Alphapets: U, V, W and X

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The Alphapets portrait project this week is brought to you by the letters U, V, W and X. Here’s my abecedarian poem to go with these letters and artwork :

Udall grabs steaks right off the hob

Violet hopes for corn on the cob

Winston exudes a certain noblesse

Xavier’s in love with jolly Jo Beth

Here’s the artwork (somewhere on each piece is an alphabetical letter):

I did portraits of a Labrador Retriever, a Boston Terrier, a Greyhound and a Scottish Fold cat.

Udall, the Labrador, was inspired by a friends dog – who, though he’s had professional training, still occasionally steals unattended food off counter tops. Then, after licking his lips, sports a sweet face of innocence.

While thinking of food I remembered a long ago visit my spouse and I made to Boston Massachusetts. In one of the pubs there I had the best grilled corn on the cob I’ve ever had. As I recall it was served alongside beans and roasted zucchini. Sage and onion are in my memory too. And the need for a second cloth napkin. That corn on the cob…wow!! I’d hoped for more even after we’d finished our entire meal. Naturally such a delicious Boston memory had to be served by a Boston Terrier.

Winston is a real-life therapy dog. A friend nominated him for a portrait due to his heroic achievements as a canine therapist. He’s had some serious training – that’s why I depicted him in a uniform with medals.

Scottish Fold cats, the very few I’ve met anyway, seemed loving sorts generally but were especially attached to their particular human. One of the cats was a trained therapy cat.

As I write this blog post I realize I thought a lot this week about pet training, pet therapy and food. Isn’t it curious how the mind associates things?

Anyway, this artwork, too, was created with ink, gouache and color pencil. I do these portraits on board, size 3.5 x 2.5 inches. The original art will be framed…eventually … and be a miniature art exhibit at the Aurora Gallery. But due to the current pandemic I’m full-steam ahead on both a print and ebook version of my Alphapets.

I’ve said it before: Art, in my opinion, is there to give us solace, to help us get thru whatever is happening in life. So I’ve no grand plan with all this work other than to make myself and others smile.

The previous set of letters is here. As I said earlier, my Alphapets project is still aimed to be an art exhibit; both the framing and exhibit eventually done by Aurora Gallery and Frameshop. https://auroragalleryonline.com/ – this all began as part of the Ambassador for Small Frames program. Not waiting till the exhibit happens tho…I’m going ahead with making a book of Alphapets! I enjoy creating books as an art object and as a way of extending the gallery exhibit space.

The rest of the poem will be revealed in next Monday’s post as I get the last two pieces of this project done. More of my artist books are here.

See you soon with the remaining English alphabet letters – and details about the book!

Alphapets: Q R S and T

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The Alphapets portrait project this week is brought to you by the letters Q, R, S and T. Here’s my abecedarian poem to go with these letters and artwork :

Quincy is rarely upset

Rufus requests a 3 egg omelet

Snickerson eats all the whitefish

Tippy, age 2, is still kittenish

Here’s the artwork (somewhere on each piece is an alphabetical letter):

I did portraits of a Maine Coon cat, a pug dog, a Sphynx cat and a tuxedo cat. This seemed to be cat week.

The world also seemed a bit topsy-turvy this week so when setting out to work on this pet portrait project I sat and thought of calming pets, including some professional therapy cats and dogs I’ve done portraits of in the past.

While thinking I remembered a pre-quarantine visit my spouse and I made, several years ago, to a cat show in Portland Oregon. It was a tumultuous event, generally, but one area seemed particularly chaotic: a group of small kids were clamoring around a large Maine Coon cat, taking turns holding the cat who was almost as big as the kids doing the holding. The cat was poured from lap to lap, he was hugged, kissed, patted, fur ruffled, his tail and ears were tugged – and through it all the cat serenely meditated. A Zen monk would surely be impressed. I certainly was. Still am.

Anyway I combined those thoughts with memories of a long ago trip we took to Maine where I discovered thick “fisherman’s sweaters” with shawl collars and big pockets. I feel serene when wearing one. So all of these thoughts combined for Quincy.

