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

 

birthday book

A Creative Life, artist book, artistic inspirations, drawing as thinking, ebook, sketchbook, travelogue, visual story

It’s my birthday so you get a present! Because you’re a regular reader of my posts, here is a free downloadable e-book copy of my “Running Around Loose” sketchbook. It’s a pdf file, click RunningLooseVanEd1byClancy to download the book for free (it’s a birthday gift!). I’ll include a few sample pages in this post so you’ll have some clues as to what you’ll get when you open the file. Enjoy! And thanks again for looking at my stuff!

Now please pass the strawberries and whipped cream.

RiverwalkJavaHouse

HouseConcert

McMenamins

SavonaCoffeeRiverwalk

pages from “Running Around Loose in Vancouver WA” by Clancy

Oh yes – you can find more of my artist books here: https://sueclancy.com/shop/  and here: https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/

strawberry daiquiri fields

A Creative Life, artistic inspirations, fine art, food for thought, kitchen art, still life

I first “met” the Pacific Northwest in the novels of Tom Robbins. His book “Another Roadside Attraction” has a wonderful description of the grey-blue skies, the abundant rain, the soil and how the “…strawberries grow lustily…”.

Fast forward a number of years and on one of my first visits to the region I saw a field of strawberries growing wild near the ocean. I was enchanted.

Then after many years of vacations to this land of enchantments we moved from Oklahoma to the Pacific Northwest. One of the first things my wife and I did as new residents was to buy 4 Rainer strawberry plants and plant them in our back yard.

Each year those 4 plants multiplied themselves. And each year we share strawberries with neighbors, friends, family and try to think of new ways to use them.

This year’s new recipe is a strawberry daiquiri. Here’s the recipe I used – http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/frozen-strawberry-daiquiri-99140 – I went lighter on the lime juice than they suggest. It was quite yummy!

As you know from recent posts I’ve been practicing painting “stuff” a little more realistically – so I tried to get the glasses to look transparent and the fruits to look round and full.  Here’s the painting, titled “Strawberry Daiquiris”.

StrawberryDaiquris72

Strawberry Daiquiris – by Clancy – 8 x 10 inches – acrylic and gouache on board

the catalyst for Cat A List

A Creative Life, animals in art, artistic inspirations, cat portrait, Cats in art, fine art, visual thinking

I live in wine country and wine tastings are part of the culture. It’s common to hear comments like “2013 was a very good year for Pinot Noir!” Which means I’ve had my eyes opened to the fact that the same grape variety can taste differently from year to year.

This has prompted me to read books about Pacific NW wine and wine making in general.  It’s amazing how many tiny little things can affect a wine’s flavor; the soil, the slope of the land, whether it’s near water, how warm/cool the temperature average is, the amount of rainfall and of course bugs and animals. Too much wind, or smoke from wildfires can also affect the grape and the taste of the wine.

And there’s the effect of the winemaker, the maker’s many small choices add up: the harvest date chosen, the fermentation temperature, the choice of what kind of barrel or tank to ferment in, the type of cork and bottle to use – and many thousands of other minute mundane decisions.

It seems to be a combination of both art and science.  Which makes me even more curious about wine and more appreciative of the wines I drink.

So rather than writing an essay about what I’ve learned and my thoughts and feelings about it – I’m creating a visual story of a curious cat character – who is investigating a wine list. I did a “vine” background pattern because, you know, grape vines… and I chose a brindle cat breed because wine making is subtle blending of many different elements.

SueWithCatAList72

And here is the finished piece:

CatAList72

“Cat A List” by Clancy 30 x 24 x 2 inches Hand dyed, hand stenciled paper and acrylic on cradled board

I’ve titled it “Cat A List” for reasons alluded to above, plus the definition of the word ‘catalyst’ and because I’ve learned that, just like professional fine artist’s, wine makers typically only offer their “A List”, the selection of what they think is their best work, to the public.  And this best-of list can vary from year to year.

