pumpkin biscuits on the wall and in the mail

A Creative Life, artistic inspirations, functional art, illustration, Kim Cooks Sue Draws, kitchen art, Sustainable creativity, words and pictures

I’ve now taken the finished artwork I did for Chef Mahan’s Pumpkin Biscuit recipe and done the hocus pocus necessary to make art-prints and greeting cards from it.

If you hover over the above photos or click on them you’ll see a link that takes you to the site where you can read more about them and order some.

The tea towels take a bit more slight-of-hand trickery to create a digital file for production – as it’s intended for printing on cloth and not paper. So as I have time – using my method of working in short spurts that I’ve blogged about before – I’ll work that magic and a tea towel with this artwork will quietly appear on the “Kim Cooks Sue Draws” page here https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/kim-cooks-sue-draws/

I’ve been pleasantly amused that the tea towels have been popular in Europe whereas the greeting cards and prints are more popular in the United States. Personally I giggle when I wipe my hands on a recipe-tea-towel. It’s been fun to see my art-prints on the Chef’s cooking school walls. And it’s a treat to mail a recipe as a card with a handwritten note inside. It’s all fun but mostly I’m delighted that my artwork is helping the Chef share her easy-to-cook recipes in a wider way.

As followers of my blog know: I think that knowing how to cook is an essential survive-thrive-as-an-artist skill and I’m lucky to get to learn more about cooking by working with the Chef on this art project! What fun!

Now what’s for lunch?

p.s. if you have trouble seeing the links under the photos here they are:

https://society6.com/product/pumpkin-biscuits_framed-print?#s6-7884502p21a12v52a13v54

https://society6.com/product/pumpkin-biscuits_cards?#s6-7884502p22a16v71

 

 

the art of pumpkin biscuit production

A Creative Life, artist book, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, functional art, illustration, Kim Cooks Sue Draws, kitchen art, words and pictures

I’ve spent part of the weekend and most of today illustrating a new recipe for the unconventional cookbook “Kim Cooks Sue Draws”.  Chef Kim Mahan said that this is one of her popular easy-to-do recipes for her cooking school – and we had to have it in the book.  Since the recipe as typed up by Chef Kim was titled “Pumpkin Biscuits” and this is October… my mind went to, well, you’ll see:

PumpkinBiscuitsDesign72

Fortunately Chef Kim Mahan has a sense of humor and didn’t mind a Pumpkin making people-shaped biscuits!  Whew!  In fact it sparked a whole conversation between us about how humor and fun in the kitchen helps a good-food experience happen. And that food is more than just bodily nutrition – beautiful (and fun) looking food feeds our spirits too. Chef Kim went on to talk about her efforts to make her cooking classes fun and relaxed for this spirit-feeding reason.

She talked about her concepts better than I’m able to describe here. Sigh. I wish I’d been able to write notes as quickly as she talked!

Anyway, I’ve a few more things to do, like photograph the artwork after it dries, before I can turn this artwork into cards, prints and tea towels.  You can get a hint of what will happen with this “Pumpkin Biscuits” recipe art by looking at our cookbook “Kim Cooks Sue Draws” on this website here: https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/kim-cooks-sue-draws/

And now, after looking at recipes all day I’m hungry. Go figure.

the tale of Heroes Journey

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

Today I gave a speech during the unveiling of my public art piece for Salmon Creek Journal and Washington State University Vancouver.  The artwork is titled “Heroes Journey”.  Here’s a full image of it (up till now I’ve only been posting teaser bits on my blog) and below the image is more-or-less the text of my speech. I adlibbed bit.  And below the speech are two statements I was asked to write for this project; One is about “Heroes Journey” and the other is a document related to the days event at WSU.  I include them here for additional information’s sake.

 

HeroesJourney72

Heroes’ Journey
By Clancy 
22 x 30 inches – Ink, watercolor, color pencil and acrylic – framed

Speech (roughly) for Oct 4th Dis(covering) Ability event by Sue Clancy

 

Thank you, Amanda, Sky and Washington State University Vancouver, for asking me to create something to help you celebrate Dis(covering) Ability – and diversity today!

I’ve created an art piece for you titled “Heroes’ Journey”.

