my experiment of exhibiting art as a multi layered story environment

A Creative Life, art exhibit, Art Licensing, artist book, artistic inspirations, business of art, creative thinking, Dogs in Art, fine art, public art, small things, visual story, visual thinking, words and pictures

My current fine art exhibit is still up and available during the Burnt Bridge Cellars winery hours (www.burntbridgecellars.com) and will be through the end of July.  I’ve designed it as an experiment in layers of story –  layered like a lasagna. Judging by responses and comments, both to me and to the staff at Burnt Bridge Cellars, people have been having fun with my experiment!

Layer 1 – as I worked toward this exhibit, starting well over a year ago, I took notes on my experiences of ordinary daily life and recorded them in my sketchbook.  You can see this sketchbook as a free ebook here: https://sueclancy.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/gladtobealivedrinkmusiced.pdf

Layer 2 – I spun my sketchbook notes through my imagination creating characters (dogs) that helped me describe my thoughts and feelings about ordinary life visually and metaphorically.  I created a series of sumi ink pieces on handmade papers – dogs drinking, playing musical instruments and etc.  Some of these pieces got framed and are in my exhibit. Others became part of a printed book titled “Dogs by Sue Clancy”. You can see that book at the exhibit or via this link here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

Layer 3 – I created a series of items aka “illustrated things”; scarves, napkins, tea towels, phone cases and many other items that relate to this exhibit – return full circle to the “ordinariness” of life – these items are available via the links found here https://sueclancy.com/pattern-design/

Layer 4 – A group of 17 of my artworks are hung on the walls at the winery. But in addition to the artwork itself which can be viewed up close in person I wrote short “blurbs” – very short descriptions of what inspired the artwork.  You can literally walk around (wine glass in hand) the exhibit “reading” my story of living my life.  Additional details – the layers above – are there if people want to see more.

Here are four of my artworks along with their stories that you could read on the wall next to my artwork at Burnt Bridge Cellars:

Click on the above images to see the title I’ve given them and then find the story below –

Maestro Houndsinger by Clancy

I attended several musical concerts and noted a consistency of a moment, that moment, just before the music started, when the conductor, the soloists, the performers took a deep breath. All performance, all of life, starts with a breath – and that’s what I wanted to remember – to breathe.

Surround Sound by Clancy

I’ve gotten to hear some “hairy” (complex) guitar music. I’ve also enjoyed seeing locally hand-crafted music instruments. I’ve also thought of the local music and musicians that I’m honored to know personally – those I get to hear in small places, like cafe’s and homes – where I get to be surrounded by their music, love and friendship… all of these thoughts are combined in this piece.

Paws For Coffee by Clancy

I can sometimes get so busy that I forget to take time to be present in the moment, to pause and smell the coffee. This is me – remembering.

Pup Fiction by Clancy

I was thinking of how curiosity and imagination are the “muscle” and “bones” of a healthy mental life. Perhaps curiosity, imagination – and coffee – are what makes us human?

What exactly was my experiment you ask? I wanted to create an exhibit that would have something (actually several somethings) for my friends and fans who are not able to come in person to my exhibit – and also to give people who are able to come to my exhibit in person an extra treat. As in while they’re waiting for their friends to meet-up at the winery they can down-load my sketchbook to their phone, or read blog posts like this one https://sueclancy.com/2017/05/16/mind-map-of-a-clancy-art-exhibit/ that describe my creative process or look at a printed book of my dogs…  Of course they can look at my fine art on the walls and imagine themselves enjoying the simple ordinary things in life.

And have I mentioned that the wine at Burnt Bridge Cellars is very good?

 

 

art delivered installed and here is a sneak peek.

