feline fuzzy

A Creative Life, animals in art, art techniques, artistic inspirations, Cats in art, creative thinking

It’s finally begun raining regularly here in the Pacific Northwest and I love it. Today the rainy cool air made me think of contentment and fur.

Here’s artwork of Persian cat that is drying on my worktable. The cat’s name is “Harold”.

WorkingOn1Cat72

what is art for and 3 ways to find out

A Creative Life, animals in art, artistic inspirations, mental health, Sustainable creativity

Professional artist’s ask themselves “what is art for?” and answer it for themselves because that helps us know why we’re doing what they are doing. And knowing this helps you keep on course.

Here’s a sketchbook page from a time when I was examining this question:

ArtGenresPurpose

For me “art is for” good mental health practice – and to provoke a smile, a chuckle.  To quote from my book Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit “When a negative thought enters your mind just say (inwardly) ‘STOP’. It’s your brain, your mind and you have every right to think the thoughts you want…. Don’t let a negative thought ever finish its sentence…. How many ‘STOP’s are enough? As many as it takes. It is also helpful to keep a list of positive things that you enjoy thinking about or doing, like books/reading, walking… going to art exhibits… playing tennis… and after inwardly saying ‘STOP’ switch your focus to something positive and enjoyable.” (https://store.bookbaby.com/book/dr-bobs-emotional-repair-program-first-aid-kit)

So my goal as a professional artist became to create fine art, books and other objects that are positive and enjoyable for other people to see – switch focus to – and that are also  positive and enjoyable for me to create.  I decided that the genres of “animal painting” and “genre painting” best fit this goal.  For short I call this goal to “feed the good wolf”.

To make sure you know what I mean by that here’s a cartoon excerpt from “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit”

TwoWolves72

excerpt from Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit https://store.bookbaby.com/book/dr-bobs-emotional-repair-program-first-aid-kit

But how exactly did I get to a defined goal, a “purpose” for my art?

  1. I went to lots of art galleries and museums. I read a lot of books. I listened to other people talk about what they enjoyed. Anywhere and everywhere I went I made a quick note of what interested me or fed my “good wolf” in a book that I kept with me at all times.
  2. I looked for art supplies and other opportunities to “test the theory” of whether or not something really did feed my good wolf. For example at one time I thought creating sculpture would be “good wolf food” for me – but I discovered that it was too physically difficult and in the process of creating sculpture I ended up cursing a lot. So after some time spent trying metal sculpture I nixed that one from the “good wolf food” list.
  3. I played with the genres and arts categories while making a note of my responses emotionally, physically, mentally.  By “play” I mean I casually went to art exhibits,  looked at objects in a store or on-line that fit the genre/category, I tried the genres at home and all the while I noted my gut response – did it feed my ‘good wolf’? Did it make me smile and want to “share it” in some way with a person I love? What is it about that art/object that excites me? Then I list those qualities and pursue them in my own projects!  (As I mentioned above it turned out that the animals-in-art genre fit me well!)

Speaking of projects –  here’s a very new project for me that fits with my “feed good wolves” goal: I’ve begun designing for iPhone cases, Laptop skins, wall clocks, comforters and many other tech and household objects. (If you noticed that these items fit in the genres of  ‘animals in art”, ‘genre painting’ and ‘media arts’ you get a gold star sticker!)  The link to my newest project: https://society6.com/sueclancy – and here below are a few examples.

 

dogs in art but what about cats

A Creative Life, animals in art, art commissions, Cats in art, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, published art

My book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” has now been available since Feb 17 2017 – and I’ve been getting a lot of very nice feedback! Including people asking me to do a portrait of their special dog! What fun! You can get info about my book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” on Amazon or via this link: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

In addition to questions about dogs I’ve been asked is “Are you going to do a book of cats?”  The short answer is yes! It may be a year or more before I actually get it done because I’m very busy right now working on a number of dog portrait commissions and upcoming art exhibits that are already scheduled through 2018 – but I’m working towards a series of cat portraits already.  Here are a couple of recent ones:

Dogs in bathrooms what art is for and Irish stew

A Creative Life, animals in art, artist book, books, comfort food, Dogs in Art, ebook, fine art, mental health, sketchbook suppers, words and pictures

When my new artist book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” came out (mid Feb 2017) I showed an advance copy to a dear friend who said “I hope this won’t offend you but this would be a perfect bathroom book!”

