writing about art

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques, artistic inspirations, fine art, sketchbook, still life, story, visual story, words and pictures, writing

There was a time when I felt that writing words-in-a-row about visual art was rather like using lemon juice to describe honey. But somewhere along the way I realized that being a professional artist out in the “real world” meant I didn’t have to write as if I were in an academic university. That was a relief.  And I realized that writing about visual art was like combining multi-media or like a playwright creating a musical theatre piece about a historical event.

It’s genre bending/blending.

So I began practicing writing about my own visual art in an everyday conversational way.  When I’m coming up with my artistic ideas I write by hand what I’m thinking and feeling as I’m drawing in my sketchbooks. Later on I use that hand written data to write more formal “blurbs”, or story-clues, about what inspired each of my artworks. I say “more formal” because the blurbs are type-written, the spelling has been checked and the original hand written data has been neatened/edited/condensed.  These “blurbs” are often printed and posted near my artwork in exhibits. In my writings I largely leave off the technical points of artistic technique because the majority of the time I’m talking to the general public. (Of course if I’m asked about art techniques I’ll gladly share details!)

In Sept I’m doing a one-person exhibit titled “Story Stuff” at Caplan Art Designs (I wrote more about that in a post titled Cozy Mystery Story Stuff). Here are a few of the artworks and the “blurbs” (story-clues?) I’ve written that will be alongside the art at my exhibit:

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Near Forest Park – by Clancy – 22 x 30 inches – acrylic and gouache on handmade paper

Near Forest Park – I enjoy hiking in a large forest in the middle of an urban city (Portland Or). I love it that I can pop out of the dense forest, get a coffee – or boot laces – and then resume my hike.

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“A Novel Morning” – by Clancy – 24 x 18 – acrylic and gouache on board

A Novel Morning – One of my favorite things to do is to go to Powell’s bookstore, find a new-to-me novel and then get something in the café. The “text” in this painting is re-combined and paraphrased from “Death at La Fenice” by Donna Leon.

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“Good Morning” – by Clancy – 11 x 17 inches – acrylic and gouache on board

Good Morning – What constitutes a “good morning”? One of my answers is plenty of coffee and enough leisure time to work the daily newspaper’s crossword puzzle.

During my exhibits I’ll often see people reading the blurbs and then looking more closely at my artwork – and sometimes they’ll approach me and talk about the topic within one of my paintings. It seems that my “multi-media” pictures-plus-words exercise is helpful for starting conversations at least.

What are your thoughts about combining writing and visual art?

gallery dog show

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, Dogs in Art, fine art, Sue Draws Dogs, visual story

I think some of the best gifts you can give someone any time of the year are: time, attention, memory and whimsy.  My dog portraits have been popular with art collectors this season (many of my pieces are being given as gifts!) so Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com has decided to do a January exhibit (a dog show?) of my dogs! Wahooo!!!

I play in the fine art genre of “Animals in Art” and “Dogs in Art” because it gives me maximum whimsy allowance…and creating and sharing art is itself a way I can give the gift of time, attention and memory to people… but never mind about art theory just now – the Holiday is near! And Happy Holidays to you!

Here, for the whimsy in it, are a few of my dogs that are currently at the gallery – enjoy!

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“Frosty” by Sue Clancy – ink on handmade paper

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“Corky Reading” by Sue Clancy – ink on handmade paper

You can see more of my dog portraits on my website here: https://sueclancy.com/dog-portraits/

 

 

artichoke music sketches

A Creative Life, art techniques, artistic inspirations, psychogeography, sketchbook, travel art and writing

I sketch in order to find out what I want to say. I make fine art, artist books etc. in order to say it clearly. This means I sketch a lot. What I’m looking for when I go walking about with my sketchbook in hand is whatever “catches my eye”.  Often when I do sketchbook work I don’t know at that time what I’ll use it for. I’m just stocking my mental pantry. Other times I go out in the world looking for a particular thing to make sketches of for a project I’m working on.  Whichever it is, later, during a studio work-day I’ll flip back through a filled sketchbook for ideas or resource-images – much like a cook uses a collection of recipes.

Anyway, recently I was on a street in Portland Oregon and I was delighting in all of the dogs with their people. I drew this, first with pencil and then with an ink pen:

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Sue Clancy’s sketchbook street scene; people with dogs

As I walked further I passed a store called Artichoke Music which had gorgeous musical instruments that I could see from the window.  I went inside and asked if I could stay a while and sketch. “Why would we say ‘no’ to that? That’d be awesome!” said the guys working at Artichoke Music. So I sketched this (in pencil, then in ink pen):

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Sue Clancy’s sketches from Artichoke Music in Portland Oregon

Then I showed the guys at the counter what I’d sketched. “Oh that’s such fun!” they said and then they pointed out another delightful area in the store – so I drew this:

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More of Sue’s sketches in Artichoke Music

I promised them that I’d post my sketches to their Facebook and Twitter pages – so I’m doing that now. Thanks again Artichoke Music for letting me hang out and draw!!! You guys are awesome!!!

Followers of this blog, and my artwork in general, will probably not be surprised to hear that I’m now thinking a lot about dogs, and musical instruments…