epic pug sitting

A Creative Life, animals in art, Art Word Combinations, Books In Art, Dogs in Art, fine art, illustrated shorts, illustration, reading in art, small things, story, visual story, words and pictures, writing and illustrating

Recently I did a post titled Pug Epic Book In Art – (the post is about my painting in which a pug sits in a café reading a book) – since then I’ve also mused about a character who wrote the book the pug in the painting is reading. Here is an illustration of who I imagine is sitting to write the story “Epic Tales of the Pug King” – the book being read by the other pug in the painting:

Epic300

“Epic” by Clancy – ink and gouache on paper

And I’ve written the full text of the story that I hand lettered on the painted-book within my painting referred to in the prior post – the painting that when my wife saw it said she’d like to read the rest of the story of which only a part was depicted within the painting. So here’s the story:

Epic Tales Of The Pug, King  – by Clancy

The Pug King’s elegantly chipped ceramic bowl appeared before him resplendent with gravy, chunks of meat and yams. His Majesty tasted the gravy, then a meat chunk, the gravy again, then a yam, a meat chunk with the gravy and a piece of yam with gravy. He licked his lips, the bowl and his lips again. The Royal Feast was done; the dog sought some sport to aid all digestion and to his owner cried “Sir, Fool! Kneel now and play some ball!” The owner bowed and bent his knee. “Fetch!” he said and flung a mighty fling. The ball arched high into the air across the green expanse of Royal lawn. His Majesty ran flowing, majestically, swiftly, across the grass, conquering the ball and returning back to his owner. Three times, four times they did this at the King’s command. On the 12th time the owner knelt, patted the Monarch’s silken head, saying “Enough now, lets go inside and get ready for bed.” His Royal Majesty barked sharply. “Sir Fool, there’s a King’s personal business still to do…”

pug epic book in art

A Creative Life, Art Word Combinations, artistic inspirations, Dogs in Art, fine art, reading in art, small things, visual thinking, writing, writing and illustrating

Recently I was in a local coffee shop and a coffee cup was silhouetted beside a rainy window. Steam rising from the cup. Such a simple thing but I began thinking of how many stories begin with simple things and grow, cumulatively, until they become epics.

Like Pug dogs. So small yet so large in personality especially as they mature.

Here’s a painting I did that was inspired by these thoughts. I’ve titled it “Epic Tales of The Pug King”.

EpicTalesOfThePugKing72

Epic Tales Of The Pug King – by Clancy – 16 x 20 – acrylic and gouache on board.

I wrote the story that’s ‘printed’ in the book depicted in the painting and hand-lettered it, with brush and acrylic, into place on the page-within-the-painting.

My wife came into my studio, saw my work-in-progress and said “What’s the rest of that story?”, saying that she wanted to turn the Pugs page for him and continue reading. Then she challenged me to write the rest of the story.

Right this minute I’m enjoying the visual pun – that the Pug’s epic story-poem, ahem, is really, really, short.  Plus the setting and my character, the Pug dog, are not particularly grand as the word “epic” would imply.

And that’s in keeping with my feeling that the most important elements of this world are actually the mundane ones, the humble ones. Daily life and the qualities of it can have more impact on a person than the grandest once-in-a-lifetime vacation might.

I love this quote from Annie Dillard “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.”

 

I really mint it

A Creative Life, artistic inspirations, fine art, food for thought, small things, still life, story, visual story

Typically I paint food and drinks from my memory and imagination. Sort of.  I take my sketchbook along and draw from life what I’m eating or drinking. But when I get paints out in my studio to do a “real” fine art piece I’m winging it from my sketchbook-aided memories of the food flavors and presentation.  Recently I’ve done something different.

I’ve been working from “live” models in my studio. Here are my models as they came from the store:

StudioModels72

Clancy’s art studio “models”.

You see, I’ve been thinking of that moment during a nice dinner out, when the waiter brings you some after dinner mints, and you sit with your friends munching them and gentling into the rest of the evening.  But I can eat mints pretty quickly. (Mint is one of my favorite flavors) And in such a situation I’m usually focused on the conversation. So have I ever really looked at a mint? I mean really looked?

