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:

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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)

coffee sketches become fine art

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, artistic inspirations, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, psychogeography, sketchbook, Sue Draws Dogs, travel art and writing

As you know I’ve been doing “coffee/tea cup research” lately. Here is a recent fine artwork I just finished titled “Café Paix”.  Paix is French for “peace”. I’m sure you’ll notice the cup.

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Café Paix by Clancy – hand dyed paper, handmade paste paper and acrylic on cradled board

One day my sweetie and I were on a busy urban street and we ducked into a café for a late brunch. There I was enchanted by the variety of people in the café – as well as outside on the street – and I thought “How wonderful it is to live in a such cosmopolitan region!

In my head I used the word “cosmopolitan” in the sense of “at ease with many different cultures”.  That dovetailed with the café menu (in front of me) which featured coffee drinks and foods from many different areas of the world.  So I made notes in my pocket sketchbook.

Later when I was back at the studio I did this finished sketch – which was a preliminary study for “Café Paix”:

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Pierre by Clancy (ink on handmade paper)

The sketch is currently at Caplan Art Designs http://www.caplanartdesigns.com and “Café Paix” will be there too for future exhibits after it has fully dried.

 

collecting coffee cups and recipes

A Creative Life, art techniques, artistic inspirations, fine art, sketchbook, Sustainable creativity, travel art and writing

Spent a self indulgent morning drinking Irish coffee and reading newspapers, magazines and books – and discussing what I read with my sweetie. Life doesn’t get better that that! I also collected the dishes. Meaning that I went through my various sketchbooks and collected drawings I’d done of coffee cups. Drawings I’d done when we went to various coffee shops or happy hours and had coffee drinks. In my fine artwork I often depict my dogs or cats drinking coffee or tea – so I thought it’d be good to have a collection of “dishes” all in one place to pull from when it’s time to make fine art.

Here’s one page of my coffee cup collection. There are many more pages filled with cups … but one page will give you the idea.

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page from Sue Clancy’s sketchbook

Here below is a “raw” sketchbook page from which I collected one of the coffee cup shapes that was  collected into one of my other “all cups together” sketchbook pages – but the above cups came from “raw” sketchbook pages too.  I say “raw” pages because these small sketchbooks fit in my pocket and are drawn on the fly as life happens. I’ll refine them or re-draw them later.

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page from Sue Clancy’s “raw” pocket sketchbook

Living here in the Pacific Northwest I’ve been fascinated with the variety of coffee drinks available as well as the kinds of cups the drinks are served in. Did you know that there are some 44 different coffee drink types? I didn’t until I started noticing. I’ve not tried them all yet but I have learned to ask my barista questions. Learned a lot that way! And of course while I’m drawing in my sketchbook I write down the recipes as told to me – and then, if I try to make it at home I’ll note in my sketchbook my favorite mix. I think of it as part of my on-going “know thyself” self-education program. The recipes make their way into my fine art too – just less obviously. Here’s my favorite recipe for Irish Coffee.

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recipe for Irish Coffee made as Sue Clancy likes it

looking during lunch

A Creative Life, art commissions, artist book, ebook, psychogeography, sketchbook, travel art and writing

Doing some sketching on location for 2 different projects; one is a fine art commission project that has water and a sailboat in it (and a dog!). The other is a possible new artist book (maybe ebook?) that I spoke of in this “alive and sketching” post. Anyway… here are today’s sketchbook pages …

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“Warehouse 23” sketchbook page by Sue Clancy

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“sailboat on water” sketchbook page by Sue Clancy

alive and sketching

A Creative Life, art techniques, artist book, artistic inspirations, books, ebook, psychogeography, sketchbook, travel art and writing, travelog, travelogue

I have an ancient Sufi saying posted on my studio wall “Stay close to anything that makes you glad to be alive”.  So when I go sketching I’m looking for things in the world that catch my eye, gives me an artistic thought or two – and yes, makes me glad to be alive.

Which dovetails nicely with the Thanksgiving season. I’m glad to be alive and to be able to be an artist – and thankful for living in the Pacific Northwest surrounded by so much natural beauty and so many artistically inspiring places, people, dogs, cats and things… food and drink too…

So I’m flirting with thoughts of publishing my sketchbook as an ebook/artist book. Here are two of the potential pages about a place I hiked called “Hamilton Mountain”.

What do you think?  To publish or not to publish. That is the question to take up after the holiday.