Of course I wasn’t offended! In fact I think bathrooms are the perfect place for good art and fun/funny books! I think this because of what I think art is for: art is for practicing good mental health skills. Art and books can be mood setters. In a bathroom a person can take a few deep breaths and re-center themselves, re-set their mental mood.

I’ve worked in the genres of “animals in art” and “dogs in art” because of my thoughts about what art is for… but enough about philosophy of art. It’s Saint Patrick’s day! Happy St. Pat’s!!

Here to celebrate and/or up-lift your mood is a page from my book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

pgspread472

Because it’s St. Pat’s – and because the studio of an artist with an Irish sur-name must have sustenance – here is one of my favorite “chop, toss in a pot and let it cook ’till you’re ready to eat it” recipes from my sketchbook:

DublinCoddle172

page from “Coffee, Table, Book” https://store.bookbaby.com/book/coffee-table-book

 

dogs unboxed

A Creative Life, animals in art, artist book, books, Dogs in Art

Here’s video of me un-boxing proof copies of my artist book “Dogs by Sue Clancy”

https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

 

dog book progress

A Creative Life, artist book, books, Dogs in Art, Sue Draws Dogs

I’ve decided to call my upcoming artist book of dog portraits “Dogs by Sue Clancy”.  Simple and straightforward feels best… so here’s what the cover will look like:

onepagebookcoverimage

Book cover design for an upcoming artist book by Clancy that will be available via Amazon and wherever books are sold and here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

 

going to the dogs

A Creative Life, animals in art, artistic inspirations, books, dog portrait, Sue Draws Dogs

I’ve been asked “how do you get your ideas for your dog drawings?” I begin by thinking of something pleasant. This “something pleasant” has often been noted previously in one of my sketchbooks. The pleasantness can be a drink I enjoyed, a bowl of soup, a game, a book… anything I remember as being particularly “pleasant”. You can see some of my sketchbook pages on my “sketchbooks” page on my website https://sueclancy.com/sketchbooks/

Once the “something pleasant” topic has been found I need a character to help me describe that topic.

Lately I’ve been finding dogs a good representative actors. Breed characteristics can add content to my story… for example when I was remembering the pleasantness of hearing a street musician play I chose a Basset Hound to be the musician character. I thought that fit because that breed can be a vocal sort but in a good-sounding way. At least ones I’ve met in person have been.  You can see the dog drawing I’m talking about by looking for “Pickles” on my dog portraits webpage. https://sueclancy.com/dog-portraits/

Sometimes I see a dog on one of my walks and make sketches on location. Then back at the studio, I want to draw that dog breed better so I think of “something pleasant” that may fit with that dog and try drawing again but this time using my ink methods on good quality paper.

When I’m too busy to go out where the dogs are likely to be seen during a walk (i.e. it’s too snowy/rainy) I’ll flip through a photography book about dogs looking for a breed to characterize in a way that helps me describe non-verbally my “something pleasant”.

By now I’ve drawn enough dogs from real-life sources (can you say “dog park”?) that i can work decently from a photograph – using the photo primarily as a memory aid for specifics about a dog breed.

Here’s some recent dog-related photography books I’ve used as resource material.

dogbooks72

A few resource books for Sue Clancy’s dog drawings.

Perhaps you’re wondering why I think of “something pleasant” when drawing dogs. After all there’s so much that is wrong with the world, so much to be upset about…war, poverty, injustice, fake news….

To answer quickly: focusing on pleasant things feeds the good wolves. A small drawing is not the best place to outline a social problem and propose any policy solution.

A small drawing is a place for solace, love and comfort.

