opening story stuff

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques, Cats in art, fine art, public art, still life, Sustainable creativity

I find that with each art exhibit I learn more about my own work. Last night, during the opening party for “Story Stuff” at Caplan Art Designs, I had multiple questions about my art techniques – in addition to conversations about the content within my artwork. As a result I realized that I’m an ancient art technique nerd. Many of my works in this exhibit utilize art techniques originating in the 19th century and earlier. I didn’t consciously set out to use so many old techniques – handmade paper, paper dying, and gouache to name a few – they just suited my content as I created it. Several different people commented that they thought my use of old techniques made my work “ethereal”.

Wow! New thoughts to think – and thank you to all of my fans for that! Thank you for all the stimulating conversations!

Quite a crowd ebbed and flowed throughout the evening. Here’s a photo from one of the moments. I’m wearing a red shirt.

What a fun evening!  Now, back to the studio to make more art!

on seeing story stuff

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, artistic inspirations, fine art, still life, visual story

Beauty and wisdom are all around us if we’re attuned to look for them. Like a mystery story detective looking for clues we train our eyes to “see” what is there. This is partially a function of he way our brains work. We see what we expect to see. How broad or narrow that expectation is affects what we will see. It’s all too easy to “see” only to-do lists and drudgery in daily life.  It’s too easy to “see” beauty only in dramatic once-in-a-lifetime vacation places. Yet our view can be broadened so we can see beauty in the fruit at the local market – and find wisdom on our coffee cup.

I see my job as an artist as a practice of seeing beauty in ordinary places and things; of telling the stories of the beauty and the wisdom I find. To help others to see the beauty too.

Beauty and wisdom can be too easily ignored, lost and forgotten – and when that happens life can seem dull and drudgery filled.  This is why we need to constantly train our eyes and minds to look around our mundane lives and see the beauty, the wisdom. It takes repeated practice. It takes detective work.

Dr. Bob Hoke (the psychiatrist I illustrated a book for) had a phrase for this phenomenon of the mind “When the student is ready the teacher will appear. And sometimes the teacher has been there all along waiting patiently for the student to become ready, to notice and remember to notice again the next day.”

Here are some beautiful ordinary things I remembered to see – and what I thought about them:

LifesABowlOfCherriesStemsPitsAndAll72

“Life’s a bowl of cherries, stems pits and all” – by Clancy – 8 x 10 inches – acrylic and gouache on board

Life’s A Bowl Of Cherries, Stems, Pits and All – At the farmer’s market during Rainier Cherry season I saw a father teaching his very young son how to pull a stem off, chew the cherry, extract the pit and put the stim and pit into a cup. it reminded me of how we have to be taught how to deal with the adversities in life, how to cope with the pits, how to focus on and remember to enjoy the good things.

CoffeeCity72

“Coffee City” – by Clancy – 5 x 7 inches – acrylic and gouache on board

Coffee City – I’ve been thinking of how much our lives are reflected in the objects we own, save, give away or dispose of – and the many mundane moments out of which a life is made. Perhaps choosing carefully what we focus on, choosing what encourages our “better angels”, choosing what becomes mundane is what makes for a good life.  These thoughts began when I was having coffee in one of my downtown coffee shops, staring at the highly polished surface of the ceramic coffee cup which reflected the surrounding city-scape. It was an ordinary moment that elevated my spirit. So I made this painting in order to remember.

You can see more art examples from this exhibit in my recent posts here and here.

More info about my upcoming art opening is available on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/2217205128523609/

True confessions: since the opening party is tomorrow night I am having a bit of the “will anyone come?” jitters. No matter that I’ve been having one person exhibits for many years, many times a year, or that all events have for the most part been well attended – even knowing all of that as opening night nears I get a little nervous. (“Will anyone else see….?”)  The exhibits matter to me. They’re risky on many levels. That’s part of the exhilarating fun of living the artistic life.

