the tale of Heroes Journey

A Creative Life, animals in art, art commissions, art exhibit, public art, published art, words and pictures

Today I gave a speech during the unveiling of my public art piece for Salmon Creek Journal and Washington State University Vancouver.  The artwork is titled “Heroes Journey”.  Here’s a full image of it (up till now I’ve only been posting teaser bits on my blog) and below the image is more-or-less the text of my speech. I adlibbed bit.  And below the speech are two statements I was asked to write for this project; One is about “Heroes Journey” and the other is a document related to the days event at WSU.  I include them here for additional information’s sake.

 

HeroesJourney72

Heroes’ Journey
By Clancy 
22 x 30 inches – Ink, watercolor, color pencil and acrylic – framed

Speech (roughly) for Oct 4th Dis(covering) Ability event by Sue Clancy

 

Thank you, Amanda, Sky and Washington State University Vancouver, for asking me to create something to help you celebrate Dis(covering) Ability – and diversity today!

I’ve created an art piece for you titled “Heroes’ Journey”.

To create this piece, I consulted both my inner world and the external real world of the WSU Vancouver campus.

When Amanda contacted me about possibly doing this for you I began thinking of what parts of my inner world might be relevant for this project.

Here are parts of my inner world that I pulled from:

As a Deaf kid growing up in Oklahoma in the 1970’s I didn’t know any other deaf kids – or even any deaf grownups and I didn’t see myself, or any deaf people in any of the storybooks.  Books were very important to me. Television was not closed captioned back then and I didn’t become aware of subtitled movies until I went to college. So, for my grade-school self, books were my link to the wider world. As an 8 year old kid I asked the school librarians and the public librarians for books with deaf people in them. One librarian finally came up with a book on Helen Keller.  The book was slightly above my reading level and it only had a few black and white photographs – but I read it anyway. While I appreciated the librarian finding the book my 8 year old self found Helen Keller to be terribly old-fashioned.  Where was the action? The adventure? The fun? I decided to create my own storybooks with my own characters. I began making small hand drawn books and learning about creating stories, and drawing people and action as realistically as I could. I traded my little books with my grade-school classmates for pencils, erasers and crayons.  In the process of growing my “subscriber list” I learned that other kids didn’t see themselves in books either. So I included them in my stories. The school-yard bullies became the villains in my books. My books (zines really) were popular with some of the kids and not so popular with some adults.

Another element of my inner world: Fast forward to the mid 1980’s: I went to the University of Oklahoma on art scholarships and I was working as a graphic designer/ photographer. Still college was expensive so I also sold my fine artwork and freelance illustrated every chance I could.

At one art exhibit Dr. Bob Hoke, a psychiatrist, and his wife Penny bought some of my fine artwork and commissioned me to make a companion piece to the one they bought. Over the course of working on that project Dr. Bob asked me to illustrate some of his teaching stories that he used in his “Emotional Repair” seminars. One of his stories that I illustrated became my favorite. I’ll tell it to you now because it has direct bearing on this artwork I’ve done for you. The story goes like this: Once upon a time there was a grandfather who was asked to entertain the kids. He gathered all the kids around and said “Kids, inside every one of us are 2 wolves and they fight. One wolf is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.  The other wolf is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, charity, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, patience, goodness, gentleness, self-control and faithfulness.” Then the grandfather was silent. After a bit one of the littlest kids asked “Gran’pa, which wolf wins?” The old man replied “The one that you feed.”

From Dr. Bob (psychiatrist, medical science guy) I learned that human brains often respond better to stories than they do to flat statements however factual and true the flat statement may be.  Telling a person “You’re being mean” is likely to be met with resistance because people, no matter how cruel their actions, often don’t think of themselves as “mean”. But a story-like description of how someone can be impacted by an act of meanness – or a story description of people treating people kindly – may have a better chance of getting the point across.

Around that time I began to consider using animal characters in my artwork rather than realistic-looking people so as to be more literary than literal in my depictions of the way I see the world.

