finished Abyssinian cat with alphabet

A Creative Life, animals in art, art techniques, artistic inspirations, cat portrait, Cats in art, creative thinking, handmade papers, pattern design, visual thinking

Here’s the finished Abyssinian cat portrait with an alphabet pattern background – reflecting my thoughts of multi-lingual book readers, alphabetic “framing” of thoughts and… well, if you look at my last several blog posts you’ll see my thinking as I’ve worked on this one.

It’s titled “Alpha Betty” and is 20 x 24 inches.


I’m particularly pleased with how the alphabet “shows through” subtly all over this piece with varying degrees of transparency or opacity – like our varying degrees of awareness of the linguistic framing of our thoughts.

You can see more of my cat-related thoughts in my ebook “Various Cat Sketches” here:


cat thoughts with alphabets

A Creative Life, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, handmade papers, pattern design

I’ve been thinking a lot about cats; how they have their own “spaces” or territories. How each has its own frame of reference. My cat Hawkeye, for example, thinks that fleece throw blankets are unreasonable objects and seems offended when a fleece throw is on my lap. But a woven, cotton blanket is a thing of sense and reason in his opinion.

This got me to thinking about the alphabet. Each language has its own – and when we say “the alphabet” we immediately think of our native tongue. Sometimes this presumption can be dismissive of other languages and alphabets. But when we’re aware of bi-lingual people and have a general awareness of the multiplicity of this world – perhaps we are better able to remember that these frames of reference are just that, frames. And that frames can be adjusted.

I’m imagining a mouse-obsessed cat and her frame-of-reference, her possible reading preferences… and creating an all-over alphabet pattern on handmade paper. I speak both English and American Sign Language. I’m more fluent in English so I’m using the English alphabet to make my pattern.


Now this paper will have to dry a while. So I’ll work on a to-scale drawing of my thoughts for the next several days. And I’ll practice drawing cats. You can see more of my cat-related thoughts in my ebook “Various Cat Sketches” here:


what happened with the dog art on fabric

A Creative Life, animals in art, Art Licensing, artistic inspirations, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, functional art, pattern design, surface design

I’ve been inspired by many local coffee shops – as well as the local dogs – and I’ve been making notes in my sketchbooks and creating fine art in prep for my upcoming art exhibit opening June 2nd at Burnt Bridge Cellars (Free downloadable eBook sketchbook full of my inspirations available via this link

As part of my upcoming exhibit I’ve also created some dog-art-as… napkins and tea-towels. It fits with the dogs and drinks theme…

Here is a photo of the cloth dinner napkins – available via this link only


The tea-towel looks like this (photo below) and is available via this link only:

A photo of a fabric swatch with this pattern is on my blog here:

coffee dog art on fabric

A Creative Life, animals in art, Art Licensing, Dogs in Art, pattern design, surface design

You knew, I’m sure, that it was only a matter of time until I tried putting my dog drawings onto fabric… and you were correct!  Look what came in the mail just now – a fabric test swatch for my approval.  (I approve!!) Tea-towels and napkins here we come…

Here’s the swatch as it came out of the mail-envelope… the rulers are to show scale:

Two Dogs Coffee swatch


new art designs by Clancy for fabric

A Creative Life, Art Apparel, Art Licensing, pattern design, surface design

The grandmother I grew up with was a quilter. I spent many a childhood day going through Grandma’s carefully-organized-by-color fabric collection and re-sorting them into different color combos. (Not sure Grandma approved.) Later on my adopted mom was also a quilter.

In my fine art I’ve been designing the “fabric” my characters “wear” in my artwork (as well as the wall paper, the china tea cups, the clocks, chairs and whatever else is part of my visual story).

So it seems fitting that I begin doing art-designs for real-life fabric that can be available for quilters and seamstresses of all kinds. You can find my designs on Spoonflower here –

More designs will be coming online soon – and I’m making more… I’ll keep you posted.

I figure I owe it to my grandmother – and my adopted mom – for all the times I “messed about” in their fabric collections! And I want to give my currently-using-fabric quilter/fabric artist friends something new to create with…

Here is a photo of my first test swatches (8 x 8 inches) with my designs on fabric. What you see is exactly as the swatches came out of the envelope a few minutes ago – they’ve not been ironed or anything. The ruler is there to show scale.

These designs, after I officially “approve” them in about 5 minutes, will be available as fabric cut by the fat quarter or by the yard.  Also these and other fabric designs I create – will soon be available for application on home-furnishings like chairs or tea towels via another Spoonflower related company.  But more about that another day.

what café art became

A Creative Life, Art Apparel, Art Licensing, pattern design

I blogged earlier about my café inspired pattern design in the process of being created –

The rest of that story is that I’ve turned the “café you and me” design into a scarf and a clutch bag for my signature art apparel collection on VIDA

Now I need more coffee…

café art you and me

A Creative Life, Art Licensing, art techniques, drawing as thinking, pattern design

I’ve been inspired by all the coffee here in the Pacific Northwest and enjoying going to the cafe’s and coffee shops with my sweetie. And yes, we’ve been buying coffee beans from local roasters and “trying it at home”.

Here’s a café inspired pattern design that I’m in the process of creating using a brush and walnut ink.


art of songbirds on blooms

A Creative Life, animals in art, Art Licensing, art techniques, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, drawing as thinking, pattern design, sketchbook

Early one morning I was standing outside waiting on Rusty, my dachshund, to “do his business” and saw several song birds singing in my blooming Camilla bush. I doodled an idea in my sketchbook using a ball-point pen. (Yes, I keep a pen and sketchbook in the pocket of my bathrobe) By the time Rusty had finished up “business” I’d finished my sketchbook work. A few days later I began creating a finished surface design inspired by those song birds. Here is my artwork in progress:


To create this design I’m using my cut paper mixed media collage technique – the same one that I use to create my fine art.

Then after several more days of “short burst” work on my design I declared it “finished” and submitted it to VIDA for addition to my signature collection:

Here are the two newest “signature collection” apparel pieces with my “Songbirds On Blooms” design:

And of course I’ve a few more plans for this design but more about that later.


what is art for and 3 ways to find out

A Creative Life, animals in art, artistic inspirations, mental health, Sustainable creativity

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.” (

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”


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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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: – and here below are a few examples.


new Clancy pattern designs

A Creative Life, Art Apparel, Art Licensing, artistic inspirations

Here are images of my newly finished scarf and bag designs intended for the amusement of teachers (and students and people who enjoy language and numbers) – and both designs were inspired by teachers.  My most recent blog post on my website tells “how and why I made this” details. 


scarf design by Clancy – the original pattern is created by hand-drawing letters in ink. That pattern is custom printed on modal fabric


bag design by Clancy – the original pattern is created by hand-drawing numbers in ink. That pattern is custom printed

You can see my full pattern design collection here: