Around the edges of working on cat portraits I’ve still been working with gouache. Specifically I’ve been testing it in my bound sketchbooks. Here are several pages, created with gouache and ink, in my current “kitchen sketchbook”. I have a series of kitchen sketchbooks, they are all small, around 3 by 5 inches, and I give each book a silly name. These books contain drawings of a recipe I was then-currently cooking – or a depiction of something I was drinking and eating. The following pages are from my “Mouthpiece Four” kitchen sketchbook. I have ambitions of publishing these sketchbooks… but that’s another blog post topic.
We are nearing the dessert stage of the unconventional cookbook “Kim Cooks Sue Draws”; meaning that all of the recipes have been illustrated, a short-cookbook-run has been sent to the printers and we’re waiting for delivery. I’m a mite nervous that it will arrive okay, that the printing will look good, that Chef Kim will be happy with it… but all I can do at this point is breathe and hope.
Both Chef Kim Mahan and I have shown the work-in-progress to friends and each of us have heard that people enjoy the “playful and practical” qualities of it, that it’s not intimidating like some cookbooks can be, that it makes people want to cook. So overall I’m hopeful for the reception of this artist book and that it will be a useful helpful thing for Chef Kim to have in her classroom and available on her website http://www.class-cooking.com for her far-flung fans.
Personally I feel good about the artwork I’ve done and I feel that this project concept fits well with my general artistic thoughts (I dislike the word “mission”): that artwork can be both playful and practical, that “fine art” can be helpful to living life well, that the ability to cook is an essential survival skill for artists and other creative people.
Anyway, our “dessert stage” progress also means that all of the unconventional cookbook recipe illustrations are now available as art prints and greeting cards and can be seen here: https://society6.com/sueclancy/collection/unconventional-cookbook
I know the prints and cards look good. I’ve seen them in person.
The short-cookbook-print run (the delivery I’m waiting somewhat impatiently for and slightly worrying over) that will be sold as a full “cookbook”, is a collection of 15 recipes, as single cards that will be slipped into one envelope with these labels on the outside:
When we get the print run then Chef Kim and I will sort the books by hand and we’ll probably ask our loving, tolerant, patient and wonderful spouses to help us. There’s only 90 of the books on this first print run so we’ll be able to quickly to get them ready for an event the Chef is doing. Some of the cookbooks will also be available via the Chef’s website www.class-cooking.com – and I’ll put a link here too when the books are ready.
As you may know from my previous posts this cookbook is not a traditional bound along one edge kind of book – it’s a collection of recipe cards; you can put one of the recipe cards under a magnet on the fridge while cooking from it, you could loan one to a friend, you can frame a recipe-card as “kitchen art” or mail one via snail mail. (This book design is also why the cards will need the hand-sorting mentioned above.)
My hope is also that people will smile and laugh when they see some of the recipe illustrations, that they will collect them and display them for a continued boost of humor. I really like laughter and firmly believe that laughter belongs in kitchens and dining rooms.
Here is a link to a post from the “appetizer days” of this project – which describes more about my ideas and intentions behind this project: https://sueclancy.com/2017/10/18/an-unconventional-cookbook-artist-book/
I’ll let you know when the delivery finally happens and I’m breathing easier….
I’ve now taken the finished artwork I did for Chef Mahan’s Pumpkin Biscuit recipe and done the hocus pocus necessary to make art-prints and greeting cards from it.
If you hover over the above photos or click on them you’ll see a link that takes you to the site where you can read more about them and order some.
The tea towels take a bit more slight-of-hand trickery to create a digital file for production – as it’s intended for printing on cloth and not paper. So as I have time – using my method of working in short spurts that I’ve blogged about before – I’ll work that magic and a tea towel with this artwork will quietly appear on the “Kim Cooks Sue Draws” page here https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/kim-cooks-sue-draws/
I’ve been pleasantly amused that the tea towels have been popular in Europe whereas the greeting cards and prints are more popular in the United States. Personally I giggle when I wipe my hands on a recipe-tea-towel. It’s been fun to see my art-prints on the Chef’s cooking school walls. And it’s a treat to mail a recipe as a card with a handwritten note inside. It’s all fun but mostly I’m delighted that my artwork is helping the Chef share her easy-to-cook recipes in a wider way.
As followers of my blog know: I think that knowing how to cook is an essential survive-thrive-as-an-artist skill and I’m lucky to get to learn more about cooking by working with the Chef on this art project! What fun!