Also Dr. Bob had a deaf brother named Dick. I finally got to meet another real-live deaf person! I asked Dick for suggestions of how to deal with being a deaf person in a hearing college/world. He encouraged me to create my own support network in college, including making use of professor’s office hours – to focus on my allies and work with them – to respond to any bullies I might encounter by leaning on my support network and going on and living well.

A 3rd element of my inner world: When I started college in 1986 I joined the GLBA social club – Gay Lesbian Bisexual Alliance – the rest of the alphabet had not been discovered yet. Remember this was the 1980’s. The world was just becoming aware of HIV and AIDS.  The GLBA group – which wasn’t allowed to meet on the OU campus – partnered with ACT UP, a world-wide Aids awareness group formed in 1987 – a chapter of which met in nearby Oklahoma City. At the time – in the 1980’s – gay people were regularly shunned from their biological families (I was). Gay people risked expulsion from school, eviction from apartments, being fired from their jobs and being denied healthcare.  Most of all they risked being beaten up, shot and killed – and their cases not fully investigated by the police.  In the face of all of that ACT UP was focusing on empowerment, urging us to come out, to be visible, to tell our stories, to write poems, create plays, write essays, to have polite conversations, to make music events, fashion shows, art exhibits and to sew quilts. We were encouraged to get creative and find ways to remind people that gay people were still human, we were still sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors and coworkers.  We were encouraged to form our own families of choice, to form alliances, to care for each other. We were encouraged to fight injustice not with violence or shouts but with love, friendship and stories.

That is some of my inner world which I took with me to meet the external world of Amanda and Sky and the WSU Vancouver campus. During our meeting I took notes from what Amanda and Sky said, my wife – who has better hearing than I do – also took notes. We went on a campus tour. I took well over 45 photographs.  Some of the things that I noted were: that WSU Vancouver is a commuter campus, it’s people-focused, campus is on a hill, you can see distant mountains (on a clear day), there are clear lines of sight from most areas on campus, there’s a walking trail around campus, lots of trees, a network of squirrels, the gridded columns on some of the buildings…  I also learned that the mascot is a cougar and that Clark College is a major “feeder” school.  After our campus tour was over I asked the Ambassador who’d led our tour what kind of animal he’d be if he were an animal. “A Squirrel!” He said.

Back at my studio I consulted my inner world: I looked at all of my photographs. I read my notes and my wife’s notes and in a bound sketchbook I worked on possible designs and possible characters that might reflect aspects of the external world, meet the project needs and also include my inner world. There’d be a cougar, a penguin and a squirrel – and who else??…  I also sat and brainstormed listing in my sketchbook word associations (so to speak):  commuter campus, hill top, grids (tile/brick), sight lines, mountain views, squirrel network, groups of people from all over the world.  All of these concepts pointing toward “travel” “movement” or “Journey” – which led me to think of what I know of story formation – specifically the archetypal story format.

Heroes Journey is an archetypal story – a plot style – has been used from Homer to Star Wars and nearly everything in between. It generally goes like this: very different characters meet, somehow they get a mutual goal, as they work toward the goal they learn about themselves, each other, they discover ways of working together and somewhere along the way they form a community.

The physical attributes, flaws, strengths, weaknesses of individual characters play a role in driving the plot and those things drive the discovery of what’s important and how to listen to and work with each other.  In fiction at least the characters individual traits, once discovered or accepted, eventually become an asset to the success of the journey.

In my artwork design – because it was said that people are the focus of campus – I created a crowd as the focal point and designed the crowd as an overall shape. For obvious reasons I made the Cougar the tallest character, Penguin (Clark College mascot) is another big character.  I balanced those two large characters with a large Dalmatian dog. The attributes of those animals led to my choices of the other animals. All of the animal characters have obvious and not obvious abilities –  If this were a storybook as readers we would discover their abilities as the characters did within the unfolding story. Since this is a fine art piece and a single visual story panel so to speak I’m working with your imagination and your knowledge of animals/animal zoology to tell my visual story.  Just as you can’t tell by looking at a person how smart or kind they are – you can’t tell by looking at one of my animals exactly what capabilities they have you only have hints.  This is my way of reminding us that all we have of each other are hints – to really know another person we have to allow for discovery time, an unfolding of words and actions over time to reveal who we are.  We create the world, the community, together.