To create this piece, I consulted both my inner world and the external real world of the WSU Vancouver campus.

When Amanda contacted me about possibly doing this for you I began thinking of what parts of my inner world might be relevant for this project.

Here are parts of my inner world that I pulled from:

As a Deaf kid growing up in Oklahoma in the 1970’s I didn’t know any other deaf kids – or even any deaf grownups and I didn’t see myself, or any deaf people in any of the storybooks.  Books were very important to me. Television was not closed captioned back then and I didn’t become aware of subtitled movies until I went to college. So, for my grade-school self, books were my link to the wider world. As an 8 year old kid I asked the school librarians and the public librarians for books with deaf people in them. One librarian finally came up with a book on Helen Keller.  The book was slightly above my reading level and it only had a few black and white photographs – but I read it anyway. While I appreciated the librarian finding the book my 8 year old self found Helen Keller to be terribly old-fashioned.  Where was the action? The adventure? The fun? I decided to create my own storybooks with my own characters. I began making small hand drawn books and learning about creating stories, and drawing people and action as realistically as I could. I traded my little books with my grade-school classmates for pencils, erasers and crayons.  In the process of growing my “subscriber list” I learned that other kids didn’t see themselves in books either. So I included them in my stories. The school-yard bullies became the villains in my books. My books (zines really) were popular with some of the kids and not so popular with some adults.

Another element of my inner world: Fast forward to the mid 1980’s: I went to the University of Oklahoma on art scholarships and I was working as a graphic designer/ photographer. Still college was expensive so I also sold my fine artwork and freelance illustrated every chance I could.

At one art exhibit Dr. Bob Hoke, a psychiatrist, and his wife Penny bought some of my fine artwork and commissioned me to make a companion piece to the one they bought. Over the course of working on that project Dr. Bob asked me to illustrate some of his teaching stories that he used in his “Emotional Repair” seminars. One of his stories that I illustrated became my favorite. I’ll tell it to you now because it has direct bearing on this artwork I’ve done for you. The story goes like this: Once upon a time there was a grandfather who was asked to entertain the kids. He gathered all the kids around and said “Kids, inside every one of us are 2 wolves and they fight. One wolf is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.  The other wolf is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, charity, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, patience, goodness, gentleness, self-control and faithfulness.” Then the grandfather was silent. After a bit one of the littlest kids asked “Gran’pa, which wolf wins?” The old man replied “The one that you feed.”

From Dr. Bob (psychiatrist, medical science guy) I learned that human brains often respond better to stories than they do to flat statements however factual and true the flat statement may be.  Telling a person “You’re being mean” is likely to be met with resistance because people, no matter how cruel their actions, often don’t think of themselves as “mean”. But a story-like description of how someone can be impacted by an act of meanness – or a story description of people treating people kindly – may have a better chance of getting the point across.

Around that time I began to consider using animal characters in my artwork rather than realistic-looking people so as to be more literary than literal in my depictions of the way I see the world.

Also Dr. Bob had a deaf brother named Dick. I finally got to meet another real-live deaf person! I asked Dick for suggestions of how to deal with being a deaf person in a hearing college/world. He encouraged me to create my own support network in college, including making use of professor’s office hours – to focus on my allies and work with them – to respond to any bullies I might encounter by leaning on my support network and going on and living well.

A 3rd element of my inner world: When I started college in 1986 I joined the GLBA social club – Gay Lesbian Bisexual Alliance – the rest of the alphabet had not been discovered yet. Remember this was the 1980’s. The world was just becoming aware of HIV and AIDS.  The GLBA group – which wasn’t allowed to meet on the OU campus – partnered with ACT UP, a world-wide Aids awareness group formed in 1987 – a chapter of which met in nearby Oklahoma City. At the time – in the 1980’s – gay people were regularly shunned from their biological families (I was). Gay people risked expulsion from school, eviction from apartments, being fired from their jobs and being denied healthcare.  Most of all they risked being beaten up, shot and killed – and their cases not fully investigated by the police.  In the face of all of that ACT UP was focusing on empowerment, urging us to come out, to be visible, to tell our stories, to write poems, create plays, write essays, to have polite conversations, to make music events, fashion shows, art exhibits and to sew quilts. We were encouraged to get creative and find ways to remind people that gay people were still human, we were still sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors and coworkers.  We were encouraged to form our own families of choice, to form alliances, to care for each other. We were encouraged to fight injustice not with violence or shouts but with love, friendship and stories.

