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.files.wordpress.com/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?

 

 

Clancy art exhibit opening

A Creative Life, art exhibit, artist book, dog portrait, Dogs in Art

Last night was my exhibit opening at Burnt Bridge Cellars – www.burntbridgecellars.com – and what fun we had! Here are a few photos:

The exhibit will run through July during winery hours – and more of my dog art can be seen at Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com

And the printed art book that relates to this exhibit is here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

art delivered installed and here is a sneak peek.

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art

Here’s a sneak preview of my exhibit at Burnt Bridge Cellars that I’ve titled “Dogs in the Winery”! We’d just finished installing it. The “we” being me, Kim and Judy. (Kim and Judy are seen on the video talking and waiting for me to quit filming. 😉

This coming Friday evening my exhibit opens and people will come, the wine will be poured, the food will be served, I’ll sign copies of my book “Dogs by Sue Clancy”… and we’ll all relax and enjoy ourselves!

www.burntbridgecellars.com

www.caplanartdesigns.com

https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy   

paws for coffee and art

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, drawing as thinking, fine art, visual thinking

Here’s another new artwork for my upcoming exhibit at Burnt Bridge Cellars http://www.burntbridgecellars.com  – it’s titled

Paws For Coffee by Clancy – 16 x 12 x 2 inches – hand dyed paper, found paper and acrylic on cradled board.

Here’s what inspired it: 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.

The diamond motif is because I was thinking of the maze-like labyrinth quality that a busy life sometimes has.  I chose a dachshund character for that breeds digging ability, chosen as an inspiration for me to “dig out” from the (a)maze-ing world what’s really important to me.

Paws For Coffee by Clancy

Paws for Coffee By Clancy 16 x12 x 2 inches Hand dyed paper, found paper and acrylic on cradled board

Labrador dog art in the winery

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, Art Licensing, artistic inspirations, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, sketchbook

As you know from other posts I’m getting ready for a one-person fine art exhibit to open June 2nd at Burnt Bridge Cellars www.burntbridgecellars.com.  For this art exhibit I’ve been meditating, you might say, on how important it is to practice enjoying ordinary life. When I have a glass of wine I’m reminded to breathe, taste and savor everything – not just the wine.  I chose a Labrador dog as my “character” actor in my art (pictured) because a Labrador’s restrained-alert-excitement reflects how I feel while tasting some wines.

Here’s one of my artworks for the show:

Lad72

Lad by Clancy – 30 x 22 inches – sumi ink on handmade paper

On my website page https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/ you can find a link to a sketchbook titled “Glad to Be Alive Sketchbook – drinks and music edition 2017”  where you can download, for free, my sketches that inspired this work.

You can also see some greeting cards with this image – and others – here https://society6.com/sueclancy

what the sheet music became

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art techniques, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, music in art, Sue Draws Dogs, visual story, visual thinking

In my last post I told a bit about using sheet music in my fine art – you can see more about that and a photo of work-in-progress here: https://sueclancy.com/2017/04/27/sheet-music-in-fine-art/

While I worked I thought of the 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…

And here is what the work-in-progress, many more layers of paper and all those thoughts has become:

SurroundSound72

I’ve titled it “Surround Sound” – it’s 8 x 10 inches – made with hand dyed papers, handmade paste paper and “found papers” (the sheet music my musician friend gave me).

Now it has to dry before I can varnish it and get it ready for exhibit.

 

sheet music in fine art

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art techniques, artistic inspirations, books, creative thinking, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art

I’ve been creating fine art towards a one-woman exhibit in June at Burnt Bridge Cellars, a winery in Vancouver WA.  I’ve also been going to music events and cafe’s when I can. These kinds of events have been inspiring lots of the artwork I’ll have at the exhibit.  You can see some of my sketch-work towards my exhibit in my book: “Dogs by Sue Clancy” https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

Also a musician friend gave me some old sheet music. I’ve been using it in my mixed media cut paper collages along with my hand-dyed papers – and I intend to do so with this piece too…

Here’s what’s on my work table:

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what is art for and 3 ways to find out

A Creative Life, animals in art, artistic inspirations, mental health, Sustainable creativity

Professional artist’s ask themselves “what is art for?” and answer it for themselves because that helps us know why we’re doing what they are doing. And knowing this helps you keep on course.

