cats book progress

A Creative Life, animals in art, artist book, artistic inspirations, books, Cats in art, Dogs in Art, Narrative Art, published art, travel art and writing, visual story, visual thinking, words and pictures, writing

I do better now, writing words-in-a-row, than I did once upon a time. Reading text has never been a problem for me – but speaking, and writing. Whew! Lets just say good speech therapists, theatre-acting coaches and writing class instructors are worth their weights in all the precious things in the world combined. As a kid practicing speaking by reading aloud from a comic book or a picture book felt less intimidating than reading aloud from a text-only book.

Even today I enjoy visiting art museums and galleries and looking at the artwork first, reading the labels last. I enjoy looking at coffee-table books with big glorious pictures – forming my own thoughts first – reading the words later.

Nowadays I read plenty of books cover to cover that have text only, no pictures at all. I even give demo’s and talk in front of 200 or more people without as much as a blink. (Wish my 10 year old self, who threw up at the thought of giving an oral book report, could see me now!)

So it has become a philosophical point to ponder with me – when is text important? When is an image important? When to have the words? When to have the pictures? How much of either?

For example I love it that signs for the restrooms are often pictograms. You can “read” them no matter what your language – or your linguistic skill level. Much of our international travel culture utilizes visual maps and non-verbal way-finding signs for things like hospitals, airports and government buildings – using pictograms rather than single language dependent text.

As I’ve worked on a new artist book containing my cat themed fine art I’ve thought a lot about whether or not to have text along with the images. If text – how much? Text located where in the book?

When I did my book “Dogs” I had the text at the end – and didn’t include much of it there either. The majority of the book is images.

On the one hand I spend quite a lot of time coming up with the titles for each of my artworks and it seems almost a shame to not list the titles. But I’ve often noticed – at museums and galleries – that people read the label-wall-text and sometimes forget to look at the pictures.

So sometimes I deliberately create text for use in my fine art gallery exhibits… just to be contrary. I’ve even created whole artist books with text and sketches to accompany my fine art exhibits. But sometimes I omit text completely and rely on my art images alone, the curious can ask the person running the gallery for more info. In this way I purposefully encourage people to verbally-talk with each other. Which way I go – words and/or pictures – often depends on the exhibit.

Like I say for me the words and pictures question is an ongoing, almost daily, one.

People seem to enjoy my Dogs book as it is – largely without text. And I’ve noticed that I’ve sold that book fairly well in non-English speaking countries. People of all ages seem to like it. So….

“Cats by Sue Clancy” will be largely wordless too.  Here’s what the cover will look like:

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The front cover of the artist book “Cats by Sue Clancy” – http://www.blurb.com/b/8837851-cats

The book is square, 7×7 in, 18×18 cm and 22 pages – full color.  Here’s an early-reader link to the book http://www.blurb.com/b/8837851-cats  In fact “Cats” has even fewer words than “Dogs” does – but more pictures in full color.

I’m sure I’ll continue to have this words and pictures discussion with myself in every book and every art exhibit I create.  But I’m curious about your thoughts: do you look at words first? Or pictures first? What are your thoughts about wordless books?

on sketchbooks and sharing

A Creative Life, animals in art, artist book, artistic inspirations, books, ebook, Kim Cooks Sue Draws, Not-So-Sketchy-Food, publications - publishing, sketchbook, sketchbook suppers, travelog, travelogue, visual story

I tend to live my life with my sketchbook in hand. Consequently this means meeting up with friends and answering the “What have you been doing lately?” questions by handing them my physical sketchbook. More than one friend has looked at my book and said “Why don’t you publish these?”. And I’ve had very loose ambitions of publishing some of them…

But finally after hearing the request for the umpteenth time I’ve begun setting up a system so I can do that. Here’s the link I’m working on – https://sueclancy.com/shop/

And here are some random pages from some of the ebooks currently in my “shop”. I will be publishing more of my sketchbooks and artist books as ebooks as time goes on…

It was adventurous but the cookbook is here

A Creative Life, artist book, ebook, illustration, Kim Cooks Sue Draws, kitchen art, visual story

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.

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Fortunately the company I used for the book printing double boxes things. Even so. The inner boxes looked like this.

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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.

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Here’s a look at a few of the recipe cards spread out so you can see them.

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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)

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Here’s a stack of cookbooks that are ready to go!

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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.

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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

 

art book pet peeves

A Creative Life, animals in art, artist book, artistic inspirations, Dogs in Art, words and pictures

I love books about art including books about individual artists. But I wonder why they’re often the size of a coffee table and weigh as much as a Rottweiler. Why such dense prose in tiny fonts?  So when making my own art books I go for a light-weight book design and few words.