That is some of my inner world which I took with me to meet the external world of Amanda and Sky and the WSU Vancouver campus. During our meeting I took notes from what Amanda and Sky said, my wife – who has better hearing than I do – also took notes. We went on a campus tour. I took well over 45 photographs.  Some of the things that I noted were: that WSU Vancouver is a commuter campus, it’s people-focused, campus is on a hill, you can see distant mountains (on a clear day), there are clear lines of sight from most areas on campus, there’s a walking trail around campus, lots of trees, a network of squirrels, the gridded columns on some of the buildings…  I also learned that the mascot is a cougar and that Clark College is a major “feeder” school.  After our campus tour was over I asked the Ambassador who’d led our tour what kind of animal he’d be if he were an animal. “A Squirrel!” He said.

Back at my studio I consulted my inner world: I looked at all of my photographs. I read my notes and my wife’s notes and in a bound sketchbook I worked on possible designs and possible characters that might reflect aspects of the external world, meet the project needs and also include my inner world. There’d be a cougar, a penguin and a squirrel – and who else??…  I also sat and brainstormed listing in my sketchbook word associations (so to speak):  commuter campus, hill top, grids (tile/brick), sight lines, mountain views, squirrel network, groups of people from all over the world.  All of these concepts pointing toward “travel” “movement” or “Journey” – which led me to think of what I know of story formation – specifically the archetypal story format.

Heroes Journey is an archetypal story – a plot style – has been used from Homer to Star Wars and nearly everything in between. It generally goes like this: very different characters meet, somehow they get a mutual goal, as they work toward the goal they learn about themselves, each other, they discover ways of working together and somewhere along the way they form a community.

The physical attributes, flaws, strengths, weaknesses of individual characters play a role in driving the plot and those things drive the discovery of what’s important and how to listen to and work with each other.  In fiction at least the characters individual traits, once discovered or accepted, eventually become an asset to the success of the journey.

In my artwork design – because it was said that people are the focus of campus – I created a crowd as the focal point and designed the crowd as an overall shape. For obvious reasons I made the Cougar the tallest character, Penguin (Clark College mascot) is another big character.  I balanced those two large characters with a large Dalmatian dog. The attributes of those animals led to my choices of the other animals. All of the animal characters have obvious and not obvious abilities –  If this were a storybook as readers we would discover their abilities as the characters did within the unfolding story. Since this is a fine art piece and a single visual story panel so to speak I’m working with your imagination and your knowledge of animals/animal zoology to tell my visual story.  Just as you can’t tell by looking at a person how smart or kind they are – you can’t tell by looking at one of my animals exactly what capabilities they have you only have hints.  This is my way of reminding us that all we have of each other are hints – to really know another person we have to allow for discovery time, an unfolding of words and actions over time to reveal who we are.  We create the world, the community, together.

After I got my characters developed and lightly sketched onto my “good paper” I asked my friend and next-door neighbor Kevin to come and look. Kevin knows local sports better than I do and I didn’t want to accidentally put in some rival sports team colors.  He looked carefully and declared me good to go.

So with the animal characters now in place I put the setting – real world elements pulled from my campus observations – around the crowd but adjusted to emphasize the journey/potential community formation.  Then I spent many days working on the characters and the setting to deepen the colors and the details.

 I used watercolor, Sumi ink, color pencil and acrylic on handmade paper.  To get my lines and angles this way I used a large 20 inch triangle, some rulers and French curves. I worked in my studio on a large easel. I also worked in a bound sketchbook to develop my idea and the individual characters before transferring my idea and characters to the “good paper” on my easel.

There, now in the external world exists an art piece from my inner heart called “Heroes Journey”.  As you take it with you on your journey remember to feed the good wolves along the way.

Thank you for listening.  Are there any questions?


About “Heroes’ Journey” by Sue Clancy

I think each of us are the hero of our own lives. We’re also the author of our own stories as communities and individuals. As an artist, I practice the art of telling stories in a variety of media. I study how to craft a tale.

