memory music mountains and living rooms

A Creative Life, artistic inspirations, food for thought, music in art, sketchbook, travel art and writing, travelog, travelogue, words and pictures

Sweetie and I did a short road trip to Mount St. Helens in Washington. We hiked around, saw a lot of birds. Sweetie heard the birds singing and said they were quite a musical chorus.  At the visitor’s center people “danced” about getting photos in front of the mountain. I drew this in my sketchbook using ink and watercolor:

MtStHelens72

Sketchbook page by Sue Clancy

Then at the visitor’s center we went into the Mount. St. Helens gift shop. From past experience we’ve learned that their collection of books for sale on the topics of botany, zoology and biology is a gold mine. Several books come home with us each trip. This time was no exception. One of the titles that came home with us is “Natural History of the Pacific Northwest Mountains.” by Daniel Mathews.

On page 429 I read (about birds caching food) “Phenomenal ability to remember precise locations evolved separately in the chickadees and the jays that cache food for winter, and in many migrating species. Some of these species have nonmigratory or noncaching relatives whose powers of recall don’t amount to diddley squat.  Another kind of memory that must be worth holding on to is a male warbler’s memory of conspecific males’ songs.  As long as each singer remembers his neighbor’s song from the year before, and stays on his own territory, both are spared a fight. They remember songs from year to year as they return from Central America to reclaim their old haunts.”

That got me to thinking about the traveling troubadours of ancient times.  And from that thought I migrated (pun intended) to thinking of how, here in the Pacific Northwest, there is a “new” tradition of traveling musicians who give what is called “living room concerts” in private homes.  The home-owner hosts the musicians, putting them up for a night or two, and invites a number of family and friends to come to a concert. A certain amount of money is collected per attendee and most of that money goes to the musician.  The musician also sells their CD’s and what not during the evening.

I’m quite addicted to this ‘living room concert’ tradition. I find that even though I’m deaf I can “hear” the music better in a small intimate setting. There are also several local small independent theatres – and there’s fairly good hearing there too. My point being that the music I’ve heard since we’ve lived here in the Pacific Northwest has inspired a lot of my recent artwork. And I suspect this trend will continue.

The concept of a birds ability to remember where they put their food also made me think about the seasonal offerings at the local Pacific Northwest restaurants.  When I say “seasonal offering” I mean it. There’s a short time when a certain fruit or veg is available at the local farms so the pubs and restaurants will offer special dishes that use that fruit/veg and then when it’s gone. It’s gone.

We’ve lived here long enough now that I’m beginning to remember, for example, what pubs will offer the “fresh asparagus ‘fries’ ” during peak asparagus season. I’m also remembering which farmers market stands sell the freshest berries and apples. I love the seasonal randomness it’s like a perpetual surprise party but the ability to remember what is ripe during what season is helpful to know.

Needless to say I’ve been artistically inspired by the food. And that’ll prolly (as they say here) continue too.

There’s something about memory and food and music…. something that I just itch to make fine art about. So stay tuned. (pun intended again)

kitchen music and sustainable creativity

A Creative Life, artistic inspirations, business of art, food for thought, kitchen art, music in art, small things, Sustainable creativity

I strongly believe in taking care of oneself as a way of sustaining creativity.  Keeping a go-to list of  “things that feed your soul” and regularly using it can help maintain ones artistic battery.  One item on my list, well okay two items, is cooking food and listening to music. So I also strongly believe that music belongs in the kitchen and dining room.  Belongs there loudly.

Luckily I now live in a part of the country where I have friends who both play musical instruments and cook! I also now live in a city that holds music concerts in the park – a park ringed with food carts, restaurants and pubs/breweries – all of them cooking something that smells delicious. Picnics are often brought to these park concerts – baskets full of mouth-watering food and wine or beer.

To celebrate this music-plus-food life I’ve created some tea towels and dinner napkins with a music motif.

Now I’ll give you three guesses as to what I’m happily doing this evening.

Oh, and here are the direct links to information about the above pictured tea towels and napkins:

https://roostery.com/p/orpington-linen-tea-towels/6575299-songs-by-sueclancy

https://roostery.com/p/amarela-cloth-dinner-napkins/6575299-songs-by-sueclancy

 

kitchen tales and non-traditional notions

A Creative Life, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, drawing as thinking, food for thought, kitchen art, visual story, words and pictures

I’m playfully experimenting again. I’m combining several things: my thought that knowing how to cook is an essential artist survival skill, my not-so-secret desire to illustrate a cookbook and the fact that I’ve been asked to do my fine artwork (dogs and food!) as prints for sometimes messy home kitchens.

So I’m collecting my kitchen art efforts together and publishing them on a web page – https://sueclancy.com/pattern-design/kitchen-tales/ — as you can see I’m doing a series of individual prints instead of printing a series of images in a traditional book.  This way people can mix and match to their liking.

The same with tea towels and napkins… can recipes become something useable like a towel? Can I tell visual stories, that you can wipe your hands with, about enjoying food and drink? It’ll be fun to try!

And lucky for me I have a chef friend – Chef Kim Mahan of http://www.class-cooking.com – who wants to experiment with non-traditional cookbook notions too! We will do some practicing in public – on my blog as well as on the above mentioned web page.