So, yes, I can see the beauty in my nervousness.

Mostly.

 

cozy mystery story stuff

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, artistic inspirations, Cats in art, Dogs in Art, fine art, music in art, small things, still life, story, visual story

In September at Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com I’m doing a one-person fine art exhibit titled “Story Stuff”. And you can thank the literary genre of the “cozy mystery” for it.

You see I enjoy detective novels and movies. I particularly enjoy cozy mystery novels because I like the inherent premise in them that a regular person living an ordinary mundane sort of life can use reason and logic to resolve problems.

After reading and watching a gazillion mystery stories – I realized how often some small object; a receipt, a coffee bag, or a whiskey tumbler is the clue that solves the mystery. That thought inspired me to try telling visual stories with “just stuff”. So for this exhibit I’ve selected things from my daily life and arranged them in my imagination, along with color, light and texture, in such a way that the viewer can deduce a story; they can “read” my visual description of how things are and which things matter. The viewer becomes the story detective/character-actor.

In some of my works I’ve also invented a character-actor – a cat or a dog – who plays a more obvious part in the story. Anthropomorphic animals are a way to make it plain that the artwork is a visual story. These particular animal characters are created and chosen because their breed characteristics add elements to the tale. The viewer is still the detective – there’s just more actors on stage.

I’m merging fine art techniques, and fine art genres of “Still Life” and “Animals in Art”, with literary and mystery genre concepts. I also love food, drinks and books – they are the elements of everyday Pacific Northwest life which for me is the stuff of stories.

Here’s (ahem) a short story collection from my upcoming exhibit:

cherry cheers

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, artistic inspirations, still life

It’s Mount Rainer Cherry season here in the Pacific Northwest! After getting fresh cherries at the Farmer’s Market on a warm summer day – we went for a cocktail. Bartenders around here use seasonal produce and since cherries are in season the drink of the day was cherry themed. Well, the drink was so good it inspired our friend to say “Wow, this drink is almost a religious experience!”.

“Amen, sister!” I replied.

“Halleluiah!” added Judy.

Then I went back to the studio and created this piece.

CherrySeason72

Cherry Season – by Clancy – 7 x 5 inches – acrylic and gouache on board

It ended up being an artistic exercise/challenge in getting the two-colored cherries to look round, and the glass to look glass-like.

Since this one is slightly different than my usual sort of thing I sent an image of “Cherry Season” to the gallery owner at Caplan Art Designs – who said it’ll be included in my exhibit later this year! And I’m to keep ’em coming! Wahoo!!

Anyway, in looking up cherry-drink recipes for this post I found this link – which seems the closest to the drink we had at our local pub.  http://www.cookingandbeer.com/2015/06/rainier-cherry-and-orange-campari-cocktails/

Cheers!

cats collected collectively

A Creative Life, art exhibit, cat portrait, Cats in art, fine art, visual story

This morning I delivered my cat themed artwork to Burnt Bridge Cellars for the upcoming exhibit, “Purrsuits of Pleasure”, June 1st through the end of July. Below is the unvarnished, unedited, raw, bare-naked video of what the exhibit looked like just after it was hung. The exhibit will look entirely different with a glass of wine in hand and lots of friendly people to talk to.  Art is an excuse for a good conversation.

If you wish to actually read the exhibit statement that appeared out-of-focus in the end of the video you can see that in a recent blog post here – and some of the text beside the artwork can be read in the post here.

Here’s the link to Burnt Bridge Cellars: http://www.burntbridgecellars.com/

And here is the link to Caplan Art Designs – one of my galleries that can be contacted regarding my work in this exhibit: http://www.caplanartdesigns.com/

Now I’m going to grab a novel and read a while – generally get rested before the opening party on Friday.