For Rufus I was thinking about omelets; omelets with veggies, omelets with cheese… and Pugs are fun to draw. The background pattern was just playful fun – thinking of oval eggy shapes.

A dear friend of mine suggested Snickerson and Tippy – suggesting both the names, the breeds and giving me some resource photos for each cat. As I looked at what my friend shared I thought of fish, and the fishing in my local area – and I can imagine that with Snickerson’s big eyes he’d charm any fishmonger out of all their whitefish.

I combined my friends info about the tuxedo cat Tippy with my awareness that lots of people are doing school at home now – including teaching and learning to write. Writing seems a thing to learn and practice one’s entire life anyway … which keeps one kittenish. 😄

As usual all of this artwork was created with ink, gouache and color pencil. I do these portraits on board, size 3.5 x 2.5 inches. The original art will be framed…eventually and be a miniature art exhibit. But since the pandemic I’ve decided that rather than wait for the physical art exhibit, (I normally wait to release a book in conjunction with an art exhibit) to go full steam ahead with the book. Since these posts of my Alphapets, especially on Instagram and Facebook, have seemed to cheer people….perhaps it will also cheer people to have the choice of a printed or an ebook of these portraits? Anyway, now that I’ve reached the letter T my thoughts are turning more firmly towards book design – and that’s fun for me too. Art, in my opinion, is there to give us solace, to help us get thru whatever is happening in life.

If you’re just joining the fun the previous set of letters is here. My Alphapets project is still aimed to be an art exhibit. With framing eventually done by Aurora Gallery and Frameshop. https://auroragalleryonline.com/ as part of the Ambassador for Small Frames program. More of the poem will be revealed on each Monday’s post as I get more of the artwork done. More of my artist books are here.

Anyway, I’ll have more letters for you next Monday. See you then!

Alphapets: M N O and P

A Creative Life, Abecedarian, Alphapets, Ambassador for Small Frames, animals in art, art exhibit, Art Word Combinations, artist book, artistic inspirations, cat portrait, Cats in art, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, miniature art, pet portraits, visual story, words and pictures

The Alphapets portrait project this week is brought to you by the letters M, N, O and P. Here’s my abecedarian poem to go with these letters and artwork :

Maxine masters walking the beam

Nan enjoys cheering the team

Olive has a mysterious mystique

Pia loves long runs by the creek

Here’s the artwork (somewhere on each piece is an alphabetical letter):

I did portraits of a calico cat, a Lhasa Apso dog, a white cat and a Weimaraner. A friend brought to my attention that I’d not done a calico cat yet and gave me reference photos and the name Maxine. I combined those fun fur pattern thoughts with thoughts of a neighborhood cat who is skilled at walking atop our back fence as if it were a balance beam in a gymnastic competition.

Another friend has a sweet Lhasa Apso and this friend really is a wonderful cheerleader for a nearby town and their high school team. It was fun to think of my friend and imagine a dog cheering…

In mind while doing the white cat portrait: Recently I saw a video of Queen Elizabeth’s address to Great Britain and I thought of other female world leaders and their calming, informative addresses to their nations. I also thought of heroines in books and movies.

Before quarentine when we were able to walk along the riverwalk in town sometimes a lady would run past us with her Weimaraner. They ran so silently, smoothly, joyfully together it was a fun sight. That was fun to think of while painting a grayish pink dog.

As is my normal all of this artwork was created with ink, gouache and color pencil. Last Monday I wrote about needing to buy art supplies. Happy to report that I solved that issue and posted about it on my Instagram page (@artistclancy)

If you’re just joining the fun the previous post is here. My Alphapets project is aiming to be both an art exhibit and an artist book. With framing eventually done by Aurora Gallery and Frameshop. https://auroragalleryonline.com/ as part of the Ambassador for Small Frames program. I want to eventually bring them all together in a book – with my abecedarian poem. More of poem will be revealed on each Monday’s post as I get more of the artwork done. More of my artist books are here.