Here’s a sketchbook page from a time when I was examining this question:

ArtGenresPurpose

For me “art is for” good mental health practice – and to provoke a smile, a chuckle.  To quote from my book Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit “When a negative thought enters your mind just say (inwardly) ‘STOP’. It’s your brain, your mind and you have every right to think the thoughts you want…. Don’t let a negative thought ever finish its sentence…. How many ‘STOP’s are enough? As many as it takes. It is also helpful to keep a list of positive things that you enjoy thinking about or doing, like books/reading, walking… going to art exhibits… playing tennis… and after inwardly saying ‘STOP’ switch your focus to something positive and enjoyable.” (https://store.bookbaby.com/book/dr-bobs-emotional-repair-program-first-aid-kit)

So my goal as a professional artist became to create fine art, books and other objects that are positive and enjoyable for other people to see – switch focus to – and that are also  positive and enjoyable for me to create.  I decided that the genres of “animal painting” and “genre painting” best fit this goal.  For short I call this goal to “feed the good wolf”.

To make sure you know what I mean by that here’s a cartoon excerpt from “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit”

TwoWolves72

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

But how exactly did I get to a defined goal, a “purpose” for my art?

  1. I went to lots of art galleries and museums. I read a lot of books. I listened to other people talk about what they enjoyed. Anywhere and everywhere I went I made a quick note of what interested me or fed my “good wolf” in a book that I kept with me at all times.
  2. I looked for art supplies and other opportunities to “test the theory” of whether or not something really did feed my good wolf. For example at one time I thought creating sculpture would be “good wolf food” for me – but I discovered that it was too physically difficult and in the process of creating sculpture I ended up cursing a lot. So after some time spent trying metal sculpture I nixed that one from the “good wolf food” list.
  3. I played with the genres and arts categories while making a note of my responses emotionally, physically, mentally.  By “play” I mean I casually went to art exhibits,  looked at objects in a store or on-line that fit the genre/category, I tried the genres at home and all the while I noted my gut response – did it feed my ‘good wolf’? Did it make me smile and want to “share it” in some way with a person I love? What is it about that art/object that excites me? Then I list those qualities and pursue them in my own projects!  (As I mentioned above it turned out that the animals-in-art genre fit me well!)

Speaking of projects –  here’s a very new project for me that fits with my “feed good wolves” goal: I’ve begun designing for iPhone cases, Laptop skins, wall clocks, comforters and many other tech and household objects. (If you noticed that these items fit in the genres of  ‘animals in art”, ‘genre painting’ and ‘media arts’ you get a gold star sticker!)  The link to my newest project: https://society6.com/sueclancy – and here below are a few examples.

 

fine art commission Bailey At The Lake

A Creative Life, animals in art, art commissions, art gallery, art techniques, artistic inspirations, Dogs in Art

Creating “Bailey At The Lake” By Sue Clancy

(this art commission project was handled by the Downtown Art & Frame gallery in Oklahoma)

Almost 9 years ago I did an art exhibit and someone saw it. Almost 9 years later they remembered my artwork and contacted me wanting me to do a portrait of their dog! (Lucky me!)  After conversation and photos were exchanged I did 2 sketches and some color samples. They selected one of my sketches and they liked the color scheme so I got started on the art!

I dyed handmade papers –  first for the color samples and then I dyed still more handmade papers for the “nuances” of color papers that would be cut up make up each element within the artwork.

Here’s a photo of me dying paper. Each handmade paper starts out white – the colors and patterns you’ll see I put onto the white paper using various processes. This paper dying process was repeated with many different colors using several different paper-dying techniques.  Only one photo of this process is here so I can keep this document brief.

