mixing the mundane and magical

A Creative Life, animals in art, art techniques, artistic inspirations, books, creative thinking, Dogs in Art, fine art, food in art, mental health, mundane and magical moments, Narrative Art, reading in art, story, visual story

I’ve been reading “Whiskey Galore” by Compton Mackenzie. Once again I realize that I enjoy the mix of real-life and a whimsical imaginative look at real-life. Mackenzie used a real-life event as the inspiration for his whimsy and did the mix extremely well.

Already I’ve been doing some of this mixing in my work – but I want to do even more of that mundane/imagination mixing in my various art projects. Here’s what I did most recently: it’s 8 x 18 inches, ink and gouache on board – I’ve titled it “The Soup Book: Starting With Ingredients”

TheSoupBookStartingWithIngredientsSM

“The Soup Book: Starting With Ingredients” by Clancy

It mixes the real-life (mundane) action of consulting a cookbook recipe, perhaps for chicken soup, with a (magical) chicken rescue. “The Soup Book: Starting With Ingredients” will be one of several new works for an upcoming one-person art exhibit in September at Caplan Art Designs in Portland Oregon. I’ll post the new artworks here as I get them done.

But back to the artwork itself: I enjoyed doing a panoramic visual story that continues what I began doing for my “Dear Readers” exhibit currently on display at Burnt Bridge Cellars. The new wider format let me put in more details, more “story-ness”.

“The Soup Book…..” was such fun to create that I plan to do more in this format! And of course do more general mixing of metaphors, more blurring the lines between the mundane and the magical in all of my work. We’ll see how it all goes of course.

Generally I’ve been thinking of how important it is, for living well (and good mental health), to be able to view mundane life with a “glass half full” attitude, to be able to see what is good/delightful, and to use curiosity and imagination (and good books) to stimulate ones own inner life. Which is why I aspire to do an even better artistic job of mixing the mundane and the magical.

BTW: “Whiskey Galore” has been made into a movie – and a very well done movie too! The book version has a bit more story to it – but the movie is wonderful and it’s not always that both the book and movie are equals in quality.

Now for a wee dram….. Slàinte mhath!

 

 

Dogs in the Winery exhibit video

A Creative Life, art exhibit, Dogs in Art, fine art, public art, small things, visual thinking

Some time back I did a blog post about my experimental exhibit currently at Burnt Bridge Cellars. In that post (link here: https://sueclancy.com/2017/06/13/my-experiment-of-exhibiting-art-as-a-multi-layered-story-environment/) I talked about creating a multilayered story environment; I included links to a free ebook sketchbook I’d done – as well as to a printed book and I included a few images of the artwork along with some short story-like descriptions for them. I wanted to share something with all of my fans whether they could physically come to my exhibit or not.

Then life went on in a hectic busy way and well I’ve only just now gotten around to posting on YouTube the video I’d shot, quick walk through style, after we hung the exhibit.  Here it is:

Now all that’s left is for you to taste the wine… but as far as I know there’s no way to upload wine to everyone’s screen in a way that they can taste it. Sigh.

The next opening party for my exhibit is July 7th. www.burntbridgecellars.com

 

play and focus as a business of art model

A Creative Life, art techniques, artistic inspirations, business of art, Sustainable creativity

I got some new-to-me kinds of watercolors. Chinese watercolors to go along with my Sumi ink. So I had to play with them.  Here’s my test case below.

MeasureSpoonsPractice

Feels good to just play around with my art supplies – kind of like eating mac-n-cheese right out of the pan while wearing pajamas and watching a movie.

After I was finished it turns out that I like the yellow spoon drawing best because after attempting the green and the blue spoon drawings I learned that applying the sumi ink last makes for the boldest lines.

Yep. I highly recommend playing around with ones art supplies as a way to refresh and  sustain creativity.  I’ve not seen this important sustainable creativity business method discussed much in the business-of-art books. It oughta be…

My business-of-art model goes like this:

  1. Play around with my materials often. Both new materials and old ones. Experiment.  Make a mess.
  2. Focus on what I’m doing instead of how well I’m doing it. Focus on the fun.