After I got my characters developed and lightly sketched onto my “good paper” I asked my friend and next-door neighbor Kevin to come and look. Kevin knows local sports better than I do and I didn’t want to accidentally put in some rival sports team colors.  He looked carefully and declared me good to go.

So with the animal characters now in place I put the setting – real world elements pulled from my campus observations – around the crowd but adjusted to emphasize the journey/potential community formation.  Then I spent many days working on the characters and the setting to deepen the colors and the details.

 I used watercolor, Sumi ink, color pencil and acrylic on handmade paper.  To get my lines and angles this way I used a large 20 inch triangle, some rulers and French curves. I worked in my studio on a large easel. I also worked in a bound sketchbook to develop my idea and the individual characters before transferring my idea and characters to the “good paper” on my easel.

There, now in the external world exists an art piece from my inner heart called “Heroes Journey”.  As you take it with you on your journey remember to feed the good wolves along the way.

Thank you for listening.  Are there any questions?


About “Heroes’ Journey” by Sue Clancy

I think each of us are the hero of our own lives. We’re also the author of our own stories as communities and individuals. As an artist, I practice the art of telling stories in a variety of media. I study how to craft a tale.

For example, I’m familiar with two fiction story device/situations: absurd characters in a normal world or normal characters in an absurd world.

Well, life being stranger than fiction I see another story device: a disabled character in an able-bodied world.

Many fiction stories are archetypal “journey tales”: Characters meet, they travel and encounter villains and obstacles. Along the way they form a family, a community or somehow agree to work together to meet a goal.

Attributes of each character often play a story-role. These attributes may be physical qualities, mental abilities or life experiences. Somewhere along the journey each character discovers some strength they didn’t know they had at the start.

What if one (or more) of the characters were differently abled? How would that affect the story?

As a deaf kid growing up in Oklahoma I did not see stories with deaf kids in them. Certainly not as the story hero or as a subject for fine art. I realized that many other people – differently abled, as well as different ethnicities did not see themselves in stories or fine art either.  I knew I could draw well so I began to create visual stories, graphic novel type stories, and fine artworks that featured many “different” kinds of people as characters.  I created fine artwork that depicted, somewhat realistically, people who were “different” i.e. not always white or heterosexual or male or able bodied.

Some people loved my work. Other people sent me hate mail, threatened me at grocery stores or at my art openings.

Over time I realized that the people who sent me hate mail were scared by my idea that literal diversity is a beautiful and normal part of life. They were scared by the idea of different kinds of humans sharing the same pictorial space. But these same people were okay with diversity at dog parks, or in children’s books. They were okay with the fact that not all of the dogs looked alike, they were okay that in a kid’s book there could be a cat character talking with a mouse character.

I also learned that sometimes the best way to get a complex idea – especially a potentially scary idea – across was to use metaphors and tell stories that were literary rather than literal.

As a Deaf person in a Hearing world I often have to “read between the lines” – observe body language and actions over time to understand a speaker – so I decided that I would use animal characters in a wordless fashion and leave it to my viewers to “read between the lines”.  I would continue to talk about diversity but using animals to depict the possibility of humans getting along, traveling together, enjoying life and along the way discovering that our differences are potential strengths.

That’s what I’ve done with my artwork for “Dis(covering) Ability” – used visual metaphors – I’ve titled my artwork “Heroes’ Journey”. I’m sure you can see why.


Dis(covering)ability: Equity Equality and Justice – statement by Sue Clancy

A friend of mine has a t-shirt that says “Equal rights for others does not mean less rights for you. It’s not pie.”  I want one. The shirt nicely sums up my perception of the difference between equity and equality.

