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 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.

 

Exhibit Teaser Stories

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, fine art, public art, words and pictures

Click on one of the images in this blog post for a slideshow of 5 (out of 21) artworks currently on exhibit at Burnt Bridge Cellars.  Since I think things (!) while I’m designing each of my visual stories (aka artworks) I’m including a short sentence about my thoughts behind each piece followed by details of media, size etc. – contact Caplan Art Designs directly www.caplanartdesigns.com if you’re interested in one of these works. (BTW Caplan’s will ship art anywhere in the world.)

Relevant links:

www.burntbridgecellars.com

A blog post here: https://sueclancy.com/2016/05/31/fine-art-and-fine-wine/ containing details about the opening reception (food! wine!) at Burnt Bridge Cellars Friday June 3rd 2016.

www.caplanartdesigns.com

fine art and fine wine

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, fine art, public art, visual story, words and pictures

Here are some photos of my fine art in the process of being exhibited at a winery, Burnt Bridge Cellars in Vancouver Wa, for a First Friday event, June 3 2016 www.burntbridgecellars.com

At the winery I’ll have new artwork in an exhibit titled “Enjoying Time”. The opening starts at 4pm Friday evening and includes music, food and wine and, of course, visual fine art.  (The exhibit will be available until the end of July – see the winery’s website for their hours)

I like having my artwork in winery’s – especially when there is good food prepared by a chef (like at the Burnt Bridge Cellars), and music – because my artwork in general is about taking time to enjoy small moments. So what better way to amplify my artistic thoughts than to exhibit my art in a way that can engage all of the senses?

Fortunately my art agents at Caplan Art Designs agree and aid and abet my efforts! (The gallery owner brought some of my artwork from the gallery and consulted about the display at the winery!) www.caplanartdesigns.com

Here is my “Enjoying Time” exhibit statement:

“After attending a symphony followed by a multi-course dinner and drinks with friends I began thinking about time; musical time, cooking time… finding, taking and spending time on things that bring joy to life.  I thought about how our lives are entirely made up of time and it’s up to us to use our time well.  So I began to collect, from my daily life, my own “enjoyable moments” – and recreate them for you with some of my favorite animals.”

And here (finally!) are the promised photos –

Sue Clancy's fine art on exhibit above some very fine wines at Burnt Bridge Cellars

Sue Clancy’s fine art on exhibit above some very fine wines at Burnt Bridge Cellars

Sue Clancy's fine art in the process of being exhibited at Burnt Bridge Cellars

Sue Clancy’s fine art in the process of being exhibited at Burnt Bridge Cellars

 

 

Verrry Big Reveal

A Creative Life, public art

Last night was the unveiling party for my “Verry Big Project” – a public art project I did for the Curtis Children’s Justice Center (CJC) in Vancouver WA.

Here is a photo of the essential installation crew – who helped me put the artwork on the wall in the lobby of the CJC about a month ago – the full photo here shows all of  the artwork the previously posted pic only showed part of the artwork.

The crew who installed Sue Clancy's artwork in the Curtis Children's Justice Center - we had just finished installation

The crew who installed Sue Clancy’s artwork in the Curtis Children’s Justice Center – we had just finished installation

Then we covered the newly installed artwork with white paper and kids artwork to hide it until the party. It looked like this for almost a month while the CJC arranged for publicity and invited people for the party.BeforeUnveiling

Then last night about (and I’m guessing) 50 or so people came! (“About the right size crowd” someone said.) The CJC director talked a while. Then I talked for about 3 minutes. And the wall looked like this (without the white paper covering the art).

Going Places, Getting There (two panels of a diptych together in the lobby of the Curtis Children's Justice Center in Vancouver WA)

Going Places, Getting There (two panels of a diptych together in the lobby of the Curtis Children’s Justice Center in Vancouver WA)

After all of the talking was done we stood around drinking punch, chatting and eating cake. I got to meet a lot of wonderful heroes and say “thank you” to each of them!  Then we all went home.

