oh my gouache

A Creative Life, art techniques, artist book, artistic inspirations, business of art, sketchbook, The Sketchbook Project

The cookbook signing I did recently with Chef Kim Mahan went very well (cookbook info here) and then I took some days off.  Which means that I read books and dabbled with a new-to-me art media – gouache.

You see my wife and I went with a fellow artist friend of ours, Donna Young, (www.donnayoung.com) to the Portland Art Museum to see The Wyeths: Three Generations.  An exhibit of works by N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, Jamie Wyeth and Harriet Wyeth.  https://portlandartmuseum.org/

Naturally the three of us discussed the compositions of the works – and we discussed the art mediums each Wyeth used.  Donna knew more about gouache than I did – and one of the things she said that it was less water-y than watercolor and not as plastic as acrylic. My curiosity was peaked.

After our day at the museum I looked up gouache and read of its ease-of-use in books about art mediums; I read of the application of gouache in bound sketchbooks but also its use when a painting/image is intended for reproduction.

I thought “Ah ha! This might be the solution for my problem of how to color my Brooklyn Art Library sketchbook”.  I’ve been slowly working on a visual story titled “Time Tavern” but the paper in the sketchbook as it comes from the Brooklyn Art Library is so thin that I knew my usual methods of adding color, acrylic, watercolor and etc. mixed media would over power the paper. Just using color pencil didn’t feel as bold as I like to be so for some time now I’ve been pondering what to do to add color. (You can see my last post about that project here)

What Donna said about gouache, and my subsequent readings about it, made me think it might be an option for me. So I went to a local art supply store where I got some Holbien Artist Gouache.  Here below is a pic of the colors I got, my palette set-up and the color notes I made.

DSC_0025

I also generally scribbled with my brushes dipped in each of my new gouache colors on various pieces of paper – some thick, others thin. First tentative color marks make me very hopeful…. oh my gosh, I think I may like gouache!

Clancy’s 5 tips for drawing crowds

A Creative Life, art techniques, artistic inspirations, commonplace book, creative thinking, sketchbook, visual thinking

I’ve been so busy with other projects that I can’t talk about in public yet that I’ve not had time – not even 5 spare minutes – to work on my Time Tavern sketchbook. So to come up with a blog post update today I flipped through my sketchbook/commonplace book.

Crowds of characters feature prominently in one of my can’t-talk-about-it-much-yet projects – and are also part of my Time Tavern sketchbook too.  So as part of my work on these projects one afternoon, a month or so ago, I went through several of my art technique books to refresh my technical skills for drawing crowds. I wrote the various relevant pointers as well as my own thoughts in my sketchbook.

Here below is a picture of  my sketchbook page.

CrowdDrawingTips72

In case you can’t read my handwriting I’ll type it here – and tweak the text I wrote by hand in my book, based on my recent experience in drawing crowds for my various projects:

Five Crowd Drawing Tips:

  1. Start at the front of the crowd. Do the figures with the most detail that are upfront/closer. The looser and less detailed characters will read as “in the distance”. Try to capture the type of characters within the overall scene as that gives the viewer the flavor of the event/place.
  2. Focus on the crowd shape as a whole. See the crowd as a single abstract shape – or as several shapes put together. Select where to put the details so as to guide the viewers eye around the crowd-shape(s).
  3. Keep it within a perspective. Is the viewer standing within the same level as the people in the front of the crowd? Or viewing the crowd from above or below?  You won’t see the characters in the back of the crowd unless you are in an elevated position.  Find a character of “average height” to use as a measuring gauge for placing the other characters. Use the average height as a natural horizon line and/or an assist in creating the crowd shape.
  4. Use characters arms, bags, objects held, angle of the head and other elements as a way of showing movement and guiding the viewers eye around the crowd shape.
  5. Crowds will have a main set of colors – like at a sporting event, though maybe not that extreme – it is possible, helpful even, to lay down areas of color within the crowd shape and add details over that. Color placement can help move the viewers eye. If one particular character is the focal point or stands out in the crowd then use the most color and detail on them and leave the others more or less implied. The main set of colors within the crowd shape can guide the colors used within the setting/scene around the crowd too.

 

more from time tavern

A Creative Life, artist book, sketchbook, The Sketchbook Project, visual story

I’ve been very busy lately on several major projects that I can’t talk about publicly yet. Which is why you’ve not seen much of me online. I have managed to squeeze in a bit of work, 5 minutes here or there, on my sketchbook for the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project. I’m still thinking the title of my sketchbook is “Time Tavern”.

Anyway, below are pics of what I’ve gotten done.

And yes, when I can I’ll post about the projects that I can’t talk about yet.

time tavern sketchbook progress

A Creative Life, artist book, sketchbook, The Sketchbook Project, visual story

The sketchbook I’m working on for the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project now has a name, a working title: “Time Tavern”.  As you can see from previous posts I’m thinking about time – and uses of time in cooking, food service, music and in telling wordless visual stories.

When I began this project I’d thought “Time Tavern” would be the title but I held off declaring it until I’d drawn a few pages.  Things sometimes change as a drawing progresses – particularly when I’m working on a wordless visual story.

In my earlier posts (see below for links) I’d shown close-ups of musicians and a chef at work. I’d also shown a birthday party in progress.  These 3 story strands are main ones – but they also need context in order to become a story.  The association or juxtaposition of images – and the sequence of them – is how I’m crafting my tale visually rather than by written words in a row.