Equity, the quality of being fair and impartial, is when you’re trying to fairly divide a Chocolate Cream Pie between pie-eating friends. Equality is accepting your friends as they are, an awareness that not all of your friends want the pie. Some want only the ice cream. And that is okay. They are not “lesser” friends because they don’t want the pie. There may even be – gasp – a friend who doesn’t want either pie or ice cream because they had a 4th slice of the pizza and are quite full now thank you.  That friend – if you’re trying to give both equity and equality to all – is given just as big a hug at the end of the evening as the other pie eaters.

Now that we’re full of pizza, pie or ice cream I ponder the question of how artists help support and establish equity in the community thru pairing messages and their creative works. The shortest answer I have is “we do our best”.  My longer answer is to tell you a story:  Once upon a time there was a grandfather who was asked to entertain the kids. He gathered all the kids around and said “Kids, inside every one of us are 2 wolves and they fight. One wolf is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.  The other wolf is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, charity, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, patience, goodness, gentleness, self-control and faithfulness.” Then the grandfather was silent. After a bit one of the littlest kids asked “Gran’pa, which wolf wins?” The old man replied “The one that you feed.”

We artists provide our communities with “wolf food”; stories, essays, art objects, movies, music – all kinds of creative things and experiences – and artists can help support equity/equality in our communities by being very careful about which wolf we feed. Artists are not the only people who feed wolves by the way.

What facet of my identity as an artist makes me unique? I’m content to let other people define for themselves what they think makes me unique. It’s their story about me. Personally, I don’t worry much about being “unique”. I’m just me and my job is to be the best “me” and the best artist I can be. But since I suspect the question is really fishing for what qualities or definitions are often applied to me here is a list: funny, charming, cute, silly, smart, Deaf, gay, animal-lover, artist, un-apologetic sketchbook user, dog and cat lover, reader, book-lover who practices cooking as a hobby. I think it’s important to enjoy daily life and art-creating is my way of doing that. Also, I think participating in the arts (either as a creator or a viewer) can be a way of practicing good mental health skills. Some people have called these opinions of mine “unique” and sometimes “odd”.

How can we actively create change as a student or community member in furthering an inclusive campus that welcomes people of all abilities?  Smile. Say ‘hello’. Listen. Do your best to refrain from pre-deciding about people – or pie – based only on appearances. Be willing to watch a person’s actions and words over time and then decide if being around them feeds your good wolf. Be open and curious about everyone and everything. Choose love. Figure out ways to keep love in your heart. And enthusiasm. In short – feed the good wolf.

And if you know where I can get one of those t-shirts – please tell me. Thank you.


P.S. To support this project and because I thought it would be fun I’ve created some art prints with this image. You can find the prints (and some travel mugs because I liked the pun on “Heroes Journey”) by looking for “Heroes Journey” here https://society6.com/sueclancy/prints

You can see my illustrations (spoken about in the speech) and get more information about “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit” by searching Amazon for the ebook or clicking here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/dr-bobs-emotional-repair-program-first-aid-kit

 

Clancy’s 5 tips for drawing crowds

A Creative Life, art techniques, artistic inspirations, commonplace book, creative thinking, sketchbook, visual thinking

I’ve been so busy with other projects that I can’t talk about in public yet that I’ve not had time – not even 5 spare minutes – to work on my Time Tavern sketchbook. So to come up with a blog post update today I flipped through my sketchbook/commonplace book.

Crowds of characters feature prominently in one of my can’t-talk-about-it-much-yet projects – and are also part of my Time Tavern sketchbook too.  So as part of my work on these projects one afternoon, a month or so ago, I went through several of my art technique books to refresh my technical skills for drawing crowds. I wrote the various relevant pointers as well as my own thoughts in my sketchbook.

Here below is a picture of  my sketchbook page.