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art

Here’s a sneak preview of my exhibit at Burnt Bridge Cellars that I’ve titled “Dogs in the Winery”! We’d just finished installing it. The “we” being me, Kim and Judy. (Kim and Judy are seen on the video talking and waiting for me to quit filming. 😉

This coming Friday evening my exhibit opens and people will come, the wine will be poured, the food will be served, I’ll sign copies of my book “Dogs by Sue Clancy”… and we’ll all relax and enjoy ourselves!

www.burntbridgecellars.com

www.caplanartdesigns.com

https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy   

paws for coffee and art

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, drawing as thinking, fine art, visual thinking

Here’s another new artwork for my upcoming exhibit at Burnt Bridge Cellars http://www.burntbridgecellars.com  – it’s titled

Paws For Coffee by Clancy – 16 x 12 x 2 inches – hand dyed paper, found paper and acrylic on cradled board.

Here’s what inspired it: I can sometimes get so busy that I forget to take time to be present in the moment, to pause and smell the coffee. This is me – remembering.

The diamond motif is because I was thinking of the maze-like labyrinth quality that a busy life sometimes has.  I chose a dachshund character for that breeds digging ability, chosen as an inspiration for me to “dig out” from the (a)maze-ing world what’s really important to me.

Paws For Coffee by Clancy

Paws for Coffee By Clancy 16 x12 x 2 inches Hand dyed paper, found paper and acrylic on cradled board

art exhibit statement in pictures

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques, artist book, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, dog portrait, drawing as thinking, fine art, pattern design, public art, published art, sketchbook, visual thinking, words and pictures

I’ve been working on an exhibit statement for my upcoming one-person exhibit at Burnt Bridge Cellars http://www.burntbridgecellars.com/ via Caplan Art Designs http://www.caplanartdesigns.com/index.htm and making it as visual as possible. Here’s what I’ve come up with (with slight variations for my on-line only audience):

Dogs In The Winery by Sue Clancy

I’ve been inspired by many of the drinks, restaurants and music events in Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest. Whenever I am inspired I make notes in my “running around loose” sketchbook – real-life observations – that often end up on a page looking like this:

CestLaVie

Back in my studio I run those notes through my imagination and do a new sketch, in black and white, that uses elements of what I’d seen in real life but transforms that real-life data symbolically. In this way, my work becomes a visual story about enjoying something. For me drawing is thinking – and storytelling. My newly imagined art-sketch becomes something like this:

pierre72

Pierre by Clancy (ink on handmade paper)

Then I add to my story concept thoughts of color, patterns and textures – to create a surface design on handmade paper that reflects my thoughts/feelings. In this step, I’m designing and creating hand-made patterns onto handmade papers using a number of techniques. Each pattern is designed to be another story element.

I put together the real-life data – my re-configured imaginary sketch idea and my color/pattern surface design thoughts – by cutting shapes out of my handmade papers and literally gluing the cut paper pieces together to create my fine artwork.

To show you what I mean here is a picture of me making a surface pattern design on handmade paper:

patterningPaper2crop72

Sue Clancy creating a pattern on paper using a stencil-paste paper technique

And here I’m using an Xacto knife cutting out shapes from paper that was previously dyed:

CuttingCar

Cutting dyed paper into a shape

The end result is a multi-layered fine art piece in color – like what you see in this exhibit or that you can see on my website fine art page https://sueclancy.com/fine-art/ Or like this finished fine art piece titled “Café Paix”

cafepaix72

“Café Paix” by Clancy – 14 x 11 inches – hand dyed paper, handmade paste paper and acrylic on cradled board

This exhibit shows a progression of my artistic thoughts about life in the Pacific Northwest – a visual story collection – with various dogs as symbolic characters. For me a dog represents an exuberance, a gladness, about being alive and is a fitting representative for pleasant life experiences.

You can download, free, 18 pages from my “running around loose” sketchbook – the real-life data that inspired this exhibit from my website here: https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/  I’ve titled this (free eBook) sketchbook “Glad To Be Alive Sketchbook – drinks and music edition 2017”.  Direct link to the free eBook here: https://sueclancy.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/gladtobealivedrinkmusiced.pdf

The imaginative art-sketches developed from the “Glad to be Alive…” sketchbook can be seen in the printed book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” (available in this exhibit or via Amazon and other booksellers or here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy ). If you are able to visit my art exhibit at Burnt Bridge Cellars I’m sure you can identify (in “where’s Waldo” puzzle fashion) which sketchbook page led to which black and white art-sketch and which of those became color fine artwork.