Here’s a framed print… you saw progress towards this image in earlier posts.

 

 

 

art of onions chopped

A Creative Life, Art Licensing, art techniques, artistic inspirations, commonplace book, drawing as thinking, food for thought, illustration, Not-So-Sketchy-Food, sketchbook, sketchbook suppers, visual story, words and pictures

I finished the artwork I was working on in my last blog post! https://sueclancy.com/2017/04/06/art-of-the-onion/ and then I applied the illustration to some things… a framed print, greeting cards and other items you can find here: https://society6.com/sueclancy

of dogs, tequila and recipes

A Creative Life, animals in art, art gallery, artist book, artistic inspirations, books, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, food for thought, sketchbook

If you have ever enjoyed a margarita – or as I’ve recently discovered – a Mexican coffee remember to thank a bat. The lesser long nosed bat, yes the night flying critter, is very important to the pollination of plants that produce tequila. This bat’s health affects human culture and humans affect the bat. Fortunately the lesser long nosed bat has been removed from the endangered species list recently because lots of humans returned the bat’s favors and helped the bat’s habitat etc.

All of this goes to my on-going thesis that we humans are interconnected with the world. It only seems like human culture is separate from the natural world. Just like sometimes it feels like we are alone as individuals. But the way I figure it even when I’m physically alone in a room there are thousands of humans with me; several people made my furniture, some made my window blinds, others make the inks, brushes and all the art supplies I use. The books that fill my studio and home were written, edited, published and distributed by lots of humans. And I’m grateful to them.

Then I back up a notch and there are mammals, insects, plants as well as water, air and sunlight that also contributed to the materials all the humans used to make everything in my life. And I’m even more grateful.

Which brings me to the dogs. For me dogs represent a “joy at being alive” and dogs are very much a part of our human world. For me they are a direct link to the natural world – they are our “interpreters”, our therapy guide dogs, that help us remember our humanity. You know, enjoy your food, sleep well, be sociable, be kind, go for walks and play like you mean it.

I also enjoy the diversity of the dog-world. The smallest dog and the biggest dog, the hairy dog and the smooth-coated dog are all able to co-exist peaceably (most of the time) in the same dog park. Good examples for the humans I think.

It takes all of us – every being – to create our world. Sort of like a drink recipe, leave out one item and you don’t have the same drink. As Dr. Bob Hoke often quoted “We bring forth the world together”

So for many of the above reasons I depict dogs doing human culture-like things such as having a Mexican coffee.

walter72

Walter by Clancy – ink on handmade paper

And here is one of the best Mexican coffee recipe’s I’ve found so far.

mexicancoffee72

I never knew there were so many coffee-drinks until I moved to the Pacific Northwest. Lately I’ve been “collecting” such drinks in my sketchbook (like the above recipe) as well as many different shapes of mugs and cups. All of this research is ending up in my fine artwork… I’ll share more about this in another post.

Do you have a favorite dog? Or favorite coffee drink?

In the meantime you can see more of my dog portrait artwork in my new book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy or at one of my art galleries: Caplan Art Designs http://www.caplanartdesigns.com  For more of the “Dr. Bob Hoke” I spoke of earlier see also my artist book Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit https://store.bookbaby.com/book/dr-bobs-emotional-repair-program-first-aid-kit

 

More Than Just a Number

A Creative Life, artistic inspirations, food for thought

I’m re-blogging this article because it describes very well something I’ve been thinking about for some time. It describes one of the reasons (shining a light on the human part of humanity) why I’m an artist, and why I do art the way I do it. Yet this article also highlights for me the tightrope we professional artists walk. On the one hand the Internet, and social media, make it easier for us to get the word out about our art projects and that’s a wonderful, necessary, thing. On the other hand it is a challenge to remain human while you’re doing all that ‘getting the word out’ that you have to do in order to keep being a professional artist. It can be hard to remember to be just a human who happens to share publicly what they create. Best I know to do is try.

Wine and Cheese (Doodles)

doctorI did something the other day we tell our kids not to do: I met a stranger I’d befriended on the internet.

The story is one of those bizarre ‘small world’ moments that happen from time to time on the internet, but over the course of the last few months, Valerie and I have been instant message pen-pal-ing, sharing stories and articles, histories and theories. When she told me she was coming to Copenhagen to visit her sister, of course I wanted to meet her in person.

On the surface, we have little in common. I’m from the Northeast, and she’s from the deep south. She’s retired, no kids, likes dogs…yet we connected through a commonality: looking for a little bit of orientation in a world that to many, seems to have turned upside down.

Sitting across from one another rather than across a computer screen, we talked about many of the same things–politics, women’s rights…

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the art of nachos

A Creative Life, comfort food, food for thought, Not-So-Sketchy-Food, sketchbook

Being a busy professional artist I’m fond of “quick fix” meals that are both yummy and fairly healthy – I’m feeding my creative-mental-beast after all! So, by special request (Thanks Laura!) here in this post is my favorite nacho’s recipe.