Now what’s for lunch?
p.s. if you have trouble seeing the links under the photos here they are:
I’ve spent part of the weekend and most of today illustrating a new recipe for the unconventional cookbook “Kim Cooks Sue Draws”. Chef Kim Mahan said that this is one of her popular easy-to-do recipes for her cooking school – and we had to have it in the book. Since the recipe as typed up by Chef Kim was titled “Pumpkin Biscuits” and this is October… my mind went to, well, you’ll see:
Fortunately Chef Kim Mahan has a sense of humor and didn’t mind a Pumpkin making people-shaped biscuits! Whew! In fact it sparked a whole conversation between us about how humor and fun in the kitchen helps a good-food experience happen. And that food is more than just bodily nutrition – beautiful (and fun) looking food feeds our spirits too. Chef Kim went on to talk about her efforts to make her cooking classes fun and relaxed for this spirit-feeding reason.
She talked about her concepts better than I’m able to describe here. Sigh. I wish I’d been able to write notes as quickly as she talked!
Anyway, I’ve a few more things to do, like photograph the artwork after it dries, before I can turn this artwork into cards, prints and tea towels. You can get a hint of what will happen with this “Pumpkin Biscuits” recipe art by looking at our cookbook “Kim Cooks Sue Draws” on this website here: https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/kim-cooks-sue-draws/
And now, after looking at recipes all day I’m hungry. Go figure.
Followers of my artwork already know that I like to play with the book format. Does a book always have to be bound on one edge? I don’t think so. It also doesn’t have to be conventional-book-shaped. With this in mind I’m working with Chef Kim Mahan (www.class-cooking.com) to create an unconventional cookbook titled “Kim Cooks Sue Draws”. More details here: https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/kim-cooks-sue-draws/
Here’s the logo-label I drew using ink and color pencil. (and yes, this is a caricature of the Chef Kim and me)
Our book is not, and will not be, conventionally bound. In fact it might not be called a “book” by some people because it has recipes as tea towels, art prints and greeting cards. Eventually individual recipe-cards will be available (curated by the Chef for particular purposes) for home cooks to use on clipboards or under refrigerator magnets.
Though “Kim Cooks Sue Draws” is not bound along a spine it is a collection of related thoughts connected together in an obvious way. Which, in my opinion, is what a “book” really is.
So “Kim Cooks Sue Draws” is another artist book from me – and I’m lucky that Chef Kim is willing to play with me in this unconventional way. We both see this “book” as a set of playful yet practical artworks that you can use at home to cook, eat and share with people you love.
If this cookbook is to be considered “bound” in any way it would be on this website https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/kim-cooks-sue-draws/ – I use the word “bound” here to signify “collected together in one spot”. I’m sure the Chef will have additional places to put “Kim Cooks Sue Draws” both online and in her classroom.
The Chef and I are in the appetizer-days of this project and we have a full multi-course menu of plans… oh boy do we have plans! Please stay seated at the table… more yummy to come!
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…
Lots more to work to do…
My past posts regarding this project (so you can follow my progress) are here: https://sueclancy.com/2017/08/10/sketchbook-project-progress/ https://sueclancy.com/2017/08/14/story-strands-in-my-sketchbook-project/ https://sueclancy.com/2017/08/16/sketchbook-progress-time/
General info about the Sketchbook Project is here: https://www.sketchbookproject.com/
Below are some books I’m currently reading that are “feeding” many of my upcoming art projects. That’s art exhibits, illustration projects and yes even my sketchbook work for The Sketchbook Project I blogged about last post. Even though it may seem that I produce a random variety of things – there’s a uniformity to my randomness and it begins with what I read. I see all of the things I make as telling a visual/tactile story about being human, enjoying life and living well. And to help me develop my visual story I read…
In case you can’t see all the titles in the picture they are:
“Wonderland; How play made the world” by Steven Johnson
“Books for Living” by Will Schwalbe
“The Creative Spark; How imagination made humans exceptional” by Agustin Fuentes
“The Foundations of Mindfulness” by Eric Harrison
“Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel
All of these books relate to themes I’ve been working with artistically for some time now:
How being willing to try new foods, to eat diverse foods, has helped us develop biologically as physical human beings. And how it helps us still.
Playing music, playing games, “playing” with our food – each kind of play in it’s own way has helped humans as a species develop and maintain physical and mental structures as individuals – and also social structures as communities. This is still true today. When we do not take time to play we hurt ourselves and each other.