Which makes this region the perfect place for this wine-curious cat (aka me) to live!

 

purrameters of pie

A Creative Life, animals in art, artistic inspirations, cat portrait, Cats in art, Narrative Art

Finished the artwork and titled it: “Purrameters of Pie”.  I decided on that title because (as my last blog post said here) I was thinking of all the various sizes of sweet or savory pies available here in the Pacific Northwest. And the tabby cat’s towel protected paws encircle the just-out-of-the-oven pie…

PurrametersOfPie72

purrfecting pie

A Creative Life, art techniques, artistic inspirations, cat portrait, Cats in art, kitchen art

I’ve noticed in my travels around the Pacific Northwest that you can get savory or sweet hand pies to-go from food carts, a medium sized “personal pie” in restaurants, a slice of pie, a whole pie or a serve-yourself-family-style pie. I’ve also heard from several sources that a flaky pie crust is hard to make from scratch.

I’m currently discovering that it’s also a challenge to paint a flaky pie crust.  Here’s a picture of me working at it:

SueWorksPurrametersOfPie1b72

I’m using a “color shaper”, a rubber wedge shaped brush, to remove the top layer of color to reveal the color underneath. An attempt to make the pie in my painting look like a browned pie crust top that has cracked to show the yummy goodness inside.

I’ll keep working on this piece but first I’ll let it dry a bit and go have some dinner… for some reason I’m hungry.

staying wet in the Pacific Northwest

A Creative Life, art techniques, Sustainable creativity

I’ve been loving having independent art supply stores near where I live in the rainy Pacific Northwest – and on a recent trip to get more gouache colors I bought a “stay wet” palette. The theory of the thing, according to the art supply store clerk, was that water based paints wouldn’t dry out as fast. I bought one…

MastersonPallette

…and I’ve been using the same palette now for several days! Less paint waste! And I’m able to work in even better “short bursts”. All I have to do is pop the tight fitting lid off and dip my brush in and paint. Sometimes I spray a “mist” of water on the palette to add more moisture. Then when I’m done painting I put the lid back on.

Now I’m thinking “Where has this palette been all my life?”. Going to have to go back to the art supply store to get a second one.  Thank goodness for the local art supply store clerks who really know their stuff!

cats on a ledge

A Creative Life, animals in art, cat portrait, Cats in art, creative thinking, drawing as thinking

In my town and region I find a lot of cafes, pubs and bistros that have – for the lack of a better term – ledges as tables.  These are swaths of 8 to 12 inch deep “tables”, just big enough to put a coffee cup with a saucer and perhaps a paperback book.  Or they’re just large enough for a drink and a small plate of food.

Many of these ledges run along a wall and the edge of a room. Some ledges run down the center of a room and still others run along a window.  The ledges vary in length according to the space – I’ve seen as many as 18 people sitting along one ledge – but the ledge is rarely deeper than 12 inches.

It’s especially interesting to walk on a busy street and pass by a window and there, inside the eatery, facing the sidewalk, a number of people sit reading, eating, drinking and talking to each other.  I also find it fun to be one of the eatery patrons perched at the window and merely inches from the front of me and my 8 inches of ledge is the whole world passing by!

So I was thinking of such ledges today when I was drawing Burmilla cats.  Burmilla’s have impossibly big eyes. All the better for watching the world go by from your cat-perch at your favorite ledge!

burmillacatsledge

feline fuzzy

A Creative Life, animals in art, art techniques, artistic inspirations, Cats in art, creative thinking

It’s finally begun raining regularly here in the Pacific Northwest and I love it. Today the rainy cool air made me think of contentment and fur.

Here’s artwork of Persian cat that is drying on my worktable. The cat’s name is “Harold”.

WorkingOn1Cat72

memory music mountains and living rooms

A Creative Life, artistic inspirations, food for thought, music in art, sketchbook, travel art and writing, travelog, travelogue, words and pictures

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:

MtStHelens72

Sketchbook page by Sue Clancy

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)