Of dogs, doodlebugs and damn good books

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art techniques, artistic inspirations, books, cat portrait, creative thinking, fine art, humor in art, life of the mind, poetry, sketchbook, visual thinking, whimsical art, words and pictures, writing and illustrating

This week we took care of 2 dogs belonging to our extended family thus bringing our inhouse pet count up to 2 dachshunds 1 chihuahua Jack Russell mix and 1 cat. Everyone got along peacefully at “Camp Rusty” playing and sleeping together.

Well, the cat did his own thing but wasn’t upset by the extra dogs. In fact I think the cat enjoyed watching them from a window. And one of the dogs enjoyed watching the cat watch the dogs. It was all very meta as they used to say in literature class.

Given all the doggy focus this week I read doggy related poems.

Here’s one I particularly enjoyed.

I got extra canine support this week when I shared my sketchbook on my email newsletter.

My fine art projects for upcoming exhibitions were adjusted so I could more easily work in short bursts around what the dogs needed. As you can see in this video all I have to do is put the cap back on my fountain pen.

Here’s the finished painting. I’ve titled it “Genus: Doodlebug Species: Yellow Short Line Beetle”

“Genus: Doodlebug Species: Yellow Short Line Beetle” by Clancy – 7 x 5 inches- ink and gouache on board

All that time I spent in the biological zoological illustration trenches came in handy when drawing the beetle! 🀣

We sat outside on our patio a lot so the dogs could play in the yard during a rare week of Pacific Northwest sunshine. Besides my portable lap sized art projects mentioned above I read books! Besides the book of dog poems here’s two of the titles I’m reading alongside a cold beer and a pitcher of water.

I’m continually amazed at how similar visual pattern construction is to writing poetry – including the rhythm design scheme “a b a b” and so forth. I’m also still enthralled by how fine art exhibit plotting is so similar to story construction.

And I’m sure you noticed that all 3 of the above books fit into my ongoing Ray Bradbury Reading Program in which I’m reading one poem, one short story and one essay per day. This reading program is easy to adjust around doggy needs too.

The novel I’m reading before bed is one I’ve read before and is a favorite! I picked it because this week had enough challenges without adding a challenging new novel to the mix. So I picked a novel for the spirit lift (pun fully intended) in it.

In the above novel there is a party in which several people take turns singing a “port a beul”. So I looked online for examples to listen to while I read. This was a favorite! πŸ‘‡

Saturday was Independent Bookstore Day so I did this drawing in honor of my local independent bookstores which have provided so many damn good books for me to read!!

Did you notice that my cat book buyer drawing is in a 4-beat “a, b, a, b” form?

Anyhoo, I hope your week is filled with many good things too.

See you next Monday.

Flying pigs, pastries and doodlebugs

A Creative Life, animals in art, artist book, artistic inspirations, books, creative thinking, fine art, humor in art, poetry, reading, sketchbook, Storyberries, whimsical art, words and pictures

One pig leads to another it seems. On my email newsletter I shared a flying pig and what inspired it. The finished painting was called “The Plot”.

The Plot by Clancy

That in turn inspired another pig with wings to appear in my sketchbook.

Which then became a painting titled “Higgledy-Piggledy” which I also shared in my email newsletter along with other things not mentioned here because I’m trying to not repeat myself too much across my social media, but … this is what’s going on in my world.

Higgledy-Piggledy by Clancy

My artist book “We All Count” is on Storyberries now!!!
Freely available via this link as an #ebook !!!! https://www.storyberries.com/bedtime-stories-we-all-count-by-sue-clancy-experimental-art-books-counting-books/

This is now my 20th #childrensbook !! (There’s a search bar on Storyberries.com where you can type Sue Clancy to see all 20 of my books!!)

We All Count by Clancy

In case you missed my video flip-through…

Over on my email newsletter I had shared my original idea book notes in my poetry sketchbook… but so you don’t have to click away here it is below. My sketchbook is where everything begins…

We went out for pastries and coffee earlier this week before the snow descended. While there were muffins (like in my Higgledy-Piggledy painting above) I opted for a croissant. I thought about drawing these delectable morsels but instead of drawing I just enjoyed eating.

In an earlier post I shared about getting a set of Haikubes … well, this was the playful poem absurdity that happened this week…

…followed by a doodlebug dancing. Instead of being a “violet grace” color though the bug ended up grey blue-green with a purple shadow. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

I agree with Austin Kleon here when he says “Books are toys”. They are! Art supplies are toys too. So are cooking utensils. Here’s a stack of books I’m playing with.

Reading about creativity and how it works neurologically is fascinating to me. Creativity is what creative people do – whether the artistic method used for expression is writing, drawing, music or any of the other arts – and regardless of the mood or topic expressed. Much like heating food is what a kitchen stove does – whether the stove is used to boil, bake, saute or in any way apply heat to a soup, a sandwich or a casserole.

Anyway, hope your week is full of grace and playful creativity in whatever colors or flavors.

See you next Monday-ish.

The secret commission now revealed

A Creative Life, art commissions, art gallery, artistic inspirations, Dogs in Art, fine art, Fine Art Commission, sculpture 3d, whimsical art

Remember the top secret commission for the Caplan Art Designs Gallery that I worked on from December 2022 to Feb 2023 and successfully kept mum about? I can reveal it now because the Gallery said the client has now gotten it as a February birthday gift!!! Wahoo!!! And happy birthday!!!

Here’s a video look at it… I titled it “The Boxer Box”. It is a 3d sculpture, an 8 inch wooden cube, that I painted with acrylic.

And here are some still photos of the box.

And here’s a look at each box face!

Here is one of the photos of Ari, the Boxer himself, that I worked from. What a delightfully handsome gentleman Ari is!!

Gosh this project was so much fun!!! Can I admit now that the hardest part of the whole thing was keeping the secret??!!

See you next Monday-ish!

Marinating in the fun stuff

A Creative Life, animals in art, art supplies, artistic inspirations, books, fine art, games in art, mental health, poetry, sketchbook, Sustainable creativity, whimsical art, words and pictures

This week I finished the painting I was working on in my last post and I continued playing around in the fun too!

I played with the new inks (see also my last post).

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!!

See you next Monday!

Mundane magic – aka joy breaks

A Creative Life, art commission, art gallery, artistic inspirations, books, creative thinking, fine art, life of the mind, mental health, poetry, Sustainable creativity, whimsical art, words and pictures

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 )

Red Eye Gravy Train by Clancy

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.

Patchwork Poems and a something

A Creative Life, Art Word Combinations, artist book, author illustrator, children's book, handmade books, illustrated poem, illustration, Patchwork Poems, poetry, printed books, Storyberries, whimsical art, words and pictures, writing and illustrating

It’s been a tough week. One friend died. Another is on hospice. I’ve also completed two commissions for holiday gifts and delivered them. So my bandwidth for writing this blog barely registers on the scales. Please forgive me. I’m still playing in my sketchbooks I just find it is easier (and soothing) to actually *be* creative than it is to talk *about* being creative.

The main thing I want to share here with you is that my book Patchwork Poems is now available on Storyberries as an ebook, an animated book and an audiobook – and it’s available as a printed book too! Links are below…

https://www.storyberries.com/bedtime-stories-clancys-patchwork-poems-seasonal-autumn-childrens-poems/

Somehow Storyberries was able to make my book pages be side by side as they are in my original artwork!!

Here’s a look at the videos related to Patchwork Poems which show my original artwork:

On YouTube  https://youtu.be/_hsI__5cJPA

The Instagram Reel https://www.instagram.com/reel/CkzcVR3JTrD/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

A very happy highlight this week was when I was asked to sign books for two twin 4yr old fans of my work!

They had come over to my studio to see this book several times while I was making it! (Their grandparents live nextdoor) The kids are both quite helpful editors! The first time they saw my original artwork in progress I had done perhaps half of the book. I read some of the poems out loud to them. They seemed pleased! However there were blank pages. They pointed at the blank spots. “You’ll do a something here right? And here, and here, and here? A something?” I said that I would. They came back over the very next day. “Did you finish our book yet?”. I explained that these things take time to do, sometimes months, but that I was working as fast as I could. A month or so later they came over for a visit. “Did you finish our book yet?” This time I said that I almost had and would they like to see it? They looked at it with me and took turns very gently holding my original book (it’s the size of a credit card) and opening it carefully. The covers were still blank at that time. “You’ll do a something here right?” I said yes, and that it would become an ebook and a printed book too so even after I finished the original book covers there was still work to do before it was ready. “But there will be a something everywhere right?” They asked. I said yes.

