of dogs, tequila and recipes

A Creative Life, animals in art, art gallery, artist book, artistic inspirations, books, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, food for thought, sketchbook

If you have ever enjoyed a margarita – or as I’ve recently discovered – a Mexican coffee remember to thank a bat. The lesser long nosed bat, yes the night flying critter, is very important to the pollination of plants that produce tequila. This bat’s health affects human culture and humans affect the bat. Fortunately the lesser long nosed bat has been removed from the endangered species list recently because lots of humans returned the bat’s favors and helped the bat’s habitat etc.

All of this goes to my on-going thesis that we humans are interconnected with the world. It only seems like human culture is separate from the natural world. Just like sometimes it feels like we are alone as individuals. But the way I figure it even when I’m physically alone in a room there are thousands of humans with me; several people made my furniture, some made my window blinds, others make the inks, brushes and all the art supplies I use. The books that fill my studio and home were written, edited, published and distributed by lots of humans. And I’m grateful to them.

Then I back up a notch and there are mammals, insects, plants as well as water, air and sunlight that also contributed to the materials all the humans used to make everything in my life. And I’m even more grateful.

Which brings me to the dogs. For me dogs represent a “joy at being alive” and dogs are very much a part of our human world. For me they are a direct link to the natural world – they are our “interpreters”, our therapy guide dogs, that help us remember our humanity. You know, enjoy your food, sleep well, be sociable, be kind, go for walks and play like you mean it.

I also enjoy the diversity of the dog-world. The smallest dog and the biggest dog, the hairy dog and the smooth-coated dog are all able to co-exist peaceably (most of the time) in the same dog park. Good examples for the humans I think.

It takes all of us – every being – to create our world. Sort of like a drink recipe, leave out one item and you don’t have the same drink. As Dr. Bob Hoke often quoted “We bring forth the world together”

So for many of the above reasons I depict dogs doing human culture-like things such as having a Mexican coffee.

walter72

Walter by Clancy – ink on handmade paper

And here is one of the best Mexican coffee recipe’s I’ve found so far.

mexicancoffee72

I never knew there were so many coffee-drinks until I moved to the Pacific Northwest. Lately I’ve been “collecting” such drinks in my sketchbook (like the above recipe) as well as many different shapes of mugs and cups. All of this research is ending up in my fine artwork… I’ll share more about this in another post.

Do you have a favorite dog? Or favorite coffee drink?

In the meantime you can see more of my dog portrait artwork in my new book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy or at one of my art galleries: Caplan Art Designs http://www.caplanartdesigns.com  For more of the “Dr. Bob Hoke” I spoke of earlier see also my artist book Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit https://store.bookbaby.com/book/dr-bobs-emotional-repair-program-first-aid-kit

 

dog art book days

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, artist book, books, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, Sue Draws Dogs, visual story

Recently I posted a video of me un-boxing proof copies of “Dogs by Sue Clancy”  https://sueclancy.com/2017/01/15/dogs-unboxed/  Overall I’m very pleased with the books printing, the binding and the way BookBaby https://www.bookbaby.com/ has done things.  I’d used BookBaby to do my previous eBooks – so they weren’t un-known to me, and I knew they’d be good to work with. They are. And their book distribution system is worldwide…

Even so, in looking at my proof copies I realized there was a graphic-designer (me) error.  The first page that you see upon opening the book is blank. Then you open it and on the left is the title page. The page to the right has the book info.

Oops.

Not BookBaby’s fault at all. Totally mine. Some days are just like that.

Dang-nab-it-in-big-soggy-biscuits!!!!

But everything else other than the odd page order at the front is beautiful. So I showed copies of the book to my gallery owners – all are thrilled. (Whew!) And one said she loves the blank page at the front as she’ll be able to put a sticker/card with additional info right there. “Great sales tool!” she added about the book in general.

Since the galleries are happy I’ve decided the pages in the book “Dogs…” are staying as they are.  I’ll just do better pagination for the next book.

In case you were wondering why I decided to do my newest book in such a mass-produced way in the first place. (This book is going to be available where ever books are sold in the world. Yes by Amazon.com…and also at independent bookstores) I decided to do it like this because I have fans and art collectors all over the world and Bookbaby’s distribution system for eBooks has been fantabulous – so I’m trusting that the same is true for the print books too!

The idea is that my gallery owners will be able to tell their clients – wherever in the world they are located – that “something new by Sue” is available via a familiar online source or even a bookstore near them.  This book is also intended to help the galleries sell the very personal service I provide – creating a visual story that reflects the life of a person and their dog.

Beyond the fine art gallery scene I think of the book as a small attempt to share my “art as good mental health therapy” concept with people who may not know my artwork but may chance upon my book somehow.  Maybe they’ll laugh and have a better day.

The original artwork at the gallery gets framed like this:

inkdogframed

Artwork by Clancy framed at the Caplan Art Designs gallery www.caplanartdesigns.com

The book has a stiff cover and 26 pages and when closed is 8.5 x 11 inches. Just the size for a coffee table.  More info about the book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” is available here  https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy or via Amazon…

 

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

why whimsical dog art

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, artistic inspirations, books, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, ebook, fine art, Sue Draws Dogs

“So much is wrong with the world and here you are doing artwork of cute dogs and the occasional cats. Aren’t you denying reality, denying the power of protest art?”

No, I am on purpose living well as a direct action against the bullies, abusive people and authoritarians.  If I were to get upset and stay angry and fearful each time I read a news article, for example, I would be handing my personal happiness to the very mean people I’m upset about.

So I persist at finding small joys every day, doing small kindnesses, creating laughter and yes, cute whimsical dogs.  It’s my protest, my declaration of sovereignty, my present to the better angels of my own and other people’s natures. It’s my way to feed the good wolves.

My persistence at happiness doesn’t mean I don’t read and make myself aware of what’s going on in the world. It doesn’t mean I don’t care. It doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t donate money or in other ways help any cause I think is also opposing bullies and authoritarian fundamentalists. I do!

It’s just that I refrain as best I can from giving the mean people my inner self, letting my upset at them/ their actions dominate my entire mind and life. I’m not waiting until there are no more mean people in any positions of power (etc.) before I’m able to enjoy something! I’m going to enjoy something today, right now. I’m also going to learn something, I’m going to play, experiment, and laugh. I’m going to try something new. I’m going to smile and talk to people. I’m going to do my best to be kind and loving. I’m going to live well!

By doing this I deny those mean people what they want most; my cerebral compliance. When I enjoy something they, the bullies, have not set the tone of my mind or my day – I have!   The bully may have authority over my body (i.e. be an abusive parent, a president, or a state that denies my human rights) but they do not have control over my mind!

One of the many good-mental-health techniques that I’ve practiced is to keep a list of things I enjoy thinking about or doing – so that whenever I do get down-in-the-dumps or despondent about how some bully seems to be winning I can deliberately turn my mind towards something I enjoy.  In this way I’m taking direct and immediate action.

By creating artwork that is whimsical, beautiful or even cute I am giving people an art exhibit, a book, a blog post or an item of art apparel  that I hope can, if only for a moment, lift their spirits and enable them to take direct action too – by enjoying something.

As I learned from Dr. Bob Hoke (and which is further discussed in the book “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit”) the best response to adversity of any kind is to go on and live well.  https://store.bookbaby.com/book/dr-bobs-emotional-repair-program-first-aid-kit

Here are a few of my dogs currently on exhibit at Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com – and also in my book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

 

dog in the details

A Creative Life, animals in art, artist book, artistic inspirations, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, ebook, fine art, illustration, Sue Draws Dogs, words and pictures

When I was a little kid I remember once telling my Grandmother “I’m bored.” She asked me to look for and find the smallest object in the house and bring it to her. After some time I found a safety-pin about 1/2 inch long and about 1/4 inch wide. She said “I’ll bet you can do better than that.” So off I went again searching. I came back with a needle. It was a bit longer than the safety-pin but much skinnier. Which led to a philosophical discussion of what constituted “small”.

I was not bored any more that day!

Fast forward a hundred years or so and I was working with psychiatrist Dr. Bob Hoke who wanted to publish a book that could be available for his patients. The question was how to “keep the young adults from getting bored” as many of them were not great readers of prose in general and certainly not of books about how to develop and maintain good mental health.

Dr. Bob was a story-teller and holding peoples attention in person was no problem for him. It was in writing where he thought he got “too didactic”.  We hit upon the idea of doing a book in a primarily graphic-novel comic format. (That idea became “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit” – more info is on my artist book webpage https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/)

As a result of my work with Dr. Bob on that book (and other projects) I began to focus much more on the “small details” within my fine art work as one way of communicating a story, developing a character and, yes, keeping a viewers visual interest.

So as I’ve been working towards my new book – the one that I’m thinking of calling “Dogs” – I’ve been thinking about which dogs I’ve drawn in ink that include small details, surprising details and even hidden subtle details.

Here’s one:

happy72

“Happy” by Clancy – pen and ink on handmade paper

 

from sketchbooks to dogs

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

As you know from previous blog posts I was intending to publish another ebook of my  recent sketchbook pages oriented around the saying “Stay close to anything that makes you glad to be alive”.  I was even going to call it my “Glad to be Alive” sketchbook.  It was going to have scenery, people, food/drink, books, games and dogs…  you know, pages like this:

vanriverwalk72

Sue Clancy’s “Glad to Be Alive” sketchbook page; ink and watercolor done on location.

Yeah, well that sketchbook publication ain’t happening.

The short explanation is “technical difficulties”.  The longer explanation is much much longer. So never mind. For now.

I still want to do the book. And I’ll still be posting pages from it here on the blog – and on my sketchbooks webpage https://sueclancy.com/sketchbooks/.  The mountain of technical difficulties will have to be conquered first before ebook publication and that’ll take some time. Because you know, fine art commissions and exhibits and only having 24 hours in a day.

In the mean-time tho there are my dogs! I’ve been half-working in spare moments towards the dream of a printed book – an artist book – of my dog drawings/portraits.  I thought that project was a year or so out. It was a distant dream. Or so I thought.  But it turns out that this dog-art-book project may be more do-able – with fewer technical issues. The creative life’s funny like that. Always throwing curve-balls. So I’m going to concentrate on a dog-book!

I’ll focus it around “pleasant things”, like I would have done the “Glad to be Alive” sketchbook… because dogs are very pleasant – and as characters dogs can be creatively combined with the various things I’ve enjoyed and sketched in my sketchbook.  And dogs certainly make me glad to be alive!

I’d have pages like this:

ponder72

“Ponder” by Sue Clancy (brush and ink on handmade paper)

So… to publish my dog portraits as a print book?! Dogs in Art!! Animals in art !!!  That’s my genre baby!!!

Now what???!!

Oh yes, to cook supper tonight.

 

 

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/

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)