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Sue Clancy’s sketch on Hamilton Mountain (pen, ink and watercolor)

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Sue Clancy’s sketch of things found on Hamilton Mountain

 

chic chicory pattern design

A Creative Life, Art Apparel, Art Licensing, art techniques, artistic inspirations, psychogeography, travel art and writing

Recently, end of September or early October my wife and I went on one of our wander-walks – I had my sketchbook in hand. On Officer’s Row in Vancouver WA I walked through a field full of blue-purple flowers… here are some of the sketches I did that day.

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Sue Clancy’s sketchbook page of the overall view of the field on Officers Row.

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Sue Clancy’s sketchbook page – details of flowers seen on Officers Row

The field was full of flowers; a patch here was full of blue ones, a patch there was white, another one there was magenta….it reminded me of curling up under/on a color-block quilt having a hot chocolate and reading a good book with a comforting lap cat/dog.

Then my work and life in general went on at a very busy pace and all the while in the back of my mind I was remembering that cozy quilt-like pattern of flowers seen on our walk…and thinking of how best to re-create that comfy feeling within pattern design and how that could be used in my fine art, or as a scarf or…???

Probably after the last chicory flower had faded from the real-life field I finally found time to create a pattern. In my studio I played around, designing several patterns using the chicory flower as a motif. As I worked I thought of several of our friends who garden, who like to go for walks/hikes and the upcoming winter season so I decided to make my pattern design into a scarf. I’m thinking it might be cozy to be able wear “end of summer” flowers during winter.

I used some paper I’d previously dyed and cut out the flower shape with an Xacto knife and glued it together. Then I cut up that just-created flower and re-glued it together in such a way that my finished design will digitally replicate as an overall pattern on fabric.  The last step is to do a bit of detail here and there on the flower petals with my color pencils. Here are photos of two of my multi-step process of pattern design creation:

Here’s what the finished scarf design looks like -and it is available via this link http://www.shopvida.com/collections/sue-clancy :

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Scarf pattern design “Chic Chicory” by Sue Clancy http://www.shopvida.com/collections/sue-clancy

The pattern seems a bit lighter on the fabric – but that is because it is on a white/sheer type of fabric and the fabric type affects the “look” of the design. I do my best to keep in mind that this will happen when I’m creating my pattern design.

My Chic Chicory pattern turned out nicely … what do you think?

 

 

artichoke music sketches

A Creative Life, art techniques, artistic inspirations, psychogeography, sketchbook, travel art and writing

I sketch in order to find out what I want to say. I make fine art, artist books etc. in order to say it clearly. This means I sketch a lot. What I’m looking for when I go walking about with my sketchbook in hand is whatever “catches my eye”.  Often when I do sketchbook work I don’t know at that time what I’ll use it for. I’m just stocking my mental pantry. Other times I go out in the world looking for a particular thing to make sketches of for a project I’m working on.  Whichever it is, later, during a studio work-day I’ll flip back through a filled sketchbook for ideas or resource-images – much like a cook uses a collection of recipes.

Anyway, recently I was on a street in Portland Oregon and I was delighting in all of the dogs with their people. I drew this, first with pencil and then with an ink pen:

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Sue Clancy’s sketchbook street scene; people with dogs

As I walked further I passed a store called Artichoke Music which had gorgeous musical instruments that I could see from the window.  I went inside and asked if I could stay a while and sketch. “Why would we say ‘no’ to that? That’d be awesome!” said the guys working at Artichoke Music. So I sketched this (in pencil, then in ink pen):

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Sue Clancy’s sketches from Artichoke Music in Portland Oregon

Then I showed the guys at the counter what I’d sketched. “Oh that’s such fun!” they said and then they pointed out another delightful area in the store – so I drew this:

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More of Sue’s sketches in Artichoke Music

I promised them that I’d post my sketches to their Facebook and Twitter pages – so I’m doing that now. Thanks again Artichoke Music for letting me hang out and draw!!! You guys are awesome!!!

Followers of this blog, and my artwork in general, will probably not be surprised to hear that I’m now thinking a lot about dogs, and musical instruments…

 

 

 

 

seeing art in autumn leaves

A Creative Life, Art Apparel, art exhibit, art gallery, artistic inspirations, fine art, pattern design, psychogeography, sketchbook, travel art and writing, travelog, travelogue

I’ve 2 different one-woman art exhibits already scheduled for 2017 – and already there’s discussion of another exhibit for 2018. So I’ve been taking walks to gather inspiration.  Which means lots of sketchbook work, doodling and experimenting with pattern designs. Here’s a sketch I did along the River-walk in Vancouver…

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Sue Clancy’s sketchbook page; ink and watercolor done on location as she walked.

