the art of planning

A Creative Life, animals in art, art commissions, art gallery, Dogs in Art, visual story

When I work on art commissions I cannot imagine telling a prospective client that “It’s gonna be great! Just Yuge! Believe me!” and then refuse to give any details regarding the project plans. I and each of my gallery owners describe in detail what the client can expect at every phase of the art project being asked of me and when they can expect it. Questions are answered as completely as possible as soon as possible.

The ability to unflinchingly describe plans for a project in easy-to-understand terms, to outline a proposal either verbally or in writing (or both), to answer questions, to give updates and to have “how-we-will-know-we-succeed” goal markers clearly marked is the very foundation of doing business. This is basic business plan/proposal 101 and expected of any person in business.

It is all the more important when the business is creative. Fine art (and all of it’s creative cousins) are notoriously subjective, mysterious and mystical – when viewed from the non-artists point of view. This means that clear communications about plans regarding artistic projects is crucial.  If the client can’t understand what you’ll be doing, and can’t explain it to their spouse or to their organization’s board – why would they commission you do do something artistic for their home, office or organization?

Since a certain U.S. president elect has been so vague regarding his plans for the country  I’ve begun to think that doing “basic business 101” and doing it well is an art and it may also be a revolutionary act.

So to aid, support and show solidarity with my fellow revolutionaries here are questions I ask myself that influence how I communicate my art project plan/proposals:

Why are you doing it/what do you hope to achieve? 

I like to help people preserve, via fine art, the story, the memory, of their life and relationship with their pet; dog or cat.  I often say that “I help people tell their stories visually”.  When talking with prospective clients I talk about this goal and a bit about how my art-making process works, how I use elements from the real-life of the client and dog. Since I work with a number of galleries many of the clients approach the idea of commissioning me to create something special for them already knowing this about my artwork process.

I (or the gallery) asks what the client hopes to get from my work, about the size of artwork the client wants and what fits in their budget.

What exactly will you be doing and approximately when?

During the first conversation we find out if the client wants one of my ink portraits, which has a more simple project plan/process, or if they want a color portrait.  Assuming  for the purposes of this blog that the client wants a color portrait then I (or my gallery owners) tell the client that I have a list of questions and a list of photos of their dog (for example) that I will need in order to create a full color portrait (like the color artwork you see here on my website).

Once those questions have been answered and the photos have been provided I’ll take about a month to create 2 designs for their approval.  A calendar date for our sketch-approval meeting is often set during this conversation. With the gallery as a mutual point of contact the client answers my questions and provides the photos of their pet.  After all of the answers/photos are received (usually within the first week) I set about creating 2 sketches to scale of the proposed finished work along with a set of “color swatches” to give them a tactile idea of my proposed color scheme.

Then, a month later, we meet (me, client and gallery owner) and I show my sketches and talk about the proposal.  Sometimes it’s happened that I deliver the sketches to the gallery and the gallery owner conducts the meeting (without me) to get approval from the client for one of the sketched proposals.  No matter who makes the presentation/proposal, I take care to label my sketches clearly, with color swatches taped into place so that everything is fairly self-explanatory. I allow the client to take a photo of the approved sketch at this time if they desire.

When doing public art commissions I’ve even included copies of the sketches or (as per request) color mock-ups that the client could then take and present to their organizations board.

When a sketch is approved I provide a date when the finished work will be delivered to the gallery.  I set this date far in advance of when I actually think it will be done – because sometimes there is weather that slows down drying time – so I would rather deliver something earlier than a client is expecting it than have to explain why it is late. And I tell the client I’m setting the delivery date out farther than I think it will be finished – and why I’m setting it that way.

Then I get to work.

The gallery is available if the client has any questions or wishes to have updates.  As I work photos of my project’s progress are taken. Those are provided to the gallery who shares them with the client.  At the end of a project I often use those “progress photos” and write a “how I made this” document that summarizes the entire project.

As you can imagine clear communication of plans and procedures  makes the process much smoother for everyone. Clients aren’t left wondering what I’m going to do to them instead of for them.