Purrsuits of Pleasure

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, cat portrait, Cats in art, fine art

Friday June 1st at Burnt Bridge Cellars my fine art exhibit “Purrsuits of Pleasure” opens! I’ve done 17 pieces with cat characters in them. All cats! Nothing but cats! Last year I did all dog characters and the cat people said “Are you going to do an exhibit of cats?”.  Yes! My cat exhibit will be up for the months of June and July!

Here’s the exhibit statement:

As a human currently owned by a cat I’ve noticed that cats seek pleasures unashamedly, without the cost-benefit analysis that humans often do. It reminds me that it’s good to do something out of plain old delight without toting up the value of our actions or performing a posture. So, for this last year I’ve allowed myself to enjoy things around town like a cat would – but also making notes on the pleasure in my sketchbook*. I also read books and researched the many pleasurable topics I’d discovered. Back at my studio I created a series of cat characters, pattern designs and other elements in order to tell metaphorical stories about my delight in local pleasures.

*An eBook version of this sketchbook is available for download on this page here https://sueclancy.com/shop/ – and my cat practice sketchbook is available too.

Here’s a sample collection of my work in the show:

 

community creatures curated

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, artist book, artistic inspirations, fine art, mental health, Narrative Art, public art, sketchbook

Here are some pictures from the Anstine Gallery exhibit of my artwork titled “Community Creatures”.  I’ve noticed that adults sometimes become problem oriented, especially in certain professions. So I delight in, via the Anstine Gallery, bringing humorous art to a government building in Vancouver. Doing my small part to bring a smile to your day. All of my artwork in this exhibit is about what I enjoy in town. I’ve also included my sketchbook pages for your additional amusement.

My last post about this exhibit is here: https://sueclancy.com/community-creatures-running-loose-at-the-anstine-gallery/  – and it shows direct links between sketchbook pages and the fine art pieces.

My sketchbook “Running Around Loose in Vancouver WA” is available as an ebook here: https://sueclancy.com/product/running-around-loose-vancouver-wa-edition-1-by-sue-clancy/  I like to think that my sketchbook will be amusing even for people who can’t come to see the original fine artwork.

community creatures running loose at the Anstine Gallery

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, artist book, artistic inspirations, drawing as thinking, ebook, public art, sketchbook, travel art and writing, visual story

The art was delivered to the Anstine Gallery this morning. The snow I’d worried about in my last post wasn’t a problem! (Whew!) The Anstine Gallery is located in a government building in Vancouver so I’m doing what I often do – trying to make people in serious places laugh.

Adults in general, I find, tend to be focused on day-to-day problems and people in certain professions; in the medical field, in law and in city or county government, in addition to having the regular allotment of adult-hood type responsibilities have entire work-days filled with problem-solving.

So with this exhibit – titled “Community Creatures” I wanted to share humorous artwork that was based on what is, in my opinion, working well in Vancouver.

A community is made up of its social vitality. The physical structures of the place; sidewalks, multi-use buildings, zoning laws, environmental policies, parks, public art and so forth all impact – in a behind the scenes way – the social vitality of a place. I see the city/county as doing well because of what I observe when I “run around loose”.

Where we most often see, or are most easily aware of, social vitality is in the small businesses, I mean the honest-to-goodness personally owned business – where the owner actually works there.  So that’s where I started – I’ve recorded my experiences in my sketchbook of running around loose in Vancouver, then I created characters (the ‘creatures’) and a fine-art-visual-story that transformed my real-life sketches into a metaphoric or literary depiction of an element of life in Vancouver.

Here are a series of sketches paired with the artworks. I’m sure you’ll be able to see what relates to what.

Naturally there is crossover between the different sketchbook pages and each finished art piece. The above is just a sample. You can download my entire “Running Around Loose – Vancouver WA” sketchbook in ebook form here:  https://sueclancy.com/product/running-around-loose-vancouver-wa-edition-1-by-sue-clancy/

running around loose art exhibit

A Creative Life, art gallery, artist book, artistic inspirations, ebook, fine art, public art, visual thinking

Soon I’m delivering artwork to the Anstine Gallery – an art gallery located in a governmental building in Vancouver WA. – for a one woman exhibit titled “Community Creatures”.  Since it’s in a government building I’m taking the opportunity to celebrate, with artwork, aspects of the community I love.

