I’ve been experimenting with the flash essay format. Creating recipe illustrations, for example, and writing a short-short story/essay to go with it. Here’s a recent one as relates to this Holiday season:
– My wife and I went for a long hike in the woods on a below 40 degree day in the Pacific Northwest. We were cold when we got home. Before I shed my coat and scarf I began a pot of hot cocoa. Just after pouring the hot cocoa into mugs on the spur of the moment I added 1.5 oz Veil Double Espresso Vodka and whipped cream. I handed a mug to my wife confessing that I had been playing with ingredients again. She took a dubious sip. Oh nice! she exclaimed, adding; You can play with ingredients anytime especially when there’s alcohol involved. Since she liked the drink so much and I enjoyed the bold contrast of the hot liquid with my cold-from-the-hike self I kept the recipe – and drew it here using vigorous lines and contrasting colors in an attempt to capture my feelings.
In September at Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com I’m doing a one-person fine art exhibit titled “Story Stuff”. And you can thank the literary genre of the “cozy mystery” for it.
You see I enjoy detective novels and movies. I particularly enjoy cozy mystery novels because I like the inherent premise in them that a regular person living an ordinary mundane sort of life can use reason and logic to resolve problems.
After reading and watching a gazillion mystery stories – I realized how often some small object; a receipt, a coffee bag, or a whiskey tumbler is the clue that solves the mystery. That thought inspired me to try telling visual stories with “just stuff”. So for this exhibit I’ve selected things from my daily life and arranged them in my imagination, along with color, light and texture, in such a way that the viewer can deduce a story; they can “read” my visual description of how things are and which things matter. The viewer becomes the story detective/character-actor.
In some of my works I’ve also invented a character-actor – a cat or a dog – who plays a more obvious part in the story. Anthropomorphic animals are a way to make it plain that the artwork is a visual story. These particular animal characters are created and chosen because their breed characteristics add elements to the tale. The viewer is still the detective – there’s just more actors on stage.
I’m merging fine art techniques, and fine art genres of “Still Life” and “Animals in Art”, with literary and mystery genre concepts. I also love food, drinks and books – they are the elements of everyday Pacific Northwest life which for me is the stuff of stories.
Here’s (ahem) a short story collection from my upcoming exhibit:
“Mint Math” by Clancy – 5 x 7 inches – acrylic and gouache on board
“Purrameters of Pie” By Clancy 36 x 24 x 2 inches Hand dyed paper and acrylic on cradled board
“A Novel Morning” – by Clancy – 24 x 18 – acrylic and gouache on board
“Alpha Betty” – by Clancy 24 x 20 x 2 inches Hand dyed and hand stenciled paper and acrylic on cradled board
“Coffee City” – by Clancy – 5 x 7 inches – acrylic and gouache on board
“Pierre” – by Clancy – 7 x 5 inches – ink on handmade paper
“Strawberry Daiquiris” – by Clancy – 8 x 10 inches – acrylic and gouache on board
“Strad O’Varius” by Clancy – 30 x 24 inches – hand dyed paper, acrylic and color pencil on cradled board.
“Good Morning” – by Clancy – 11 x 17 inches – acrylic and gouache on board
“Paws for Coffee” – by Clancy – 16 x12 x 2 inchesHand dyed paper, found paper and acrylic on cradled board
I’ve been thinking lately about the various ways that language is used and how that usage relates to being human.
For example: it helps human relationships if people are sincere, honest and as clear in their verbal communications as possible. Deliberate efforts to use language so as to mislead others to one’s own advantage is the opposite of helpful human relating.
Being a language-using human means to try to make mental connections between ideas/concepts and that includes trying to connect with other humans. Human existence and experience are about making connections and evaluating the qualities of those on-going connections, selecting the helpful and meaningful ones, expanding the number of “good relationships”. We create the world together.
Bullshitting is an effort to avoid making meaningful connections. To bullshit is to manipulate language so as to avoid relating directly with people in fact-based, rational, practical ways.
To share a drink (whether alcoholic beverages or not), to share food and to share books is an expression of a strong desire to meaningfully connect with someone. Sharing drinks, food, books, sports and many other collaborative/cooperative activities are ways we develop relationships and nurture on-going connections.
I’ve recently re-read “Bullshit” by Harry G. Frankfurt, mused on it’s contents so much (see the above verbiage) that I’ve included the book in a painting. And yes I really did use lots of sticky-notes in my copy of Frankfurt’s book, my effort to make connections between the concepts I found there.
Now that we’ve discussed “Bullshit” – what beverages do you like to drink?
“Need More Bourbon” by Clancy – 8 x 10 inches – acrylic and gouache on board.
It’s Mount Rainer Cherry season here in the Pacific Northwest! After getting fresh cherries at the Farmer’s Market on a warm summer day – we went for a cocktail. Bartenders around here use seasonal produce and since cherries are in season the drink of the day was cherry themed. Well, the drink was so good it inspired our friend to say “Wow, this drink is almost a religious experience!”.
“Amen, sister!” I replied.
“Halleluiah!” added Judy.
Then I went back to the studio and created this piece.
Cherry Season – by Clancy – 7 x 5 inches – acrylic and gouache on board
It ended up being an artistic exercise/challenge in getting the two-colored cherries to look round, and the glass to look glass-like.
Since this one is slightly different than my usual sort of thing I sent an image of “Cherry Season” to the gallery owner at Caplan Art Designs – who said it’ll be included in my exhibit later this year! And I’m to keep ’em coming! Wahoo!!
I’ve been very busy lately on several major projects that I can’t talk about publicly yet. Which is why you’ve not seen much of me online. I have managed to squeeze in a bit of work, 5 minutes here or there, on my sketchbook for the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project. I’m still thinking the title of my sketchbook is “Time Tavern”.
Anyway, below are pics of what I’ve gotten done.
And yes, when I can I’ll post about the projects that I can’t talk about yet.
The sketchbook I’m working on for the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project now has a name, a working title: “Time Tavern”. As you can see from previous posts I’m thinking about time – and uses of time in cooking, food service, music and in telling wordless visual stories.
When I began this project I’d thought “Time Tavern” would be the title but I held off declaring it until I’d drawn a few pages. Things sometimes change as a drawing progresses – particularly when I’m working on a wordless visual story.
In my earlier posts (see below for links) I’d shown close-ups of musicians and a chef at work. I’d also shown a birthday party in progress. These 3 story strands are main ones – but they also need context in order to become a story. The association or juxtaposition of images – and the sequence of them – is how I’m crafting my tale visually rather than by written words in a row.
The issue is how to do the same things writers who use written words do – plot movement, foreshadowing and character development – but in my case how to do those using only visual imagery.
As part of my original planning for this story I created a “layout” of the “Time Tavern” the pub setting where my story takes place. This layout is part of my story strand weaving strategy. Here you see my architectural layout:
This architectural drawing won’t be included in my sketchbook – that’s just to help me organize my story. The book to the side in the above photo is included as it shows me referring to my architectural drawing during work on that sketchbook page.
Below is one of the first setting drawings within my “Time Tavern” sketchbook – it shows the chef looking at his recipe cards. In the background you see the bartender looking at her recipe cards. You also see a bit of the stage area the musicians will use. Perhaps you can see how I’ll be using my setting drawings as story context – and foreshadowing?
I’m sure you’ll also note the large clocks in my settings – I’m using those as a story device to show the progression of time…