I bought some mint candies as art models for the serious artistic meditation thereof. And while I did look at (and eat) them I still ended up somewhat “winging it” when creating these paintings:

I think as paintings they worked out okay. While I tried some different colors (the purple, the teal and the orange) I feel I conveyed the minty goodness of the candies. I also think I managed to imply a story in each of them, at least an implication of people eating the mints.

At any rate I have really looked a mint now. Really looked.

on seeing story stuff

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, artistic inspirations, fine art, still life, visual story

Beauty and wisdom are all around us if we’re attuned to look for them. Like a mystery story detective looking for clues we train our eyes to “see” what is there. This is partially a function of he way our brains work. We see what we expect to see. How broad or narrow that expectation is affects what we will see. It’s all too easy to “see” only to-do lists and drudgery in daily life.  It’s too easy to “see” beauty only in dramatic once-in-a-lifetime vacation places. Yet our view can be broadened so we can see beauty in the fruit at the local market – and find wisdom on our coffee cup.

I see my job as an artist as a practice of seeing beauty in ordinary places and things; of telling the stories of the beauty and the wisdom I find. To help others to see the beauty too.

Beauty and wisdom can be too easily ignored, lost and forgotten – and when that happens life can seem dull and drudgery filled.  This is why we need to constantly train our eyes and minds to look around our mundane lives and see the beauty, the wisdom. It takes repeated practice. It takes detective work.

Dr. Bob Hoke (the psychiatrist I illustrated a book for) had a phrase for this phenomenon of the mind “When the student is ready the teacher will appear. And sometimes the teacher has been there all along waiting patiently for the student to become ready, to notice and remember to notice again the next day.”

Here are some beautiful ordinary things I remembered to see – and what I thought about them:

LifesABowlOfCherriesStemsPitsAndAll72

“Life’s a bowl of cherries, stems pits and all” – by Clancy – 8 x 10 inches – acrylic and gouache on board

Life’s A Bowl Of Cherries, Stems, Pits and All – At the farmer’s market during Rainier Cherry season I saw a father teaching his very young son how to pull a stem off, chew the cherry, extract the pit and put the stim and pit into a cup. it reminded me of how we have to be taught how to deal with the adversities in life, how to cope with the pits, how to focus on and remember to enjoy the good things.

CoffeeCity72

“Coffee City” – by Clancy – 5 x 7 inches – acrylic and gouache on board

Coffee City – I’ve been thinking of how much our lives are reflected in the objects we own, save, give away or dispose of – and the many mundane moments out of which a life is made. Perhaps choosing carefully what we focus on, choosing what encourages our “better angels”, choosing what becomes mundane is what makes for a good life.  These thoughts began when I was having coffee in one of my downtown coffee shops, staring at the highly polished surface of the ceramic coffee cup which reflected the surrounding city-scape. It was an ordinary moment that elevated my spirit. So I made this painting in order to remember.

You can see more art examples from this exhibit in my recent posts here and here.

More info about my upcoming art opening is available on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/2217205128523609/

True confessions: since the opening party is tomorrow night I am having a bit of the “will anyone come?” jitters. No matter that I’ve been having one person exhibits for many years, many times a year, or that all events have for the most part been well attended – even knowing all of that as opening night nears I get a little nervous. (“Will anyone else see….?”)  The exhibits matter to me. They’re risky on many levels. That’s part of the exhilarating fun of living the artistic life.

So, yes, I can see the beauty in my nervousness.

Mostly.

 

cozy mystery story stuff

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, artistic inspirations, Cats in art, Dogs in Art, fine art, music in art, small things, still life, story, visual story

In September at Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com I’m doing a one-person fine art exhibit titled “Story Stuff”. And you can thank the literary genre of the “cozy mystery” for it.

You see I enjoy detective novels and movies. I particularly enjoy cozy mystery novels because I like the inherent premise in them that a regular person living an ordinary mundane sort of life can use reason and logic to resolve problems.

After reading and watching a gazillion mystery stories – I realized how often some small object; a receipt, a coffee bag, or a whiskey tumbler is the clue that solves the mystery. That thought inspired me to try telling visual stories with “just stuff”. So for this exhibit I’ve selected things from my daily life and arranged them in my imagination, along with color, light and texture, in such a way that the viewer can deduce a story; they can “read” my visual description of how things are and which things matter. The viewer becomes the story detective/character-actor.

