the stories behind the cats

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, artistic inspirations, cat portrait, Cats in art, fine art, visual thinking, words and pictures

This coming Friday, June 1st at Burnt Bridge Cellars my cat portrait exhibit “Purrsuits of Pleasure” opens. Because I don’t think artistic inspiration needs to be mysterious I include the story behind each art piece. The text illustrates, so to speak, my visual images.

Here are some of the artworks in the exhibit:

And here are some of the stories that illustrate them as they’ll be posted on the walls in the exhibit (of course readers of my blog have seen more details than what’s included below… but then you’re special):

Purrfecting Happy Hour by Clancy

I’m part of a feral happy-hour group; between 7 and 14 of us get together once a month somewhere local for happy hour. Often the trays of drinks that arrive at our table look like a collection of fine jewels.

Purrameters of Pie by Clancy

In several local cafés, bistros and pizzerias I’ve discovered that I can get either a savory or sweet pie of almost any size: small hand-pies, “personal” pies, pie slices, medium and large pies and “family size” pies. The trouble is deciding which size to get.

Strad O’Various by Clancy

Going to music events during the winter is a delightful way to combat any “rainy-day blues”. This last winter I particularly enjoyed seeing the crowd, and some musicians, bustling in for a concert in their colorful coats and scarves.

Cat A List by Clancy

Wine tastings – and being friends with Mark at Burnt Bridge Cellars – have opened my eyes to the subtle differences between wines from one year to the next, how type of grape, the weather, water and soil affect the flavors. Small things can be a catalyst.

Alpha Betty by Clancy

The local libraries and bookstores are, for me, a large treasure-toy box. Which got me thinking of how we select books according to our interests. The libraries and bookstores also have books available in a wide variety of languages – and its fun to see them too. This got me to thinking about the alphabet. Each language has its own – and when we say “the alphabet” we immediately think of our native tongue whatever it is. Likewise, when we think of “good books” we think in terms of our own interests and preferences. But when we’re aware of bi-lingual people and the multiplicity of this world – perhaps we are better able to remember that our languages and personal preferences are just frames of reference. And that frames are adjustable.   So what frame of reference would a cat have? A mouse obsessed one of course!

Purrfect Entertainment by Clancy

My friend Kevin and I were talking about local music, feral cats and handmade musical instruments. Specifically, we talked about the “found object” instruments we were both aware of in the Southeastern parts of the U.S. – guitars made out of cigar boxes or banjos from cookie tins. Our conversation drove me to the library to research “handmade music instruments in the Pacific Northwest”.  I discovered a long tradition of using local wood scraps to hand-craft musical instruments. The native woodgrain was often a prominent decoration. These instruments were works of art not at all like the “found object” instruments of the SE.  I also discovered that here in the PNW playing music in public, on porches, patios, anywhere outdoors was, and still is, the norm during “nice” weather. There has also been a strong connection between music, food and community no matter what the weather. But I could only get so much into one painting.

the catalyst for Cat A List

A Creative Life, animals in art, artistic inspirations, cat portrait, Cats in art, fine art, visual thinking

I live in wine country and wine tastings are part of the culture. It’s common to hear comments like “2013 was a very good year for Pinot Noir!” Which means I’ve had my eyes opened to the fact that the same grape variety can taste differently from year to year.

This has prompted me to read books about Pacific NW wine and wine making in general.  It’s amazing how many tiny little things can affect a wine’s flavor; the soil, the slope of the land, whether it’s near water, how warm/cool the temperature average is, the amount of rainfall and of course bugs and animals. Too much wind, or smoke from wildfires can also affect the grape and the taste of the wine.

And there’s the effect of the winemaker, the maker’s many small choices add up: the harvest date chosen, the fermentation temperature, the choice of what kind of barrel or tank to ferment in, the type of cork and bottle to use – and many thousands of other minute mundane decisions.

It seems to be a combination of both art and science.  Which makes me even more curious about wine and more appreciative of the wines I drink.

So rather than writing an essay about what I’ve learned and my thoughts and feelings about it – I’m creating a visual story of a curious cat character – who is investigating a wine list. I did a “vine” background pattern because, you know, grape vines… and I chose a brindle cat breed because wine making is subtle blending of many different elements.