The issue is how to do the same things writers who use written words do – plot movement, foreshadowing and character development – but in my case how to do those using only visual imagery.

As part of my original planning for this story I created a “layout” of the “Time Tavern” the pub setting where my story takes place.  This layout is part of my story strand weaving strategy.  Here you see my architectural layout:

TimeTavernLayout72

This architectural drawing won’t be included in my sketchbook – that’s just to help me organize my story.  The book to the side in the above photo is included as it shows me referring to my architectural drawing during work on that sketchbook page.

Below is one of the first setting drawings within my “Time Tavern” sketchbook – it shows the chef looking at his recipe cards. In the background you see the bartender looking at her recipe cards. You also see a bit of the stage area the musicians will use.  Perhaps you can see how I’ll be using my setting drawings as story context – and foreshadowing?

TimeTavernSettingView172

I’m sure you’ll also note the large clocks in my settings – I’m using those as a story device to show the progression of time…

TimeTavernSetting72

Lots more to work to do…

My past posts regarding this project (so you can follow my progress) are here:  https://sueclancy.com/2017/08/10/sketchbook-project-progress/    https://sueclancy.com/2017/08/14/story-strands-in-my-sketchbook-project/  https://sueclancy.com/2017/08/16/sketchbook-progress-time/

General info about the Sketchbook Project is here: https://www.sketchbookproject.com/

sketchbook progress time

A Creative Life, artist book, sketchbook, The Sketchbook Project

More progress in my sketchbook for the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project. As per my recent reading I’ve been thinking about time… and how food and music utilizes time.  So does sequential visual art. Anyway here’s some photos of my progress – and yes, I’m indulging by drawing some of my favorite recipes (for drinks and soup) as well as drawing metaphoric portraits of some of my favorite local musicians.

Here’s a link to the last post about this project (so you can follow my progress): https://sueclancy.com/2017/08/14/story-strands-in-my-sketchbook-project/

And here’s a post listing the books I’m currently reading (that I alluded to above): https://sueclancy.com/2017/08/07/reading-books-making-art-eating-popcorn/

story strands in my sketchbook project

A Creative Life, artist book, sketchbook, The Sketchbook Project

I’m beginning the ink work on my sketchbook for the Brooklyn Art Library’s sketchbook project. I’m starting in the middle and working my way out. In my last post you saw me sewing the binding and adding a page that will fold out. The work you see in these photos is on that fold out page. It’s in the middle of the book.

The waiters are one of my story strands. The birthday party is another. The recipes are still another story strand. I’m doing my best to link them visually – non-verbally.  We’ll see how it goes. But it’s a fun experiment!  Photos of my most recent progress below.

Time Tavern

the beginning of a fold out sheet in a sketchbook by Clancy for the Brooklyn Art Library

Insert272

the inner spread prior to opening the folds

InsertSpread72

the fold-out pages folded out

Insert472

the inner fold-out sheet folded back into the sketchbook

If you want to follow this thread here’s a direct link to my last post https://sueclancy.com/2017/08/10/sketchbook-project-progress/

sketchbook project progress

A Creative Life, artist book, sketchbook, The Sketchbook Project

My first step in my work towards my Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook Project was to brainstorm my story design.  I’m trying something new: weaving at least 3 different story strands together using a wordless picture book format. “Brainstorming” means that over several days I doodled on a few pieces of paper, doing thumbnail drawings, and writing my thoughts in long-hand. Many of my brain-storming thoughts were sparked by the books I’m reading now (see my last blog post for a book list). Eventually my idea for this project “gelled”.

The next thing is to rebind the sketchbook I’d gotten from The Sketchbook Project in accord with my design. I’ll be using a 5 hole pamphlet stitch because this allows me to securely add a new page that will open out larger than the original sketchbook.

In the photo below I’m cutting and folding the thin handmade paper to be inserted in my sketchbook.

CuttingInsertPages72

With my new paper now cut and folded I proceed to remove the staples from the bound sketchbook as it came to me from the Brooklyn Art Library.  I have my sewing needle and my black linen thread ready for sewing my new binding with the new cut and folded paper.  The wooden handled awl will be used to poke the holes for the thread. I’ll be reusing the holes made by the staples and adding one more hole.

CutPaperRemoveStaples

Below you can see my almost finished binding and a bit of the way the new paper will unfold from the book.  Now I’ll finish off the stitch and trim the excess thread.

CutPaperSewnIn

In case you’re following my project’s progress my last post about it is here: https://sueclancy.com/2017/08/01/me-and-the-sketchbook-project/

General info about The Brooklyn Art Library and The Sketchbook Project is here: https://www.sketchbookproject.com/

me and the sketchbook project

A Creative Life, artist book, sketchbook, The Sketchbook Project

I’m participating in The Sketchbook Project – https://www.sketchbookproject.com/ and I’m excited about it! I love the democracy of the project. That us professional artists are on a shelf along with school teachers or students, with college kids and with art-as-a-hobby enthusiasts. I love it that we’re all in this sketchbook project together!

I’ll be trying something experimental with my sketchbook. I’ll be working at creating a somewhat wordless story that combines my interests in food, music and…. dogs!

Here’s what I got in the mail from The Sketchbook Project:

FromTSP72

And yes, I’ll post updates periodically about my progress.

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)