Desirous naturally of travel and Juggling Numbers

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques, artist book, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, dog portrait, fine art, household surrealism, life of the mind, Odditerrarium, poetry, psychogeography

I thought about travel this week and the newest painting in my Odditerrarium series is titled “Desirous Naturally Of Travel”. It’s a portrait of a Portuguese Water Dog who is contemplating sailing.

Here’s a closer look.

Like the other paintings in my Odditerrarium series this new one is 10 x 8 inches and was created using ink, gouache and color pencil on board. It will join its fellows at the Caplan Art Designs Gallery for exhibits later this year.

But on the topic of travel: in a variation of the curiosity game I shared in my last post -despite the pandemic- I have done a kind of travel using books, websites, Google Earth and streetwise maps.

I pick a country, a region, a culture and look for poems, prose and food preparations that originate there. As alluded above I will try as I can to look at online images of the actual places. Sometimes I’ve even looked for a hotel’s website and selected a room in which I imagine staying.

Recently I visited again some Native American Nations. I have a book of poems from a Cherokee poet in Oklahoma. A book of legends from various Native American Nations in the Pacific Northwest. A cookbook with sections covering various Native Nations in all geographic regions throughout the USA.

Here’s one of the poems I enjoyed.

From the cookbook “Spirit of the Harvest” I enjoyed the text about the three sisters: corn, beans and squash.

Inspired by the Iroqois for one of our meals I put together corn, pinto beans, zucchini, bell pepper, onion with some fresh cilantro and a bit of bacon with a tiny drizzle of maple syrup into oven safe bowls. Then I baked it all in the oven in the boat-bowls you see below. Yum!

Back in the pre-pandemic days I had a small shoulder bag I would carry when we went to locations. Since the pandemic began I used a version of my “travel kit” on a corner of our breakfast table where I write and draw in my sketchbook while we have our morning coffee.

Knowing that I enjoy “small but well made things” my wife found a new portable travel painting palette that expands and surprised me with it!

My sketchbook is 5.5 inches by 3.5 inches. The water brush is 6 inches long. The other two pens are 5.5 inches long. The new palette is 3 inches by 2.5 inches. As you can see below it will all fit easily into a small bag or jacket pockets.

The palette came with 6 empty half pans which I filled with my chosen gouache colors. In the photo below you can see the three separate parts to the small palette.

The three parts of the palette interlock together easily and securely.

The gouache colors I chose are: (top row) Primary White, Payne’s Grey, Moss Green (bottom row) English Red Ochre, Naples Yellow, Prussian Blue.

The colors are selected from my “butterfly palette” which was inspired by a scientific book called “Nature’s Palette: a color reference system from the natural world”.

I’ve been using my butterfly palette for my Odditerrarium series as well as my sketchbook. I like the soft gentleness of the colors so much that it’s fine by me if the colors I paint don’t exactly match the real life objects. I’m describing thoughts and feelings using my personal color vocabulary rather than strictly mimicking what I see in the world. What I see in the world is a starting point, a prompt you might say, for contemplation and storytelling.

In the photo below you see my new travel (ha!) palette and sketchbook at breakfast the morning after my wife gave me the portable palette.

Here’s another photo angle. See? Plenty of room for both breakfast and playing in my sketchbook without crowding the dog on my lap!

Below is another day’s sketchbook session. I had already cleaned the palette mixing areas (and the breakfast dishes) before I remembered to take a photo.

I’ve done a new book for Storyberries titled “Juggling Numbers” and like my last experimental art book “A Scoop Of Letter Soup” the new book flows up and down. The book is being released next week so I’ll talk more about it in my next post. But did you notice the unicycle in my sketchbook photo (above) and in this new book too?

I hope your week is smooth sailing or unicycling or however you travel it. See you next Monday.