In some of my works I’ve also invented a character-actor – a cat or a dog – who plays a more obvious part in the story. Anthropomorphic animals are a way to make it plain that the artwork is a visual story. These particular animal characters are created and chosen because their breed characteristics add elements to the tale. The viewer is still the detective – there’s just more actors on stage.

I’m merging fine art techniques, and fine art genres of “Still Life” and “Animals in Art”, with literary and mystery genre concepts. I also love food, drinks and books – they are the elements of everyday Pacific Northwest life which for me is the stuff of stories.

Here’s (ahem) a short story collection from my upcoming exhibit:

stems pits and all

A Creative Life, artistic inspirations, fine art, still life, visual story

Rainier cherries are still available for sale here in the Pacific Northwest. They’re everywhere. Yesterday I saw a father and his young son eating cherries from a bag. The father was coaching the son on how to carefully chew the cherry, extract the pit and spit it into a cup.

Watching that reminded me that we have to be taught how to deal with the adversities in life, how to focus on and enjoy the good things, how to pull off the unwanted stems, to watch out for the pits and learn to cope with them – but to remember the enjoyment.

Here’s a painting I just finished titled “Life’s A Bowl Of Cherries, Stems, Pits And All”

LifesABowlOfCherriesStemsPitsAndAll72

“Life’s a bowl of cherries, stems pits and all” – by Clancy – 8 x 10 inches – acrylic and gouache on board

 

Dogs in the Winery exhibit video

A Creative Life, art exhibit, Dogs in Art, fine art, public art, small things, visual thinking

Some time back I did a blog post about my experimental exhibit currently at Burnt Bridge Cellars. In that post (link here: https://sueclancy.com/2017/06/13/my-experiment-of-exhibiting-art-as-a-multi-layered-story-environment/) I talked about creating a multilayered story environment; I included links to a free ebook sketchbook I’d done – as well as to a printed book and I included a few images of the artwork along with some short story-like descriptions for them. I wanted to share something with all of my fans whether they could physically come to my exhibit or not.

Then life went on in a hectic busy way and well I’ve only just now gotten around to posting on YouTube the video I’d shot, quick walk through style, after we hung the exhibit.  Here it is:

Now all that’s left is for you to taste the wine… but as far as I know there’s no way to upload wine to everyone’s screen in a way that they can taste it. Sigh.

The next opening party for my exhibit is July 7th. www.burntbridgecellars.com

 

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.com/wp-content/uploads/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?

 

 

art exhibit statement in pictures

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques, artist book, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, dog portrait, drawing as thinking, fine art, pattern design, public art, published art, sketchbook, visual thinking, words and pictures

I’ve been working on an exhibit statement for my upcoming one-person exhibit at Burnt Bridge Cellars http://www.burntbridgecellars.com/ via Caplan Art Designs http://www.caplanartdesigns.com/index.htm and making it as visual as possible. Here’s what I’ve come up with (with slight variations for my on-line only audience):

Dogs In The Winery by Sue Clancy

I’ve been inspired by many of the drinks, restaurants and music events in Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest. Whenever I am inspired I make notes in my “running around loose” sketchbook – real-life observations – that often end up on a page looking like this:

CestLaVie

Back in my studio I run those notes through my imagination and do a new sketch, in black and white, that uses elements of what I’d seen in real life but transforms that real-life data symbolically. In this way, my work becomes a visual story about enjoying something. For me drawing is thinking – and storytelling. My newly imagined art-sketch becomes something like this:

pierre72

Pierre by Clancy (ink on handmade paper)

Then I add to my story concept thoughts of color, patterns and textures – to create a surface design on handmade paper that reflects my thoughts/feelings. In this step, I’m designing and creating hand-made patterns onto handmade papers using a number of techniques. Each pattern is designed to be another story element.

I put together the real-life data – my re-configured imaginary sketch idea and my color/pattern surface design thoughts – by cutting shapes out of my handmade papers and literally gluing the cut paper pieces together to create my fine artwork.

