit topic helped cement my idea that I also wanted my viewers to be able to physically “play” with my artwork. Even so – I’m proud of the printed and bound book too. It’s playfulness of a different sort. And able to be more widely available than a one-of-a-kind-art-exhibit in a gallery can be. Having both kinds of play available – the team kind or the individual kind – are important to me.
And speaking of teams; it’s almost time for me to go meet up with friends for a book-store browse and then to go to happy hour! Adult team play! Yippeeee!!
Here are the 6 pieces I created last night during my 3 hour demo at Burnt Bridge Cellars. I worked on these dog portraits while people talked, drank wine, watched me work and asked me questions. One of the staff at the winery took a brief moment to watch and said “Oh! Each of your pieces have either a glass of wine or a wine bottle in them!” I grinned and said “Yes, I’m aware of where I am!” And everyone laughed. It was a fun evening! Thanks again everyone!
Next week at Burnt Bridge Cellars the evening of the 27th I’ll be doing another art demo and signing copies of my book “Dogs by Sue Clancy”. This means that you can drink wine while watching me draw dogs in permanent ink.
I’ve a whole exhibit’s worth of artwork hanging in Burnt Bridge Cellars. My exhibit is titled “Dogs In The Winery” and in this post are a few examples of what you’ll see at the exhibit. The new artworks I’ll make on the 27th while you watch will be like the black and white ones you see in this post – and in my book “Dogs By Sue Clancy” https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy
I spent most of the day at the “Words and Pictures Festival” at a branch of my local library – doing a drawing demo and promoting my artist book “Dogs by Sue Clancy”. It was a good day – only came home with 3 copies of my book all the rest have happy new homes! People were talking and asking me questions before I could even get set up and they continued to come and talk with me constantly even when I was packing up to go home! What fun!
Needless to say I didn’t have time to take photos of the crowd I was so busy! I did manage to do these drawings while talking to people. Yes, that’s a bit like rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time. Going to go have some wine after I post this.
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?
I’ve posted in this blog about my “running around loose sketchbooks” – sketchbooks that I carry with me and record my observations of daily life. My studio sketchbooks are a different breed. In these I’m using my imagination – like what is in “Dogs by Sue Clancy” https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy I make it a regular habit to play with my imagination like this.
I’ll be signing copies of this published version of my studio sketchbook Friday night during my art exhibit opening at Burnt Bridge Cellars. My exhibit is called “Dogs In The Winery” and the fine artwork exhibited is like what’s in the book… only more so.