shipping art to joseph gierek fine art

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, business of art, fine art

Been busy packing and shipping an art exhibit’s worth of my artwork to Joseph Gierek Fine Art (link here).  I’m feeling like Santa and the elves in the North Pole workshop. I’ve made the artwork, I’ve carefully sandwiched each artwork between thick sheets of cardboard then delicately wrapped everything in bubble-wrap with love.  Now to load it onto the sleigh…

And off you go my precious… may you bring cheer and laughter to all.

MyArtToGierek72

business of art book review

A Creative Life, Authors, books, business of art, Sustainable creativity

Long ago, in what seems now like a galaxy far away, I organized a business of art seminar series called the Artist Survival Kit.  It was part of my work on the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s board. I also wrote a quarterly column on business of art topics for the magazine Art Focus Oklahoma. Part of my work included reading and reviewing published books about the business of being an artist.

Then I “retired” from doing all that and went on with my life as a fine artist and author/illustrator. Of course I continued to regularly read books on business topics.

Warp-speed ahead to the Pacific Northwest: when any two local artists get together we talk shop – creativity and business stuff – which includes discussions about books we’re reading. And the more-abundant bookshops and libraries here have impressive selections of business-of-art books sitting right there on a shelf!  (Imagine that!?!) Which brings me to this book I just finished titled “Real Artists Don’t Starve” by Jeff Goins. (and yes, that’s my coffee cup in the photo)

DSC_0041

My thoughts about “Real Artist’s Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins are below in random order:

It’s worth a read no matter where you are in your art career and worth keeping on your studio shelves for that moment when you need an “I can do this” boost.

I love the easy-to-read quality to the writing, how he clearly explains concepts about business in ways that don’t send your creative self whimpering into a corner.

I love it that he emphasizes thinking of yourself as an entrepreneur. Particularly on page 147 where he writes “Some artists tend to think making money is either a system you sell out to or something to be avoided altogether. But in reality, it’s neither. If you don’t make money, you won’t have any art to make. We must seek to better understand the business of being an artist. Ignoring this reality is the fastest route to stop creating all together. To be an artist is to be an entrepreneur. We must learn to embrace this tension and the beauty that comes from it.”

Yep – that sums up exactly what I tried to teach all those years ago in Oklahoma. But I think Jeff does a much better job of explaining things than I did – pictures being my preferred medium to words-in-a-row. Jeff Goins is much better at the words-in-a-row.  So I’m very glad he wrote this book and I’m glad to recommend it.  I’m also grateful that I now live in a place, in an artistic scene, where it was possible to  “happen on” to it.

As Jeff Goins writes on page 91 “As artists, we want to be where we feel understood. We want to live in places where our work and way of life are encouraged.”

After reading this book I certainly feel encouraged! Now I’m going to go create something.

(Oh, by the way, I sometimes post tid-bits about art related books on my Goodreads page…)

what is art for and 3 ways to find out

A Creative Life, animals in art, artistic inspirations, mental health, Sustainable creativity

Professional artist’s ask themselves “what is art for?” and answer it for themselves because that helps us know why we’re doing what they are doing. And knowing this helps you keep on course.

Here’s a sketchbook page from a time when I was examining this question:

ArtGenresPurpose

For me “art is for” good mental health practice – and to provoke a smile, a chuckle.  To quote from my book Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit “When a negative thought enters your mind just say (inwardly) ‘STOP’. It’s your brain, your mind and you have every right to think the thoughts you want…. Don’t let a negative thought ever finish its sentence…. How many ‘STOP’s are enough? As many as it takes. It is also helpful to keep a list of positive things that you enjoy thinking about or doing, like books/reading, walking… going to art exhibits… playing tennis… and after inwardly saying ‘STOP’ switch your focus to something positive and enjoyable.” (https://store.bookbaby.com/book/dr-bobs-emotional-repair-program-first-aid-kit)

So my goal as a professional artist became to create fine art, books and other objects that are positive and enjoyable for other people to see – switch focus to – and that are also  positive and enjoyable for me to create.  I decided that the genres of “animal painting” and “genre painting” best fit this goal.  For short I call this goal to “feed the good wolf”.