For example, I’m familiar with two fiction story device/situations: absurd characters in a normal world or normal characters in an absurd world.

Well, life being stranger than fiction I see another story device: a disabled character in an able-bodied world.

Many fiction stories are archetypal “journey tales”: Characters meet, they travel and encounter villains and obstacles. Along the way they form a family, a community or somehow agree to work together to meet a goal.

Attributes of each character often play a story-role. These attributes may be physical qualities, mental abilities or life experiences. Somewhere along the journey each character discovers some strength they didn’t know they had at the start.

What if one (or more) of the characters were differently abled? How would that affect the story?

As a deaf kid growing up in Oklahoma I did not see stories with deaf kids in them. Certainly not as the story hero or as a subject for fine art. I realized that many other people – differently abled, as well as different ethnicities did not see themselves in stories or fine art either.  I knew I could draw well so I began to create visual stories, graphic novel type stories, and fine artworks that featured many “different” kinds of people as characters.  I created fine artwork that depicted, somewhat realistically, people who were “different” i.e. not always white or heterosexual or male or able bodied.

Some people loved my work. Other people sent me hate mail, threatened me at grocery stores or at my art openings.

Over time I realized that the people who sent me hate mail were scared by my idea that literal diversity is a beautiful and normal part of life. They were scared by the idea of different kinds of humans sharing the same pictorial space. But these same people were okay with diversity at dog parks, or in children’s books. They were okay with the fact that not all of the dogs looked alike, they were okay that in a kid’s book there could be a cat character talking with a mouse character.

I also learned that sometimes the best way to get a complex idea – especially a potentially scary idea – across was to use metaphors and tell stories that were literary rather than literal.

As a Deaf person in a Hearing world I often have to “read between the lines” – observe body language and actions over time to understand a speaker – so I decided that I would use animal characters in a wordless fashion and leave it to my viewers to “read between the lines”.  I would continue to talk about diversity but using animals to depict the possibility of humans getting along, traveling together, enjoying life and along the way discovering that our differences are potential strengths.

That’s what I’ve done with my artwork for “Dis(covering) Ability” – used visual metaphors – I’ve titled my artwork “Heroes’ Journey”. I’m sure you can see why.


Dis(covering)ability: Equity Equality and Justice – statement by Sue Clancy

A friend of mine has a t-shirt that says “Equal rights for others does not mean less rights for you. It’s not pie.”  I want one. The shirt nicely sums up my perception of the difference between equity and equality.

Equity, the quality of being fair and impartial, is when you’re trying to fairly divide a Chocolate Cream Pie between pie-eating friends. Equality is accepting your friends as they are, an awareness that not all of your friends want the pie. Some want only the ice cream. And that is okay. They are not “lesser” friends because they don’t want the pie. There may even be – gasp – a friend who doesn’t want either pie or ice cream because they had a 4th slice of the pizza and are quite full now thank you.  That friend – if you’re trying to give both equity and equality to all – is given just as big a hug at the end of the evening as the other pie eaters.

Now that we’re full of pizza, pie or ice cream I ponder the question of how artists help support and establish equity in the community thru pairing messages and their creative works. The shortest answer I have is “we do our best”.  My longer answer is to tell you a story:  Once upon a time there was a grandfather who was asked to entertain the kids. He gathered all the kids around and said “Kids, inside every one of us are 2 wolves and they fight. One wolf is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.  The other wolf is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, charity, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, patience, goodness, gentleness, self-control and faithfulness.” Then the grandfather was silent. After a bit one of the littlest kids asked “Gran’pa, which wolf wins?” The old man replied “The one that you feed.”

We artists provide our communities with “wolf food”; stories, essays, art objects, movies, music – all kinds of creative things and experiences – and artists can help support equity/equality in our communities by being very careful about which wolf we feed. Artists are not the only people who feed wolves by the way.