For a “mind map” of my thinking process see the diagram here: https://sueclancy.com/2017/05/16/mind-map-of-a-clancy-art-exhibit/

mind map of a Clancy art exhibit

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, Art Licensing, art techniques, artist book, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, functional art, pattern design, public art, published art, sketchbook, surface design, visual story, visual thinking, words and pictures

I’ve been busy getting ready for my one-person art exhibit to open June 2nd at Burnt Bridge Cellars – a winery in Vancouver WA.  Part of doing an exhibit is to write an exhibit statement. But before posting my finished exhibit statement I wanted to share my thoughts behind my art exhibit design.  Here’s a sketch diagram, a mind-map:

MindMapOfExhibit

For the last year I’ve been running-around-loose in the Vancouver WA and Portland OR area documenting, in my sketchbook, my experiences at local music events, restaurants, wineries, cafes and pubs.  You can see a free eBook of my sketchbook titled “Glad To Be Alive – drinks and music edition 2017” here: https://sueclancy.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/gladtobealivedrinkmusiced.pdf

Then I processed through my imagination all of that data I’d collected in my sketchbook and for each pleasant thought I imagined a dog character-actor and made a new sketch/visual story, an ink study, using a sumi brush and ink. You can see a printed book, titled “Dogs by Sue Clancy” with of some of these ink sketches via Amazon or here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

After doing a whole bunch of these dog portrait studies, almost 100 of them, I selected several and refined them, adding color and pattern and shape thoughts to my visual story describing metaphorically my experiences in real life.  These refinements have become finished fine art pieces that are in color using my mixed media cut handmade paper technique.  Both some of the finished color artworks and some of the black and white ink pieces (framed) will be at my upcoming exhibit.

My artistic inspirations are elements of ordinary life – so I’ve extended my art-exhibit making to the above mentioned books. Books are an important element of ordinary life so having authored two of them and making them available adds another layer to my art exhibit.

After doing some of the fine artworks I’ve also done some “illustrated things”: I’ve applied some of my artistic thinking for my exhibit to real-life clocks, napkins, tea towels, scarves and many other ordinary consumer items.  This extends my art exhibit thesis to yet another layer or dimension.   You can see some of the items I’ve designed on my web page titled “illustrated things” here: https://sueclancy.com/pattern-design/

To put my exhibit thesis plainly – I think it is very important to remember to enjoy and actively participate in the present moment, to relish ordinary things, places and friendly people.  Once upon a time I lived in a place where quality music events, good restaurants, wineries and pubs were rare. Certainly they didn’t exist in the variety and abundance that they do here in the Pacific Northwest. So I’m aware of what a gift, a treasure, it is to have those things now.

It is also fitting to have my exhibit at a winery – where the people who come to see my artwork can also enjoy award-winning wines and food.

But back to my mind-map: generally at the exhibit my thesis will be available only as a visual story, not spoken or written in literal fashion.  I have a reluctance to preach or otherwise belabor a point.  Besides instead of writing/speaking didactically I’d rather draw.

Now you know.

 

what the sheet music became

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art techniques, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, music in art, Sue Draws Dogs, visual story, visual thinking

In my last post I told a bit about using sheet music in my fine art – you can see more about that and a photo of work-in-progress here: https://sueclancy.com/2017/04/27/sheet-music-in-fine-art/

While I worked I thought of the music and musicians that I’m honored to know personally – those I get to hear in small places, like cafe’s and homes – where I get to be surrounded by their music, love and friendship…

And here is what the work-in-progress, many more layers of paper and all those thoughts has become:

SurroundSound72

I’ve titled it “Surround Sound” – it’s 8 x 10 inches – made with hand dyed papers, handmade paste paper and “found papers” (the sheet music my musician friend gave me).

