Colors, trees, art and books

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art supplies, art techniques, artistic inspirations, books, creative thinking, fine art, mundane and magical moments, reading, Sustainable creativity, visual thinking

I’m in the home stretch for my upcoming art exhibit at Caplan Art Designs which opens October 5th! There are 22 paintings, 2 sculptures by me that are ready now. Number 25 is in progress more on that in a sec…

Besides creating the artwork itself I photographed each piece for the Gallery’s promotional uses. This week I did more photos of one of my 3d sculptures (8 inch cube) that I’ve titled “Independent As A Hog On Ice”. These photos below show the colors better than the post I did about “Independent As…” when I first finished it.

I’m in this video working on piece number 25 for my exhibit. I’ll title this painting “Ducks In A Row” when I’m finished.

Clancy at work on “Ducks In A Row”

This week in my email newsletter I talked about my color palettes; why I select my own paint tube colors rather that buying manufactured color sets. Here’s the link that details that …  https://sueclancy.substack.com/p/colors-of-cats-and-trees

Here below are photos of things in nature where I live in the Pacific Northwest that inspired my new color palette mentioned in my newsletter.

I enjoyed looking at the grey-blue sky, the blue-lavender mountains in the distance, the grey-green-blue of the river… and the greens of the trees…

On a rainy day I enjoyed the grey sky, the deep green trees…

I love the grey-blue and pale grey-yellow colors of river rocks…the flower colors of orange-red and orange-yellow and blue-lavender…

With these real-life colors noted I looked in this resource book about colors so I could plan my palette.

Here’s what a page from this book looks like so you can see how it was helpful.

At my local art supply store I bought a new empty palette with a lid (and another water brush just because I love them).

I also got 2 new tubes of gouache paints: a Paynes Grey-blue and a Vermilion red. All of the other tubes seen in the photo below I already had on hand. This arrangement of color is what’s new.

As you can see by looking between the color chart on the front of the book and my paint palette (and my palette note sheet) these colors are more natural, classic even.

I’ve been rereading “The Overstory” by Richard Powers. In this mind boggling jigsaw puzzle of a fictional story there is a character who begins photographing one tree regularly over a span of time.

Since there are many beautiful trees in my neighborhood that I can see from my front windows …

…. one of the ways I decided to test my new palette is to paint a tree multiple times. The character in the book by Richard Powers uses a nondigital photographic camera to record their view of a tree over time. But me being me I’m going to try to paint and draw some trees by hand…

Which of course led to drawing that same tree in ink.

There’s a few other trees I can see from my windows that I want to draw and paint too… and I realized I have a lot to learn about drawing trees. So I went to my local library for books on the topic.

Here’s a view out my window. The tree I’ve already painted is to the right in these photos. Notice how different the trees are in different times of day due to the changing light? It’s amazingly magical!

I did a couple of efforts at drawing and painting the birch trees to the left in the above photos.

Yes, I’ve got a lot to learn about trees! It’s exciting to be starting a new project just as one project, my Figures Of Speech exhibit, is finished as far as the creative process goes. Figures Of Speech is just beginning it’s life at the Caplan Art Designs Gallery – and is in the early stages of being talked about in a more public sense.

Talking about completed art that’s in an exhibit is very different from creating the art itself. I prefer doing the creating part to doing the publicity part but I know talking about my art is part of it and I find, ironically, that being in the midst of creating art – even when it’s wildly different from the work currently on exhibit – helps me to be able to talk about the art I’ve already completed without too much shyness.

Anyhoo, there will be more about my upcoming exhibit and my new projects in progress in upcoming newsletters and blog posts.

I hope the trees grow well and beautifully in your neck of the woods too.

See you next Monday.

Hog box progress and colors of mind

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art supplies, art techniques, artistic inspirations, business of art, creative thinking, fine art, mental health, sculpture 3d, sketchbook, words and pictures

I worked this week on an 8 inch box sculpture and finished it for the Caplan Art Designs Gallery. I’ve titled it “Independent As A Hog On Ice”. It will join its friends in my Figures Of Speech series for another exhibit later this year at the Gallery.