You can see more about this “feed the good wolves” philosophy of mine in my book “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit” on the artist book webpage https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/

animals in my art

A Creative Life, animals in art, art commissions, art gallery, art techniques, artistic inspirations, Authors, psychogeography, visual story

Last evening I was looking up something in a book called “Drawing Masterclass” and I read this (again): “Animals as subject matter for the visual arts have a longer history than any other subject. The first images drawn by the human race depicted the animals that were hunted for survival [cave paintings]…. There is no period in art when animals have not played a major role.”

In my fine art animals become characters; my creative process is much like the way a novelist creates a character, a compilation of authorial thoughts and observations  – a “collage” of them you might say – merged into one person/character within their story. I create anthropomorphic animal characters because I see humans as part of the natural world and the natural world as part of humanity.  I’m inspired by both nature and culture.

So when I do animal portraits, people are there too.  When I do a portrait of a particular dog, for example, a particular person (someone, or several someone’s I saw in real life) is also reflected.  It becomes a visual story of that animal and that person. I define “story” as a plot where there is some surprise. The surprise in one of my visual stories might be the realization of how a human can be like a dachshund.

For example in my artwork titled “Happy Hour” (see image below) inside I sometimes feel happy and excited like my dachshund Rusty looks when he is bouncing around wagging his tail and dancing for his supper. (Places and objects enter in to my visual story creation too but that’s another discussion.)

My gallery agents often explain to clients that I create (as special commissions) portraits of pets as their pet owners; an imaginative merging of pet and person.  And that’s true.

Here, so you can see what I’m talking about, are some of my animal portraits currently available at either Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com and at Joseph Gierek Fine Art www.gierek.com  – please contact each gallery for more details.

Creative Digest profile of Sue Clancy

A Creative Life, animals in art, Artist interviews and profiles, illustration, published art, words and pictures

I was contacted about a week ago by a magazine located in the U.K called Creative Digest – http://www.creativedigest.co.uk/ – they wanted to do a profile about me and my artwork! They sent me a bunch of questions, and requested art images… it went back and forth…. and now the magazine profile is out!

Here’s the direct link: http://www.creativedigest.co.uk/keep-list-things-make-glad-alive-charming-animal-illustrations-sue-clancy/

They titled the profile “Charming animal illustrations by Sue Clancy” – how nice is that?  This is one of my artworks they chose to feature on the front page.  Going to go happy dance!  I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts….

The Read Wagon

The Read Wagon by Sue Clancy, 14 x 11 x 2 inches, hand dyed paper, hand stenciled paper, handmade paper, found paper and acrylic on cradled board.

 

 

finished constellation

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, artistic inspirations, fine art, handmade papers

I’ve finished the artwork I was working on in my last blog post! This one is destined for exhibit by Caplan Art Designs in October. See the events page http://www.caplanartdesigns.com for details. Here’s the nitty-gritty about my just-completed artwork titled “If It’s Any Constellation”.

ifitsanyconstellation72

If It’s Any Constellation By Sue Clancy 12 x 12 x 1.5 inches Hand dyed paper, handmade paste paper, found paper and acrylic on cradled board

In my last blog post I wrote that recently I was taking out the trash and it seemed the stars were larger than usual… and that that had inspired a pattern design. All true… and here’s the “official blurb” aka what the gallery is likely to post beside this piece as an explanation of my inspiration:

If It’s Any Constellation  by Sue Clancy

The stars seemed larger and clearer one summer Pacific NW evening just before autumn. That same evening I watched a cat playing with a toy; grabbing it, running with it, enjoying it and I thought of how we all have to “pick something” from the many possibilities within our personal galaxy to focus on and enjoy.

So that above is the official blurb and I’m sticking with it.

Just in case you didn’t see it: here is a Youtube video of me making a star pattern paper that you see in “If It’s Any Constellation”: https://youtu.be/cAx88mwARqo

Now I’ll  do the varnish, paperwork and other stuff that needs to be done before I deliver this new artwork to the gallery. After that I’ll also work on some art apparel designs – and on an artist book page – that also applies my “star paper” design pattern thinking – more on all of that later.