Now it has to dry before I can varnish it and get it ready for exhibit.

 

sheet music in fine art

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art techniques, artistic inspirations, books, creative thinking, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art

I’ve been creating fine art towards a one-woman exhibit in June at Burnt Bridge Cellars, a winery in Vancouver WA.  I’ve also been going to music events and cafe’s when I can. These kinds of events have been inspiring lots of the artwork I’ll have at the exhibit.  You can see some of my sketch-work towards my exhibit in my book: “Dogs by Sue Clancy” https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

Also a musician friend gave me some old sheet music. I’ve been using it in my mixed media cut paper collages along with my hand-dyed papers – and I intend to do so with this piece too…

Here’s what’s on my work table:

DSC_0007

the art commission Innocent

A Creative Life, animals in art, art commissions, art gallery, art techniques, artistic inspirations, collage, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art

A couple of clients have a Schnauzer and a Labrador retriever – they asked me (via the Caplan Art Designs gallery www.caplanartdesigns.com) to do a dual portrait while also reflecting the owners work/personal life! I have a series of questions I ask (about color preferences etc. details) – I also request photos of the dogs. I was lucky enough to actually meet these dogs in person. Earlier in this blog you got to see my “practice” sketches for the dog breeds in this commission.  After receiving the answers to my questions and photos of the dogs I created 2 pencil drawings to the scale of the proposed finished work.  I also created a number of hand dyed paper swatches to show the proposed color scheme.

Here’s a photo of me dying some paper blue.  I did several layers of this blue color on the paper in order to build up the “proper blue” that best matched the client’s preference.

DyingBlueSpray72

To keep this document brief I’ll not show photos of me creating the 20 base colors I created for the “swatch sampler” – so multiply the above photo 19 times at least.

Once the papers were dry – we met and the clients chose one of the two pencil sketches. Small adjustments were made in the color scheme and the drawings. And additional research was done. For example, I studied what vest collars are like, what wing-tip shoes look like, where cuff-links are on a cuff and gold pocket watches how they sit in a pocket and how the chain drapes.  I asked about and investigated what a “bar” in court looks like. I researched how the sleeve of a judges’ robe hangs.

I also “filled in” the other colors of hand dyed paper I’d need to produce the finished painting.  Where a section in a painting will read as “blue” there may be as many as 5 different shades of blue papers which are collaged/layered together.  Where a paper may read as “blond wood grain” there may be multiple layers of color applied to each paper that forms the various tones within the shape.  Yes, it’s complicated and takes a lot of pre-planning and research.

Once all of the papers are done and dry (there are now over 50 pieces of hand dyed paper) I begin cutting out shapes. Here I have cut out the overall shape of the Schnauzer’s head and paw out of a greyish-blue dyed paper. A light pencil marks the future placements of other pieces of darker grey paper and or lighter white-grey paper.

DSC_0001

At this point I’m cutting and gluing together all of the various shapes from the various “base” papers to form the overall characters and aspects of scenery.  With an Xacto knife I cut the needed shape positioning it using tweezers. Then I would adjust the position – often several times – before gluing it together. Then I would press the glued papers flat and let them dry.

As I constructed the Schnauzer character I got excited and focused – and I forgot to take photos of the steps of construction.  As I worked kept laughing, imagining the Schnauzer lawyer saying “My client is innocent, I tell you, innocent. My client, the Great Dane you see before you, could not have possibly reached down to such a low table to eat the 4 hams, 5 chickens and the pot roast which is alleged to have been on that table. It was beneath him to have…”

There is a lot of “back and forth” work to get the shapes and positions correct – to adjust the colors and layers. Here is a succession of photos to give you an idea of the test-adjust-test routine.

In the photos below you’ll see my original pencil drawing – which I’m using as a guide.

The Judge’s glasses are made of two pieces of paper: I cut the glasses frames out of a “gold” paper and glued them onto a white paper which acts as the “lenses”.  All elements within the artwork are cut hand dyed papers which interlock.

