The Arabian Nights, miniature art and studio equipment

A Creative Life, art prints, art techniques, artistic inspirations, books, creative thinking, Creativity Chats, fine art, household surrealism, mental health, miniature art, publications - publishing, published art, sketchbook, small things, Sustainable creativity, words and pictures, writing and illustrating

This week was … there. Reading Marcus Aurelius helped. So did the oranges, the coffee, the leaves in the yard, the books and art. Talking with my spouse helped too. I kept returning to this quote from Marcus Aurelius so I did this gouache and ink painting. Then I added it to my “for encouragement” art print series on my Society 6 shop.

The Happiness Of Your Life – art print by Clancy – https://society6.com/product/the-happiness-of-your-life6331072_print?sku=s6-22625085p4a1v45#1=45

Here are a few of my sketchbook pages that formed part of my self-care this week.

In my last post I wrote about “discovering” miniature art by way of reading The Annotated Arabian Nights. While reading more about some of the artists and artwork illustrating the Arabian Nights I learned of the uses of magnifying glasses when creating art details within the miniatures. “Well duh! Wouldn’t that be helpful?” I thought.

So when a nice surprise from Storyberries came I used the windfall to get some anti fatigue mat flooring for when I’m standing at my easel and moving about my work area. It has the added benefit of protecting the wood floor! And….

…I got a magnifying glass that clamps on my easel!

Since feelings and dealing well with emotions has been on my mind I used that topic for the first of my Creativity Chats for 2022.

Creativity Chats: feelings – https://youtu.be/KvCfOgtOaMY

Here’s the link:
https://youtu.be/KvCfOgtOaMY
I talk about dealing with feelings and sustaining a creative project over time. Even during difficult times.

I posted my sketchbook page in my last post and someone asked me to put my drawing on a shirt. So amongst everything this week I did that. It was pleasant to remember my mantra this way. https://www.zazzle.com/inhale_exhale_t_shirt-235875329442442858

Books are some of the “good shit” that I inhale. And in stressful times I’ve found it can be hard to “let things get through” even beloved books. All I know to do is to keep reading and trust the process.

Anyway The Annotated Arabian Nights is “getting through to me” more than I’d have guessed. In addition to the miniature art concept I’ve also learned that there’s a genre of writing called “mirrors for princes”. I’ve no idea what, if anything, I’ll do with this awareness. I’m mostly just vividly aware that I sat up and took notice when I learned this.

https://www.powells.com/book/annotated-arabian-nights-tales-from-1001-nights-9781631493638

In looking at online sources for information about miniature art I learned about a book by Joan Cornish Willies titled “Miniature Painting”. It was touted in multiple online sources as a go-to book resource. I contacted an independent bookstore and got a copy mailed to me which I read cover to cover the day it arrived.

According to Joan Cornish Willies I wouldn’t at all be considered a “true” miniature artist because I tend to use multiple media in just about everything I do; a bit of ink, gouache, watercolor, color pencil and collage to name a few of my art mediums. Plus, according to Willies, my typical subject matter isn’t considered within the realm of “traditional” subjects for miniatures. Oh well.

Fortunately I’ve read other sources and know that Joan Cornish Willies’s thoughts aren’t the only ones about miniature art and it’s definitions.

Despite the “no true Scotsman…” rhetoric and traditionalist tones in this book by Willies I found several of the technical painting directions of interest and possibly applicable to what I create. The rest of the book I take with a grain of salt or perhaps a large sack of salt. Anyway I’ve no intention, at this time, to participate in the formal miniature art society’s – as suggested by Willies – they sound entirely too rigid and puritanical for my tastes.

In the process of reading on this topic I’ve realized what I like about the idea of miniature art is the focus on storytelling, the intimacy and the connection with bookmaking and publishing. I love all of the intricate artistic details that can be achieved by the various methods of working “in the little”. Most of all I relish the way the details created in the smaller sizes are able to be reproduced in print (or online) so clearly! I had already noticed this with my own fine art and book publishing work (see my portfolio). Larger paintings often lose clarity and charm when they’re reproduced at smaller sizes… like in books. So I’m keen to do better at fine detail in smaller sized artwork with an eye toward more publishing.

That’s specifically what has amazed me about the artwork in The Annotated Arabian Nights so many of the illustrations are reproduced at the actual size – or very near it – to the artist’s original artwork! And the artistic details are glorious!

Consequently I’m thinking up a new artist book or two as well as a new fine art series – and deliberately planning smaller sizes now!

Onward into the fog as they say. See you next Monday?

recipe illustration progress plus studio secrets

A Creative Life, art techniques, illustrated recipe, illustration, kitchen art, recipe illustration, words and pictures

As you know from a recent post (here) I’ve been working on a new recipe illustration project for Chef Sebastian Carosi.  I’ve spent the most time designing a character who is doing the recipe “action”.  It was a challenge to create a cannabis leaf character with “hands” holding things. But I did it!  A photo of my progress is below…

When I’d illustrated Chef Kim Mahan’s recipes and we did a cookbook signing event together the question I was most often asked was “How do you keep your hand steady to handwrite all the recipe text?”  The answer is shown in the photograph below that also shows my progress on the current recipe project for Chef Carosi.

Can you see what it is?

SueWorkingChefCarosiSoup

Yes. A mahl stick. That’s my big studio secret. It steadies my hand both for painting and writing.

However I do something with my mahl stick that I’ve not seen anywhere else. I added a piece of foam pipe insulation that floats freely on the stick – so my wrist slides easily back and forth along the stick as the stick is held steadily in a position. When I’m writing text I need to be able to move my wrist a little along but stay on the same line. When painting sometimes I need to make a long stroke. Either way the foam moves smoothly with me down the length of the stick held in one place.

My mahl stick is hand made. You can buy a mahl stick but I find it easy enough to DIY.

To make mine I cut a small 2 inch portion of foam pipe insulation, taped it to the end of a 36 inch dowel rod, then wrapped that end, completely covering the taped 2 inch foam bit, with a scrap of canvas tying it to the rod so that no canvas fabric ends trail/drag.

The remainder of the foam pipe insulation, about 12 inches in length, was slipped onto the dowel rod.  In the photo below you can see the wrapped end of my mahl stick and see how loosely the foam pipe insulation wrist rest is on the rod. The other end (36 inches away!) has a hole drilled in it and a cord looped through it. It hangs on one of my art easel knobs when not in active use.

MahlStickEnd72.jpg

Okay. So the only time my mahl stick is not in active use is when I’m eating, reading or sleeping! Lol!

And now you know.

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!

 

 

 

the easel has landed!

A Creative Life, fine art

My new Sorg Super 8 Easel arrived today! http://www.studioeasel.com/ I live tweeted this momentous occasion via Twitter: @artistclancy – to sum up: it was difficult to be patient and wait for the truck, the truck finally came, discovered that the box was crushed and punctured – some fear and trepidation as to what would be found inside the box (Would ‘my precious’ be damaged?) but it turned out all was well!! There was a quick cold-pizza break for lunch while I watched the easel assembly video instructions.  Then I was all wrenches, hammer and ratchet set – and with valuable assistance from Judy – the easel was assembled! Here are the as-promised-on-Twitter photos:

A big box came! My new easel!

A big box came! My new easel!

Oh no! The box is crushed and punctured in places! Will the easel inside be okay?

Oh no! The box is crushed and punctured in places! Will the easel inside be okay?

Whew! Everything looks okay! And all the easel parts seem to be here!

Whew! Everything looks okay! And all the easel parts seem to be here!

Sue Clancy posing with her new Sorg easel a'la a magazine model

Sue Clancy posing with her new Sorg easel a’la a magazine model

Sue Clancy putting one of her recent artworks on the new easel "to see how it'd work".

Sue Clancy putting one of her recent artworks on the new easel “to see how it’d work”.

I’m thinking the Sorg easel is going to work out just fine – it does allow me to move my artwork up and down much more easily – which was what I’d hoped for in this post here https://sueclancy.com/2016/04/27/easy-easel-eagerness/

 

easy easel eagerness

A Creative Life

I recently decided that I needed a new easel that would move up and down more easily. My current easel has two small “pins” that need to be unscrewed to allow the mast and the platform to move up or down.  As time has gone by those have gotten more and more difficult to work with – hard to unscrew, hard to keep level etc – and I don’t adjust the height of my work when I need to because it’s a pain to adjust things.  Which results in a pain in my neck, wrist or knees. So I eagerly looked for options and I’m happy to say that I’ve a new Sorg Easel ordered! http://www.studioeasel.com/ It was super easy to order this easel – David Sorg himself answered all my questions – and so I concluded that this easel is the one for me!  There’s an omg dream-worthy video of the Sorg Easel in operation on the studioeasel.com website.  I’m excited about the new easel and the possibility of being able to move my artwork up and down with a touch! Imagine that!?!  Here is a picture of me on my knees working at my old easel…

Sue Clancy working on a commission for the lobby of a children's center - using her current easel.

Sue Clancy working on a commission for the lobby of a children’s center – using her current easel.

Art is Love

A Creative Life, fine art, illustration

StudioPicBertrandRusselQuote

This photo shows what I see when I enter my art studio. It smells like freshly sharpened pencils, new paper, ink and archival glue. I feel a deep to-the-bone happiness here. On the wall above my stand-up desk (pictured) I have a quote: “One must care about a world one will never see.” – Bertrand Russell. Here in the photo is the place where I do my caring.

I work on average 8 hours a day making art of one sort or another. When it’s finished my art goes to galleries or publishers and from there it goes to the lobby of an organization or to a private client’s home or it is reproduced in a magazine or book. Rarely do I get to see firsthand where my art ends up. I’m lucky if I hear from a gallery owner that the client was happy. I’m lucky if the editor sounds excited about the artwork I’ve done for them.  I am really lucky if someone sends me a photo of my art in their home (I value those highly)!

This means that I am stimulated to get-to-my-studio-and-work by my imagination; I imagine that the people in the hospital get some comfort when they see my art on the wall, I imagine that the people who have my art in their home come home from a hard day and smile when they see my artwork, I imagine that people in the presence of my art feel at least a little of the happiness I felt as I created that art.

I get just enough feedback from my gallery owners and from clients to know that my imagination is fairly accurate.  And it helps me to imagine more exactly in the future because I’ll call to mind specific people who have said kind things in the past – and I’ll create something new with them in mind even if they never see it.  So this is a picture of my studio where I do my caring about the world. I have another quote on the same wall: “Art is love made visible.”

My coffee cup (see photo) needs refilling… there, now back to work!

Essential Art Studio Equipment

A Creative Life, food for thought, Not-So-Sketchy-Food

One of the best “how to be a professional artist” advice I ever got: Learn to cook! 2nd best advice: Get a rice cooker – slow cooker combo that has a timer and a “keep warm” setting. (This way dinner cooks while I work – and when dinner is done if I’m still working my food stays warm until I’m ready for it.)  Here’s a pic of my essential art studio equipment.

Sue Clancy's beloved Rice Cooker-Slow Cooker

Sue Clancy’s beloved Rice Cooker-Slow Cooker