Take my recent book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” for example. It’s 8.5 x 11 inches when closed. And it weighs about 5 ounces. There are 245 words total. And that includes the ISBN info.

You can read my book while holding it in the air above the dog (or cat) currently sleeping on your lap.

Here’s a link with more info about the book: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

Here are some pictures of “Dogs by Sue Clancy”.

And I’m  sure my long time fans will also recognize that in my art book titled “Coffee Table Book” that I played with my whole heavy-coffee-table-size book peeve by deliberately making an art book for smart-phones. More about that here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/coffee-table-book

Yours in being able to read a book about art without needing a hoist or crane.

art to art

A Creative Life, artist book, books, Dogs in Art, published art

In my last blog post (link here) I talked a bit of my personal list of “9 ways to make more art” and after posting I realized that I could have added a 10th one: Take a past art project that was enjoyable and “add a thought” to it, re-do it in a new context.  This could be called “working to a theme” but I think of it like Jazz music – a call and response conversational play on a melody.

For example recently I took some concepts from my book “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit”, spun them around my cerebral tumbler and created a new one-of-a-kind artist book.  My new book is titled “Stories We Could Live Inside – Or Not (A house is a framework for physical life. Language is a framework for mental life.)”

Here is a photo of it in-progress. You can see a print copy of my “Dr. Bob…First Aid Kit” book beside my new work-in-progress.

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My work in progress – taking a few concepts from my book “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit” and playing with them again. https://store.bookbaby.com/book/dr-bobs-emotional-repair-program-first-aid-kit

Here’s some of what I was thinking as I worked on this new book:

During the original “First Aid Book” book work I was in regular contact with Dr. Bob Hoke – and in our many conversations he’d talked about how his role as a psychiatrist was to get inside his patients small-world mental boxes, the life-limitations they had accepted without consciously realizing it, and slowly expand the sides of the box, make a door or window in the box – something so that the patient could choose to find a way out. He spoke of how stories are mental structures, much the way houses are physical ones. However stories are something we live inside often without thinking that they are “stories” – optional social constructions – because habitual language forms the framework of our daily habits of mind, our attitudes and ways of responding to the world. A house is a framework for physical life. Language is a framework for mental life. The kinds of houses we live in can affect the quality of our life. Similarly the stories we tell ourselves and each other can affect the quality of our life – for either good or ill – if we accept and believe them.

I thought of all of this during several of my regular morning ‘creative appointments’ with myself before the day gets started. I wrote out my thoughts on scraps of paper and in my sketchbooks. You can see some of those scraps in the picture above.  I made book dummies. I sketched ways to organize my thoughts into book form. I decided to use dogs are as character-actors in “Stories We Could Live Inside Or Not” because for me dogs represent a joyful exuberance at being alive. I sketched dogs.  And I decided on a paper-house shape…

It took me probably a month or more of “creative appointments” where I’d work a bit on this “Stories we could…” idea; getting it, developing it, refining it, experimenting with the various artwork parts of it.  The rest of my work days were devoted to 6 or so hours worth of work on my other creative projects… and the other stuff of life.  When my “Stories we could…” ideas had “gelled” to a certain point and I felt I needed more time to work on the project I scheduled a few concentrated times, more time than my typical “creative appointment” time allotment had been, to work on it. A few sessions like that and I finished the book! Another scheduled time session and I submitted it for consideration by the 23 Sandy Gallery. www.23sandy.com 

Here is a video of the final book “Stories we could live inside… or not”

from sketchbooks to dogs

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

As you know from previous blog posts I was intending to publish another ebook of my  recent sketchbook pages oriented around the saying “Stay close to anything that makes you glad to be alive”.  I was even going to call it my “Glad to be Alive” sketchbook.  It was going to have scenery, people, food/drink, books, games and dogs…  you know, pages like this:

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Sue Clancy’s “Glad to Be Alive” sketchbook page; ink and watercolor done on location.

Yeah, well that sketchbook publication ain’t happening.

The short explanation is “technical difficulties”.  The longer explanation is much much longer. So never mind. For now.

I still want to do the book. And I’ll still be posting pages from it here on the blog – and on my sketchbooks webpage https://sueclancy.com/sketchbooks/.  The mountain of technical difficulties will have to be conquered first before ebook publication and that’ll take some time. Because you know, fine art commissions and exhibits and only having 24 hours in a day.

In the mean-time tho there are my dogs! I’ve been half-working in spare moments towards the dream of a printed book – an artist book – of my dog drawings/portraits.  I thought that project was a year or so out. It was a distant dream. Or so I thought.  But it turns out that this dog-art-book project may be more do-able – with fewer technical issues. The creative life’s funny like that. Always throwing curve-balls. So I’m going to concentrate on a dog-book!

