Five years ago I’d done an original artwork, inspired by beers here in the Pacific Northwest, titled “Chip Monk”. Well, the original sold about 10 minutes after it was hung on the gallery wall. Fast forward 5 years and I’m still getting comments about and requests for that particular image. Some even asked me multiple times “Will you please make a print of the Chip Monk?”
So, because I love my fans, I’ve done an art print of it now, titled “Chip Monk Beer”, via Society 6 – https://society6.com/sueclancy – and I also applied the art image on a few other items. Enjoy! And thanks everyone for your support of my artwork!!
I finished the artwork I was working on in my last blog post! https://sueclancy.com/2017/04/06/art-of-the-onion/ and then I applied the illustration to some things… a framed print, greeting cards and other items you can find here: https://society6.com/sueclancy
About a month ago now Sweetie and I took a cooking class (www.class-cooking.com) as a “date night out”. It was fun and as usual when I do something fun I made notes in my sketchbook. Here is one of the sketchbook pages I did during cooking class with Chef Kim Mahan.
Then I got very busy with fine art commissions and etc. freelance projects – and life.
But every time I’d cut an onion when cooking supper I’d think about our class and the valuable instructions I’d gotten about onions. Since for me drawing is thinking – I ached to draw onions and the chef’s “how to chop onions” instructions so as to think about and “visualize” them. So for several weeks now when I’ve had a spare 5 or 10 minutes I’d look at my sketchbook pages and brain-storm about what I wanted to create. After a brain-storm option had been settled upon I spent my spare 5 or 10 minutes drawing and writing in pencil on a larger sheet of Bristol paper the onion art/illustration I’d brain-stormed about. Some days I only erased pencil lines that didn’t work. Other days I re-drew pencil lines. After the pencil lines were settled in my spare few moments I’d do an ink line or two…
We’re talking quick-quick drawing work on the “onion art” then I’d go on with my day-job art projects. Every day though I did something in my spare 5 to 10 minutes to inch the onion art along.
Then today I had 20 whole minutes in a row to spare! Wahoo!! And the pencil work was done and I even had a few ink lines done – so I grabbed my ink pens, watercolors and color pencils…
Here’s what I’ve done today – as it is on my work table – I’ve a bit more work to do but it’s almost finished!
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:
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”
But how exactly did I get to a defined goal, a “purpose” for my art?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Doing my short narrative – poem plus illustration – practice again. Perhaps I should call it “dog drawing plus words”?
Ponder – By Sue Clancy –
There once was a dog named Ponder
Who was full of curiosity and wonder
“What’s it like in the lea?
or for people at sea?
Oh what is it like over yonder?”
Sketch and poem titled “Ponder” by Sue Clancy (drawing made with pen and ink)
I was contacted about a week ago by a magazine located in the U.K called Creative Digest – http://www.creativedigest.co.uk/ – they wanted to do a profile about me and my artwork! They sent me a bunch of questions, and requested art images… it went back and forth…. and now the magazine profile is out!
Here’s the direct link: http://www.creativedigest.co.uk/keep-list-things-make-glad-alive-charming-animal-illustrations-sue-clancy/
They titled the profile “Charming animal illustrations by Sue Clancy” – how nice is that? This is one of my artworks they chose to feature on the front page. Going to go happy dance! I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts….
The Read Wagon by Sue Clancy, 14 x 11 x 2 inches, hand dyed paper, hand stenciled paper, handmade paper, found paper and acrylic on cradled board.
Today’s short narrative practice… original poem and art/illustration to follow:
Danny Joe – By Sue Clancy
There was an old dog named Danny Joe
who played a lively banjo
and sang folk songs
about rights and wrongs
and all the things a body should know
art illustration to go with a poem by Sue Clancy called “Danny Joe” – the art is pen and ink on handmade paper
Here’s some more short narrative practice, or poetry practice, or words plus pictures practice or if you want to be really accurate you could call it “Sue’s playing around again”. Whatever you want to call it – here’s the poem and illustration:
Card Times by Sue Clancy
A sly old dog named Muffin
Sat on a cushion of stuffin’
While playing cards
And sweating hard
He said firmly “I aint bluffin’”
Card Times – words and illustration by Sue Clancy (the pen and ink on handmade paper artwork is titled “Aint Bluffin”)
I’m working on my short narrative practice again; aka writing a quickie poem/story plus creating an illustration for it. I’m thinking of fudge, fudge competitions, and the process of asking people to judge something so subjective as what something tastes like… and what could happen.
Anyway, here’s what my desk looks like right now… more progress to come later, after lunch. All this thinking about fudge and I’ve realized that I’m hungry. Back in a bit…
Sue Clancy’s work-in-progress; writing a short narrative poem and creating an illustration for it.
Was contacted this morning by one of my gallery owners, Barney, of Downtown Art & Frame, in Oklahoma to tell me that my work “Lettuce Peas” had sold! This work was a highly experimental piece, different from the “typical” work I do. For this project I worked with Judy Sullens, a writer, and created this words+art piece inspired by and based on her word-play. Judy’s original poem was titled “Gardener’s Prayer”. I took Judy’s words and created an original cut-paper illustration in my style and wrote out her poem by hand using pen and ink calligraphy.
Technically this piece is an original “broadside” as it would be called in the book-arts world. And normally I might have submitted it for exhibit in a book-arts kind of gallery like the 23 Sandy Gallery. But, Barney, who runs a frame-shop-gallery in Oklahoma saw the piece in my studio here on the West Coast, liked it and wanted to frame it and exhibit it along with the other artwork of mine he was selecting for delivery to his gallery.
I do my best to keep my gallery-owners happy so I agreed. All the art he requested got shipped – including “Gardener’s Prayer”. He was happy. I was happy. Judy was happy. Then life went on.
When he told me today that the work had sold he also said of this piece “it’s a gem”. He talked of how much attention this particular piece had gotten, how the client who ended up buying it had come to ‘visit’ it multiple times before buying. He went on to say that he thought it might be a good idea for me to do more such things, maybe make a book of such poetic-artistic-meditations-on-daily-life.
So now I’m thinking about doing that. Over the many years I’ve worked with Barney he’s had a number of great suggestions for my art/career… so I take his suggestions seriously. And I think Judy will play poetry+art again with me … and I write poems sometimes myself… and I’m also flirting with thoughts of collecting some other poet/writers very short thoughts (ideally word-play) about some aspect of daily life.
My question is how to go about it? Must ruminate more on this topic… Please share your comment/thoughts too.
Anyway here is the “Gardener’s Prayer”:
Poem by Judy Sullens. Art (cut handmade paper) and Calligraphy by Sue Clancy.