Looking forward to seeing you next Monday with more letters…

Alphapets: I J K and L

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The Alphapets portrait project this week is brought to you by the letters I, J, K and L. Here’s my abecedarian poem to go with these letters and artwork :

Ivan refrains from eating the shoe

Joe remembers the things that he knew

Kameron eats eggs from the carton

Liam looks nice in his tartan

Here’s the artwork (somewhere on each piece is an alphabetical letter):

I did portraits of a Rottweiler puppy, a Labradoodle, an English Setter and a Scottie dog or Skye Terrier (still practicing drawing specific breeds). While working I thought of a friends new puppy, dog training in general and memories of training my various dogs and seeing them beginning to learn what I was teaching. I imagined a puppy in the process of learning what is and isn’t okay to chew on.

Other dear friends have a Labradoodle that, pre-quarantine, I used to see and visit fairly often. So I thought of the breed, and how smart they can be, how quick to learn and remember.

The only English Setter I’ve known personally was one I’d see when on walks in a public park (also pre-quarantine). Seemed a loveable sort of dog and I loved the spotted pattern of the fur. So I combined my fur pattern thoughts with my past experiences with dogs of different breeds who were loveable but not the brightest. I still had “mental attributes” in my mind from having done the letters I and J. My apologies to the English Setter breed for the association here in my art with loveable but clumsy egg-stealing oafs.

Ah Scottie dogs and Skye Terriers – how I love you. Especially when, as I saw during pre-quarantine days, when you were with your bagpipe playing Scottish humans, practicing the bagpipes in the park. I also loved seeing you in parades, watching a band of bagpipers go by! Lots of Scottie, Skye terrier dogs walking in formation with your bagpipers! Makes my heart sing – even now at the memory!! And all the various tartans…Wow!!

I just realized I didn’t do a portrait of a cat this week. That can possibly be explained by the fact that I was thinking of mental thinking abilities. Dogs of all breeds can have a wide range of ability to learn and remember. Cats are all, of course, on the brilliant-mind end of any scale worth having.

As is my typical these days all of this artwork was created with ink, gouache and color pencil. I’m having such fun with this Alphapets project! Hope you are too! Soon I am going to have to order more art supplies somehow – my favorite local art supply store is closed due to quarantine – not even shipping supplies. I’ve called several times in hope. Sigh.


If you’re just joining the fun the previous post is here. My Alphapets project is aiming to be both an art exhibit and an artist book. With framing eventually done by Aurora Gallery and Frameshop. https://auroragalleryonline.com/ as part of the Ambassador for Small Frames program. I want to eventually bring them all together in a book – with my abecedarian poem. More of poem will be revealed on each Monday’s post as I get more of the artwork done. More of my artist books are here.

Anyway, see you next Monday with more letters…

Alphapets: E F G and H

A Creative Life, Abecedarian, Alphapets, Ambassador for Small Frames, animals in art, art techniques, Art Word Combinations, artist book, artistic inspirations, author illustrator, cat portrait, Cats in art, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, illustrated poem, miniature art, pet portraits, publications - publishing, words and pictures

The Alphapets portrait project this week is brought to you by the letters E, F, G and H. My abecedarian poem to go with these letters and artwork :

Everett often warbles with glee

Farley is so easy to please

Gingerbread loves days when it’s snowed

Henry is sure he’s cracked the code

Here’s the artwork (somewhere on each piece is an alphabetical letter):

I did portraits of a Siamese cat, a poodle, an Alaskan Malamute and a tabby cat. While working I thought of a friends Siamese cat who “sings” constantly and I combined that with a memory of being in college art school which was next door to the music building and often hearing music as I went to class. While working on the poodle I remembered a poodle I knew in the 1970’s and the decor from that era – for some reason poodle haircuts remind me of the 70s. The Alaskan Malamute was inspired by a fairly recent portrait I’d done of a special person’s special dog – and I, too, love seeing snow. I am currently owned by a tabby cat who, I’m fairly sure, has this human figured out (and wrapped around his dew-claw).

All of this artwork was created with ink, gouache and color pencil. I love the forgiveness of gouache, the opacity of it, the buttery-smooth feel of working with it. It brightens my quarantine-days to make these Alphapets pieces – hope it brightens your day to see them.


