One of the purposes of the Arts is to help us live well and, paraphrasing Kurt Vonnegut, to grow our souls. I’ve had this in mind as I’ve created my holiday stocking-stuffer stuff for my upcoming pop-up shop at Vintage Books Dec 7th from noon to 4 pm. https://www.vintage-books.net/
Making a whimsical, playful, calendar with artwork from my current Readers series was loads of fun – and I hope it will help people remember to live well and grow their souls all year long! I’ve titled my calendar “Reading All Year”. It is 5 x 7 inches when closed and 10 x 7 inches when open. It’ll fit into a holiday stocking. I’ve checked.
“Reading All Year” – a 2020 calendar by Clancy
If you can’t visit me at Vintage Books here’s a link where you can get your own calendar shipped directly to you. Hopefully my calendar will be a fun stocking-stuffer gift the other readers in your life will enjoy too!
I wish you the best during the holiday season and in the coming new year!
“Feelings are guides not gods” is a phrase from “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit”, the new print version I’m currently working on. The concept is illustrated by this story:
Here’s some text from the book related to the artwork: “Do you think that feelings keep you from doing things? More good news – they don’t! We’ve all done many things we didn’t feel like doing – such as going to school or work when we didn’t feel like it – which proves that: Feelings don’t keep us from doing things. Moreover, when you do that thing you feel scared to do, you are nourishing your courage…… Remember, you are responsible for your feelings not responsible to them.” (see the Eggplant story above)
Cultivating and maintaining a high level of Emotional Intelligence is essential to well-being (and creativity). Good mental health is about more than just the absence of mental illness – it is the presence of good coping skills, being able to self-regulate, to see feelings as a guide whether the feelings are your own or someone else’s. (Btw: there’s a good article about teaching Emotional Intelligence here.)
I’ve found Dr. Bob’s concept of “feelings are guides not gods” applies to creativity, and the creative life, as well. Whether or not I feel a particular way doesn’t have to affect whether or not I make my artwork. My feelings are not a “god” to be obeyed. If it’s time to work in the studio, however short or long the time-to-work I’ve allotted is, off I go to my creative work no matter how happy, sad or inspired I feel at the moment.
Where I use my feelings as a “guide” is when I’m out in the world on the lookout for possible art-topics. I keep my inner eye open for things that capture my curiosity and my imagination. Then I keep a list of those things and my feelings related to them in my sketchbooks for future art-making. My use of this “feelings as guide” technique has helped me create many helpful guidebooks, so to speak, for my own creative life. I find it a sustainable creative practice.
All that aside I’d like to add that eggplant can, once in a while, be a very good vegetable – especially as eggplant parmesan.
Recently I’ve been super busy with fine-art exhibits and other illustration projects. But now I’m back to regular work on a new print version of “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit”. During my work on the pages about Dr. Bob’s S.W.I.F.T. finger therapy I remembered how valuable this concept is when I’m in the middle of an art project.
While a project is not a person all creative projects also have an ugly-duckling stage. A point in which they’re more “mess” than “masterpiece”. A point in which things are happening with the colors and shapes that may not be what I intended or hoped for.
I’ve found the S.W.I.F.T therapy helps me remember to calm down about the mess. If a creative person gets too angst-y about the in-progress project it stops the flow of creativity. Possibly leading to a creative block. Remembering to think of “So What If….” finger therapy helps me relax and to do nothing radical to the in-progress project during my don’t-like-it moment. It enables me to let go, and approach the project later with an open, playful, mind. Perhaps after lunch, perhaps the next day.
Page from “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit” collected and illustrated by Clancy
If you’ve just joined my blog (and thank you for that!) here’s the last post about this project. The last post covers another mental-health technique that relates, in my mind anyway, to living the sustainable creative life.
I began learning these mental-health techniques and applying them to my creative life back in the 1990’s. I’m still creating new artwork daily. Still loving it. Something works.
Hope this book and these posts will help you too. All the best…
Chef Kim Mahan came to my studio for a visit and made some decisions about recipes. We are cooking with real butter now! Meaning major progress towards having a real live published cookbook has occurred.
It is an artist book. Which means it’s an unconventional cookbook. It’s not bound in the traditional sense. It’s artwork – that you can cook with. Part of the reason for not-binding this book is that as separate pages one can be placed under a refrigerator magnet while in use.
Also the Chef will be able to mix and match sets of recipes according to themes (yes, we already plan to do more illustrated recipes!).
Here’s an example of mix-and-match:
There’s a kitchen-skill being taught (“how to roast a pepper”) and then there’s a recipe that applies that skill. (The “Please-ya Burger” recipe also uses the kitchen-skill “How to peel and roast garlic” that I’d illustrated and shared on my last blog post here.)
Incase enquiring minds want to know – here’s my general definition of what an “artist book” is:
Artists’ books are works of art that utilize the form of the book – a set of sequential “pages” that unfold/display in a way that utilizes time like a printed book does. The reader sets the pace of the viewing/reading. Artist books are intended as works of fine art they just happen to be “book-like” as that format helps convey the artist’s concept. Artist books are often published in small editions and they are sometimes produced as one-of-a-kind art objects. Often they are produced for a specific audience or purpose. Artists’ books utilize a wide range of forms, including scrolls, fold-outs, concertinas or loose items contained in a box, portfolio or envelope. Artist books are often intended for art gallery, library or collectors display.
With that definition you can begin to see, I’m sure, the “artist book” aspects of this cookbook project with Chef Mahan. The slight difference between the artist book definition above and this project is that this artist-book-cookbook will also be practical. You can use it to make dinner.
More about this project here and here.
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
Recently I took some of my artist books to the 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland Oregon. While I was there I saw the “Dead Feminists” exhibit by Jessica Spring and Chandler O’Leary. I’m talking exquisite hand drawn lettering, illustrations and printmaking employed as a way of celebrating women! And this exhibit also exists in a book titled Dead Feminists: Historical Heroines in Living Color published by Sasquatch Books.
Naturally I bought a copy.
The book – which you can purchase via their website http://www.deadfeminists.com/ and probably by book-sellers where-ever – is a wonderful nesting, interlocking set of artistic ideas. There’s the historical stuff about women (those dead feminists) who have done exceptional work towards advancing women’s rights. There’s the stuff about how artist’s Spring and Chandler worked to create the lettering, illustrations and the print production. Then there’s the stuff about what non-profit organizations (often women’s orgs) benefited from the sales of Spring and Chandler’s artwork.
It’s a beautiful depiction of how an artist (and a woman in whatever profession) can do her best work and benefit her community both immediately and in the future.
The book is a powerful reminder that we are each an essential contributor to life as we know it – or hope to know it.
Thank you Jessica Spring and Chandler O’Leary for your wonderful work! And thank you 23 Sandy Gallery for sharing it!
Now that I’ve finished reading this book I’ll go fetch my socks from where-ever they went when they were blown off.