A link to a great newspaper article in The Columbian about this project is here: http://www.columbian.com/news/2016/feb/08/child-abuse-survivor-hopes-her-artwork-calms-others/

For more information about what Dr. Bob Hoke taught me (referred to in the Columbian newspaper article) see my book “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit”. You can get a print version via my website here https://sueclancy.com/this-artist-studio/ or an eBook version here https://store.bookbaby.com/book/dr-bobs-emotional-repair-program-first-aid-kit

verrry close

A Creative Life, art exhibit, fine art, public art, words and pictures

Getting even closer to the unveiling party for my “Verrry Big Project” – a 4 foot by 8 foot public art project I’ve done for the Curtis Children’s Justice Center! So here are some photos of me creating the artwork and a downloadable pdf file for people interested in the full details of my working process on this project.

About creating the Reception Area artworks

constructing a character out of cut handmade paper for a public art project

creating a dog character out of cut handmade paper for a public art project

creating a cat character out of cut handmade paper for a public art project

creating a cat character out of cut handmade paper for a public art project

Here is an additional link about this project. http://wp.me/p5wztb-e8

Pictures of the art installation are here: http://wp.me/p5wztb-da

This public artwork is dedicated in memory of Dr. Bob Hoke – see also https://store.bookbaby.com/book/dr-bobs-emotional-repair-program-first-aid-kit

public art comforts

A Creative Life, public art, visual story

On Wednesday I had a meeting with the executive director of the Curtis Children’s Justice Center (CJC) to discuss the logistics regarding the Feb. 8 unveiling of the artwork I did for them. As we talked the director said something that I’ve been thinking about ever since. She said, and I wish I could remember her exact words, that a local arts association had offered to list the artwork at the CJC and that the director hadn’t thought a whole lot about a connection between an organization dealing with child abuse and the local arts scene. She went on to say we do have to learn to “see the helpers that are all around us”.

My predominate thought has been “Of course there’s a connection between organizations that work with children, especially abused or ill children, and the local arts! How could there not be?” In my mind a children’s center has original art on their walls for the exact same reason they’d employ a therapy dog; for the care and comfort it may provide.

Children’s centers with multiple works of fine art for therapeutic purposes can end up with public art collections almost without trying. Any collection of public art that serves a community function, whether to reflect a communities history (like the Vancouver Land Bridge), to visually represent a city (like the Salmon Run Bell Tower and Glockenspiel in Vancouver’s Esther Short Park) or to comfort a segment of a community’s population (like the artwork in the CJC) is a part of the “local arts scene” by virtue of its existence in a particular place. Whether an organization like the CJC, because of its kind of work, allows their collection to be listed in an art association’s public announcement is separate issue.

Art for the purposes of therapeutic comfort – or for relaxation, which is a form of comfort – is nothing new. In fact it is one of the “helpers all around us” that most of us don’t notice. Did you have a rough day at the office? Celebrating a birthday? You might seek comfort or relaxation in any of the following; listening to music, watching a movie, reading a novel, attending a play at the theater, seeing art work in a gallery or museum, going to a comedy/storytelling event, or going dancing. Chances are good that most of us have done these things, gotten comfort/relaxation from them without thinking “I’m doing this for therapeutic reasons” or even noticing that it elevated a mood. And you probably didn’t think “I’m participating in the local arts scene” while you were tapping your toe in tune with the jazz band.

Public art and even the local arts scene can easily become part of the background of our lives, an unsung part of our ability to go on and live well.

Yes indeed there are helpers all around us and isn’t it nice that sometimes they are noticed?

Here are some sketchbook pages I did as I thought about all of this. (The ‘feed the good wolves’ note written on the bottom of one of the sketchbook pages refers to this post)

Papillon172 Papillon272

verrry excited!

