As per my last post I’ve been starting new projects in my studio. I’m also having some down time to rest and recharge. While starting new projects I’m keeping in mind my studio statement. Here it is on a 2 by 3 inch paper thumbtacked to my art studio wall.
I jokingly say that my mission in life is to wear pencils down to nubs. And I do think that’s true on one level at least – I practice drawing and writing daily and lots of pencils get used. So that must be the point right?!
Yes, daily practice is indeed the point! (And yes, I like the Blackwing pencils a whole lot!)
But, seriously, these statements are true in my experience: “What you repeat sticks. What you don’t repeat goes away.” – “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first.” and “Nothing has to go right today” – all of these concepts come from an artist book I did. (More about that here).
It has been crucial for me to purposefully design my daily artistic habits (repetitions!). And to focus on maintaining the habit-ness of creativity rather than being out-come based about my creative output. (it’s okay if today’s artwork is not perfect!)
It’s also important to take breaks. Both the design of daily creative habits and the breaks from them are part of making my creative life sustainable. The point is to have fun being creative and to keep it fun!
Over on my Instagram page I’ll post a pic of at least one of the things I’m doing to rest and recharge…
As you know from a recent post (here) I’ve been working on a new recipe illustration project for Chef Sebastian Carosi. I’ve spent the most time designing a character who is doing the recipe “action”. It was a challenge to create a cannabis leaf character with “hands” holding things. But I did it! A photo of my progress is below…
When I’d illustrated Chef Kim Mahan’s recipes and we did a cookbook signing event together the question I was most often asked was “How do you keep your hand steady to handwrite all the recipe text?” The answer is shown in the photograph below that also shows my progress on the current recipe project for Chef Carosi.
Can you see what it is?
Yes. A mahl stick. That’s my big studio secret. It steadies my hand both for painting and writing.
However I do something with my mahl stick that I’ve not seen anywhere else. I added a piece of foam pipe insulation that floats freely on the stick – so my wrist slides easily back and forth along the stick as the stick is held steadily in a position. When I’m writing text I need to be able to move my wrist a little along but stay on the same line. When painting sometimes I need to make a long stroke. Either way the foam moves smoothly with me down the length of the stick held in one place.
My mahl stick is hand made. You can buy a mahl stick but I find it easy enough to DIY.
To make mine I cut a small 2 inch portion of foam pipe insulation, taped it to the end of a 36 inch dowel rod, then wrapped that end, completely covering the taped 2 inch foam bit, with a scrap of canvas tying it to the rod so that no canvas fabric ends trail/drag.
The remainder of the foam pipe insulation, about 12 inches in length, was slipped onto the dowel rod. In the photo below you can see the wrapped end of my mahl stick and see how loosely the foam pipe insulation wrist rest is on the rod. The other end (36 inches away!) has a hole drilled in it and a cord looped through it. It hangs on one of my art easel knobs when not in active use.
Okay. So the only time my mahl stick is not in active use is when I’m eating, reading or sleeping! Lol!
And now you know.
My new Sorg Super 8 Easel arrived today! http://www.studioeasel.com/ I live tweeted this momentous occasion via Twitter: @artistclancy – to sum up: it was difficult to be patient and wait for the truck, the truck finally came, discovered that the box was crushed and punctured – some fear and trepidation as to what would be found inside the box (Would ‘my precious’ be damaged?) but it turned out all was well!! There was a quick cold-pizza break for lunch while I watched the easel assembly video instructions. Then I was all wrenches, hammer and ratchet set – and with valuable assistance from Judy – the easel was assembled! Here are the as-promised-on-Twitter photos:
A big box came! My new easel!
Oh no! The box is crushed and punctured in places! Will the easel inside be okay?
Whew! Everything looks okay! And all the easel parts seem to be here!
Sue Clancy posing with her new Sorg easel a’la a magazine model
Sue Clancy putting one of her recent artworks on the new easel “to see how it’d work”.
I’m thinking the Sorg easel is going to work out just fine – it does allow me to move my artwork up and down much more easily – which was what I’d hoped for in this post here https://sueclancy.com/2016/04/27/easy-easel-eagerness/
I recently decided that I needed a new easel that would move up and down more easily. My current easel has two small “pins” that need to be unscrewed to allow the mast and the platform to move up or down. As time has gone by those have gotten more and more difficult to work with – hard to unscrew, hard to keep level etc – and I don’t adjust the height of my work when I need to because it’s a pain to adjust things. Which results in a pain in my neck, wrist or knees. So I eagerly looked for options and I’m happy to say that I’ve a new Sorg Easel ordered! http://www.studioeasel.com/ It was super easy to order this easel – David Sorg himself answered all my questions – and so I concluded that this easel is the one for me! There’s an omg dream-worthy video of the Sorg Easel in operation on the studioeasel.com website. I’m excited about the new easel and the possibility of being able to move my artwork up and down with a touch! Imagine that!?! Here is a picture of me on my knees working at my old easel…
Sue Clancy working on a commission for the lobby of a children’s center – using her current easel.
When I’m creating a new body of artwork for upcoming fine art exhibits (as I am currently) I’m sketching constantly as it “feeds” my developing artwork. My full sketching kit as shown in the photo fits in an 8.5 x 11 bag or smaller. What you’re seeing in the pic is a small watercolor set, small water cup, a mechanical pencil, a pencil eraser, two ink pens, one bound sketchbook, one pad of paper and two clips for holding a book or pad open. Sometimes, maybe even most times, I run around with just one pen and my bound sketchbook.
Sue Clancy’s portable sketching-on-the-go gear
At the bottom of my website www.sueclancy.com if you click on the ” + ” a drop down menu shows up and if you scroll down you’ll see my Goodreads list of recommended books – several are about sketching.