To make sure you know what I mean by that here’s a cartoon excerpt from “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit”

TwoWolves72

excerpt from Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit https://store.bookbaby.com/book/dr-bobs-emotional-repair-program-first-aid-kit

But how exactly did I get to a defined goal, a “purpose” for my art?

  1. I went to lots of art galleries and museums. I read a lot of books. I listened to other people talk about what they enjoyed. Anywhere and everywhere I went I made a quick note of what interested me or fed my “good wolf” in a book that I kept with me at all times.
  2. I looked for art supplies and other opportunities to “test the theory” of whether or not something really did feed my good wolf. For example at one time I thought creating sculpture would be “good wolf food” for me – but I discovered that it was too physically difficult and in the process of creating sculpture I ended up cursing a lot. So after some time spent trying metal sculpture I nixed that one from the “good wolf food” list.
  3. I played with the genres and arts categories while making a note of my responses emotionally, physically, mentally.  By “play” I mean I casually went to art exhibits,  looked at objects in a store or on-line that fit the genre/category, I tried the genres at home and all the while I noted my gut response – did it feed my ‘good wolf’? Did it make me smile and want to “share it” in some way with a person I love? What is it about that art/object that excites me? Then I list those qualities and pursue them in my own projects!  (As I mentioned above it turned out that the animals-in-art genre fit me well!)

Speaking of projects –  here’s a very new project for me that fits with my “feed good wolves” goal: I’ve begun designing for iPhone cases, Laptop skins, wall clocks, comforters and many other tech and household objects. (If you noticed that these items fit in the genres of  ‘animals in art”, ‘genre painting’ and ‘media arts’ you get a gold star sticker!)  The link to my newest project: https://society6.com/sueclancy – and here below are a few examples.

 

Strummer

A Creative Life, animals in art, artistic inspirations, dog portrait, poetry, Sue Draws Dogs, words and pictures

I think often about “artistic purpose” – and while, yes, I do get money for my work (I’m a professional, this is my full-time job) that’s not my only purpose for creating art.  Today when I was thinking about this topic I had my tongue firmly planted in my cheek… and I did this poem and illustration.

Strummer – By Sue Clancy

Strummer played music for money,

Ribs, rolls, butter and honey

Or any other tasty dish

Like beef or lamb or fish

A scrambled egg would even do, if not too runny.

strummer72

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

keeping it creative

A Creative Life, artistic inspirations, sketchbook

One question I get asked; “how do you stay inspired creatively” especially when you spend 8 or more hours a day working on art projects? My short answer is “make time to artistically play, everyday”.

I try to draw every day something that “catches my eye” – something that at the time I’m drawing it has no relation to any art project I’m currently working on, it’s not being done for money or for any purpose. It’s just for fun – and that qualifies it as “play”. These are quickie drawings that take no more than a few minutes, accuracy, neatness are not concerns. Having fun, being observant and responsive to the world around me are the main things.

Sometimes what catches my eye is my lunch. Or some product seen in a store –  like the eye shades intended as a sleep aid that actually looked like small bra’s. Sometimes it’s something someone said that gets “illustrated”. Here’s a sketchbook page example of these 3 kinds of “play-times”:

 

ZeusCafeTheEyebra

page from “Coffee, Table, Book” https://store.bookbaby.com/book/coffee-table-book

best artistic life trick

A Creative Life, art techniques, artistic inspirations, Not-So-Sketchy-Food

When I went to art school I didn’t know how to cook. Art school was expensive and the rough average materials costs to do my “homework” were about $30. (in late 1980’s dollars in Oklahoma) for each homework assignment in each class. There was major homework each week, for at least one class – usually more – so costs added up. After spending money on art supplies there wasn’t much left over for food. I ate a lot of baloney and cheese sandwiches on white bread.