Here’s a photo of a commission I did some time ago now. The client was very happy with it! It’s titled “Preying for Peas”.  That title seems relevant just now.

preyingforpeas72

You can download a pdf “project summary” about the “Preying for Peas” project here:  https://sueclancy.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/aboutpreyingforpeas.pdf

dog art book days

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, artist book, books, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, Sue Draws Dogs, visual story

Recently I posted a video of me un-boxing proof copies of “Dogs by Sue Clancy”  https://sueclancy.com/2017/01/15/dogs-unboxed/  Overall I’m very pleased with the books printing, the binding and the way BookBaby https://www.bookbaby.com/ has done things.  I’d used BookBaby to do my previous eBooks – so they weren’t un-known to me, and I knew they’d be good to work with. They are. And their book distribution system is worldwide…

Even so, in looking at my proof copies I realized there was a graphic-designer (me) error.  The first page that you see upon opening the book is blank. Then you open it and on the left is the title page. The page to the right has the book info.

Oops.

Not BookBaby’s fault at all. Totally mine. Some days are just like that.

Dang-nab-it-in-big-soggy-biscuits!!!!

But everything else other than the odd page order at the front is beautiful. So I showed copies of the book to my gallery owners – all are thrilled. (Whew!) And one said she loves the blank page at the front as she’ll be able to put a sticker/card with additional info right there. “Great sales tool!” she added about the book in general.

Since the galleries are happy I’ve decided the pages in the book “Dogs…” are staying as they are.  I’ll just do better pagination for the next book.

In case you were wondering why I decided to do my newest book in such a mass-produced way in the first place. (This book is going to be available where ever books are sold in the world. Yes by Amazon.com…and also at independent bookstores) I decided to do it like this because I have fans and art collectors all over the world and Bookbaby’s distribution system for eBooks has been fantabulous – so I’m trusting that the same is true for the print books too!

The idea is that my gallery owners will be able to tell their clients – wherever in the world they are located – that “something new by Sue” is available via a familiar online source or even a bookstore near them.  This book is also intended to help the galleries sell the very personal service I provide – creating a visual story that reflects the life of a person and their dog.

Beyond the fine art gallery scene I think of the book as a small attempt to share my “art as good mental health therapy” concept with people who may not know my artwork but may chance upon my book somehow.  Maybe they’ll laugh and have a better day.

The original artwork at the gallery gets framed like this:

inkdogframed

Artwork by Clancy framed at the Caplan Art Designs gallery www.caplanartdesigns.com

The book has a stiff cover and 26 pages and when closed is 8.5 x 11 inches. Just the size for a coffee table.  More info about the book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” is available here  https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy or via Amazon…

 

Dogs by Sue Clancy

A Creative Life, animals in art, artist book, books, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, Sue Draws Dogs

The official release date for my newly printed artist book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” is Feb 17th 2017… but you can see (and get) an advance copy online here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

One of the purposes of the book is to aid and abet my art gallery exhibits and in this blog post I’ll share one of the written descriptions of the book – but just between us I’m highly amused that there are many more words written about my book “Dogs…” than there are actually in the book! The book is largely wordless…

Anyway, here’s a book description:

In an artist book featuring various dog breeds, artist Sue Clancy whimsically combines man’s best friend and many of life’s pleasant experiences by drawing them using a dip pen, a brush and Sumi ink on handmade paper.

For each of the artworks in this book Sue Clancy thought of “something pleasant” and created a dog-character to help describe that pleasantness. By combining attributes of a dog breed with an activity she has enjoyed she accents the pleasant feelings.

More than an exhibit catalog or a collection of reproductions of a body of artistic works the book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” is an artist book organized around an artistic idea: collecting pleasant thoughts and describing those thoughts using imaginary dog characters (based on a real-life dog breed) in order to highlight the pleasant feelings.  This idea has its roots in healthy mental health habits and the practice of happiness; creating gratitude lists, purposefully turning ones thoughts toward pleasant things, playing with ones imagination, and a meditative practice of enjoying  time, memory, attention and whimsy.  Dogs were selected as characters because for Sue Clancy dogs of all breeds represent a joyful exuberant delight at being alive.

Genre/Subject: Art, Animals in Art, Dogs in Art

Sub genre: Individual artists/artist books

Book Details: 26 pages, 21 images, 245 words

ISBN: 9781483590752

Available where ever books are sold

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

For more about the artist see http://www.sueclancy.com

You can see the original artwork (and more of my dogs) – or commission me to draw your favorite dog at Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com.

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

fun art at Joe’s

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, artistic inspirations, fine art

Here are two of my fine artworks that were recently shipped to Joseph Gierek Fine Art http://www.gierek.com/sueclancy – these pieces and more will be in an upcoming exhibit opening Dec 1!!  Joe, the owner of Joseph Gierek Fine Art encouraged me to do more of my “free associative” paintings – and boy did I have fun!  Several of these new ones are inspired by music. Others were inspired by helium balloons or my questions about how the stars got in the sky… you can click the above link to see my other artworks currently at Joe’s.  Have fun!  (And yes, art shipped to the gallery – can be shipped anywhere – just contact the gallery ….)

coollicks72

“Cool Licks” By Sue Clancy 6 x 6 x 2 inches hand dyed paper, handmade paste paper, found paper and acrylic on cradled board

pourmeasong72

“Pour Me A Song” By Sue Clancy 6 x 6 x 2 inches hand dyed paper, handmade paste paper, found paper and acrylic on cradled board

 

Lettuce Peas

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, artistic inspirations, collage, fine art, illustration, poetry, words and pictures

Was contacted this morning by one of my gallery owners, Barney, of Downtown Art & Frame, in Oklahoma to tell me that my work “Lettuce Peas” had sold! This work was a highly experimental piece, different from the “typical” work I do. For this project I worked with Judy Sullens, a writer, and created this words+art piece inspired by and based on her word-play.  Judy’s original poem was titled “Gardener’s Prayer”.  I took Judy’s words and created an original cut-paper illustration in my style and wrote out her poem by hand using pen and ink calligraphy.

Technically this piece is an original “broadside” as it would be called in the book-arts world.  And normally I might have submitted it for exhibit in a book-arts kind of gallery like the 23 Sandy Gallery.  But, Barney, who runs a frame-shop-gallery in Oklahoma saw the piece in my studio here on the West Coast, liked it and wanted to frame it and exhibit it along with the other artwork of mine he was selecting for delivery to his gallery.

I do my best to keep my gallery-owners happy so I agreed. All the art he requested got shipped – including “Gardener’s Prayer”. He was happy. I was happy. Judy was happy.  Then life went on. 

When he told me today that the work had sold he also said of this piece “it’s a gem”.  He talked of how much attention this particular piece had gotten, how the client who ended up buying it had come to ‘visit’ it multiple times before buying. He went on to say that he thought it might be a good idea for me to do more such things, maybe make a book of such poetic-artistic-meditations-on-daily-life.

So now I’m thinking about doing that. Over the many years I’ve worked with Barney he’s had a number of great suggestions for my art/career… so I take his suggestions seriously. And I think Judy will play poetry+art again with me … and I write poems sometimes myself… and I’m also flirting with thoughts of collecting some other poet/writers very short thoughts (ideally word-play) about some aspect of daily life.

My question is how to go about it?  Must ruminate more on this topic… Please share your comment/thoughts too.

Anyway here is the “Gardener’s Prayer”:

gardenersprayer72

Poem by Judy Sullens. Art (cut handmade paper) and Calligraphy by Sue Clancy.

exhibiting art

art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques, artistic inspirations, fine art

All of my artwork has been delivered to the Caplan Art Designs gallery for my one-person exhibit opening Oct 1st at The Daily in the Pearl in Portland Oregon! Here’s a pic of me handing one of my new artworks to the owner of the gallery (yeah, okay we’re posing for a photo):

sue-and-amy

Sue Clancy (black shirt) with the owner of Caplan Art Designs. Sue was delivering several new artworks for her upcoming one-person exhibit.

I took all of my work to the gallery and a few days later the gallery owner sent me an image of the exhibit – my artwork installed! Looks nice huh? There will be a 3 course dinner with wine pairings on opening night – Oct 1st – hence all the tables and chairs.

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Sue Clancy’s fine art installed by the Caplan Art Designs gallery

I had no clue as to the order the artworks would be hung – that I left up to the gallery owner’s considerable experience – so as I created the works over the last year I tried to make sure all of the art pieces would “make sense” when grouped together no matter what the order turned out to be.  Essentially I worked to a “theme”.

In a blog post titled “pleasure patterns” I talked about my theme development process so I’ll not repeat that here. But here is a photo of the exhibit statement as it is posted on the wall of the exhibit. It’ll give you a clue about the theme I worked toward.

14495504_10154426325358213_1442553237460574057_n

The fine art exhibit statement by Sue Clancy

Now all that’s left to do before the exhibit opens Oct 1st is the “shouting” – i.e. the P.R., social media stuff, email invitations etc…. here’s an example: http://dailyinthepearl.com/events.html

Thank heavens the Caplan Art Designs gallery and the Daily in the Pearl are also doing P.R. and social media – it’s not completely left to me! This is a prime example of what I’ve talked about before (like in this post titled “riding the P.R. train“) about how the life of a professional artist becomes about many more people than just the artist. It’s a team effort. Thank goodness!

Actually I misspoke – it’ not just the P.R. that’s left to do – I’m also writing and practicing a short 5 minute talk that I’m giving during the opening dinner party.

So… speech-writing… public speaking…. hoo boy, that’s a topic for another day.

back to the wire

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques

In my last blog post, titled ‘down to the wire‘, I listed 10 tips for prepping art for gallery display  – and someone asked me to post some photos of the finished backs of my artwork. So here are those requested photos:

backofcupcake72

The finished back of my artwork “Cupcake” – see the coated wire, the d-rings put in with screws, and the clearly typed label?

To make my labels I type up a Word file with all of the data then print it out on full sheet label paper that I get from an office supply store.  I’ve heard from my various gallery owners that they appreciate the legibility.

Here is a close-up photo of the D-ring held on with a screw – and the coated wire on the D-ring.  Extra wire is left on so that the gallery or the client can adjust it if necessary.

wiredringcloseup72

A close up of a D-ring and screw with the coated wire on it – and a tiny bit of the label showing on the left side of this photo.

Here’s another photo of the back of a different artwork – this one is a larger, heavier work so I put the felt “feet” on the bottom to help protect the wall. Also whenever there is a ‘makers mark’ on the back of my cradled board (in this case this board was made by Ampersand) I place my label so I won’t cover up the board makers mark.  If some art conservator someday had to do a repair on my artwork that information could be helpful.

backoffortunestoad72

The finished back of my artwork “Fortunes Toad”

I’m sure you’ll note that the back of this piece also has the coated wire, the D-rings with screws and the printed label.  I strive for consistency as much as possible in both the kind of artwork I do on the front and the kind of work I do on the backs.

And did I mention that the wire is coated? Yep! Coated hanging wire is as essential in the art studio as water is in a kitchen!

 

 

 

down to the wire

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques, fine art

Soon I’m taking more new artwork to the Caplan Art Designs gallery. I’ve put the hanging wire on the backs of the latest 3 new works and as I worked I thought of various things I’ve learned, over the past umpteen years as a professional artist, about prepping artwork for display and delivery.

Here are 10 tips along with a picture of me wiring one of my new pieces:

  1. Assemble all necessary tools before beginning. Having to stop and hunt for something interrupts the Zen-cool I find is necessary to do a good hang-wire job.

2. Place the artwork face down on a soft surface large enough to hold my art and my tools.

3. Put the clearly typed label on the back of the artwork in the correct position so that I always know which end is “up”.

4. Use quality “D” rings and screws – NOT the saw-tooth hangers or any other cheap-o hanging method that will come loose over time and let the art fall to the floor unexpectedly.

5. Pre-drill the holes in the wood where the screws will go. (Measure for hole placement at least 2 times)

6. Carefully remove any drill-dust so it will not transfer to and/or mar the art surface.

7. Put a bit of Liquid Nails onto the tip of the screw just prior to screwing it into wood so that the screw will not come loose.

8. Use coated hanging wire – even if it is more expensive –  it is kinder to my hands, my gallery owners hands and ultimately my client’s hands. Leave enough slack in the wire that a hand can easily reach behind and position it over a hook.

9. Do the best to make the backs of the artwork as neat as the front. The wire and label matter because without them there will be nothing on the wall for anyone to see. Without a clear label the gallery owner won’t know what art is what – and thus won’t display it. How art looks on the wall is often all down to the wire. Literally.

10. During delivery – aka stacking art in the car in prep for driving to the gallery in a Zen-cool calm fashion – nest the artworks together face to face – i.e the face of one artwork next to the face of another artwork – with some soft padding between them like a towel or blanket, using the Russian-doll method of stacking; largest on bottom and in succeeding sizes until the smallest is on top.  (Shipping art is another topic…)

mewireingart72

Sue Clancy in her studio wiring her fine art in preparation for an exhibit

Details about my upcoming exhibit is here: 

 

pleasure patterns

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, artist book, artistic inspirations, books, ebook, fine art

About a year ago I began working towards my upcoming October exhibit at Caplan Art Designs. From a book I’d created years ago with Dr. Bob Hoke titled “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit” (aka The First Aid Kit) I selected a ‘living well’ aspect to explore via fine art.  Then I spent the next year making art.

The aspect I’d selected from The First Aid Kit was: (and I’m paraphrasing) “happiness is not about getting what you want from the external world – it’s how you interpret the things you perceive in the external world”.  (You can see some sample pages from The First Aid Kit  here: https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/  – and you can see links for getting either an ebook copy or a print copy of it there too. )

So fast forwarding to now: a year’s worth of artwork has been created and/or selected by the gallery and I’m working on the paperwork  for my exhibit. The gallery likes to have an “exhibit statement” i.e. they want me to create some text based handle by which people visiting my exhibit could have a framework, a context, for understanding my work. I came up with this:

Pleasure Patterns

By Sue Clancy

(exhibit statement for exhibit at The Daily in the Pearl October 2016 via Caplan Art Designs)

I read somewhere that “Happiness is a skill to be practiced like the violin” and I asked myself “How do I practice happiness?”  Then after attending a friend’s mother’s 90th birthday party I began thinking about how our lives are made up of patterns; patterns in nature, patterns in culture, as well as our own mental patterns or habits of mind. So I began to collect, from my daily life, “pleasant patterns” of happiness and have recreated those moments for you.

firstluncheonofladiesredhats72

First Luncheon Of The Ladies With Red Hats by Sue Clancy

riding the PR train

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, fine art

Kurt Vonnegut once said “Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted” and I’ve taken those words to heart. I even have Vonnegut’s statement pinned to the wall above my art studio work table. I believe that my creative out-put is not about me. Art-making is not some self-indulgent ego-trip on my part. It’s about the kind of world we are creating together; me and all my friends, pre-friends and strangers. We are all in this together.

Which is why, even after all these years of being a professional artist, I still have mixed feelings when I see PR stuff with my name prominently as the “featured artist”.  On the one hand a one-person fine art exhibit is a culmination of at least a years worth of daily work on my part – so I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. Yet at the same time I’m very aware that while it may be my name on the marquee, so to speak,  there’s a whole host of people behind me, believing in my artwork, working hard to make the event successful; the gallery owner, the gallery director, the interns and assistants in the gallery to name the obvious ones.  When the opening reception (as it is for my October exhibit) is also a 3 course dinner with wine pairings – there is also the restaurant (Daily in the Pearl!), the chef, the winery (Hip Chicks Do Wine!) – all working hard too.  And I didn’t mention the art supply stores in my beloved Pacific Northwest that provide materials for me to work with… or my spouse, friends, neighbors…. I’ve so many people to be grateful for that I’m not sure the Internet has enough bandwidth to hold my entire list.

So let it suffice to say that while my name may be the most prominent in the PR materials being circulated currently – like this email flyer (below) that the Caplan Art Designs gallery sent out – as well as all the other stuff on Facebook and Twitter etc. This whole exhibit is really about an overall aesthetic experience we’re creating together; my artwork is just the focal point.  Still I have endeavored to use the time of my gallery owners, friends, supporters and strangers as respectfully as I know how… and now I’m riding the PR train, doing my best to support my supporters efforts, prepping for the next stop; the night of the opening. And all the while remembering; It’s not about me, it’s not about me, it’s not about me… choo chooo!!!!

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Cooks, Corks and Co-conspirators

Saturday, October 1st @6:30

Daily Cafe

Featured Artist

Mixed Media

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 If the menu is not current, please check back, special diet needs are available upon request.
 
Wine pairings by Hip Chicks Do Wine and a special three course dinner.
 
Featured artist, Sue Clancy will be raffling a modal scarf with one of her design pattern used in her work.
Caplan Art Designs
 
1323 NW 16th #1001/entrance on Pettygrove
Portland, OR 97209
503-319-6437
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