And so it goes – back and forth – building up each element in both 3 dimensional space as well as 2 dimensional. For example, the watch in the Schnauzer’s pocket is a complete watch – with numbers on it – even if you don’t see all of it in the finished artwork. Behind the suit coat lapels is the entire vest… the tie actually fits under the white shirt collar. The flag is several different colors of paper pieced together and actually hanging from a pole (a cut piece of gold paper).  If you could tell the Schnauzer to move over you’d see the entire “bar” he is standing in front of and behind those is the entire “bench” on which the Labrador judge sits.

Once the “base papers” have been assembled into each element needed for the overall artwork I glue them onto the cradled board.

DSC_0006

I pre-planned for how the various shapes “wrap around” the 4 edges of the board. This way the judges bench actually looks/feels like a 3D bench. All we don’t see are the witness boxes. The flag extends to the side and top edges of the painting. The judge’s arm continues on one edge. As you can see in the photo the floor extends over the bottom edge.

When these base papers are glued on they are pressed flat – and left to dry several days under weight.

Then the excess paper hanging off the edges is trimmed away with my Xacto knife and the now blocked-in painting is put on my easel. There many more cut pieces of paper layered on at my easel – many of them are very tiny pieces of paper, the size of a fingernail or smaller, others are tissue paper thin allowing the underlayment to show through – these papers are cut with my Xacto knife carried to the easel then glued into place.  More building up of paper layers until each element within the artwork has more tonal ranges and dimension. For example, the Judges glasses got more highlights and shadows glued onto them – they went from being made out of 2 pieces of paper to being made out of 6.  The Schnauzer’s eyebrows and whiskers are layered on. And so it goes…

Once again – even though it took quite a bit of time – I got so focused and excited about what I was doing that I forgot to photograph the various steps I did between the above photo and the finished artwork pictured below. (The finished artwork is protected by varnish.)

So here is the finished piece (details of size and media below the photo).

InnocentITellYou72

 “Innocent, I tell you….”

By Clancy

Size 10 x 10 x 2 inches

Media: Hand dyed paper, handmade paste paper, book cloth and acrylic on cradled board

Dogs in bathrooms what art is for and Irish stew

A Creative Life, animals in art, artist book, books, comfort food, Dogs in Art, ebook, fine art, mental health, sketchbook suppers, words and pictures

When my new artist book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” came out (mid Feb 2017) I showed an advance copy to a dear friend who said “I hope this won’t offend you but this would be a perfect bathroom book!”

Of course I wasn’t offended! In fact I think bathrooms are the perfect place for good art and fun/funny books! I think this because of what I think art is for: art is for practicing good mental health skills. Art and books can be mood setters. In a bathroom a person can take a few deep breaths and re-center themselves, re-set their mental mood.

I’ve worked in the genres of “animals in art” and “dogs in art” because of my thoughts about what art is for… but enough about philosophy of art. It’s Saint Patrick’s day! Happy St. Pat’s!!

Here to celebrate and/or up-lift your mood is a page from my book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

pgspread472

Because it’s St. Pat’s – and because the studio of an artist with an Irish sur-name must have sustenance – here is one of my favorite “chop, toss in a pot and let it cook ’till you’re ready to eat it” recipes from my sketchbook:

DublinCoddle172

page from “Coffee, Table, Book” https://store.bookbaby.com/book/coffee-table-book

 

more schnauzer art practice

A Creative Life, animals in art, art commissions, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, Sue Draws Dogs

Here’s more schnauzer practice (referring to my last blog post here) – this one is bigger (15 x 11 inches) and is more like the client’s dog I’m to feature in my fine art commission (via Caplan Art Designs). The commission is being done in color, using my cut handmade paper collage method, but I gotta get the shapes right first. So I’ve been practicing… https://sueclancy.com/2017/03/08/the-art-of-practice-and-a-story-inside/

Samson72

“Samson” by Clancy – ink on handmade paper