CrowdDrawingTips72

In case you can’t read my handwriting I’ll type it here – and tweak the text I wrote by hand in my book, based on my recent experience in drawing crowds for my various projects:

Five Crowd Drawing Tips:

  1. Start at the front of the crowd. Do the figures with the most detail that are upfront/closer. The looser and less detailed characters will read as “in the distance”. Try to capture the type of characters within the overall scene as that gives the viewer the flavor of the event/place.
  2. Focus on the crowd shape as a whole. See the crowd as a single abstract shape – or as several shapes put together. Select where to put the details so as to guide the viewers eye around the crowd-shape(s).
  3. Keep it within a perspective. Is the viewer standing within the same level as the people in the front of the crowd? Or viewing the crowd from above or below?  You won’t see the characters in the back of the crowd unless you are in an elevated position.  Find a character of “average height” to use as a measuring gauge for placing the other characters. Use the average height as a natural horizon line and/or an assist in creating the crowd shape.
  4. Use characters arms, bags, objects held, angle of the head and other elements as a way of showing movement and guiding the viewers eye around the crowd shape.
  5. Crowds will have a main set of colors – like at a sporting event, though maybe not that extreme – it is possible, helpful even, to lay down areas of color within the crowd shape and add details over that. Color placement can help move the viewers eye. If one particular character is the focal point or stands out in the crowd then use the most color and detail on them and leave the others more or less implied. The main set of colors within the crowd shape can guide the colors used within the setting/scene around the crowd too.

 

dogs unboxed

A Creative Life, animals in art, artist book, books, Dogs in Art

Here’s video of me un-boxing proof copies of my artist book “Dogs by Sue Clancy”

https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

 

Dogs by Sue Clancy

A Creative Life, animals in art, artist book, books, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, Sue Draws Dogs

The official release date for my newly printed artist book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” is Feb 17th 2017… but you can see (and get) an advance copy online here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

One of the purposes of the book is to aid and abet my art gallery exhibits and in this blog post I’ll share one of the written descriptions of the book – but just between us I’m highly amused that there are many more words written about my book “Dogs…” than there are actually in the book! The book is largely wordless…

Anyway, here’s a book description:

In an artist book featuring various dog breeds, artist Sue Clancy whimsically combines man’s best friend and many of life’s pleasant experiences by drawing them using a dip pen, a brush and Sumi ink on handmade paper.

For each of the artworks in this book Sue Clancy thought of “something pleasant” and created a dog-character to help describe that pleasantness. By combining attributes of a dog breed with an activity she has enjoyed she accents the pleasant feelings.

More than an exhibit catalog or a collection of reproductions of a body of artistic works the book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” is an artist book organized around an artistic idea: collecting pleasant thoughts and describing those thoughts using imaginary dog characters (based on a real-life dog breed) in order to highlight the pleasant feelings.  This idea has its roots in healthy mental health habits and the practice of happiness; creating gratitude lists, purposefully turning ones thoughts toward pleasant things, playing with ones imagination, and a meditative practice of enjoying  time, memory, attention and whimsy.  Dogs were selected as characters because for Sue Clancy dogs of all breeds represent a joyful exuberant delight at being alive.

Genre/Subject: Art, Animals in Art, Dogs in Art

Sub genre: Individual artists/artist books

Book Details: 26 pages, 21 images, 245 words

ISBN: 9781483590752

Available where ever books are sold

https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

For more about the artist see http://www.sueclancy.com

You can see the original artwork (and more of my dogs) – or commission me to draw your favorite dog at Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com.

onepagebookcoverimage

book cover design for an upcoming artist book by Clancy that will be available via Amazon and wherever books are sold and here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

Sue draws dogs

A Creative Life, art techniques, dog portrait, Sue Draws Dogs

Here’s a picture of me drawing a dog. If you want to see a close-up of the dog I’m drawing look for “Larry” on my dog portraits website page https://sueclancy.com/dog-portraits/. Yes, as you see in the photo, I use brush and Sumi ink to do my dog drawings.

The ink is quite permanent so it makes me really think before I make a mark. That’s one of the reasons I use this medium. Its a way for me to practice not being “too precious”, or anxious, about creating. Take a deep breath, relax, focus and let it flow. I figure if I really mess up all I’ve done is waste a bit of ink and paper. It’s not brain surgery. Nobody is going to die.

