Touristing, a happy hippo, and a pink elephant

A Creative Life, animals in art, art prints, artistic inspirations, books, ebook, fine art, humor in art, kitchen art, mental health, poetry, sketchbook, travel art and writing, travelog, travelogue, whimsical art, words and pictures, writing and illustrating

We went touristing and drove 20 minutes from our house to Camas WA independent bookstore called Its Bookish. It’s a delightful store focused on children’s books up to young adult with some adult books too. Here’s some views of what we saw on our way to Its Bookish. Not pictured, because I wasn’t able to get pics due to intermittent clouds and terrain, were fleeting views of distant snow covered mountains.

The door to Its Bookish was warmly welcoming and was a delight to see!

Naturally I made a beeline for the poetry section and then had a more general browse. Both my wife and I found books/authors that we’re always looking for that are sometimes hard to find. The store was quite crowded with lots of kids of all ages and their grownups but during a brief quiet moment in the young adult section I snapped this selfie with my wife in the background. It was a pleasant experience. No bookstore cats though which was understandable given the high level of children’s activities.

After we finished at Its Bookish we walked around downtown to a locally owned pub Grains Of Wrath. On our walk we passed by sculptures and many more locally owned businesses with welcoming to everyone signs in their windows or doors!

At Grains of Wrath we had really good beer and the best mac and cheese ever! Here in the Pacific Northwest every pub has their own version of mac and cheese and it’s fun to discover how much variety mac and cheese can have! My spouse and I split the dishes so we each got enough but not too much. We felt quite indulgent!

Back home I photographed our book haul from Its Bookish.

On my email newsletter I shared my sketchbook page of a dancing hippo … and as you can see by the above tourist play I followed the hippo’s advice

By request I made an art print of my sketchbook page… https://society6.com/product/dancing-hippo-reminder_print

Dancing Hippo Reminder – by Clancy – https://society6.com/product/dancing-hippo-reminder_print

Here’s the gouache painting I finished last week titled “Pink Elephant”. More details and the sketchbook page leading up to the painting are on my email newsletter here.

Also last week I released my entire 38 page year 2016 sketchbook as an ebook download. It’s part of my “book of the month club” paid ($7) subscription series on my Substack. My 2016 “Glad to be alive” sketchbook contains drawings from walks in nature and visits to various Vancouver WA and Portland OR area restaurants libraries and other places. I hope you’ll enjoy it!
https://sueclancy.substack.com/p/my-glad-to-be-alive-sketchbook

My friend Bernadette Laganella shared my Magic Beans on her New Classic Recipes blog ! Thank you Bernadette! Besides my beans recipe I shared how I learned during college women-supporting-women supperclub how to survive and thrive as an artist by knowing beans https://wp.me/pcAug8-kR

I’ve really enjoyed sharing both my art images and my stories via my email newsletter and also as a guest on blogs and other people’s email newsletters! I want to create more artist books and learn more about merging words and pictures together… and do more sharing of both my words and images… ūü§Ē

This week, Mar 14th, Amie McGraham from Cook and Tell interviews me and includes my sketchbook pages for St. Patrick’s Day!! You’ll be able to see it here.

I hope your week contains happy hippos. See you next Mondayish.

pie places and mapping the mundanely magical

A Creative Life, artistic inspirations, author illustrator, food in art, illustrated shorts, maps, mundane and magical moments, psychogeography, travel art and writing, travelog, travelogue, visual thinking

In my early 20’s I worked as a graphic designer for the Center For Economic Management Research where I took business statistics and turned them into maps and all sorts of illustrations. It was fun to learn that there are magical people behind those dry lists of mundane numbers!

Well fast forward to today – and I still like maps. I think of map-making as sorting mundane information via my imagination. For example; I’ve recently taken my running around sketchbook pages that depict places where good pie can be found and have turned the accumulated info into a map titled “Pie Places in Vancouver WA”. You can find this map and my other maps here and here.

And yes, you can really go and get a yummy slice of pie from any of these real-life places:

 

 

on sustaining creativity

A Creative Life, art techniques, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, graphic narrative, illustrated shorts, psychogeography, sketchbook, Sustainable creativity, travelog, travelogue, visual story, words and pictures, writing and illustrating

Especially when I’m super busy working on a one-person art exhibit I rely even more on my sustainable creativity technique of “running around loose”.¬† I define “running around loose” as going about my nearby surroundings like a child or a dog in a park; poking about and exploring as if there are no time constraints in the world.¬† My cell phone gets turned off and shoved deep into the bottom of my bag. It is there only for emergency use on the scale of needing to call 911.¬† I don’t use the GPS function on my phone either. “Running loose” involves getting lost, losing track of time and generally living by-guess-by-golly (no preconceived plan) for an afternoon into the evening.

I’ll bring my sketchbook and write, draw and paint but I do it with no agenda, no particular project in mind. The idea is to play like a child or a puppy. To observe my surroundings with curious, free-associative, eyes.

This is particularly helpful as a refresher when I’m coming down to the wire on an art exhibit.¬† I’m to deliver all of the artwork for my upcoming one-person exhibit at the end of May – and before that there’s all the paperwork.¬† So I’ve got to be fresh and remember why I’ve done all this artwork – and even get excited about it again.

I’ve been working toward this exhibit for about one year. I’m a bit tired by the time the exhibit nears. But it wouldn’t do to have a “well whatever” attitude here at the finish line.¬† Thus my mega-recharge session.

Here’s what I did in my sketchbooks when I “ran around loose” recharging my batteries for a whole day in Vancouver Washington and Woodland WA :

OldAppleTree300

I was particularly struck by the various colors of purple that I saw on the grapes I ate for a snack – and the many different colors of purple in the tulip gardens and lilac gardens in Woodland WA. Here are some sketchbook pages:

After running loose for a day I felt pleasantly tired but like I’d had a mini-staycation. Great recharge session!!

Links for where I “ran loose”:

https://www.cityofvancouver.us/parksrec/page/old-apple-tree-park

http://www.lilacgardens.com/

https://www.hollandbulbfarms.com

 

sketching the coast

A Creative Life, Art Word Combinations, artistic inspirations, author illustrator, graphic narrative, illustrated shorts, illustration, Narrative Art, published art, sketchbook, travel art and writing, travelog, travelogue, visual story, words and pictures, writing and illustrating

Happy New Year everyone! New on newsstands is a magazine, Oregon Coast Magazine, in which is a 4 page article that I both wrote and illustrated!¬† It was such fun to do a “sketching the coast” article for them that I want to do more such writing plus illustrating this year. Here’s a link for Oregon Coast Magazine https://oregoncoastmagazine.com/.

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four topic sketchbook keeping

A Creative Life, art techniques, artist book, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, drawing as thinking, ebook, kitchen art, psychogeography, sketchbook, sketchbook suppers, Sustainable creativity, travel art and writing, travelog, travelogue, visual thinking

Oh I’ve had an excellent question asked of me! Here’s the question: “Do you keep separate sketchbooks for different subjects/projects/media or do you use one sketchbook for all sorts of art experiments and ideas?”

My answer:¬† I used to keep one sketchbook but I found it hard to find the bit of research I needed because I’d have to flip through the whole book to find something.¬† Now I keep sketchbooks by topic.

Here is one of my “kitchen sketchbooks” – recipe inspired art – where I am inspired to draw by a recipe I’m cooking. This book is 5 x 4 inches in size, sewn binding and paper that can handle ink and water-media.¬† This way my favorite recipes are all in one spot – and when I have an ingredient I can flip through this one book to find a recipe that I know works and that my family likes.¬† This sketchbook, additionally, is my “testing ground” for ways to combine food, drink and art together – ways to interpret food/drink artistically.¬† This sketchbook is also a place where I’ll try new-to-me art media or methods. I’ve been trying gouache lately and I posted a few pages from this book the other day https://sueclancy.com/from-my-kitchen-sketchbook/ – Here’s what the outside of my current kitchen sketchbook looks like:

MouthpieceFourCover72

I have been working on a new series of fine art paintings with Cats as the main characters. So I have one sketchbook that collects my cat related painting practice and research. In it I’ve been studying cat shapes and experimenting with lines, colors. I’ve also experimented with combinations of collage, ink and water-media. This sketchbook is called “Various Cat Sketches” and is 8.5 x 11 in size, with a sewn binding. Here, below, is what the outside of it looks like. I’ll post more of it’s pages on this blog soon because it will contribute to an upcoming fine art exhibition

VariousSketchesCover72.

Another current sketchbook is my “Running Around Loose” book. This is the sketchbook that fits in my small go-sketching bag and is 3 x 5 inches, with a sewn binding, water-media ready paper in a landscape format. In this book I record my observations of the world around me; places I go, people I see, food or drink I have. It could easily be called a travel sketchbook¬† but I call it my “running around loose” book because that’s what I try to do as I run around town with this book – be loose and free with my lines, colors and thoughts. Here, below, what this book looks like. I’ll post more of it’s pages here too.¬† (I’ve posted my last sketchbook like this as an ebook titled “Glad To be Alive” available for download here)

RunningLooseCover72

And the 4th topical sketchbook is called “The Forked Tale: thoughts about creative life”.¬† This one is a hardback book 6 inches tall by 8 inches wide and over an inch thick. In it I’ve collected my thoughts, readings, quotes etc. about this business of being creative.¬† I’ve shown pages from this book to friends before who enjoyed it and found it helpful. But recently my friend Liesl was over for dinner and asked me a question about art-studio furniture. We kept talking about aspects of living a creative life and eventually I got out this book and shared it with her. She very strongly encouraged me to publish this book. So I will. After all she’d brought a very good wine to dinner. Here, below, what the outside of this sketchbook looks like.

ForkedTaleCover72

Yes, this method of sketchbook keeping helps me to organize and find things but keeping topical sketchbooks is also helpful when I only have a short span of time to work. I can select a topic and can get right to it because I don’t have to wonder what topic to paint/work on.¬†

Thanks for the question! I’d not thought to do a blog post outlining this method of mine before!

on sketchbooks and sharing

A Creative Life, animals in art, artist book, artistic inspirations, books, ebook, Kim Cooks Sue Draws, Not-So-Sketchy-Food, publications - publishing, sketchbook, sketchbook suppers, travelog, travelogue, visual story

I tend to live my life with my sketchbook in hand. Consequently this means meeting up with friends and answering the “What have you been doing lately?” questions by handing them my physical sketchbook. More than one friend has looked at my book and said “Why don’t you publish these?”. And I’ve had very loose ambitions of publishing some of them…

But finally after hearing the request for the umpteenth time I’ve begun setting up a system so I can do that. Here’s the link I’m working on – https://sueclancy.com/shop/

And here are some random pages from some of the ebooks currently in my “shop”. I will be publishing more of my sketchbooks and artist books as ebooks as time goes on…

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)

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.

hamiltonmnt72

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

hamilton372

Sue Clancy’s sketch of things found on Hamilton Mountain

 

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…

vanriverwalk72

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:

autumnleaves72

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.

 

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.

SketchbookSetUp72

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.

StudioWorkPages72

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/