SueWithCatAList72

And here is the finished piece:

CatAList72

“Cat A List” by Clancy 30 x 24 x 2 inches Hand dyed, hand stenciled paper and acrylic on cradled board

I’ve titled it “Cat A List” for reasons alluded to above, plus the definition of the word ‘catalyst’ and because I’ve learned that, just like professional fine artist’s, wine makers typically only offer their “A List”, the selection of what they think is their best work, to the public.  And this best-of list can vary from year to year.

Which makes this region the perfect place for this wine-curious cat (aka me) to live!

 

community creatures running loose at the Anstine Gallery

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, artist book, artistic inspirations, drawing as thinking, ebook, public art, sketchbook, travel art and writing, visual story

The art was delivered to the Anstine Gallery this morning. The snow I’d worried about in my last post wasn’t a problem! (Whew!) The Anstine Gallery is located in a government building in Vancouver so I’m doing what I often do – trying to make people in serious places laugh.

Adults in general, I find, tend to be focused on day-to-day problems and people in certain professions; in the medical field, in law and in city or county government, in addition to having the regular allotment of adult-hood type responsibilities have entire work-days filled with problem-solving.

So with this exhibit – titled “Community Creatures” I wanted to share humorous artwork that was based on what is, in my opinion, working well in Vancouver.

A community is made up of its social vitality. The physical structures of the place; sidewalks, multi-use buildings, zoning laws, environmental policies, parks, public art and so forth all impact – in a behind the scenes way – the social vitality of a place. I see the city/county as doing well because of what I observe when I “run around loose”.

Where we most often see, or are most easily aware of, social vitality is in the small businesses, I mean the honest-to-goodness personally owned business – where the owner actually works there.  So that’s where I started – I’ve recorded my experiences in my sketchbook of running around loose in Vancouver, then I created characters (the ‘creatures’) and a fine-art-visual-story that transformed my real-life sketches into a metaphoric or literary depiction of an element of life in Vancouver.

Here are a series of sketches paired with the artworks. I’m sure you’ll be able to see what relates to what.

Naturally there is crossover between the different sketchbook pages and each finished art piece. The above is just a sample. You can download my entire “Running Around Loose – Vancouver WA” sketchbook in ebook form here:  https://sueclancy.com/product/running-around-loose-vancouver-wa-edition-1-by-sue-clancy/

running around loose art exhibit

A Creative Life, art gallery, artist book, artistic inspirations, ebook, fine art, public art, visual thinking

Soon I’m delivering artwork to the Anstine Gallery – an art gallery located in a governmental building in Vancouver WA. – for a one woman exhibit titled “Community Creatures”.  Since it’s in a government building I’m taking the opportunity to celebrate, with artwork, aspects of the community I love.

I’ve titled the exhibit “Community Creatures” because the characters I’ve used for all of the fine art pieces range widely: there’s a frog, a longhorn steer, a peacock, a seahorse, a rabbit and of course some dogs and cats. Each character, and the actions depicted in the artwork,  represents some aspect of the Vancouver community that I appreciate.  As I’ve run around loosely enjoying things I’ve documented them in my sketchbook. Then I’ve pulled elements recorded in my sketchbook for fine art.

So I’m also sharing my sketchbook, the words-and-pictures behind the fine art, in two ways: one as a hand-sewn book that will be in the exhibit, and as an ebook (here) titled “Running Around Loose” that people can download and have on their phone when they go to my exhibit. Or if they can’t come to the exhibit they can still enjoy the show – via my sketchbook.

For example here is one of my sketchbook pages.

BurntBridge

And below is one of my artwork, titled “Massive Mastiff Munching” that flowed from the above sketchbook page and other pages like it. For example I’m also combining (as documented in other sketchbook pages) the “tapas”, or small plates, way of eating that many places offer – including the winery mentioned in the above sketchbook page.

MassiveMastiffMunchingA72.jpg

You can probably see several connections between the sketchbook page and the artwork.