Here below is a look at the printed book Patchwork Poems. It’s much larger, 8 x 11 inches, than my original artist book which is 2 x 3 inches. As per both of my 4yr old editor’s suggestion I made absolutely sure there is “a something” on every page! The magazine style format lets me do that so that’s one of the reasons this book is so much bigger than the original artwork.

Here’s a link for the printed book: https://www.blurb.com/b/11318282-patchwork-poems

Thank you in advance for sharing any of the above Patchwork Poems related links. Thank you most of all for staying as healthy and as happy as possible. I’m glad and grateful to you for reading my work and for your comments!

See you next Monday – with a something…

My adopted Mom’s quilt and a searcher

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art prints, art supplies, art techniques, author illustrator, books, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, household surrealism, illustration, mental health, Odditerrarium, publications - publishing, published art, reading, sketchbook, whimsical art, words and pictures

This week the Aurora Gallery finished framing my adopted Mom’s quilt that I told you about in a prior post. Doesn’t the frame look great? We went right home and hung it in a special place!

Elizabeth Steinbaugh at the Aurora Gallery
Mom Penny Hoke’s quilt on our wall at home

As you see in the photo above – included in the frame is a piece of handmade paper on which I hand wrote Mom’s name and a bit about the quilt.

I also remembered a story related to the quilt theme of “knowing what it is when you pick it up” (details in this post). The story I remembered goes like this: A man holding a lit candle went looking for fire with which to cook his rice. It was a long search. If he had known what fire was or asked some questions when he began searching he could have cooked his rice a lot sooner.

Below is one of my Odditerrarium series paintings for the upcoming exhibit at the Caplan Art Designs Gallery. It’s titled “A Searcher”

This week we went for a browse at Vintage Books an independent bookstore a few miles from where we live. As I browsed I came across the local author shelves and was delighted to see a book I illustrated, “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit”, right there on the shelf where I was browsing! What a fun surprise! It’s available via the bookstore website too!

Below is the book haul we came home with!

Below is a sketchbook drawing I did of two books I’m currently enjoying reading! I’ve added both of these titles to my public books to cheer up by book list here.

I enjoyed seeing this photo of a happy person with their dog with my artwork in the background at Canal District Wines this week and thought you’d enjoy it too. I’m thinking I want to do more art like this … I like the boldness and simplicity.

https://www.canaldistrictwines.com/

This project in progress below is a 3d cube 8 inches square that I’m doing for a holiday exhibit at Caplan Art Designs! I’m aiming for the used wooden toy block look – but with a dog theme.

My drawing marathon for NIL-TECH will start on Monday and run for a number of weeks! If you’ve followed my blog you’ve seen me working towards this… and now here it is! Drum roll please! Actually please follow NIL-TECH on their Instagram or Facebook pages so you can see the end results of all the practice you watched me do here on my blog! And thank you for cheering me on! Here’s the link to the 54 piece watercolor pencil set I’ll be using in my marathon. Wish me luck!

I hope your week is pleasant. See you next Monday.

Miniature art, books, dogs, a cow, a bird, a dragon and a rabbit review

A Creative Life, Alphapets, animals in art, art commissions, art gallery, art techniques, artist book, artistic inspirations, author illustrator, book design and layout, books, Cats in art, children's book, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, miniature art, poetry, publications - publishing, published art, reading in art, visual story, whimsical art, wordless story, words and pictures, writing and illustrating

This week I finished the dog painting you saw in my sketchbook and on my easel in my last post. The cow is still active in the field of my imagination as is a wee bird. More on that later in this post.

Here’s the completed dog portrait titled “Being exquisite”. Like the dog portrait in my last post this new one is 8 x 10 inches and uses that nifty new brush technique (last post)! I’m having such fun with all of these tiny details!