Reading books (and writing them) has helped us – as a species – to pass on information so that each generation doesn’t have to completely reinvent the world from scratch. This ability to collect information, and learn from it, informs our abilities to play – to playfully combine/recombine things – helping us to develop and maintain our mental skills.
Which leads me to mindfulness. Mindfulness for me is the human ability to pay attention, to focus attention and also to have a state of open/non-judgmental acceptance – curiosity even. This is essential to developing, having and keeping our human ability to imagine and be creative. Mindfulness is part of being able to play and learn…and being able to play and learn is a way of being mindful. And for me, keeping a sketchbook, making art, is at it’s heart an exercise in playful mindfulness – but more about that in another post.
The novel by Esquivel is included in my current reading list because woman does not live by non-fiction alone.
Now please pass the popcorn. Thank you.
Sweetie and I did a short road trip to Mount St. Helens in Washington. We hiked around, saw a lot of birds. Sweetie heard the birds singing and said they were quite a musical chorus. At the visitor’s center people “danced” about getting photos in front of the mountain. I drew this in my sketchbook using ink and watercolor:
Then at the visitor’s center we went into the Mount. St. Helens gift shop. From past experience we’ve learned that their collection of books for sale on the topics of botany, zoology and biology is a gold mine. Several books come home with us each trip. This time was no exception. One of the titles that came home with us is “Natural History of the Pacific Northwest Mountains.” by Daniel Mathews.
On page 429 I read (about birds caching food) “Phenomenal ability to remember precise locations evolved separately in the chickadees and the jays that cache food for winter, and in many migrating species. Some of these species have nonmigratory or noncaching relatives whose powers of recall don’t amount to diddley squat. Another kind of memory that must be worth holding on to is a male warbler’s memory of conspecific males’ songs. As long as each singer remembers his neighbor’s song from the year before, and stays on his own territory, both are spared a fight. They remember songs from year to year as they return from Central America to reclaim their old haunts.”
That got me to thinking about the traveling troubadours of ancient times. And from that thought I migrated (pun intended) to thinking of how, here in the Pacific Northwest, there is a “new” tradition of traveling musicians who give what is called “living room concerts” in private homes. The home-owner hosts the musicians, putting them up for a night or two, and invites a number of family and friends to come to a concert. A certain amount of money is collected per attendee and most of that money goes to the musician. The musician also sells their CD’s and what not during the evening.
I’m quite addicted to this ‘living room concert’ tradition. I find that even though I’m deaf I can “hear” the music better in a small intimate setting. There are also several local small independent theatres – and there’s fairly good hearing there too. My point being that the music I’ve heard since we’ve lived here in the Pacific Northwest has inspired a lot of my recent artwork. And I suspect this trend will continue.
The concept of a birds ability to remember where they put their food also made me think about the seasonal offerings at the local Pacific Northwest restaurants. When I say “seasonal offering” I mean it. There’s a short time when a certain fruit or veg is available at the local farms so the pubs and restaurants will offer special dishes that use that fruit/veg and then when it’s gone. It’s gone.
We’ve lived here long enough now that I’m beginning to remember, for example, what pubs will offer the “fresh asparagus ‘fries’ ” during peak asparagus season. I’m also remembering which farmers market stands sell the freshest berries and apples. I love the seasonal randomness it’s like a perpetual surprise party but the ability to remember what is ripe during what season is helpful to know.
Needless to say I’ve been artistically inspired by the food. And that’ll prolly (as they say here) continue too.
There’s something about memory and food and music…. something that I just itch to make fine art about. So stay tuned. (pun intended again)
I’m playfully experimenting again. I’m combining several things: my thought that knowing how to cook is an essential artist survival skill, my not-so-secret desire to illustrate a cookbook and the fact that I’ve been asked to do my fine artwork (dogs and food!) as prints for sometimes messy home kitchens.
So I’m collecting my kitchen art efforts together and publishing them on a web page – https://sueclancy.com/pattern-design/kitchen-tales/ — as you can see I’m doing a series of individual prints instead of printing a series of images in a traditional book. This way people can mix and match to their liking.
The same with tea towels and napkins… can recipes become something useable like a towel? Can I tell visual stories, that you can wipe your hands with, about enjoying food and drink? It’ll be fun to try!
And lucky for me I have a chef friend – Chef Kim Mahan of http://www.class-cooking.com – who wants to experiment with non-traditional cookbook notions too! We will do some practicing in public – on my blog as well as on the above mentioned web page.
Here’s a framed print… you saw progress towards this image in earlier posts.