DyeYellow72

Below is the “basic” color scheme that was approved.  Then I set about making dyed papers that were the same colors but shades lighter or darker than each of these.  So about 26 papers got dyed. (and a few extra)

Each paper was much larger than the area I intended to use it for because I layer multiple pieces on top of each other to build up the color.

ColorSwatches72

When all of the dyed papers were dry I cut out the overall basic shapes from each “local color”

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DSC_0002 (4)I glued each of those cut paper shapes to each other – and generally began the layering process….

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Some paper layers go on top, others interlock with each other, some go behind and others on top of what’s on top – basically I design for both 2D and 3D space. To create this art work, I use an Xacto knife to cut out the shapes I need – sometimes scissors.  A tin tray holds the cut pieces – and I use a miniature spatula and several kinds of tweezers to position the paper shapes in the correct position…. Lots of archival glue and glue brushes are used… then a roller to roll it all flat.

LakeOn

Then I glue the basic cut paper shapes onto the board – layering what goes behind first and slowly building up.

Lake1on

OnBoard

When all of the “base papers” are on the board it is allowed to dry for several days.  Then I begin to layer more cut dyed paper shapes on top of what is dry on the board.  This next photo is of me starting that layering process – adding the cut paper “nuances” of color and shape.

MorePaper

StillMorePaper

And so it goes for quite some time… I’m skipping ahead now and the following photo shows how it looked when I had gotten it to a stage where it had to dry a few days before I could do more detail work.  And yes, in this photo below you can see the sketch that got approved – and some of the many photos of the real-life dog that the client sent to me for reference.

DryingStage

Once the above stage was dry – I cut and layered in more cut paper shapes.  While working I looked a lot like I did in the earlier photo: tweezers and cut paper in one hand a glue-y glue brush in the other.  I would cut the shapes I needed out of the correctly colored paper using an Xacto knife, lay those cut paper pieces in a tin tray, step to my easel use the tweezers to pick up the cut paper piece, load my brush with glue and apply … and so it went. But I’m keeping this document brief… so please repeat in your mind, a gajillion times, that earlier photo of me with tweezers and glue.

In the photos below you can see that I’ve layered on many more nuances and details since those photos above.

MoreProgressStepsProgressSteps

As you can see my dyed cut paper shapes go around all 4 edges of the board.

The above stages have to dry a while before I can do any finishing touches.

Well, I got so excited when things were dry that I got right to work and finished the artwork without taking any more progress photos. Ah well.

Here it is finished:

“Bailey At The Lake”  By Sue Clancy

6 x 6 inches – Hand dyed paper, handmade paper, handmade paste paper and acrylic on cradled board.

BaileyAtTheLake72

 

 

the art commission Innocent

A Creative Life, animals in art, art commissions, art gallery, art techniques, artistic inspirations, collage, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art

A couple of clients have a Schnauzer and a Labrador retriever – they asked me (via the Caplan Art Designs gallery www.caplanartdesigns.com) to do a dual portrait while also reflecting the owners work/personal life! I have a series of questions I ask (about color preferences etc. details) – I also request photos of the dogs. I was lucky enough to actually meet these dogs in person. Earlier in this blog you got to see my “practice” sketches for the dog breeds in this commission.  After receiving the answers to my questions and photos of the dogs I created 2 pencil drawings to the scale of the proposed finished work.  I also created a number of hand dyed paper swatches to show the proposed color scheme.

Here’s a photo of me dying some paper blue.  I did several layers of this blue color on the paper in order to build up the “proper blue” that best matched the client’s preference.

DyingBlueSpray72

To keep this document brief I’ll not show photos of me creating the 20 base colors I created for the “swatch sampler” – so multiply the above photo 19 times at least.

Once the papers were dry – we met and the clients chose one of the two pencil sketches. Small adjustments were made in the color scheme and the drawings. And additional research was done. For example, I studied what vest collars are like, what wing-tip shoes look like, where cuff-links are on a cuff and gold pocket watches how they sit in a pocket and how the chain drapes.  I asked about and investigated what a “bar” in court looks like. I researched how the sleeve of a judges’ robe hangs.