Another way of describing my business-of-art model goes like this:

AHappyTail72

page from “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit” https://store.bookbaby.com/book/dr-bobs-emotional-repair-program-first-aid-kit

Like happiness good artwork often happens while we’re doing something else.

my experiment of exhibiting art as a multi layered story environment

A Creative Life, art exhibit, Art Licensing, artist book, artistic inspirations, business of art, creative thinking, Dogs in Art, fine art, public art, small things, visual story, visual thinking, words and pictures

My current fine art exhibit is still up and available during the Burnt Bridge Cellars winery hours (www.burntbridgecellars.com) and will be through the end of July.  I’ve designed it as an experiment in layers of story –  layered like a lasagna. Judging by responses and comments, both to me and to the staff at Burnt Bridge Cellars, people have been having fun with my experiment!

Layer 1 – as I worked toward this exhibit, starting well over a year ago, I took notes on my experiences of ordinary daily life and recorded them in my sketchbook.  You can see this sketchbook as a free ebook here: https://sueclancy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/gladtobealivedrinkmusiced.pdf

Layer 2 – I spun my sketchbook notes through my imagination creating characters (dogs) that helped me describe my thoughts and feelings about ordinary life visually and metaphorically.  I created a series of sumi ink pieces on handmade papers – dogs drinking, playing musical instruments and etc.  Some of these pieces got framed and are in my exhibit. Others became part of a printed book titled “Dogs by Sue Clancy”. You can see that book at the exhibit or via this link here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

Layer 3 – I created a series of items aka “illustrated things”; scarves, napkins, tea towels, phone cases and many other items that relate to this exhibit – return full circle to the “ordinariness” of life – these items are available via the links found here https://sueclancy.com/pattern-design/

Layer 4 – A group of 17 of my artworks are hung on the walls at the winery. But in addition to the artwork itself which can be viewed up close in person I wrote short “blurbs” – very short descriptions of what inspired the artwork.  You can literally walk around (wine glass in hand) the exhibit “reading” my story of living my life.  Additional details – the layers above – are there if people want to see more.

Here are four of my artworks along with their stories that you could read on the wall next to my artwork at Burnt Bridge Cellars:

Click on the above images to see the title I’ve given them and then find the story below –

Maestro Houndsinger by Clancy

I attended several musical concerts and noted a consistency of a moment, that moment, just before the music started, when the conductor, the soloists, the performers took a deep breath. All performance, all of life, starts with a breath – and that’s what I wanted to remember – to breathe.

Surround Sound by Clancy

I’ve gotten to hear some “hairy” (complex) guitar music. I’ve also enjoyed seeing locally hand-crafted music instruments. I’ve also thought of the local music and musicians that I’m honored to know personally – those I get to hear in small places, like cafe’s and homes – where I get to be surrounded by their music, love and friendship… all of these thoughts are combined in this piece.

Paws For Coffee by Clancy

I can sometimes get so busy that I forget to take time to be present in the moment, to pause and smell the coffee. This is me – remembering.

Pup Fiction by Clancy

I was thinking of how curiosity and imagination are the “muscle” and “bones” of a healthy mental life. Perhaps curiosity, imagination – and coffee – are what makes us human?

What exactly was my experiment you ask? I wanted to create an exhibit that would have something (actually several somethings) for my friends and fans who are not able to come in person to my exhibit – and also to give people who are able to come to my exhibit in person an extra treat. As in while they’re waiting for their friends to meet-up at the winery they can down-load my sketchbook to their phone, or read blog posts like this one https://sueclancy.com/2017/05/16/mind-map-of-a-clancy-art-exhibit/ that describe my creative process or look at a printed book of my dogs…  Of course they can look at my fine art on the walls and imagine themselves enjoying the simple ordinary things in life.

And have I mentioned that the wine at Burnt Bridge Cellars is very good?

 

 

my interactive art exhibit experiment

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, books, ebook, fine art, sketchbook, words and pictures

Some time ago I observed that when people visit art galleries or art museums they often have one hand on their smart phone or tablet. While at a gallery or museum people collect brochures, booklets, books and “artist monographs”.  They sit and read the booklets and look things up on their phones.  They lean in and look at any text near the artwork. If there are scan-tags or headphones or videos or website references – those get used. It’s called an “interactive exhibit”.

And yes, people do still look at the art without any ‘media aids’.  Here’s a picture the gallery owner at Caplan Art Designs snapped and shared with me of a kid who spent a lot of time just looking at one of my artworks in the gallery.