Here’s a few stages of progress…

The finishing touches were to make the skate lines more subtle and to make the overall box a lighter blue ice cube color.

Now having finished “Independent As A Hog On Ice” I have the challenge of photographing it for the Caplan Art Designs Gallery. Below is one of my attempts at getting a good photo. The color isn’t correct. I talked with the Gallery about it and they suggested using a white background …

… and that suggestion worked much better! This photo below is true to the color of my artwork!

Being willing to try, fail, accept instruction and fix mistakes is an essential skill. I even wrote on my email newsletter recently on the art of mucking about -making mistakes in sketchbook fountain pen drawings and fixing them – or as a friend says “there aren’t mistakes in art only novel ways to fix them” well here are a few of my novel ways…
https://sueclancy.substack.com/p/the-art-of-mucking-about

And yet in this social media age there are people – and trolls or bots -who are quick to tell you everything you’ve ever done is a mistake, that you should change your life and creativity to suit them, that you should let them do whatever benefits them at your expense. Such commentary isn’t helpful or constructive “criticism”. Often it’s not even “criticism” in the art school definition of “an analysis of the merits or faults of an artistic work”. Criticism in that art school sense arises by mutual consent, by mutual trust and respect, between the artist/creator and the person being asked for input. Often in social media the trolls make their unkind comments unasked, and I don’t know them. Similarly the overweening flattery some trolls dole out prior to asking me to give them carte blanc to [fill in the blank with something that would only benefit the troll]. I block and delete such comments without responding to them. I focus on the kind helpful real-life people instead. And I ask for art school style criticism only from people I know and trust in real life.

But it isn’t always easy to be a creative person on social media. It’s a necessary evil nowadays for the self employed artist and yet social media is only a single cog in the creative process – but this one cog causes a regular need to do timeline mental health preservation, negative troll jujitsu and efforts to simultaneously maintain one’s spirit and creativity in the face of abuse.

Very recently another new social media has been rolled out, there’s pressure to “join” it now too… ūü§¶‚Äć‚ôÄÔłŹ … so I thumbtacked a new handwritten card to my studio wall. It’s the one in the photo below that says “was your dream as a kid to provide free content for a billionaires social media company?” I’m willing to use social media but I’m not willing to be used – or abused – by it. Thus my thumbtacked reminder.

It helps me remember that I’m focusing more nowadays on my email newsletter and this blog – both of which are not so heavily based in an algorithm. I have more control over my newsletter and this blog and can interact more reliably with real people. I still use Instagram and Facebook just much less than I did before.

I added the new thumbtacked card about social media under the card I’d made some years ago when I was giving so many lectures and teaching workshops so often that I didn’t have time for creating my own artwork. It’s the card saying “was your dream as a kid to talk about art/writing or to do it?”. It helps me maintain more harmony between the doing of art and the talking about it.

Here’s me beginning a “use every fountain pen” exercise just for the no need to talk about it because of the self-explanitory fun of it. I’ll probably share the finished drawing on my email newsletter because I’m like that.

Speaking of using all of my pens… Here’s another thumbtacked note to myself “use the art supplies yourself -and now- or they’ll get sold for 10 cents at a garage sale after your funeral i.e. don’t hoard or be precious about art supplies no matter how nice they are! Just use them!”

Now and then I look around my studio and think “what have I not used lately?”

I have a big fat 40 inch tall roll of Kozuke paper that I haven’t used in a few years. Back then I used acrylic paints to dye this paper, make patterns on it and then I cut up the colored papers to make my large scale collage paintings. After the pandemic began I started working in a smaller size and primarily painting instead of doing collage. So that thickest roll of paper you see below in this photo has languished.