To show you what I mean here is a picture of me making a surface pattern design on handmade paper:

patterningPaper2crop72

Sue Clancy creating a pattern on paper using a stencil-paste paper technique

And here I’m using an Xacto knife cutting out shapes from paper that was previously dyed:

CuttingCar

Cutting dyed paper into a shape

The end result is a multi-layered fine art piece in color – like what you see in this exhibit or that you can see on my website fine art page https://sueclancy.com/fine-art/ Or like this finished fine art piece titled “Café Paix”

cafepaix72

“Café Paix” by Clancy – 14 x 11 inches – hand dyed paper, handmade paste paper and acrylic on cradled board

This exhibit shows a progression of my artistic thoughts about life in the Pacific Northwest – a visual story collection – with various dogs as symbolic characters. For me a dog represents an exuberance, a gladness, about being alive and is a fitting representative for pleasant life experiences.

You can download, free, 18 pages from my “running around loose” sketchbook – the real-life data that inspired this exhibit from my website here: https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/  I’ve titled this (free eBook) sketchbook “Glad To Be Alive Sketchbook – drinks and music edition 2017”.  Direct link to the free eBook here: https://sueclancy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/gladtobealivedrinkmusiced.pdf

The imaginative art-sketches developed from the “Glad to be Alive…” sketchbook can be seen in the printed book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” (available in this exhibit or via Amazon and other booksellers or here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy ). If you are able to visit my art exhibit at Burnt Bridge Cellars I’m sure you can identify (in “where’s Waldo” puzzle fashion) which sketchbook page led to which black and white art-sketch and which of those became color fine artwork.

For a “mind map” of my thinking process see the diagram here: https://sueclancy.com/2017/05/16/mind-map-of-a-clancy-art-exhibit/

mind map of a Clancy art exhibit

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, Art Licensing, art techniques, artist book, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, functional art, pattern design, public art, published art, sketchbook, surface design, visual story, visual thinking, words and pictures

I’ve been busy getting ready for my one-person art exhibit to open June 2nd at Burnt Bridge Cellars – a winery in Vancouver WA.  Part of doing an exhibit is to write an exhibit statement. But before posting my finished exhibit statement I wanted to share my thoughts behind my art exhibit design.  Here’s a sketch diagram, a mind-map:

MindMapOfExhibit

For the last year I’ve been running-around-loose in the Vancouver WA and Portland OR area documenting, in my sketchbook, my experiences at local music events, restaurants, wineries, cafes and pubs.  You can see a free eBook of my sketchbook titled “Glad To Be Alive – drinks and music edition 2017” here: https://sueclancy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/gladtobealivedrinkmusiced.pdf

Then I processed through my imagination all of that data I’d collected in my sketchbook and for each pleasant thought I imagined a dog character-actor and made a new sketch/visual story, an ink study, using a sumi brush and ink. You can see a printed book, titled “Dogs by Sue Clancy” with of some of these ink sketches via Amazon or here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

After doing a whole bunch of these dog portrait studies, almost 100 of them, I selected several and refined them, adding color and pattern and shape thoughts to my visual story describing metaphorically my experiences in real life.  These refinements have become finished fine art pieces that are in color using my mixed media cut handmade paper technique.  Both some of the finished color artworks and some of the black and white ink pieces (framed) will be at my upcoming exhibit.

My artistic inspirations are elements of ordinary life – so I’ve extended my art-exhibit making to the above mentioned books. Books are an important element of ordinary life so having authored two of them and making them available adds another layer to my art exhibit.

After doing some of the fine artworks I’ve also done some “illustrated things”: I’ve applied some of my artistic thinking for my exhibit to real-life clocks, napkins, tea towels, scarves and many other ordinary consumer items.  This extends my art exhibit thesis to yet another layer or dimension.   You can see some of the items I’ve designed on my web page titled “illustrated things” here: https://sueclancy.com/pattern-design/

To put my exhibit thesis plainly – I think it is very important to remember to enjoy and actively participate in the present moment, to relish ordinary things, places and friendly people.  Once upon a time I lived in a place where quality music events, good restaurants, wineries and pubs were rare. Certainly they didn’t exist in the variety and abundance that they do here in the Pacific Northwest. So I’m aware of what a gift, a treasure, it is to have those things now.

It is also fitting to have my exhibit at a winery – where the people who come to see my artwork can also enjoy award-winning wines and food.

But back to my mind-map: generally at the exhibit my thesis will be available only as a visual story, not spoken or written in literal fashion.  I have a reluctance to preach or otherwise belabor a point.  Besides instead of writing/speaking didactically I’d rather draw.

Now you know.