Also in my sketchbook I did some ink and watercolor drawings of some of the fallen leaves during that same walk. You can see that sketch along with a pattern-design tile I was working on in this photo here:

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Sue Clancy’s sketchbook page and a pattern design “tile” she was creating using cut handmade paper.

And here are photos of a pocket square, a scarf and a tote bag I created using my “Autumn Leaves” pattern design as part of my art apparel collection: http://shopvida.com/collections/sue-clancy

Now I’m thinking and re-thinking this overall-leaf motif and how it may relate to my paper-making techniques. I’m also plotting how to use this design – or variations on it – in future fine artworks.

Between now and the actual paper creation there will be more walks and more sketches of leaves (and probably other things).  I saw some beautiful ginkgo tree’s downtown the other day…

Yes, this is a long-term project.  But, don’t worry, there will be breaks for lunch.

 

new Oregon Coast sketches

A Creative Life, artist book, psychogeography, sketchbook, travel art and writing, visual story, words and pictures

Once upon a time, not too long ago, some friends came from Oklahoma to visit us in the Pacific Northwest. Oklahoma does not have ocean access. The Pacific Northwest does. Our friends wanted to see the sea. However there was a catch; John has a mobility issue….

I drew pictures in ink and watercolor on paper as we worked together to get John as close to the sea as possible along the Oregon Coast.  My pictures were made on location as the action happened. Yes, there was a lot of carefully balancing my paper on my knee, sand in my watercolors and sea spray dampening my paper for me.  Still I got all of the pages done while we were on the coast, we spread them out in the car trunk to dry and when I got back to my studio I sorted the pages and bound them using a Japanese stab binding.

Here is a link to a video of the book: https://youtu.be/lTHsRbKrMiM

Here’s a still photo or two

the art of Oregon coast sketching

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques, artist book, illustration, sketchbook, travel art and writing, travelog, travelogue, Uncategorized, words and pictures

In addition to getting ready for a new one woman art exhibit scheduled for October 2016 via Caplan Art Designs I’ve been working on a new Oregon Coast article. The August 2016 issue of Oregon Coast Magazine currently has an article of mine – and it was such fun to do that I’ve started immediately on a new article!

Which means that when “fine art stuff” and “pattern design stuff” needed to dry recently my wife and I took off for a day along the Oregon Coast.  On the coast I used my on-location sketching kit pictured below and sketched what I saw and experienced as it happened.

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Sue Clancy’s portable sketching-on-the-go gear

In my kit: mechanical pencil, eraser, ink pens, paper, a small watercolor set and a clip to keep my pages from blowing in the wind. It all fits in a small bag and can be held in my hand or balanced on my knee at my sketching location.  When something catches my eye during my travels I do quick sketches with my pencil. Then I ink in what lines I want to keep. After that I’ll do some watercolor washes. Generally speaking it takes me about 20 minutes to do a page start to finish – I often work on more than one page at a time. On this sketching trip I did 15 pages total – as well as wrote notes, in longhand, in my sketchbook.

Then once I’m back at the studio sometimes I make an adjustment or two to the pages, and neaten them up (aka, erase pencil lines). My on-the-go kit doesn’t have a lot of greens and blues. So at my studio, for example, I’ll add a few more blue or green colors, if necessary, from my larger studio watercolor set.  Here below is a photo of a few of my new Oregon Coast article pages being touched up.  I do this immediately upon getting home from a trip while everything I experienced is still fresh in my mind.

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Sue Clancy’s latest Oregon Coast sketchbook pages being touched up with the larger watercolor set at Sue’s studio.

Next comes the paperwork for my submission to the Oregon Coast magazine editors: photographing my sketchbook pages, creating the digital files, sorting out which pages work best as illustrations, sorting the pages so they tell the best story, writing a cover letter… etc.

And yes, I am likely to create a new artist book from these sketches! I’m also likely to make some new pattern designs based on what I saw on this trip. Which means there will also be some new fine art….

Basically I’m going to be a very busy camper! What fun!

If you’re curious about the current article I have in the August 2016 issue of Oregon Coast Magazine here is a link to a blog post about that: https://sueclancy.com/2016/08/04/sketching-the-oregon-coast/