But yet there’s still a dare-devil-daring-do-risk-taking of it that I relish. I’ve committed to an idea. In ink. It can’t be erased or easily undone. It means I stood flat-footed said something and meant it.

For some reason doing a drawing in permanent ink feels more like I’m “really doing something” than when I’m manipulating pixels on a screen.

“Really doing something” is what I figure is meant by the phrases “living life with no regrets” or “living purposefully”.

So sometimes when I walk out of my studio to wash out my brush and Judy, my wife, asks me how I’m doing – I reply, with a big satisfactory smile on my face, “Living dangerously!”

bwdogpaintingcrop

Photo of Sue Clancy creating a dog portrait using a Sumi brush and ink. Photo by Judy Sullens

Sue draws dogs

A Creative Life, animals in art, art gallery, art techniques, Sue Draws Dogs

I’ve kept sketchbooks for many years – and I have drawn dogs a lot. I sketch and draw in ink almost every day. Some time ago my wife Judy saw some of my dog drawings in my bound sketchbook and said “I really wish you’d do these on good paper.”  The phrase ‘good paper’ in our house means handmade paper.

So I did.

After a while I had a lot of drawings-on-good-paper. Then Judy said “I wish you’d show these to Amy.” Amy is the gallery owner of Caplan Art Designs.

So I did.

And now Amy has been selling my dog drawings almost as fast as I can make them! I love being this busy!  To make my drawings I use fountain pens and brush-and-ink. Occasionally I’ll use a very sharp pointed pen-nib and the ink – for very fine lines. I use that when a dog has lots of whiskers.

Then Judy said “I wish you’d post some of these regularly on your blog.”

So I am….starting now.

pickles72

Pickles by Sue Clancy (ink on handmade paper)

animals in my art

A Creative Life, animals in art, art commissions, art gallery, art techniques, artistic inspirations, Authors, psychogeography, visual story

Last evening I was looking up something in a book called “Drawing Masterclass” and I read this (again): “Animals as subject matter for the visual arts have a longer history than any other subject. The first images drawn by the human race depicted the animals that were hunted for survival [cave paintings]…. There is no period in art when animals have not played a major role.”

In my fine art animals become characters; my creative process is much like the way a novelist creates a character, a compilation of authorial thoughts and observations  – a “collage” of them you might say – merged into one person/character within their story. I create anthropomorphic animal characters because I see humans as part of the natural world and the natural world as part of humanity.  I’m inspired by both nature and culture.

So when I do animal portraits, people are there too.  When I do a portrait of a particular dog, for example, a particular person (someone, or several someone’s I saw in real life) is also reflected.  It becomes a visual story of that animal and that person. I define “story” as a plot where there is some surprise. The surprise in one of my visual stories might be the realization of how a human can be like a dachshund.

For example in my artwork titled “Happy Hour” (see image below) inside I sometimes feel happy and excited like my dachshund Rusty looks when he is bouncing around wagging his tail and dancing for his supper. (Places and objects enter in to my visual story creation too but that’s another discussion.)

My gallery agents often explain to clients that I create (as special commissions) portraits of pets as their pet owners; an imaginative merging of pet and person.  And that’s true.

Here, so you can see what I’m talking about, are some of my animal portraits currently available at either Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com and at Joseph Gierek Fine Art www.gierek.com  – please contact each gallery for more details.

Creative Digest profile of Sue Clancy

A Creative Life, animals in art, Artist interviews and profiles, illustration, published art, words and pictures

I was contacted about a week ago by a magazine located in the U.K called Creative Digest – http://www.creativedigest.co.uk/ – they wanted to do a profile about me and my artwork! They sent me a bunch of questions, and requested art images… it went back and forth…. and now the magazine profile is out!