Like the fur between his eyes and the nose… below are two photo views so you can see.

And the details of the dandelions! Oh that was fun!!

This past week has been filled with gluing the cow artwork pages onto a piece of paper cut 4.25 inches x 4 feet long and folding it so that it zigzags  into panels 4.25 x 6.25 inches in size. Plus the week was spent making a slipcase for my book which can be called a leporello, a concertina or an accordion format. Everything was made from scratch: raw archival book binders board, white flat paper and glue. When the story pages are folded they’re almost 1 inch thick so the slipcase accounts for that. Below are photos of the slipcase and the concertina book.

For more details on the Leporello,  Concertina or Accordion style folded books here’s a good link https://wp.me/p4va0m-gU

Here’s a reference book I’ve used for years when I’m constructing books and making boxes from scratch. I altered methods described in this book to make the cow book slipcase. The book is Books Boxes and Portfolios by Franz Zeier

Behind these analog scenes I’ve been working on the digital files for a printed version of “How the cow went over the moon”. In pre-pandemic days I’d have made this one handmade book and sent it to a gallery like the 23 Sandy who would have exhibited it and sold it to a private collection or to a public collection. For example the UCLA Fine arts library has one of my books, so does the Bainbridge Island Art Museum.

Then the pandemic happened and I began making reproductions of my books available via Blurb which can print then mail my books directly to the buyer. That seemed a more pandemic safe way to share my artist books. It is also why I say that I approach self-publishing from a fine art perspective.

When I did the first printed book, Alphapets, in early 2020, I was contacted by Storyberries who wanted to distribute the ebook version. Well it’s been so much fun to make my books available in an on-demand way (my books are only printed when they’re ordered) and even more fun to share with readers on Storyberries that this fun is now factored in to my book designs.

For example: as I’ve been making the digital files for the printed book (and for Storyberries) I took the photos below of the handmade books with a piece of candy to show scale. I did this because it might amuse readers to see the original books in the printed book version. And perhaps help the younger readers be aware that books are made by people just like them.

This week I’ve also been talking with Storyberries and – dear blog reader you’re getting this news first – they’ll be making an “art experimental” story category for my work!! How fun is that? I so wanted arty quirky books when I was a kid… and now I’m making them and getting to fill a whole childrens book category with ebook versions of my artist books!!! I’m over-the-moon excited and yes that pun was intended! 🀣

As I wrote in my last post I’ve been reading The Annotated Arabian Nights and I sat up and took notice when the annotation mentioned a literary genre called “mirrors for princes”.  So as a companion to my “How the cow went over the moon” book message (?) about not being too serious and remaining down-to-earth I’ve been thinking of the importance of remembering joy.

So here’s a look at what will be the second wordless poem in the printed  book. This poem is titled “Tiny notes to the sun”

This book too is a leporello format but instead of a slip cover it’s got hardback covers. This book is 2.25 inches square when closed and opens out to 20 inches in length.

The photos below that have a peppermint candy in them are the pics I’ll put into the printed book version because it might amuse people to see them too.

As I mentioned earlier I’ve been working simultaneously on the book layout and design for the printed version of “How the cow went over the moon” … and I’m using visual elements of the original artist books … here’s a look. πŸ‘‡

This week the Caplan Art Designs Gallery sent photos of my 3d box project “All the Chances” in it’s new space! And look, the client’s pet rabbit approved!!

And someone else sent me photos of their dog approving the dog portrait I painted and the way the Aurora Gallery framed the portrait! So glad their dog approved!!

Here below is the framed portrait on the dog’s “Clancy art” wall!! Isn’t that sweet?! A whole wall!! Wow!! This makes my artist heart so happy!!

In the coming days Kidz Stories plans to read my book “How to draw a dragon” out loud on their YouTube channel and, since it’s a coloring book, they’re hosting a color-along!! I’ll post a link to the video when I have it. In preparation to help kids to be able to color-along I’ve made my coloring book a free download here on my portfolio page!

I hope your week is full of your favorite colors and comforts. See you next Monday.