Here’s video of me un-boxing proof copies of my artist book “Dogs by Sue Clancy”
Here’s video of me un-boxing proof copies of my artist book “Dogs by Sue Clancy”
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:
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.
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/
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.
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!
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….
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 www.caplanartdesigns.com for details. Here’s the nitty-gritty about my just-completed artwork titled “If It’s Any Constellation”.
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.
In a recent blog post titled “art inspired by ice cream” I wrote about the unusually hot weather here in WA and posted pictures of some in-progress-artwork, describing my working process and that it was inspired by (ahem) ice cream. Well, here is the rest of that story:
After thinking of the cool pattern of the marble walls in my local post office in Vancouver on the aforementioned hot day I went for an ice cream cone. My ice cream was ‘marbled’ creamy vanilla with dark chocolate swirls. While walking around with my dripping cone, thinking of snow covered mountains, snow falling, skiing – you know, cool thoughts – a cute pug dog and his friendly person passed by – they were a “cherry” capstone to a very good – tho hot – day out and about.
That’s the full description of the inspiration behind this piece that I’ve just finished and titled “Pug A Cherry On Top”. I’m sure you can see why I titled it that. Anyway, it’s destined for my upcoming one-person exhibit in October (2016) at Caplan Art Designs (see the events page at www.caplanartdesigns.com).
I created it with my cut hand dyed, hand marbled papers and… the full description is below if you want it… here’s the art.
A road trip to the Oregon Coast took my wife and I through the Oregon wine country. Hills flow up and down along the road giving me a view of vineyards from different angles – including a near “birds eye” view from above. The view inspired a pattern design and I made lots of notes in my sketchbook.
Back at my studio I use a number of techniques to make my patterns on paper: marbling, paste paper, stenciling… and more.. then when the paper is dry I make fine art with it, or an artist book, or art apparel or all of the above if the paper is large enough. Anyway, here’s a picture my wife took of me creating that “vineyard inspired” pattern on paper using my stencil-past-paper combo technique:
When I think of a pattern design concept the pattern itself “tells a small story” – so I like to apply that “story” in several different ways. But how I use the “story pattern” depends on the larger story I want to tell. For example: one of my favorite things to do is sit with a glass of wine and read a book while wearing my pajamas – so I used parts of this vineyard inspired patterned paper when I created one of my fine art pieces that is about books/education. The art piece is titled “The Read Hat” and is specifically about how we tenaciously (like little dogs gather toys) collect information into our heads but I’m sure you’ll note the vineyard patterned “pajama’s” the dog is wearing. “The Read Hat” is currently at the Caplan Art Designs gallery in Portland Oregon.
Also I have friends who like scarves – and wine – so, while thinking the fun thought that someone could “wear” a vineyard – like the dog in my fine art piece – I did a scarf design with the same green dot pattern (titled “Vineyard Aerial View) that is now available via VIDA http://www.shopvida.com/collections/sue-clancy
Here is a picture of both projects:
Here in the Pacific Northwest I am able to go to a farm and “U-pick” my own fruits and veg – often the farmer will hand me a bucket to hold my freshly picked produce.
Recently at my local library had about 16 books balanced between my hip and my arm while I used my other hand to look up something on the computer. A librarian saw me standing in this awkward pose and held out a basket saying “Would this help?”. Wow a basket to hold my freshly “picked” books!
Both of these situations inspired some art I’m currently working on for an upcoming one-woman art exhibit via the Caplan Art Design gallery in Portland Oregon. Anyway, here’s a photo of me arranging my cut hand dyed papers to make a basket full of books just prior to gluing them together. Each paper was hand dyed to be the color and pattern it is – and the “basket” is handwoven hand dyed paper. Not pictured are the “plants” the books are being harvested from!
Here is the long awaited video of my artist book “A Fish Story” – first I had to catch it (make the video), then I had to grill it (edit it down to one minute – the gallery wants all videos at a minute or less) then I had to de-bone it (remove the sound) after a next-door friend said he could hear his electric sander in the background of the video. (Q: How does a deaf person edit sound on a video? A: Verrry carefully with help from spouse and friends!) But finally… here is A Fish Story!