What facet of my identity as an artist makes me unique? I’m content to let other people define for themselves what they think makes me unique. It’s their story about me. Personally, I don’t worry much about being “unique”. I’m just me and my job is to be the best “me” and the best artist I can be. But since I suspect the question is really fishing for what qualities or definitions are often applied to me here is a list: funny, charming, cute, silly, smart, Deaf, gay, animal-lover, artist, un-apologetic sketchbook user, dog and cat lover, reader, book-lover who practices cooking as a hobby. I think it’s important to enjoy daily life and art-creating is my way of doing that. Also, I think participating in the arts (either as a creator or a viewer) can be a way of practicing good mental health skills. Some people have called these opinions of mine “unique” and sometimes “odd”.

How can we actively create change as a student or community member in furthering an inclusive campus that welcomes people of all abilities?  Smile. Say ‘hello’. Listen. Do your best to refrain from pre-deciding about people – or pie – based only on appearances. Be willing to watch a person’s actions and words over time and then decide if being around them feeds your good wolf. Be open and curious about everyone and everything. Choose love. Figure out ways to keep love in your heart. And enthusiasm. In short – feed the good wolf.

And if you know where I can get one of those t-shirts – please tell me. Thank you.


P.S. To support this project and because I thought it would be fun I’ve created some art prints with this image. You can find the prints (and some travel mugs because I liked the pun on “Heroes Journey”) by looking for “Heroes Journey” here https://society6.com/sueclancy/prints

You can see my illustrations (spoken about in the speech) and get more information about “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit” by searching Amazon for the ebook or clicking here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/dr-bobs-emotional-repair-program-first-aid-kit

 

may the fourth edition be with you

A Creative Life, art techniques, artistic inspirations, Authors, books, functional art, graphic narrative, illustration, publications - publishing, published art, words and pictures

Hanging out at a bookstore yesterday with friends I happened to spot the book “Making Stuff and Doing Things: DIY guides to just about everything!” edited by Kyle Bravo  https://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/books/1400

This book is now in it’s 4th edition and there’s one chapter by me titled “Why Make A Zine or Artist Book?”.

Back in 2003, if I remember correctly, my work was included in the first edition. Rereading my work now in the new 4th edition I’m still proud and honored to be included!  It really is a useful-in-creative-life book – I’m not just talking about my own chapter.

Here’s a teaser hint of some of the book contents in addition to mine.

IMG_1387

And here’s a teaser page spread from my chapter within this useful book:

IMG_1389

Sharp readers of my blog will probably notice that I’ve used one of the book-stitching techniques I mentioned in “Making Stuff…” on my current project “Time Tavern” (here’s a link to some Time Tavern posts; stitching the book here and more progress here.)

And here’s a panoramic photo of me along with Sweetie and one of our friends (the 4th friend was taking the photo) outside the bookstore Annie Bloom’s Books in Portland Oregon.  http://www.annieblooms.com/

IMG_1385

the rough bark of culture

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques, artist book, artistic inspirations, Authors, books, creative thinking, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, handmade books, handmade papers, mental health, visual thinking, words and pictures

This coming Friday at the Joseph Gierek Fine Art Gallery (www.gierek.com) an experimental art exhibit of mine titled “The Rough Bark Of Culture” opens!

Yes, there are dogs. Lots of dogs. About 24 of them. Dog art that is. Clancy style.

The experimental part of this exhibit is that instead of being 24 works framed and hanging on the wall like a typical art installation – I’ve added my artist book thinking to my fine-art exhibit idea.  Which means my entire exhibit is intended to be an intimate experience.  Think curling up with a book. Or playing with a deck of cards.

Lucky for artist-me the gallery owner is willing to be playful.

Here’s what gallery-visitors will find: a box that looks like a leather bound book. I made the box and covered it with my hand dyed paper, paper that I’ve given a rough physical and visual texture. I designed the cover and the spine and various elements so that it appears like a book.  When closed this book-box measures 9 inches tall 7 inches wide and 2.5 inches deep. When you open the top “cover” it opens out to be 14 inches wide.

TRBOCCover72

Below are a couple of different angle-views of the cover so you can see the spine has the typical book-markings and that the edges of the box are painted to look like book text block “pages”.

Inside the book-box cover is a handwritten statement that puts my art-object-exhibit in a context.

TRBOCopen172

Then further inside there are 24 individual hand created dog art pieces done in my ink on handmade paper style. Each artwork is in an archival sleeve so that a viewer can flip through the box-contents like a book. (there’s even a ribbon to help people lift out the ‘pages’) Or the viewer can take out the pages and lay them out on a table and re-sort them.

