I made postcards for friends with these 2 inks as seen on my Substack newsletter. As you know I see art as a way to connect with people.
Playing in my sketchbooks is a way to explore and experience new art supplies as well as my own thoughts and feelings. I used on of the larger 8 x 10 inch sized sketchbooks as seen in this recent post when I got a batch of new sketchbooks.
This week we visited a locally owned bookstore called Broadway Books. I love their curated poetry section and got two books of poetry and some “haikubes” for added wordplay fun!
Another day this week we went to a 2nd Powell’s bookstore location on Hawthorne street. They have completely different book selections in each of the Powell’s bookstores so it’s fun to visit the curated collections for a good browse.
And we celebrated our anniversary of 27 years together and 10 years married at one of our local craft brewpubs!!
What a great week of soaking up the fun and celebrating life!!
Much love to you all and thanks for sharing in the fun!!
Needless to say I’ve been carefully balancing my time between work on the commission for Caplan Art Designs and time for rest and playing towards the art exhibits scheduled for this year. The commission has a firm deadline and I’m steadily on schedule. In order to stay on schedule I’ve let go of much of my social media. If I haven’t responded to you this is why. Anyway, around the commission priority comes work towards a new painting series.
As I mentioned last week extra paint from the commission gets used on another painting in progress. This way I don’t get distracted from the commission and am still making progress towards future exhibits. Last week I was working on this painting and this week I finished it.
As I mentioned on my recent email newsletter I’ve been reading and thinking about time. Specifically time and creativity. Human brains simply need time in order to put ideas together. Here’s some of what I’ve been reading. (Details about the books are available here https://bookshop.org/shop/clancy)
Yes, despite being busy I’m still carefully making time to read every day. It’s how I maintain my creative focus, enthusiasm and fun. Same with my sketchbook work which I share via my email newsletter.
A book – whether a library book or a personal notebook/sketchbook – occupies time in uniquely personal ways. The reader moves through time and space as they page through a book at their own pace and magically whole worlds, memories and ideas are built letter by letter, word by word, page by page in the readers mind!
As I say on another page of my website the definition of an “artist book” is “… a book conceived as an art object. It reveals a story over time and space using a combination of content and art techniques in a way that directly involves the viewers participation. “
Books and artwork both use time – time itself – as a creative technique!!! These thoughts about time and the book format also lead me to thinking more about handwriting, hand created art, handmade books and the value of the handmade in this Artificial Intelligence, rush rush, hurry hurry, often prefabricated and canned world. Can both handmade paintings, handmade books and handwriting be analogous to homemade cooking? What does it mean to be real? To be authentic? To be human? To be a time bound being that exists in space?
There is no one grand answer to any of these questions (that would be too hedgehog-y – in reference to the book “The Hedgehog and the Fox” by Isaiah Berlin) but all of this is in my mind as I work. You’ll see some evidence of my musings on these topics in the upcoming illustrated short story about an alien in outer space on my email newsletter…🤣… but I digress.
I hope you too are being mindful of your time this week. It’s a precious resource. Thank you for sharing time with me. See you next Monday.
A friend asked how I maintain creativity while doing a commission. My reply: a schedule and lots of joy breaks. I deliberately make the mundane magical. Especially via joy breaks.
Joy breaks, also called “Joy Snacks“, is purposefully taking time to recognize and savor small pleasures. Think of the old fashioned coffee breaks office workers were allowed within a work day but for me now it’s a scheduled “check in” with whatever seems pleasant to me at regular intervals throughout a day. It’s allowing myself to fully feel the pleasure I feel however small the feeling may be. I add a corollary that it’s also avoiding killjoy thoughts – including those U.S. Southern style self depreciating cynical put downs of my own pleasures. It’s taking time to make note of a memorable moment in my journal/sketchbook each day. Yes, notes of things I’m grateful for but also just things I enjoyed and the surprising things that pleasantly caught my attention during the day. It’s also taking a moment to maintain awareness of what is within my control and what isn’t – a crucial thing to remember during creative deadlines – while allowing myself to relax and let go of some things in the Stoic philosophical manner.
In a technical/physical sense while doing an art commission (my current one is for the Caplan Art Designs Gallery) there are times I need to wait for parts of the commission to dry before doing other parts. There are also times when I have extra paint that I mixed for the commission leftover. So part of the mundane creativity task is to monitor the commission as it dries – to stay on task – and yet also use up any excess paint. This week I did a painting of a pig titled “Red Eye Gravy Train”… (details of the painting, the related limerick and a view of my sketchbook is on my Substack https://sueclancy.substack.com/p/early-starts )
I had mixed a pink color for my commission and had a wee bit leftover so I added a bit more of the white and used it on “Red Eye Gravy Train”.
During another days work on my commission I was mixing a particular shade of light blue and the tube of blue suddenly smooged out too much color in a gush. So I had a huge amount of leftover blue color to deal with.
So I consulted my sketchbook for ideas and with a watercolor pencil quickly drew a design and filled in with the extra blue paint (and the wee bit extra green too).
Even after painting that there was still extra blue paint left so I covered two boards edge to edge with the blue till the paint was used up. No clue at this point how I’ll use these new blue boards…but that’s what creative thinking is for!
Since I’ve been so busy working we’ve had lots of beans and rice for our lunches. I have a keeper of my precooked magic beans in the fridge so I toss a scoop or two in on top of the rice in my “push here dummy” rice cooker, to quote my adopted Mom’s phrase for simple kitchen appliances.
I add spices, freshly chopped onions and other vegetables to vary the dishes from meal to meal, press the cook button and head back to the studio to work some more.
Even though these beans and rice bowls I make are simple and cooked in a busy-artist-hands-free-cooking way they still feel like homemade comfort food. (My beans and grains bowl recipe/strategy can be found in my kitchen sketchbook “Favorites So Far“)
I like handwritten works, homemade food and just about anything made by hand. So I enjoyed this post by Austin Kleon about how AI (and algorithms) can’t kill anything worth keeping.
And I admit to getting a joy snack style chuckle from this article about today’s teenagers going luddite and ditching social media and smartphones in favor of handmade real life!
The additional poetry book title by Andrea Gibson, the new favorite poet I wrote about last post arrived this week! I love it that it looks handwritten. I know it’s a font…but I like the look. Gibson’s words feel so true to my own experiences and the semi-handwritten hand illustrated look adds a sense of comradeship for me.
Speaking of handwritten poetry… I read a fun article about a park ranger who got creative and made a free little library style kiosk for poetry in the park!
One of the most delightful joy breaks was this video of what happened when a girl gave a street musician a coin.
And I hope today’s post itself gave you a small joy break. Remember to take breaks and notice pleasant things. See you next Monday or thereabouts.