So I cut off a strip of the paper and tested my various fountain pens, inks and watercolors and gouache paints on it. On my test strip I misspelled the name of the paper which should be “Kozuke” but I’ll know what I mean whenever I refer to this test strip. All of my art materials tested well! Now I’m thinking of using this paper to make artist books!

Along with revisiting my art supplies inventory I like to occasionally reexamine my color palettes. For a number of years now I’ve used a more muted, subtle palette based in the natural world- specifically the colors of butterflies and bugs like beetles. So I purposefully took time this week to notice what colors in the real world caught my eye pleasantly and felt soothing to my mind. Then I looked for those same or very similar colors in several of my color reference books. I found the bulk of those colors in this book pictured below … and the colors I liked in the real world are in the butterfly and bug section again!

Details about this wonderful book here https://www.powells.com/book/natures-palette-a-color-reference-system-from-the-natural-world-9780691217048

Here’s test swatches of my butterfly bug palette that I create my imaginary worlds with – like “Independent As A Hog On Ice”. I’ll bet you can find the colors I used in my Hog sculpture in the swatches below.

We create the world together… we can pick the colors and the co-creators of the world that we want to inhabit.

Thank you for sharing the world with me. See you next Monday.

recipe illustration ready for garnishing

A Creative Life, art techniques, artistic inspirations, comfort food, food in art, illustrated recipe, illustration, kitchen art, publications - publishing, published art, recipe illustration, sketchbook suppers, visual story, words and pictures

I’ve finished the handwritten ink work and the illustration painting for the recipe I’ve been doing for Chef Sebastian Carosi. (Past blog post re here) Now I’ll begin the photography and scanning processes to get it ready for print publication and etc. projects the Chef wants to do.¬† The get-my-hands-messy art part is done. Now to do the keep-hands-clean graphic arts part…

FinishedChefRecipeOnEasel72

The original artwork of the recipe, the physical painted with gouache and written in ink on hot-press watercolor paper recipe, will stay in my studio in an archival sleeve in a portfolio. At least for a time. It’s the digital files of this art we’ll work with.¬† The artwork will stay with me just in case the Chef needs it re-scanned it for an un-foreseen-at-this-moment application.

This is a different approach from my fine art where once the artwork is finished I photograph it then frame it or otherwise make it ready for gallery exhibits – and off the physical fine artwork goes to it’s life in the galleries and then (hopefully) to a happy home with a collector.

In some ways this recipe artwork that will stay in my studio archives may likely be more widely seen by the public, because of publication, than many of my fine artworks.

It’s a curious thing this creative life. But I love it!!

 

Thanksgiving and The Arts

A Creative Life, animals in art, art techniques, artistic inspirations, business of art, creative thinking, functional art, kitchen art, music in art, Sustainable creativity, visual story, words and pictures

I remember being told, as a young person, that the arts were “not practical”. Today I thought of 8 ways, both serious and silly, that the arts are useful on Thanksgiving day.

  1. Culinary arts: Making food is considered one of the “fine arts”. Even if the kitchen looks like this: Funny Cooking Fails Compilation | AFV Funniest Videos 2018
  2. Sculptural arts: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Costumes are made by artists in the Macy’s Parade Studio .¬† Over 50 million people had the parade on the TV during their 2017 family holiday. A link for watching the Macy’s Parade in 2018 is here.¬† An on the parade topic, even though it’s film animation, here’s a Cat Parade.
  3. Musical arts: A background music playlist of “20 best Thanksgiving” songs here. And then there’s a funny video of when Dad sings…. Lol!
  4. Visual Arts: Arts and crafts projects to entertain the kids while the adults drink, I mean cook.¬† Here’s a video of some cute kids who had lots of fun with an art project until…oops!
  5. Arts and craft mess clean up techniques (aka Art School 101) outlined here. Btw: I’ve successfully used rubbing alcohol to get marker ink off of wood surfaces and crayon marks off walls. And in this video an adorable kid has Art School 101 down… too cute!
  6. Photographic arts: Here’s some real tips for taking family photos. And here’s some funny dog photos.
  7. Story arts: Serious tips for telling stories here and here. And then there’s a funny video of Grandpa telling a story… here. But Grandma decided to tell her story using the medium of dance… lets watch!
  8. Decorative arts: Here is a silly video of a dachshund decorating … But more seriously Spoonflower is one of my favorite sites for artist-created materials for things such as napkins and table cloths. Below is a photo of a table runner I designed. It looks good with some candles or a wooden bowl with fruit or nuts as a centerpiece. I also think it’d be fun visual joke to put tiny clean, cute birdhouses… and/or some small woven baskets with candy eggs in them, as centerpieces on my “autumn leaf” table runner.¬† But then I’m warped like that.