TRBOCopenspread72

Below is some of my thinking behind the exhibit – including my resource book list. I referred to some of this book-research-resource mining in an early blog post here.

General exhibit thoughts for “The Rough Bark of Culture” by Sue Clancy

It is said that humans are the only animal that laughs, cooks (using heat and spices/herbs), develops music, creates art, writes/collects/organizes/shares information across time and space, sorts things numerically and devises elaborate rules for playing games simply for amusement. The ability to read and absorb information via symbols in pictorial and written form is also a uniquely human ability.

Humans are curious, they experiment, seeking novelty and creativity. Wanting enthusiasm – not boredom – they play. Play is part of being human. Play is also an essential component of being creative.

Creativity, communication and organization are attributes of being human. But in modern times it can be hard (rough) to carve out time to play, to be creative, to sort and organize information – to do those very things that make us human.

This exhibit is about what makes us human.

Why dogs? Dogs are enthusiastic about being alive – that’s why I’ve chosen them as my character “actors” in my artwork.  It’s a way of remembering that humans have the ability to create the world around them in ways that make life more comfortable, more fun – so that we can be more enthusiastic about being alive.

Reference material:

“Wonderland: How play made the modern world” by Steven Johnson

“The Creative Spark: How imagination made humans exceptional” by Agustin Fuentes

A quote I used as a guiding light – so to speak:

“To imagine is everything. To know is nothing at all.” Anatole France

Exhibit statement (which means I neatened up for handwritten inclusion in my book-box the thoughts outlined above):

It is said that humans are the only animal that; laughs, cooks (using heat and spices/herbs), specially crafts beverages, develops music, creates art, writes/collects/shares information across time and space, sorts things numerically, reads books/information in order to learn and devises elaborate rules for playing games simply for amusement. Humans sometimes share with dogs an enthusiasm at being alive – seeking novelty and creativity rather than boredom.  Unlike a dog, humans are able to plan and organize our time. We can defer gratification. Yet modern life sometimes makes it hard to carve out time to be creative – rough to do the very things that make us human; play.  This exhibit is about remembering to be human and enjoy life.

TRBOCspread72

If you want a flavor, a hint, of what this exhibit is like there’s my conventionally printed and bound book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” – https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

Creating a conventional book on this exhibit topic helped cement my idea that I also wanted my viewers to be able to physically “play” with my artwork. Even so – I’m proud of the printed and bound book too. It’s playfulness of a different sort. And able to be more widely available than a one-of-a-kind-art-exhibit in a gallery can be. Having both kinds of play available – the team kind or the individual kind – are important to me.

And speaking of teams; it’s almost time for me to go meet up with friends for a book-store browse and then to go to happy hour! Adult team play! Yippeeee!!

progress on public art piece

A Creative Life, art commissions, art techniques, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, drawing as thinking, fine art, public art, publications - publishing, visual thinking, words and pictures

In my last blog posts I’ve been talking about one of my current projects: I’m doing an illustration, a public art piece and giving a speech for Salmon Creek Journal and Washington State University.

Here are a series of photos, covering a several week span of time, showing my progress. In general my process was to do short spurts of work on one area, let it dry, come back do a bit more…slowly building over time.  My sweetie randomly came in to my studio and took these photos as I worked.

First I took all of my character/species/size research and the characters I developed from my research (detailed in my last blog post here) and I laid out my crowd shapes using a watercolor pencil. Then I begin to fill them in. Since I’m taking my own advice about drawing crowds (blog post with that info is here) I’m beginning with one of my main characters and the crowd shape that character is in.  That’s what you see in the photo below.

AtWk1

I’m using watercolor pencils, watercolor and ink on handmade paper. It’s risky – one stray bit of ink and – crikey! I’m living dangerously and loving it! In the photo below I’m filling in more characters.

AtWk2

Now (below) you can tell I’ve been working a while. It’s getting (pun intended) crowded. So to help myself make sure I’m putting additional characters in the correct spots – since things are getting tighter – I’ve taped some of my preliminary character sketches above where I’m working on the finished artwork so I can work from them. You can see some of my preliminary drawings at the top of this photo below.