A Creative Life, public art

It’s getting close to time to unveil my “verrrry big project” the 4 foot by 8 foot artwork I did for the Curtis Children’s Justice Center! As part of my preparations I’ve updated my website with a “public art” tab. And I’m working on my 3 minute speech. I’ll have to come up with something besides “Isn’t it awesome that a place like the Curtis Children’s Justice Center exists?!!!” But that’s pretty much the gist of it.

If you’re just joining the party here’s some links to catch you up:

https://sueclancy.com/2016/01/23/verry-big-party/

https://sueclancy.com/2016/01/14/a-verrry-big-day/

See also https://sueclancy.com/2016/02/01/feeding-good-wolves/

And because the Internet likes pretty pictures here is a photo of the wonderful therapy dog at the Children’s Justice Center – who is featured in my artwork that will be unveiled Feb 8th!

004

Verry Big Party

A Creative Life, books, ebook, fine art, public art, visual story, words and pictures

As mentioned here – my Verrry Big Project artwork (4 feet by 8feet!) has been installed and now we’re waiting for the “unveiling party” on Feb 8th.  But I’ve been told that I can now spill the beans as to who this public art project is for:  The Arthur D. Curtis Children’s Justice Center (CJC) in Vancouver Washington. Here are some links: http://clarkjfc.com/ and https://www.clark.wa.gov/childrens-justice-center

Why it was important to me to do this project:

I have some personal history with dealing with violence in my biological-family home as a child growing up. Not getting into details just now because more will be revealed as publicity about this project unfolds; let it suffice here to say that as a young person I had the great good fortune to meet Dr. Bob Hoke and his wife Penny.  Yes, I mean the Dr. Bob of whom I write about in “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit”.  (Access to both a print version and an ebook version is here https://sueclancy.com/this-artist-studio/) That little book contains so much help, solace and artistic inspiration for me – and is the backbone of why I do the kind of artwork that I do.

Epic saga short, Dr. Bob and Penny became “Dad” and “Mom” for me and we’ve remained family for each other for about 30 years now. Over the course of years Dr. Bob Hoke, Penny and I have talked about how “life is a journey” and how stories affect the ways we picture our world and our responses to difficulties encountered on life’s journey. Stories (and non-verbal visual artwork that communicates stories visually) can affect us positively, can be a source of comfort and encouragement…. (and I hope that my artwork for public places is a source of comfort…)

Fast forward a number of years and I’ve relocated from Okla to WA and had the good fortune of marrying the love of my life, Judy, so I wanted to do something for the WA community that had so warmly welcomed us.

Since I’m an artist with a history of creating large public artworks for children’s centers of one sort or another it made sense to look for such an opportunity. Through friends I heard about the CJC and the kind of work they did. So I discussed the CJC’s mission/methods with Dr. Bob and Penny and Judy, we all decided that the CJC would be a good recipient of my artwork – if the CJC agreed.

I met with the CJC director, made my pitch, and set about designing visual artworks that would help the CJC tell their story. That included creating symbols and imagery that would communicate visually the idea that “life is a journey – with many stops along the way, some good, some bad – and occasionally we all need help going places and figuring out how to get there.”  I also did a depiction of one of the “forests” that we all metaphorically journey through…  And you bet I discussed my potential symbols and metaphors with Dr. Bob (a psychiatrist) and his wife Penny (a mental health nurse).

Here are some of the early “mock-ups” of the art that I presented to the CJC, that was discussed in meetings and later with changes made (the changes are not pictured here) approved by the committee at the CJC.  These rough mock-ups are small, about the size of an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper.

I did two sets of large finished artworks for the CJC… each is 4 feet tall by 8 feet wide. Please note that these photos are of the mock-ups and NOT the final artwork with the changes …so there is still to be revealed – at the unveiling party!! (and yes, I’ll post stuff here too for those who can’t make it to the party)

Going Places Getting There

mock up of the Going Places Getting There diptych

Into the Forest

mock up of  the Into the Forest diptych