I also “filled in” the other colors of hand dyed paper I’d need to produce the finished painting.  Where a section in a painting will read as “blue” there may be as many as 5 different shades of blue papers which are collaged/layered together.  Where a paper may read as “blond wood grain” there may be multiple layers of color applied to each paper that forms the various tones within the shape.  Yes, it’s complicated and takes a lot of pre-planning and research.

Once all of the papers are done and dry (there are now over 50 pieces of hand dyed paper) I begin cutting out shapes. Here I have cut out the overall shape of the Schnauzer’s head and paw out of a greyish-blue dyed paper. A light pencil marks the future placements of other pieces of darker grey paper and or lighter white-grey paper.

DSC_0001

At this point I’m cutting and gluing together all of the various shapes from the various “base” papers to form the overall characters and aspects of scenery.  With an Xacto knife I cut the needed shape positioning it using tweezers. Then I would adjust the position – often several times – before gluing it together. Then I would press the glued papers flat and let them dry.

As I constructed the Schnauzer character I got excited and focused – and I forgot to take photos of the steps of construction.  As I worked kept laughing, imagining the Schnauzer lawyer saying “My client is innocent, I tell you, innocent. My client, the Great Dane you see before you, could not have possibly reached down to such a low table to eat the 4 hams, 5 chickens and the pot roast which is alleged to have been on that table. It was beneath him to have…”

There is a lot of “back and forth” work to get the shapes and positions correct – to adjust the colors and layers. Here is a succession of photos to give you an idea of the test-adjust-test routine.

In the photos below you’ll see my original pencil drawing – which I’m using as a guide.

The Judge’s glasses are made of two pieces of paper: I cut the glasses frames out of a “gold” paper and glued them onto a white paper which acts as the “lenses”.  All elements within the artwork are cut hand dyed papers which interlock.

And so it goes – back and forth – building up each element in both 3 dimensional space as well as 2 dimensional. For example, the watch in the Schnauzer’s pocket is a complete watch – with numbers on it – even if you don’t see all of it in the finished artwork. Behind the suit coat lapels is the entire vest… the tie actually fits under the white shirt collar. The flag is several different colors of paper pieced together and actually hanging from a pole (a cut piece of gold paper).  If you could tell the Schnauzer to move over you’d see the entire “bar” he is standing in front of and behind those is the entire “bench” on which the Labrador judge sits.

Once the “base papers” have been assembled into each element needed for the overall artwork I glue them onto the cradled board.

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I pre-planned for how the various shapes “wrap around” the 4 edges of the board. This way the judges bench actually looks/feels like a 3D bench. All we don’t see are the witness boxes. The flag extends to the side and top edges of the painting. The judge’s arm continues on one edge. As you can see in the photo the floor extends over the bottom edge.

When these base papers are glued on they are pressed flat – and left to dry several days under weight.

Then the excess paper hanging off the edges is trimmed away with my Xacto knife and the now blocked-in painting is put on my easel. There many more cut pieces of paper layered on at my easel – many of them are very tiny pieces of paper, the size of a fingernail or smaller, others are tissue paper thin allowing the underlayment to show through – these papers are cut with my Xacto knife carried to the easel then glued into place.  More building up of paper layers until each element within the artwork has more tonal ranges and dimension. For example, the Judges glasses got more highlights and shadows glued onto them – they went from being made out of 2 pieces of paper to being made out of 6.  The Schnauzer’s eyebrows and whiskers are layered on. And so it goes…

Once again – even though it took quite a bit of time – I got so focused and excited about what I was doing that I forgot to photograph the various steps I did between the above photo and the finished artwork pictured below. (The finished artwork is protected by varnish.)

So here is the finished piece (details of size and media below the photo).

InnocentITellYou72

 “Innocent, I tell you….”

By Clancy

Size 10 x 10 x 2 inches

Media: Hand dyed paper, handmade paste paper, book cloth and acrylic on cradled board