I like to make my nachos as artistically colorful as possible so as I’m piling the ingredients on – sometimes (in addition to the ingredients below) I’ll include spinach leaves, and chopped red bell pepper chunks to make it have a colorful contrast.  I like the dark olives against the white mozzarella too. The “ready to use beans” mentioned in the recipe are described in this blog post here: https://sueclancy.com/2016/10/17/best-artistic-life-trick/    and make a nice background color along with the yellow corn chips and the light green onion and the dark green jalapeno…

And yes, this recipe is written like you see here in ink and color pencil in one of my sketchbooks.

Oh, and the cast-iron griddle technique really is the “secret sauce” for my nachos!  Enjoy!!

nachos

Sue Clancy’s “busy artist Nachos” recipe

finding artistic inspiration

A Creative Life, art techniques, commonplace book, food for thought, pattern design, sketchbook, visual story

People tend to think of “wealth” as things they have yet to acquire rather than things they already have. Similarly people think of “artistic inspiration” as some grand life-changing event rather than a learned-and-practiced way of looking at ordinary life.

I had an art professor in college who would talk, after class was over, of various practical aspects of the business of being a professional artist. He would say “If you can’t find artistic inspiration, something utterly fascinating to you, something you are curious about exploring using art techniques, in your own room, in your own yard, in your own life – then you won’t last long as an artist. So collect every inspiration you have, keep careful notes of what piques your interest no matter how small, protect and pursue these interests passionately, and you’ll have a life-long career as an artist.”

Here’s a fascinating pattern I found in my backyard – which I’m “keeping” for some unknown-at-this-moment future use.

A fascinating pattern I saw of white dew "dots" on larger green clover "dots" on a darker green-brown ground.

A fascinating pattern I saw of small white dew “dots” on larger green clover “dots” on a darker green-brown ground.

 

go sketching sandwich

A Creative Life, comfort food, food for thought, Not-So-Sketchy-Food, sketchbook, travelog, travelogue, words and pictures

I like to go sketching as a way to “gather data” that I’ll use in my fine artwork. I’ll go looking for colors, shapes, patterns and many other elements in the real world from which I’ll draw and make notes in my sketchbooks for reference use – inspiration – later in my studio.  Where I’ll go depends on the kind of data I’m needing to collect: is it botanical colors? natural shapes? or urban tile/brick patterns that I need? No matter where I’m heading there is often the question: “What to do about lunch?”

This sandwich is fast becoming my go-to-reliably-yummy-easily-portable fave.  I’m calling in my “Let’s Go Sketching Sandwich”. It’s a fave because of it’s yummy-ness but also for it’s portability. There’s no need for a cooler or a way to keep it cold (translation; no need to carry additional gear!), it’s not a messy sandwich and it can be eaten with one hand – all virtues in this artist’s book!  I can literally stick this simple sandwich in my art bag and go!

Here in this post is – irony intended – my sketch and notes about my sketching sandwich that I made in my sketchbook!

And yes, it is important to press the sandwich together – it helps meld the flavors. It is also helpful to wait an hour or more between making the sandwich and eating it.  This also contributes to this sandwiches portability; I can wrap this sandwich tightly in wax paper, put it in a ziploc bag and put that in the bottom of my art bag – any sketchbooks on top of the sandwich are helping me “meld” the sandwich. If it takes me 30 minutes or an hour to get to where I want to sketch – all the better. Now – let’s go! (Any curiosities about what else is in my “art bag” besides this sandwich can be settled here: https://sueclancy.com/2016/02/18/sues-sketching-setup/)

the Let's Go Sketching Sandwich - recipe and drawing in Sue Clancy's sketchbook

the Let’s Go Sketching Sandwich – recipe and drawing in Sue Clancy’s sketchbook

 

 

 

animals in art

A Creative Life, animals in art, Authors, fine art, food for thought, visual story, words and pictures

I have a gazillion-trillion reasons why I depict animals in my artwork and why I do it the way I do it. These two articles; one titled “Thinking With Animals” and the other titled “Why look at Animals?” lists a few of the issues often within my thoughts. In short within my artwork I contemplate the ways humans think in animal metaphors and our efforts at self-transcendence – and how to go on and living well with all the beings on our planet.

Why I do visual stories is another topic yet one that is intimately intertwined with why I depict animals in art and here is a wonderful article on storytelling titled “Susan Sontag on Storytelling, what it means to be a moral human being and her advice to writers”.

Possibly best of all, and what got me started writing this blog post, is this article titled “Neil Gaiman on how stories last”  – In that article at one point Gaiman says “Pictures, I think, may have been a way of transmitting stories.”

Because the Internet likes images I’m including one of my artworks that has – gasp! – animals in it.

Soup Moon by Sue Clancy (this piece is currently at www.caplanartdesigns.com)

Soup Moon by Sue Clancy (this piece is currently at www.caplanartdesigns.com)

Here are the full article links:

https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/04/16/thinking-with-animals-lorainne-daston-gregg-mitman/

https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/04/01/why-look-at-animals-john-berger-about-looking/

https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/03/30/susan-sontag-writing-storytelling-at-the-same-time/

https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/06/16/neil-gaiman-how-stories-last/?utm_content=buffer76d87&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer