Here’s the finished artwork I was working on in my last blog post art-of-a-peel. I’ve titled it “Purrfecting Happy Hour”. Now… on to the next painting…
I’ve been busy lately working on a new fine art piece that has an orange peel in it. And a cat of course. Here’s a picture of me at work…
Between 7 and 14 of us get together once a month for happy hour in one of our local pubs, and the trays of drinks that arrive at our table often reminds me of a jewelers tray. So I’m trying to capture that festive feeling in my painting.
This has meant, as I’ve worked on my composition (the to-scale drawing you see to the right in the above photo), a practice of sketching various drinks in my kitchen sketchbook. I used ink and gouache in my sketchbook – and I’m using acrylic in the painting. Below is the first sketchbook practice drawing; the drink recipe, an orange hot toddy, turned out very well in the real-life tasting of it – the drawing in my sketchbook of the orange-peel didn’t turn out so well.
But I remembered the phrase “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first” from my book, Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit, and kept going.
In other sketchbook pages I tried more orange-peel attempts and here below is the last sketchbook orange-peel drawing – and the drink recipe that I decided to use within the painting.
Below is a close-up photo of the drinks I’ve put in the painting – including the one with the orange peel:
I’ll post a photo of the finished art when its, well, finished – there’s still more to do on the cat.
Several of my artist books are in a permanent collection at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and will be in a new exhibit, in March 2018, titled “Artist’s Books – Chapter 13 – Lyricism And Laughter”!
Here are a few photos of one of my books in the exhibit. It’s titled “Self Portrait As A Wicked Book”. I made it with handmade paper, hand-marbled paper, ink… and two original limerick poems.
The poems, on each side, are:
There was a young lady in Linen
who really loved laughter and sinnin’
She made wicked books that if given a look
you’d see that they’re often quite winnin’
The lady in Linen was known,
for the books she is said to have sewn.
But when very hard pressed she began to protest
“Oh come now it’s quite over blown!”
When I exhibit my artist books I’m asked to write statements about them
Here, below, is what I wrote about “Self-portrait…”
Artist statement about the work: By personifying herself as an open book – (or more precisely, as the linen thread binding the books within this book) – with original limericks and pop-up book elements the artist pokes fun at self-styled “moral” groups who personify inanimate objects; books, movies and other art objects by describing them as “immoral”, “wicked” or “sinful”. By writing “clean” limericks the artist is poking fun at the idea that a poetic form like a limerick could be defined as a “naughty” art. An object or art form is just that, an object or technique – what people do with it may have a good, bad or neutral effect. But even the effect depends on the viewer’s perspective. Thus “Self Portrait as a Wicked Book” is enclosed in a hand-marbled envelope – implying that the contents could be hidden from view, that the viewer has a choice to view it or not. The book is intended to be displayed accordion style so that the viewer can see it from different angles of their own choosing. The textual reference within the limerick to “overblown” refers to the ways self-styled “moral” groups would ascribe moral qualities to the entire personhood of an author as a result of one written object the author had created. The content also refers – both textually and by using colorful marbling and pop-ups – to the ways that censorship (or a “wicked” designation) actually increases interest in the object banned.
Artist’s back story for this book: A religious segment of the Oklahoma population has a penchant for banning books and a history of doing so. To name two dramatic examples; In 1997 the book “The Tin Drum” by Gunter Grass and the movie by the same name was banned by Oklahoma City in such a way that the banning received national attention; Oklahoma City police went to the houses of adults, over the age of 21, who had rented the movie and seized it. In 2005, the year I made “Self Portrait As A Wicked Book”, the Oklahoma House of Representatives banned all books – for children and adults – that had references to gay characters or gay people. Around that time period I remember noticing that (in Oklahoma) the commercial bookstores “gay book sections” got smaller and were hidden the back corner of the store. Books that questioned religion, or discussed censorship in anything but a positive light were also few and far between. There was a general perception – as evidenced by what was offered on library or bookstore shelves and what wasn’t, what books were reviewed in the Oklahoma media and what ones weren’t – that there were “good” books and there were bad, sinful, “wicked” ones – and this one group of self-styled “moral” people would tell you which books were which and few people in Oklahoma dared (or even thought) to question that group.
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.
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.
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….
Here’s hoping your New Year is a purr-fectly good one! Cheers – with assorted cats!
I’m planning in 2018 to create more cat themed fine artwork with an eye towards a printed artist book of my cats. Towards my book idea I’m beginning a Patreon page here: https://www.patreon.com/sueclancy – this page isn’t officially launched yet… you heard it here first.
Chef Kim Mahan now has the printed cookbooks now available for ordering (and shipping) via the Class-Cooking website. http://www.class-cooking.com/classes-shop/kim-cooks-sue-draws – The Chef even has a few signed copies (signed by both of us) available just ask for a signed copy when you order.
Each cookbook page is unbound and on paper suitable either for cooking from or for framing – or both.
The cookbook signing I did recently with Chef Kim Mahan went very well (cookbook info here) and then I took some days off. Which means that I read books and dabbled with a new-to-me art media – gouache.
You see my wife and I went with a fellow artist friend of ours, Donna Young, (www.donnayoung.com) to the Portland Art Museum to see The Wyeths: Three Generations. An exhibit of works by N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, Jamie Wyeth and Harriet Wyeth. https://portlandartmuseum.org/
Naturally the three of us discussed the compositions of the works – and we discussed the art mediums each Wyeth used. Donna knew more about gouache than I did – and one of the things she said that it was less water-y than watercolor and not as plastic as acrylic. My curiosity was peaked.
After our day at the museum I looked up gouache and read of its ease-of-use in books about art mediums; I read of the application of gouache in bound sketchbooks but also its use when a painting/image is intended for reproduction.
I thought “Ah ha! This might be the solution for my problem of how to color my Brooklyn Art Library sketchbook”. I’ve been slowly working on a visual story titled “Time Tavern” but the paper in the sketchbook as it comes from the Brooklyn Art Library is so thin that I knew my usual methods of adding color, acrylic, watercolor and etc. mixed media would over power the paper. Just using color pencil didn’t feel as bold as I like to be so for some time now I’ve been pondering what to do to add color. (You can see my last post about that project here)
What Donna said about gouache, and my subsequent readings about it, made me think it might be an option for me. So I went to a local art supply store where I got some Holbien Artist Gouache. Here below is a pic of the colors I got, my palette set-up and the color notes I made.
I also generally scribbled with my brushes dipped in each of my new gouache colors on various pieces of paper – some thick, others thin. First tentative color marks make me very hopeful…. oh my gosh, I think I may like gouache!
When I last wrote I was waiting impatiently for the short-print-run of the unconventional cookbook “Kim Cooks Sue Draws” to get here. That was just the beginning.
It was Thanksgiving weekend, a cold rainy night, and Sweetie and I were on our way out the door to a party. We’d just opened the door to leave and there stood the delivery guy with a huge box. A big brown truck was parked at the curb. He plunked the box down and left in a hurry. The box was partly open, with stuff spilling out, and because of that Sweetie and I struggled to get it in out of the rain.
The box looked like this.
Fortunately the company I used for the book printing double boxes things. Even so. The inner boxes looked like this.
Hurriedly I looked inside the box to see if things were still useable. They appeared to be. I breathed a sigh of relief. We flung ourselves in the car. I was texting the Chef about the arrival as we backed out of our driveway and we made it to the party only 10 minutes late.
After our party I looked more closely at our cookbook elements – and things really did seem okay. I was relieved.
The next day Sweetie and I gathered all the cookbook production elements and we went to Chef Kim’s place where, along with Chef Kim’s spouse, Dearest, we sorted and put together 90 cookbooks.
Here is Chef Kim deciding the order of things.
Here’s a look at a few of the recipe cards spread out so you can see them.
There are 15 recipes total and they were slipped into a vellum envelope with a sticker-label on the front and back to serve as the “title” and “back-matter”. In the process of putting the title labels on we discovered that we only had half of our label order. Oh no!
Panic! I said lots of things like “Sh#$” and “Da#@ it!”
Chef Kim looked at my Sweetie and said, with a grin, “I didn’t know she knew Blue Words like this.”
Sweetie replied “In certain situations she can be fluent.”
We speculated that the labels must have slid out of the gaping hole in the box. I got myself together. We finished sorting all of the books and put labels on what books we could. Back at my studio I immediately contacted the printing company. Long story short – they are replacing what was missing and all is right with my cookbook-production world.
Here’s the 3 of us in the middle of hand-sorting the cookbook. (Dearest took the photo)
Here’s a stack of cookbooks that are ready to go!
This coming Saturday Chef Kim Mahan and I will be signing copies of “Kim Cooks Sue Draws” at Burnt Bridge Cellars in Vancouver WA. It’ll be fun for me to see how people react!
Here’s a look at the front and the back of the cookbook so you can see the labels on the vellum envelopes with the recipe cards inside.
And here is access to an ebook version (best viewed on a tablet or laptop) of this same cookbook: https://www.patreon.com/posts/ebook-version-of-15599644
We are nearing the dessert stage of the unconventional cookbook “Kim Cooks Sue Draws”; meaning that all of the recipes have been illustrated, a short-cookbook-run has been sent to the printers and we’re waiting for delivery. I’m a mite nervous that it will arrive okay, that the printing will look good, that Chef Kim will be happy with it… but all I can do at this point is breathe and hope.
Both Chef Kim Mahan and I have shown the work-in-progress to friends and each of us have heard that people enjoy the “playful and practical” qualities of it, that it’s not intimidating like some cookbooks can be, that it makes people want to cook. So overall I’m hopeful for the reception of this artist book and that it will be a useful helpful thing for Chef Kim to have in her classroom and available on her website www.class-cooking.com for her far-flung fans.
Personally I feel good about the artwork I’ve done and I feel that this project concept fits well with my general artistic thoughts (I dislike the word “mission”): that artwork can be both playful and practical, that “fine art” can be helpful to living life well, that the ability to cook is an essential survival skill for artists and other creative people.
Anyway, our “dessert stage” progress also means that all of the unconventional cookbook recipe illustrations are now available as art prints and greeting cards and can be seen here: https://society6.com/sueclancy/collection/unconventional-cookbook
I know the prints and cards look good. I’ve seen them in person.
The short-cookbook-print run (the delivery I’m waiting somewhat impatiently for and slightly worrying over) that will be sold as a full “cookbook”, is a collection of 15 recipes, as single cards that will be slipped into one envelope with these labels on the outside:
When we get the print run then Chef Kim and I will sort the books by hand and we’ll probably ask our loving, tolerant, patient and wonderful spouses to help us. There’s only 90 of the books on this first print run so we’ll be able to quickly to get them ready for an event the Chef is doing. Some of the cookbooks will also be available via the Chef’s website www.class-cooking.com – and I’ll put a link here too when the books are ready.
As you may know from my previous posts this cookbook is not a traditional bound along one edge kind of book – it’s a collection of recipe cards; you can put one of the recipe cards under a magnet on the fridge while cooking from it, you could loan one to a friend, you can frame a recipe-card as “kitchen art” or mail one via snail mail. (This book design is also why the cards will need the hand-sorting mentioned above.)
My hope is also that people will smile and laugh when they see some of the recipe illustrations, that they will collect them and display them for a continued boost of humor. I really like laughter and firmly believe that laughter belongs in kitchens and dining rooms.
Here is a link to a post from the “appetizer days” of this project – which describes more about my ideas and intentions behind this project: https://sueclancy.com/2017/10/18/an-unconventional-cookbook-artist-book/
I’ll let you know when the delivery finally happens and I’m breathing easier….
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. And I’m grateful for you. Thank you for following my blog, and my artwork on social media. Thank you for coming to my art exhibits. Thank you for buying my fine art, my books, scarves and my other designs. Here, as a “Thank you” is a downloadable, printable artist book. In the pdf file below I’ve also included instructions for folding the 8 page book. Yes, you can color my book first if you like.
Here is an image of the book folding instructions – I’m including them in this post as a way of giving you a clue as to what the above pdf file will be giving you.
And because many of you have asked for more from me – I’ve been slowly creating a way for you to access my sketchbooks and artist books via subscription. This will allow me to make available new artist books as I create them. You can see what I mean here: https://www.patreon.com/sueclancy
Thank you again for your support and encouragement of my artwork!