I suppose with the art and the book combined the entire exhibit could be called “Community Creatures… Running Around Loose” – and I like the humor of that, but I’ve left the phrases separate in order to distinguish between the exhibit and the book. Anyway, hopefully everything I’ve done will make people smile.

I’ll post more about this exhibit and my thinking in the coming days – but just now I’m hoping that our recent snowfall won’t interfere too much with delivery day.  The local independently owned (imagine that!!)  newspaper, The Columbian, has headlines for yesterday and today: “Snow sticks around; School districts announce closures, later starts today with messy commute likely” and “A Day to take off; snow, ice prompt school closures, delays in services in Clark County”.  It is snowing as I type this … so I’ll be in touch with the exhibit curator and we’ll see….

 

Clancy art exhibit opening

A Creative Life, art exhibit, artist book, dog portrait, Dogs in Art

Last night was my exhibit opening at Burnt Bridge Cellars – www.burntbridgecellars.com – and what fun we had! Here are a few photos:

The exhibit will run through July during winery hours – and more of my dog art can be seen at Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com

And the printed art book that relates to this exhibit is here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

art delivered installed and here is a sneak peek.

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art

Here’s a sneak preview of my exhibit at Burnt Bridge Cellars that I’ve titled “Dogs in the Winery”! We’d just finished installing it. The “we” being me, Kim and Judy. (Kim and Judy are seen on the video talking and waiting for me to quit filming. 😉

This coming Friday evening my exhibit opens and people will come, the wine will be poured, the food will be served, I’ll sign copies of my book “Dogs by Sue Clancy”… and we’ll all relax and enjoy ourselves!

www.burntbridgecellars.com

www.caplanartdesigns.com

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

Labrador dog art in the winery

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, Art Licensing, artistic inspirations, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, sketchbook

As you know from other posts I’m getting ready for a one-person fine art exhibit to open June 2nd at Burnt Bridge Cellars www.burntbridgecellars.com.  For this art exhibit I’ve been meditating, you might say, on how important it is to practice enjoying ordinary life. When I have a glass of wine I’m reminded to breathe, taste and savor everything – not just the wine.  I chose a Labrador dog as my “character” actor in my art (pictured) because a Labrador’s restrained-alert-excitement reflects how I feel while tasting some wines.

Here’s one of my artworks for the show:

Lad72

Lad by Clancy – 30 x 22 inches – sumi ink on handmade paper

On my website page https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/ you can find a link to a sketchbook titled “Glad to Be Alive Sketchbook – drinks and music edition 2017”  where you can download, for free, my sketches that inspired this work.

You can also see some greeting cards with this image – and others – here https://society6.com/sueclancy

riding the PR train

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

Kurt Vonnegut once said “Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted” and I’ve taken those words to heart. I even have Vonnegut’s statement pinned to the wall above my art studio work table. I believe that my creative out-put is not about me. Art-making is not some self-indulgent ego-trip on my part. It’s about the kind of world we are creating together; me and all my friends, pre-friends and strangers. We are all in this together.

Which is why, even after all these years of being a professional artist, I still have mixed feelings when I see PR stuff with my name prominently as the “featured artist”.  On the one hand a one-person fine art exhibit is a culmination of at least a years worth of daily work on my part – so I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. Yet at the same time I’m very aware that while it may be my name on the marquee, so to speak,  there’s a whole host of people behind me, believing in my artwork, working hard to make the event successful; the gallery owner, the gallery director, the interns and assistants in the gallery to name the obvious ones.  When the opening reception (as it is for my October exhibit) is also a 3 course dinner with wine pairings – there is also the restaurant (Daily in the Pearl!), the chef, the winery (Hip Chicks Do Wine!) – all working hard too.  And I didn’t mention the art supply stores in my beloved Pacific Northwest that provide materials for me to work with… or my spouse, friends, neighbors…. I’ve so many people to be grateful for that I’m not sure the Internet has enough bandwidth to hold my entire list.