If you’re just joining us the previous post is here. My Alphapets project is aiming to be both an art exhibit and an artist book. With framing eventually done by Aurora Gallery and Frameshop. https://auroragalleryonline.com/ as part of the Ambassador for Small Frames program. I want to eventually bring them all together in a book – with my abecedarian poem. More of poem will be revealed on each Monday’s post as I get more of the artwork done. More of my artist books are here.

Anyway, see you next Monday with more letters…

New Alphapets project

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Yesterday I posted about the free ebook versions of my artist books – for those staying at home. (Thanks for staying home!) Then I strolled down memory lane, thinking of other things I can do to bring a spot of cheer during this time of quarentine.

Last December I did my semi-annual holiday pet portrait project at my local bookstore, Vintage Books, where, nonstop, for 4 hours I drew portraits of people’s pets. The Aurora Gallery and Frame Shop https://auroragalleryonline.com/ was my source for the frames into which I put the just-created pet portraits for people to take home then and there. Here’s an example of a few of my pet portraits in frames.

All told I did over 25 of these pet portraits, people told me, sometimes with tears in their eyes, that they enjoyed my work. The bookstore was happy with event attendance and the little frames sold like ice cream cones on a hot day.

A few days after the December event I went to the Aurora Gallery to pick up a few more frames. While there they half jokingly called me their “Ambassador for Small Frames”.

Suffice it to say that my conclusion, after my memory lane stroll, is that my pet portraits were fun for people to see and get. Perhaps doing more of my dogs and cats will cheer people?

I contacted the Aurora Gallery and asked “what if I took the “Ambassador for Small Frames” thing seriously?”.

The result? Starting next Monday I’ll post here the pet portraits I’ve done over the previous week. (I’m giving myself permission to go at a slower pace than I do during the holiday when I’m trying like heck to fill orders before Dec 25.). The Aurora Gallery will do framing and delivery as desired.

I’m calling this new project “Alphapets” because, as a variation on my usual pet-portraits, I’m adopting the abecedarian poetry form. Each portrait will be named alphabetically – or, in the way a children’s program might say, brought to you by an English alphabetical letter.

When I finish the entire alphabet I hope to do an art exhibit of these miniature portraits. Definitely I plan to make an artist book of them. No matter what eventually happens I’m hoping that seeing the Alphapets as they happen will be cheerful for you.

So… see you here on Mondays? Take care and please stay home, order grocery delivery. ❤

UPDATE: Just after posting this the Governor of Washington has declared a statewide lockdown. So I will proceed with making the Alphapets artwork for the collective cheer there may be in it but the actual framing aspect may be in hold for a bit till things in the world settle.

Way of all fresh food

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I’ve been working on a large painting and posted a pic of me at work on my Instagram page. A friend asked me to explain my symbolism when I finished it …so here goes:

First the painting. It’s titled “The Way Of All Fresh (Food)“. The size is 36 by 24 inches and I used ink, gouache and color pencil to make it.

The Way Of All Fresh (Food) – by Clancy

As evidenced by recent posts of my sketchbook pages I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the life of the mind. I’ve also been reading classic fiction on the topic: “Stoner” by John Williams, “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin and “The Way Of All Flesh” by Samuel Butler.

When creating fine art I like to use symbolism that originates in literature and mythology as a way to orient myself in order to create a visual story.

In this case Butler’s novel had me thinking, as I read, of the ways mental development, new learning – like love – can sneak up on us, and yet it’s something that we process daily. The challenges and necessity of purposefully participating in one’s own mental life dominated my thoughts – especially after I finished reading Butler. I thought of how the maintenance of one’s mind is similar to the maintenance of one’s physical body.

With that as a bare bones thesis I sought, and selected from literary history, symbols with which to construct my visual story:

Lizards represent inner life, taking time to reflect. (I also remembered a quote from the children’s book author Madeleine L’Engle “Love is a funny thing, shaped like a lizard, that runs up and down and tickles your gizzard.”)

Celery, in Ancient Greek writings, represents victory and a warding off of evil spirits. Parts of the celery plants were woven into garlands, crowns, and given to the winner of sporting events. They were also woven into funeral wreaths.