Here’s the direct link: http://www.creativedigest.co.uk/keep-list-things-make-glad-alive-charming-animal-illustrations-sue-clancy/

They titled the profile “Charming animal illustrations by Sue Clancy” – how nice is that?  This is one of my artworks they chose to feature on the front page.  Going to go happy dance!  I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts….

The Read Wagon

The Read Wagon by Sue Clancy, 14 x 11 x 2 inches, hand dyed paper, hand stenciled paper, handmade paper, found paper and acrylic on cradled board.

 

 

exhibiting art

art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques, artistic inspirations, fine art

All of my artwork has been delivered to the Caplan Art Designs gallery for my one-person exhibit opening Oct 1st at The Daily in the Pearl in Portland Oregon! Here’s a pic of me handing one of my new artworks to the owner of the gallery (yeah, okay we’re posing for a photo):

sue-and-amy

Sue Clancy (black shirt) with the owner of Caplan Art Designs. Sue was delivering several new artworks for her upcoming one-person exhibit.

I took all of my work to the gallery and a few days later the gallery owner sent me an image of the exhibit – my artwork installed! Looks nice huh? There will be a 3 course dinner with wine pairings on opening night – Oct 1st – hence all the tables and chairs.

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Sue Clancy’s fine art installed by the Caplan Art Designs gallery

I had no clue as to the order the artworks would be hung – that I left up to the gallery owner’s considerable experience – so as I created the works over the last year I tried to make sure all of the art pieces would “make sense” when grouped together no matter what the order turned out to be.  Essentially I worked to a “theme”.

In a blog post titled “pleasure patterns” I talked about my theme development process so I’ll not repeat that here. But here is a photo of the exhibit statement as it is posted on the wall of the exhibit. It’ll give you a clue about the theme I worked toward.

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The fine art exhibit statement by Sue Clancy

Now all that’s left to do before the exhibit opens Oct 1st is the “shouting” – i.e. the P.R., social media stuff, email invitations etc…. here’s an example: http://dailyinthepearl.com/events.html

Thank heavens the Caplan Art Designs gallery and the Daily in the Pearl are also doing P.R. and social media – it’s not completely left to me! This is a prime example of what I’ve talked about before (like in this post titled “riding the P.R. train“) about how the life of a professional artist becomes about many more people than just the artist. It’s a team effort. Thank goodness!

Actually I misspoke – it’ not just the P.R. that’s left to do – I’m also writing and practicing a short 5 minute talk that I’m giving during the opening dinner party.

So… speech-writing… public speaking…. hoo boy, that’s a topic for another day.

back to the wire

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques

In my last blog post, titled ‘down to the wire‘, I listed 10 tips for prepping art for gallery display  – and someone asked me to post some photos of the finished backs of my artwork. So here are those requested photos:

backofcupcake72

The finished back of my artwork “Cupcake” – see the coated wire, the d-rings put in with screws, and the clearly typed label?

To make my labels I type up a Word file with all of the data then print it out on full sheet label paper that I get from an office supply store.  I’ve heard from my various gallery owners that they appreciate the legibility.

Here is a close-up photo of the D-ring held on with a screw – and the coated wire on the D-ring.  Extra wire is left on so that the gallery or the client can adjust it if necessary.

wiredringcloseup72

A close up of a D-ring and screw with the coated wire on it – and a tiny bit of the label showing on the left side of this photo.

Here’s another photo of the back of a different artwork – this one is a larger, heavier work so I put the felt “feet” on the bottom to help protect the wall. Also whenever there is a ‘makers mark’ on the back of my cradled board (in this case this board was made by Ampersand) I place my label so I won’t cover up the board makers mark.  If some art conservator someday had to do a repair on my artwork that information could be helpful.

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The finished back of my artwork “Fortunes Toad”

I’m sure you’ll note that the back of this piece also has the coated wire, the D-rings with screws and the printed label.  I strive for consistency as much as possible in both the kind of artwork I do on the front and the kind of work I do on the backs.

And did I mention that the wire is coated? Yep! Coated hanging wire is as essential in the art studio as water is in a kitchen!