I’ve finished my sketchbook for the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project, packed it up and put it into the postal slot. But before I did that I created an ebook version of the book – and a video. I was going to post more photos of work-in-progress and such – but I’ve gotten very busy so… you can download-to-own an ebook version here. And below is the video…
I finished the cat portrait I’ve been working on and have titled it “Strad O’Varius”. It is already scheduled to be shown in upcoming art gallery exhibits. My last post – here – tells a bit about what inspired this piece.
“Strad O’Varius” by Clancy – 30 x 24 inches – hand dyed paper, acrylic and color pencil on cradled board.
I’ve been very busy lately and mostly off-line because I’ve been creating a portrait of a Russian Blue cat. You can see my preliminary drawing beside the painting. My idea for this piece came from watching my fellow Pacific North-westerners braving the rain and cold in order to perform – or to attend a performance – of music.
Here’s “Mandolin Man”, a piece I finished that tests my new red gouache color. On the musicians neck strap you can most clearly see the new red I’d mentioned in my last post. I also used the red as a “mixer” in the brown of the Labrador fur – so it’s more of a dark red brown. I also played with the opaqueness of the gouache – and tried to leave some colors “transparent” in places too. I’m enjoying working in gouache. Of course “Mandolin Man” also has ink and color pencil (besides the gouache) and is on vintage sheet music.
As I posted recently (here) I’ve been playing around with a new-to-me art media: gouache.
Here’s my process of learning a new art media:
- Read 3 or 4 different sources that describe how to work in the media. While I’m reading I’m looking for “basic best practices” as well as what the “chief virtues” or strengths of the medium art and whether it’s advertised virtues might meet my needs.
- I look at artworks by other artists that use the medium. It’s best if I can see the art in real life – but seeing reproductions online or in books is helpful too. I was lucky enough to get to see some real-life works using gouache at the Portland Art Museum (see my last post)
- Buy the best quality medium materials that I can find. I went with Holbien Artist Gouache. It’s a company that’s been around a while and the primary mixing gouache set I got for the initial test is professional quality. (I did not get the “Holbien Acryla Gouache” as it is more like acrylic and would not be helpful for my purposes)
- When I get new medium materials I do something with them as soon as I get them home. Even if all I do is put some paints on a palette and make a few marks. I find that the sooner I start the better my chances of developing a new habit/ability instead of having “something I always meant to try”.
- Then once I’ve dabbled a bit I’ll take a subject matter that I’ve done fairly well using other mediums. I use that subject for the first 3 or 4 times and render it as well as I can in the new medium. This way I can focus on the details, methods and possibilities of the new medium rather than thinking of subject matter too.
Here’s what I did with my new gouache set (the primary mixing set) plus a few extra colors I knew I’d need (since I draw a lot of animals I knew I needed browns).
I picked the sheet music because the paper is very thin and fragile – even more thin than the paper in my Brooklyn Art Library sketchbook. So I reasoned that if the paints worked fairly well on the sheet music then I’d be able to use them on other thin papers.
I picked Siamese cats as a subject because they’re, well, musical.
The result of my test? Oh my! I think I may be falling in love with gouache!
In my studies of cats recently I’ve learned that cats are often employed on winery and beer brewery premises – especially here in the Pacific Northwest. There are also several local bookstores and music instrument shops that have cat “staff” members too. So in support of working cats today here are two portraits I’ve just finished that are drying on my table (a Siamese and a Tabby).
I think I’ll call the piano player “Scarlatti” after Domenico Scarlatti, the Italian composer of “The Cat’s Fugue” (google it!). I’ll call my better-mousetrap-builder “Handy”.
Today the Pacific Northwest sun has been dancing in and out around the clouds like a dancer at a folk music festival. Or like a cat singing for supper.
A Siamese cat and a black & white alley cat are on my work table…
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/
More progress in my sketchbook for the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project. As per my recent reading I’ve been thinking about time… and how food and music utilizes time. So does sequential visual art. Anyway here’s some photos of my progress – and yes, I’m indulging by drawing some of my favorite recipes (for drinks and soup) as well as drawing metaphoric portraits of some of my favorite local musicians.
Here’s a link to the last post about this project (so you can follow my progress): https://sueclancy.com/2017/08/14/story-strands-in-my-sketchbook-project/
And here’s a post listing the books I’m currently reading (that I alluded to above): https://sueclancy.com/2017/08/07/reading-books-making-art-eating-popcorn/