Anyway if anyone ever tells you that the Arts are not practical – don’t believe them.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

going to the dogs

A Creative Life, animals in art, artistic inspirations, books, dog portrait, Sue Draws Dogs

I’ve been asked “how do you get your ideas for your dog drawings?” I begin by thinking of something pleasant. This “something pleasant” has often been noted previously in one of my sketchbooks. The pleasantness can be a drink I enjoyed, a bowl of soup, a game, a book… anything I remember as being particularly “pleasant”. You can see some of my sketchbook pages on my “sketchbooks” page on my website¬†https://sueclancy.com/sketchbooks/

Once the “something pleasant” topic has been found I need a character to help me describe¬†that topic.

Lately I’ve been finding dogs a good representative actors. Breed characteristics can add content to my story… for example when I was remembering the pleasantness of hearing a street musician play I chose¬†a Basset Hound to¬†be the musician character. I thought that fit because that breed¬†can be a vocal sort but in a good-sounding way. At least ones I’ve met in person have been. ¬†You can see the dog drawing I’m talking about by looking for “Pickles” on my dog portraits webpage.¬†https://sueclancy.com/dog-portraits/

Sometimes I see a dog on one of my walks and make sketches on location. Then back at the studio, I want to draw¬†that dog breed better so I think of¬†“something pleasant” that may fit with that dog and try drawing again but this time using my ink methods on good quality paper.

When I’m too busy to go out where the dogs are likely to be seen during a walk (i.e. it’s too snowy/rainy) I’ll flip through a photography book about dogs looking for a breed to characterize in a way that helps me describe non-verbally my “something pleasant”.

By now I’ve drawn enough dogs from real-life sources (can you say “dog park”?) that i can work decently from a photograph¬†– using the photo¬†primarily as a memory aid for specifics about a dog breed.

Here’s some recent dog-related photography books I’ve used as resource material.

dogbooks72

A few resource books for Sue Clancy’s dog drawings.

Perhaps you’re wondering why I think of “something pleasant” when drawing dogs. After all there’s so much that is wrong with the world, so much to be upset about…war, poverty, injustice, fake news….

To answer quickly: focusing on pleasant things feeds the good wolves. A small drawing is not the best place to outline a social problem and propose any policy solution.

A small drawing is a place for solace, love and comfort.

You can see more about this “feed the good wolves” philosophy of mine in my book “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit” on the artist book webpage¬†https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/

photo artist book post

A Creative Life, artist book, books, handmade books

Via the 23 Sandy Gallery I saw this great post about photography and artist books – and when a collection of photographs in a book is a “photo book” and when it becomes an “artist book”.¬† I’m thinking this same concept Philip Zimmermann talks about in the post regarding a series of photographs also applies to when a series of illustrations becomes an “illustrated book” and when a set of illustrations become an “artist book”… Anyway, here is the post link: http://philipzimmermann.blogspot.com/2016/06/what-kind-of-book-falls-under.html

And here is a rabbit sitting on a bunch of books …contemplating.

Soup Moon by Sue Clancy (this piece is currently at www.caplanartdesigns.com)

Soup Moon by Sue Clancy (this piece is currently at http://www.caplanartdesigns.com)