In my freshman year I had been approved to have a studio space in the art studio building. One had to submit a portfolio and be approved by a panel of professors. Competition was fierce. Consequently most of the students approved for studio space were juniors and seniors. Some of them were also “returning students” aka “old people” in their late 20’s or 30’s

And then there was me. I was known as “The Kid”.

In the studio building there was a communal kitchen, with a refrigerator, small stove, a coffee pot and a large table and a number of chairs.

One day I was in the kitchen at the table eating my baloney and cheese. Two of the older female students (both from California) entered, rummaged in the fridge, heated something on the stove, then sat to eat a veritable feast of black bean soft tacos with sauteed chilies, onions, spinach and cheese.

I stared. And probably drooled.

One of them looked over at me “Hey kid, what are you eating?”

I told them.

“Oh, gross!” said the other California girl “That’s disgusting!”

I asked what they were eating, they told me, and offered bites …. one thing led to another and pretty soon I was meeting regularly with them and about 6 of their friends for pot-luck dinners.

Before each pot-luck one of the members would demonstrate how to cook the dish they were sharing that evening. I went to almost every cooking lesson. (And I contributed to the events by doing a lot of the clean-up.)

Almost every one of the pot-luck club members were artist’s of one sort or another. Many dinner discussions were about “the business of being an artist” including how important it was for artists to be able to cook (and mix your own alcoholic drinks) because it fed creative brains more nutritionally – and helped an artist be able to afford to do creative work and live well.

I soaked it up like a sponge, learned how to cook and have probably survived as a professional artist because of what I’ve learned about cooking and business from those California girls.

The “how to cook dry beans” was a regular cook-lesson topic as dry beans (available in a bag dry or from bulk bins) are much cheaper than canned.  Once you’ve a big pot of cooked beans ready-to-eat they can be stored in a fridge and quickly used over the coming days for soft taco’s, burrito’s, soups and salads – and more. All cheap fairly quick eats that are yummy!

Of all the lessons I learned “The Beans” was the best and the most useful trick to living the artistic/creative life well!  I’m even using the “bean cooking” technique this very day !

beans72

Sue’s “how to cook dry beans” sketchbook page

These days I use a fancy bean pot – made from iMusa – and it is an improvement on the old large stock pot method I used back then. My bean pot uses 8 cups of water – and can hold 3 cups of dry beans…. But the large-stock-pot method described in my sketchbook page above still works great too.  Anyway here’s a picture of my bean pot in action right now (I started the pot at 10:52… and it’s starting to smell good about now!):

magicbeanpot

Sue’s Magic Bean cooking pot at work.

When my art-studio work day is done later today I’m looking forward either to some bean+chili+cheese burritos…or else some nachos. Hard to choose… Anyway, do you want my recipe for “artist” burrito’s or nachos too?

 

burnt lunch and an arts education

A Creative Life, art techniques, fine art, illustration

Back in the 1980’s when I declared my intention to be a fine arts major at university I was told that an arts education wasn’t much use in life. I disagreed then and now after up-teen years as a professional artist (with a BFA!) I still disagree. I’ve used, and benefited in multiple ways from, my arts education – particularly from drawing and painting techniques. For example – just yesterday I burnt my lunch. The food was seared to the bottom of the pan as if I’d welded it on.  But thanks to my drawing and painting professors (and a high school art teacher before them) this was no problem! I simply took my plastic food scrapper and used “cross hatching” and “stippling” techniques as if I was doing a drawing using a large chunk of graphite on paper. I employed the sharp edge of my plastic scrapper as if I’d been assigned to do a delicate “scratch-board” illustration.  I “scumbled” small circles with the duller edge of my plastic scrapper as if it was a stiff ox-hair paintbrush – and voila! An artistically cleaned pan! Thanks art teachers!

Here are the drawing/painting techniques described in this post - just in case...

Here are the drawing/painting techniques described in this post – just in case…