I’ll focus it around “pleasant things”, like I would have done the “Glad to be Alive” sketchbook… because dogs are very pleasant – and as characters dogs can be creatively combined with the various things I’ve enjoyed and sketched in my sketchbook.  And dogs certainly make me glad to be alive!

I’d have pages like this:

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“Ponder” by Sue Clancy (brush and ink on handmade paper)

So… to publish my dog portraits as a print book?! Dogs in Art!! Animals in art !!!  That’s my genre baby!!!

Now what???!!

Oh yes, to cook supper tonight.

 

 

coffee book featured in Colorado

A Creative Life, art gallery, artist book, books, handmade books, words and pictures

My artist book “Coffee Beans Plus H2o” is featured at the Abecedarian Gallery in Colorado!  I’ve loved it that the gallery owner and some other artist’s who’ve commented privately  have “gotten it” that in this book I was playing with a concept of time! I’d worried about whether that was getting across so I can’t tell you how much it feeds my artist soul to hear supportive “I understand this” comments from people – and from people in the book-arts-field too! Wahoo!! I’m happy dancing around my art studio today!!  Thank you thank you everyone!!!

Check out the gallery website here: http://abecedariangallery.com/store/product-category/new-and-featured-inventory/ – scroll down where they list the “new and featured inventory” – and lookee there’s my work among some other really awesome book-arts work! Wow! Pinch me – am I dreaming? Look at the other artist’s work – Wow impressive!

And here’s the specific gallery page about my book: http://abecedariangallery.com/store/shop/sue-clancy-coffee-beans-plus-h20/

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Coffee Beans Plus H2o by Sue Clancy – an artist book handmade with hand carved printing blocks and printmaking techniques applied on used coffee filters as a way of artistically exploring the concept of time. 

You can also find additional info about this book on my YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTz7Wzr-bj2RbePAsbrHmLw

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”:

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

my book art in Nebraska

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, artist book

Tonight’s the night! Some time back I’d posted about artwork that I was sending to the Constellation Studio Gallery in Nebraska… and tonight is the opening party!! This exhibit and project is a big-deal-international-book-arts-collaboration of artistic “interpretations of urbanity”! So when I say “party” I mean world-wide PARTY!!!

Here, for the curious, is the link to my post about the artwork I’d sent to Nebraska an eon ago https://sueclancy.com/2016/09/15/more-star-stuff/  Yes, Virginia, you can see my actual artwork in that link above.

And here is a photo of the exhibit sent to me via the gallery director! (Thanks Karen!)  My artwork is in there… somewhere.

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Installation view of the exhibit at Constellation Studio Gallery in Nebraska (work by Sue Clancy is in this photo… somewhere)

Here is an image with the details about the party tonight… and about the exhibit in general. Did I mention that this is a big-deal-international-collaboration?!

And I’m proud and honored to be a part of it!!  Going to go happy dance around my studio!

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Details about “Invisible Cities” at Constellation Studio in Nebraska

 

loving dead feminists

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques, artist book, artistic inspirations, Authors, books, graphic narrative, visual story, words and pictures

Recently I took some of my artist books to the 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland Oregon. While I was there I saw the “Dead Feminists” exhibit by Jessica Spring and Chandler O’Leary.  I’m talking exquisite hand drawn lettering, illustrations and printmaking employed as a way of celebrating women!  And this exhibit also exists in a book titled Dead Feminists: Historical Heroines in Living Color published by Sasquatch Books.

Naturally I bought a copy.

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My copy of Dead Feminists – you can get your own here: http://www.deadfeminists.com/

The book – which you can purchase via their website  http://www.deadfeminists.com/ and probably by book-sellers where-ever – is a wonderful nesting, interlocking set of artistic ideas.  There’s the historical stuff about women (those dead feminists) who have done exceptional work towards advancing women’s rights. There’s the stuff about how artist’s Spring and Chandler worked to create the lettering, illustrations and the print production. Then there’s the stuff about what non-profit organizations (often women’s orgs) benefited from the sales of Spring and Chandler’s artwork.

It’s a beautiful depiction of how an artist (and a woman in whatever profession) can do her best work and benefit her community both immediately and in the future.

The book is a powerful reminder that we are each an essential contributor to life as we know it – or hope to know it.

Thank you Jessica Spring and Chandler O’Leary for your wonderful work! And thank you 23 Sandy Gallery for sharing it!

Now that I’ve finished reading this book I’ll go fetch my socks from where-ever they went when they were blown off.