So let it suffice to say that while my name may be the most prominent in the PR materials being circulated currently – like this email flyer (below) that the Caplan Art Designs gallery sent out – as well as all the other stuff on Facebook and Twitter etc. This whole exhibit is really about an overall aesthetic experience we’re creating together; my artwork is just the focal point.  Still I have endeavored to use the time of my gallery owners, friends, supporters and strangers as respectfully as I know how… and now I’m riding the PR train, doing my best to support my supporters efforts, prepping for the next stop; the night of the opening. And all the while remembering; It’s not about me, it’s not about me, it’s not about me… choo chooo!!!!

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Caplan Art Designs
Cooks, Corks and Co-conspirators

Saturday, October 1st @6:30

Daily Cafe

Featured Artist

Mixed Media

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 If the menu is not current, please check back, special diet needs are available upon request.
 
Wine pairings by Hip Chicks Do Wine and a special three course dinner.
 
Featured artist, Sue Clancy will be raffling a modal scarf with one of her design pattern used in her work.
Caplan Art Designs
 
1323 NW 16th #1001/entrance on Pettygrove
Portland, OR 97209
503-319-6437
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from pattern design comes

A Creative Life, animals in art, Art Apparel, art gallery, Art Licensing, art techniques, fine art, pattern design, travelog, travelogue

A road trip to the Oregon Coast took my wife and I through the Oregon wine country. Hills flow up and down along the road giving me a view of vineyards from different angles – including a near “birds eye” view from above. The view inspired a pattern design and I made lots of notes in my sketchbook.

Back at my studio I use a number of techniques to make my patterns on paper: marbling, paste paper, stenciling… and more.. then when the paper is dry I make fine art with it, or an artist book, or art apparel or all of the above if the paper is large enough. Anyway, here’s a picture my wife took of me creating that “vineyard inspired” pattern on paper using my stencil-past-paper combo technique:

patterningPaper2crop72

Sue Clancy creating a pattern on paper using a stencil-paste paper technique on hand dyed paper

When I think of a pattern design concept the pattern itself “tells a small story” – so I like to apply that “story” in several different ways. But how I use the “story pattern” depends on the larger story I want to tell. For example: one of my favorite things to do is sit with a glass of wine and read a book while wearing my pajamas – so I used parts of this vineyard inspired patterned paper when I created one of my fine art pieces that is about books/education. The art piece is titled “The Read Hat” and is specifically about how we tenaciously (like little dogs gather toys) collect information into our heads but I’m sure you’ll note the vineyard patterned “pajama’s” the dog is wearing. “The Read Hat” is currently at the Caplan Art Designs gallery in Portland Oregon.

Also I have friends who like scarves – and wine – so, while thinking the fun thought that someone could “wear” a vineyard – like the dog in my fine art piece – I did a scarf design with the same green dot pattern (titled “Vineyard Aerial View) that is now available via VIDA http://www.shopvida.com/collections/sue-clancy

Here is a picture of both projects:

vineyardview+ArtComposite

The left image shows a fine art piece by Sue Clancy titled “The Read Hat” which uses the pattern design inspired by an aerial view of a vineyard. The image on the right is of a scarf designed with the same green-dot pattern design titled “Vineyard Aerial View”.

Upick Book Farm Art

A Creative Life, animals in art, art exhibit, art gallery, books, fine art, handmade papers

Finished a new art piece destined for the Caplan Art Designs gallery one-person exhibit I’ll be having in October!  The opening party will be a 3 course wine dinner party at The Daily in The Pearl. You can get more info about that on the Caplan Art Designs events page  – look at “Cooks, Corks and Co-conspirators”. Yep, I’d be a considered a co-conspirator. Anyway, here’s the info about this newbie art piece:

U-Pick Book Farm

By Sue Clancy

12 x 9 x 1.5 inches

Hand dyed paper, handmade paste paper, hand woven paper, found paper, acrylic on cradled board

And, if you missed my prior blog post where I told and showed about this artwork in progress here’s a bit about my thinking behind it:

U-Pick Book Farm by Sue Clancy

Combining the concepts of local u-pick fruit and vegetable farms with local libraries that have baskets for a patron’s book harvest and adding the burrowing, digging instinct of a dachshund.

UpickBookFarm72

U-Pick Book Farm By Sue Clancy 12 x 9 x 1.5 inches Hand dyed paper, handmade paste paper, hand woven paper, found paper, acrylic on cradled board