Parsley stands for useful knowledge, joy and feasting. (Practical stuff of life.)

Apples have a long literary history signaling love, knowledge, self-awareness, attainable joys….all elements of life that have been, in some stories, forbidden or used to trick (think Snow White and the 7 dwarves). So I see an element of good critical thinking skill development in an apple but I digress.

Bulldog represents tenacity, courage, willingness to do the right thing.

Cat represents curiosity.

In addition to playing with symbols I’ve also hidden what’s known in the movie and gaming industries as “easter eggs“. Some of the eggs I hid are:

The cat portrait in this painting is a spoof of my own artwork, i.e. there exists an artwork by me that’s similar to this painting within the painting. (There’s also a jigsaw puzzle I designed with this cat artwork.)

I’ve waved “hello” to many of my friends – the kitchen furniture waves to my interior decorator, visionary friend, Carolyn. The cutting board high-fives Kevin, a friend who’s a talented woodworker. The lizards are a shared giggle with my friend Kim. The socks are a howdy to Frank and Elaine. The purple shirt is there because of Beverly, Kris H and Erica M. The book and the heart-art are for my spouse – as always.

Since the lizards represent time to reflect I’ve included a clock near the heart and brain artwork with a special time on it. Most days by 10:40 a.m. I have spent time writing and drawing in my sketchbook. One of my methods to cultivate my own inner life. (And yes, I post these sketchbook pages on Instagram and make artist books from them. You can see some of the books here.)

Oh, almost forgot, there’s a yummy celery, apple and parsley salad recipe that goes with this painting too.

There now. I’ve told most, but not all, of the punchlines. Enjoy!

Pets people phrases and pages

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Here, below, are some new sketchbook pages – I’m still thinking towards publishing a version of my sketchbook. I’ve been encouraged to do this by friends who’ve looked at my book, as well as by my followers on social media – thank you all!!! Now without much further typing:

Art studio supervisor Hawkeye carefully examines my cat drawings.
The drawing under examination.
Art studio supervisor Rusty reacts to the phrase “eating…”

Midnight in the garden of veg and cheese

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This is the fine art piece I said I was working on in my last post. It’s titled “Midnight In The Garden Of Goode And Weeval”. If you look closely at the art you can see a plate of veg and cheese.

“Midnight In The Garden Of Goode And Weeval” by Clancy – 8 x 10 inches- ink and gouache on board

One recent evening I made a spread of assorted veggies and cheeses for a light dinner. As I assembled the plate I fondly remembered the light and yummy plates of fresh veg, fruits and cheeses that my adopted Mom would make – even late at night – during our visits. That memory merged with memories of travels to New Orleans, visits to a Portland gardening store where I marveled at the colorful planters and the novel, which I’ve read, by John Berendt titled “Midnight In The Garden Of Good and Evil”.

So as I worked with my inks and gouache paints I tried to create a riot of color to reflect these thoughts. My paintings title, a pun on Berendt’s book, also mirrors my kaleidoscopic impressions – all of which were inspired by a plate of veg and cheese.

If you’re curious about my recipe for “light and yummy…plate of veg and cheese” look here.

Sock monkey fine art

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I’ve been working on a new painting and finished it last night, titling it “A History Of The Sock Monkey”. Here’s an image of it.

“A History Of The Sock Monkey” by Clancy – 7 x 5 inches – ink, gouache and color pencil on 8 ply board.

As I worked on this painting I thought about – and during a work break posted on my Instagram story – a quote by Joseph Campbell that I’d paraphrased in my sketchbook as “We cannot cure the world of sadness but we can choose to live in joy.”

For me part of choosing to live in joy is remembering to enjoy small comforts: hot coffee or tea, breakfast, a good book, a cuddly pet, a warm bathrobe…

I’m enjoying depicting in fine art people and pets being cozy and comfortable. That’s part of living well as discussed in my artist book “Dr Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit”.

Yes, I think on this “living well” topic a lot….

P. S. In one of the photos connected to this post you can see my easel and my prepatory sketch for the painting.