AtWk3

In the next photo all of the characters are now in place and I’m starting to work on the background. This doesn’t mean the characters are finished. It just means I’ve gotten them to a certain point of development. As I work on the background I’ll pop back to work on a characters details, colorings and shadings to make it more distinct.

AtWk4

Below, you can see my progress on the background. There is, however, a lot more work to be done.

AtWk5

And here I’m going to stop posting on this project for a while as I’ve now caught up with Amanda The Editor.  I’ll post more later about this project when possible.

You can see some of Amanda’s posts about this project via the following links that contain details about the event where I’ll be speaking (including a bit of a statement from me) as well as a call for additional submissions for the magazine: https://orgsync.com/26883/news_posts/230672 and https://orgsync.com/26883/forms/275549

reading books making art eating popcorn

A Creative Life, art techniques, artistic inspirations, Authors, books, creative thinking, food for thought, Sustainable creativity, The Sketchbook Project, visual story, visual thinking, words and pictures

Below are some books I’m currently reading that are “feeding” many of my upcoming art projects. That’s art exhibits, illustration projects and yes even my sketchbook work for The Sketchbook Project I blogged about last post.  Even though it may seem that I produce a random variety of things – there’s a uniformity to my randomness and it begins with what I read. I see all of the things I make as telling a visual/tactile story about being human, enjoying life and living well.  And to help me develop my visual story I read…

BooksReading72

In case you can’t see all the titles in the picture they are:

“Wonderland; How play made the world” by Steven Johnson

“Books for Living” by Will Schwalbe

“The Creative Spark; How imagination made humans exceptional” by Agustin Fuentes

“The Foundations of Mindfulness” by Eric Harrison

“Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel

All of these books relate to themes I’ve been working with artistically for some time now:

How being willing to try new foods, to eat diverse foods, has helped us develop biologically as physical human beings. And how it helps us still.

Playing music, playing games, “playing” with our food – each kind of play in it’s own way has helped humans as a species develop and maintain physical and mental structures as individuals – and also social structures as communities. This is still true today. When we do not take time to play we hurt ourselves and each other.

Reading books (and writing them) has helped us – as a species – to pass on information so that each generation doesn’t have to completely reinvent the world from scratch.  This ability to collect information, and learn from it, informs our abilities to play – to playfully combine/recombine things – helping us to develop and maintain our mental skills.

Which leads me to mindfulness. Mindfulness for me is the human ability to pay attention, to focus attention and also to have a state of open/non-judgmental acceptance – curiosity even. This is essential to developing, having and keeping our human ability to imagine and be creative.  Mindfulness is part of being able to play and learn…and being able to play and learn is a way of being mindful. And for me, keeping a sketchbook, making art, is at it’s heart an exercise in playful mindfulness – but more about that in another post.

The novel by Esquivel is included in my current reading list because woman does not live by non-fiction alone.

Now please pass the popcorn. Thank you.

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)

dog drawing demo done!

A Creative Life, artist book, books, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, public art, Sue Draws Dogs, words and pictures

I spent most of the day at the “Words and Pictures Festival” at a branch of my local library – doing a drawing demo and promoting my artist book “Dogs by Sue Clancy”. It was a good day – only came home with 3 copies of my book all the rest have happy new homes! People were talking and asking me questions before I could even get set up and they continued to come and talk with me constantly even when I was packing up to go home! What fun!

Needless to say I didn’t have time to take photos of the crowd I was so busy! I did manage to do these drawings while talking to people.  Yes, that’s a bit like rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time.  Going to go have some wine after I post this.

On giving art demonstrations

A Creative Life, art techniques, Authors, books, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, published art, words and pictures

On Saturday I’m participating in a “Words and Pictures Festival” at my local library.  I’ll be signing two of my book titles (more about my books here: https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/ ) and doing some of my dog drawings and talking about how I create my images. I’ll talk about my ideas, show my tools and discuss methods.

The challenge for me is the talking-while-drawing part of the demo equation. So to help myself I’ve done a video of me drawing… this way I can watch myself and think of what I need to talk about.  When you watch the video do you have questions that you’d like me to answer?