Alphapets: Y, Z, the book cover and Storyberries

A Creative Life, Abecedarian, Alphapets, Ambassador for Small Frames, animals in art, Art Licensing, Art Word Combinations, artist book, author illustrator, Authors, books, cat portrait, Cats in art, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, ebook, fine art, graphic design, illustrated poem, miniature art, poetry, publications - publishing, published art, words and pictures, writing and illustrating

The Alphapets portrait project this week is brought to you by the letters Y and Z. Here’s my abecedarian poem to go with these letters and artwork :

Yolanda has a good attitude

Zoe says “We’re done! Let’s go get some food!”

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

I did portraits of a Bengal cat and a Basset Hound.

In thinking of a “good attitude” I thought of my adopted father, a psychiatrist, and his Bengal cat named Missy. He was fond of pointing out how a cat will adapt easily to things, take things in stride – or have a good attitude – that it’s humans, with our big-brains, that will often resist adapting, and will as a result make things harder on ourselves with a bad attitude.

The Basset Hound finished off this letter sequence because as a child I was best friends with a Basset Hound and loved getting to share an evening meal with the dog.

As I completed the original artwork for my abecedarian poem I also worked on the graphic design of Alphapets by Clancy. That’s part of what makes this an “artist book” – it was conceived and constructed like an art object – by me. My spouse did proofread the text, make some book design suggestions. That, in my mind, is akin to submitting a bunch of artwork to a gallery for exhibit. Here’s a photo of me doing the graphic design hocus pocus.

You can see a bit of my book cover design in the above photo but here, below, is a better view of the front cover of the printed book.

Alphapets by Clancy is now available as both hardback or soft cover printed books. The ebook version has a similar but slightly different cover. All versions can be accessed here: https://www.blurb.com/b/10071862-alphapets-by-clancy

I had dedicated my book “for reading aloud to P and J” – both P and J are under age 5 – so the day I uploaded my book to Blurb.com for printing I told P and J’s grandparents (our friends) about the book. Then I turned off all of my devices to make dinner and read a novel a while before going to bed.

By now I don’t remember why but a few hours later, after dinner, I turned on my smart phone. I had messages just about every way a person can be messaged these days, from Storyberries.com !

Long story short this publisher/distribution house wanted to release my book for free to their readers! I gave my author/artist permissions and now you – or your little ones – can access my book here: https://www.storyberries.com/bedtime-stories-alphapets-free-books-online/

Storyberries.com is also doing audio versions of Alphapets by Clancy which are appearing on their podcast channels on Apple, Spotify and Podbean! How fun is that?!

I’d hoped for my book to be read aloud….

Here’s a photo of my friends grandkids looking at Alphapets by Clancy – the twins’ mom was pretty happy too!! Yippee!!

I’m a very happy author/artist!!

You can find the previous set of letters for this project here.

I had such fun riding this ride – I think I’ll do it again! Meet here next Monday?

Alphapets: U, V, W and X

A Creative Life, Abecedarian, Alphapets, Ambassador for Small Frames, animals in art, art gallery, art techniques, artist book, artistic inspirations, author illustrator, books, cat portrait, Cats in art, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, ebook, fine art, illustrated poem, illustration, miniature art, pet portraits, visual story, words and pictures, writing and illustrating

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

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

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: A B C and D

Abecedarian, Alphapets, Ambassador for Small Frames, art exhibit, artist book, Cats in art, Dogs in Art, fine art, miniature art, pet portraits, visual story

The Alphapets portrait project this week is brought to you by the letters A, B, C and D. My abecedarian poem to go with these letters and artwork :

Alfred enjoys living on a farm.

Boo rarely causes any harm.

Coco dreams of milkshakes galore.

Dabney bursts through every door.


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



I did portraits of a cattle dog/blue heeler, tabby cat, Persian cat and a coon hound. While working thought about the outdoors/farmers markets, the sneakiness of some cats I’ve known, cravings for milkshakes and the exuberant bursts of energy dogs can have.

All of this artwork was created with ink, gouache and color pencil.


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…