BoyLookingAtMyArt

Yet the media aids seem useful. So about a year ago I thought “I want to create an ‘interactive exhibit’!” and set about doing it.  The first step was to propose such a thing. My agent at Caplan Art Designs was enthusiastic about my idea and arranged for my exhibit to be located at The Daily Cafe in The Pearl where people could ‘enjoy good food’ while looking at my artwork about enjoying things!

As I worked to create a new body of artwork for this exhibit, titled “Paws to Enjoy”, I kept a sketchbook and a journal writing each thought, no matter how silly, as it related to my theme: pausing to enjoy things.

As readers of this blog you know I’ve been posting these sketchbook pages over the course of the year. Some of the pages looked like this:

DinersDining72

Some looked like this:

AlexieWritingAdviceNPasta72

You can find more of such past posts of my sketchbook pages by scrolling down a page and clicking on the + sign which will reveal an archive list.

My point being that halfway through my year of creating new artworks towards a body of work that could be in this current exhibit I had a LOT of sketchbook pages.  So I selected a grouping of my sketchbook pages and some images of my finished fine art and created an eBook using Book Baby http://www.bookbaby.com/ My criteria for what went into the eBook was that it had to be fun, useful to the reader and would somehow show, by association, how my creative thought pattern works.  The book would be relevant to the current art exhibit but also reflect “how I think” in a more general sense.

I titled my eBook “Coffee, Table, Book” because (spoiler alert) I enjoy coffee, food on tables and books and those are often my artistic inspirations. This fit with my current art exhibit theme nicely – and covers my general artistic thinking (and contains some recipes!).

For my book cover I created a scribbly sketchbook style cover because I wanted to emphasize that this eBook contains my sketchbook pages, the collected thoughts behind my fine artwork. Here’s the cover art:

FrontCoverEbook72w

Because I hoped that people would use their smartphones while looking at my physical artwork my eBook file is in several downloadable formats. The book is obtainable via my website or via Amazon and many other places that sell eBooks. If the reader sets the Portrait Orientation Lock feature “on” in their smart phone or tablet it’ll be fun viewing as “artistically intended”. Here is a direct link for the book: http://my.bookbaby.com/book/coffee-table-book

A side benefit of doing this eBook has been that the gallery has been able to share it with their clients. Once I realized that the gallery was using the book to help explain my complicated artwork I posted on my website www.sueclancy.com a downloadable pdf file that would help explain my art technique using pictures. For simplicity’s sake that pdf file is here: AboutPreyingForPeas

The gallery shared that file with clients and other things that I posted on Facebook and Twitter (see my Home page for links). So that became another aspect of “interactivity” – as I posted (and still do) on my Facebook page, photos like this of me working:

Zpaper

All of these elements have been useful as communication aids for the gallery, as upcoming exhibit “teasers”, and as an interactive part of my current exhibit.

The exhibit “Paws to enjoy” actually went up on the walls October 1 2015.  I’d been working towards it since before July in 2014.  The exhibit looks like this (it’ll be up until Nov 2nd 2015):

exhibitphotobyAmy

There are a few other walls with more of my artwork on them too!

Anyway, as I’d alluded to earlier the gallery promoted the exhibit before it opened. I did too. Someone who saw an image of one of my new artworks online contacted the gallery and bought it before the exhibit opened.  As the exhibit progressed people contacted the gallery, contacted me, talked with the cafe owners – basically there’s been lots of “interactivity” both before and during the exhibit!  And as I’d hoped, people have used their smart phones to interact with my artwork!  Here are just two of the comments:

“Hi Sue! We LOVED your exhibit! The artwork looks wonderful on your website, but seeing them in person was a very different experience. They’re so vibrant, and you can get more of a feel of the depth and layers of materials. WOW! Thanks so much for letting us know about the exhibit. P.S. The food was good too.”

“We took our 2 grandchildren to lunch at the cafe and the youngest one (age 3) kept looking at your artwork, pointing and saying “doggy”, “rabbit” or “kitty”. I don’t think he’d ever noticed art on the walls before. The older one enjoyed your art too. Thank you.”

I heard from a lot of local (Pacific Northwest) people and from people all around the world – thanks to Facebook, Twitter and this blog.  Many people said that they’ve enjoyed getting to “see more” or “follow” my exhibit online and via my eBook. My agent at Caplan Art Designs even extended the time my exhibit was displayed at The Daily Cafe due to the exhibit popularity!

All in all my exhibit “interactivity” experiment has been a success! Now i want to do an even better job of creating interactive exhibits in the future…