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
About a month ago now Sweetie and I took a cooking class (www.class-cooking.com) as a “date night out”. It was fun and as usual when I do something fun I made notes in my sketchbook. Here is one of the sketchbook pages I did during cooking class with Chef Kim Mahan.
Then I got very busy with fine art commissions and etc. freelance projects – and life.
But every time I’d cut an onion when cooking supper I’d think about our class and the valuable instructions I’d gotten about onions. Since for me drawing is thinking – I ached to draw onions and the chef’s “how to chop onions” instructions so as to think about and “visualize” them. So for several weeks now when I’ve had a spare 5 or 10 minutes I’d look at my sketchbook pages and brain-storm about what I wanted to create. After a brain-storm option had been settled upon I spent my spare 5 or 10 minutes drawing and writing in pencil on a larger sheet of Bristol paper the onion art/illustration I’d brain-stormed about. Some days I only erased pencil lines that didn’t work. Other days I re-drew pencil lines. After the pencil lines were settled in my spare few moments I’d do an ink line or two…
We’re talking quick-quick drawing work on the “onion art” then I’d go on with my day-job art projects. Every day though I did something in my spare 5 to 10 minutes to inch the onion art along.
Then today I had 20 whole minutes in a row to spare! Wahoo!! And the pencil work was done and I even had a few ink lines done – so I grabbed my ink pens, watercolors and color pencils…
Here’s what I’ve done today – as it is on my work table – I’ve a bit more work to do but it’s almost finished!
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!!
A problem I’ve had as a professional artist who does fine art commissions – is that often the project is a secret. Which means even though my day (and mind) is filled with drawings, paper patterns and colors related to my commission I can’t talk about it online. No posting “in progress” photos because it’d spoil the surprise for somebody.
But still the Social Media Beast must be fed.
I’ve solved this problem – in hopefully an amusing way – by posting my short-narrative work (see my last post as an example), or something about one of my artist books…Here’s a page I particularly like today from my book Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit:
Or posting a page from my sketchbook – like this one – which also happens to be an ebook page from my Coffee Table Book – (by the way, it is also a very good recipe for lunch):
Or posting something about one of my pattern designs: The art apparel with my pattern designs that I do for VIDA really do have my signature on them! You can see my entire signature collection here: http://shopvida.com/collections/sue-clancy
And now that I’ve told you my secret – and fed the Beast a bit – I’ll get back to work on my art commission.
When I went to art school I didn’t know how to cook. Art school was expensive and the rough average materials costs to do my “homework” were about $30. (in late 1980’s dollars in Oklahoma) for each homework assignment in each class. There was major homework each week, for at least one class – usually more – so costs added up. After spending money on art supplies there wasn’t much left over for food. I ate a lot of baloney and cheese sandwiches on white bread.
In my freshman year I had been approved to have a studio space in the art studio building. One had to submit a portfolio and be approved by a panel of professors. Competition was fierce. Consequently most of the students approved for studio space were juniors and seniors. Some of them were also “returning students” aka “old people” in their late 20’s or 30’s
And then there was me. I was known as “The Kid”.
In the studio building there was a communal kitchen, with a refrigerator, small stove, a coffee pot and a large table and a number of chairs.
One day I was in the kitchen at the table eating my baloney and cheese. Two of the older female students (both from California) entered, rummaged in the fridge, heated something on the stove, then sat to eat a veritable feast of black bean soft tacos with sauteed chilies, onions, spinach and cheese.
I stared. And probably drooled.
One of them looked over at me “Hey kid, what are you eating?”
I told them.
“Oh, gross!” said the other California girl “That’s disgusting!”
I asked what they were eating, they told me, and offered bites …. one thing led to another and pretty soon I was meeting regularly with them and about 6 of their friends for pot-luck dinners.
Before each pot-luck one of the members would demonstrate how to cook the dish they were sharing that evening. I went to almost every cooking lesson. (And I contributed to the events by doing a lot of the clean-up.)
Almost every one of the pot-luck club members were artist’s of one sort or another. Many dinner discussions were about “the business of being an artist” including how important it was for artists to be able to cook (and mix your own alcoholic drinks) because it fed creative brains more nutritionally – and helped an artist be able to afford to do creative work and live well.
I soaked it up like a sponge, learned how to cook and have probably survived as a professional artist because of what I’ve learned about cooking and business from those California girls.
The “how to cook dry beans” was a regular cook-lesson topic as dry beans (available in a bag dry or from bulk bins) are much cheaper than canned. Once you’ve a big pot of cooked beans ready-to-eat they can be stored in a fridge and quickly used over the coming days for soft taco’s, burrito’s, soups and salads – and more. All cheap fairly quick eats that are yummy!
Of all the lessons I learned “The Beans” was the best and the most useful trick to living the artistic/creative life well! I’m even using the “bean cooking” technique this very day !
These days I use a fancy bean pot – made from iMusa – and it is an improvement on the old large stock pot method I used back then. My bean pot uses 8 cups of water – and can hold 3 cups of dry beans…. But the large-stock-pot method described in my sketchbook page above still works great too. Anyway here’s a picture of my bean pot in action right now (I started the pot at 10:52… and it’s starting to smell good about now!):
When my art-studio work day is done later today I’m looking forward either to some bean+chili+cheese burritos…or else some nachos. Hard to choose… Anyway, do you want my recipe for “artist” burrito’s or nachos too?
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/)
One of the best “how to be a professional artist” advice I ever got: Learn to cook! 2nd best advice: Get a rice cooker – slow cooker combo that has a timer and a “keep warm” setting. (This way dinner cooks while I work – and when dinner is done if I’m still working my food stays warm until I’m ready for it.) Here’s a pic of my essential art studio equipment.