I’ve titled the exhibit “Community Creatures” because the characters I’ve used for all of the fine art pieces range widely: there’s a frog, a longhorn steer, a peacock, a seahorse, a rabbit and of course some dogs and cats. Each character, and the actions depicted in the artwork,  represents some aspect of the Vancouver community that I appreciate.  As I’ve run around loosely enjoying things I’ve documented them in my sketchbook. Then I’ve pulled elements recorded in my sketchbook for fine art.

So I’m also sharing my sketchbook, the words-and-pictures behind the fine art, in two ways: one as a hand-sewn book that will be in the exhibit, and as an ebook (here) titled “Running Around Loose” that people can download and have on their phone when they go to my exhibit. Or if they can’t come to the exhibit they can still enjoy the show – via my sketchbook.

For example here is one of my sketchbook pages.

BurntBridge

And below is one of my artwork, titled “Massive Mastiff Munching” that flowed from the above sketchbook page and other pages like it. For example I’m also combining (as documented in other sketchbook pages) the “tapas”, or small plates, way of eating that many places offer – including the winery mentioned in the above sketchbook page.

MassiveMastiffMunchingA72.jpg

You can probably see several connections between the sketchbook page and the artwork.

I suppose with the art and the book combined the entire exhibit could be called “Community Creatures… Running Around Loose” – and I like the humor of that, but I’ve left the phrases separate in order to distinguish between the exhibit and the book. Anyway, hopefully everything I’ve done will make people smile.

I’ll post more about this exhibit and my thinking in the coming days – but just now I’m hoping that our recent snowfall won’t interfere too much with delivery day.  The local independently owned (imagine that!!)  newspaper, The Columbian, has headlines for yesterday and today: “Snow sticks around; School districts announce closures, later starts today with messy commute likely” and “A Day to take off; snow, ice prompt school closures, delays in services in Clark County”.  It is snowing as I type this … so I’ll be in touch with the exhibit curator and we’ll see….

 

an open Fur Suit of Happiness

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, cat portrait, Cats in art, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art

Last night was the opening of my art exhibit “The Fur Suit Of Happiness” at Caplan Art Designs in Portland Or. Lots of people came. Many nice things were said about my artwork. Many good questions were asked. Several people used the “M” word when referring to my artwork and I still get a warm fuzzy feeling when I hear such evidence that people “get” my work! The “M” word is “metaphor” or “mythology”.

And yes, the work of Joseph Campbell has inspired much of my artwork!

During the opening last night I found it was helpful that I had just given a speech the day before (blog post about the speech here) – so I still had my “talking shoes” on.  There have been openings where I’ve gone to a gallery directly from my work in my studio – with a slight pause to change clothes – at such times I get to the gallery and find I’ve almost forgotten the English language. Or any language but pictures. And I need a few minutes to “find my words”.

Didn’t have that trouble last night! I was almost chatty Cathy!  Here are a few pics:

And one of our friends came to see my new work and gave me a whole sack full of sheet music for my future collaging pleasure!! Wow!!!

MePattiMusicCADArtwall72

Here is a photo of what the gallery wall of my artwork looked like without people standing in front of it. The pedestal in the photo holds a portfolio of 50 of my small ink dog art pieces.

WallOfArt

The way the owner of the Caplan Art Designs gallery arranged the wall proved to be a wonderful way to help people zero in on details within my work. The over-stimulation seemed to help the viewers focus.  One person had an epiphany while looking at the wall saying to me “Oh! I get it! You’re talking about human behavior metaphorically with your dogs and cats!”

I almost hugged them. But I didn’t because I’d never met them before last night. Wow! They used the “M” word!

Swoon.