They came in a big box. My early copies of the new print version of “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit”! The official release of this book is November 1st – but you can click here for early access. I’ll be able to look at a print copy tonight while I brush my teeth – and that’s what I’d hoped for back when I started this project! But first – more happy dancing around the living room!
Here’s a page from my sketchbook that relates to a recent blog post: https://sueclancy.com/dogs-strawberries-and-cookbooks/
I’ve decided recently to practice my poetry and short-short story writing by writing something, no matter how bad, every day. If there’s anything illustration worthy I’ll illustrate it. Out of all I’ve done thus far this seemed worthy:
Doing the poem text with a brush was new and different for me. It was looser and I think I like it. Typically I’ve used a dip-pen and been “tight” about it. I’ve also tended toward handwritten capital letters as you know from my illustrated recipes. It’s a text-style habit that harkens back to my years as a professional cartoonist and biological illustrator.
But for this poem when I used capital letters via ink-and-brush the text seemed too thick and shout-y. I’m now thinking I’ll experiment with all lower case writing. And a smaller brush. Or maybe a fountain pen rather than a dip-pen.
I’ll try a different hand-written style, and technique, if I happen to write another illustration worthy poem. We’ll see… I’ve got a lot of bad poetry to write between now and then I suspect.
What do you think about the all capital letters via brush style?
I do better now, writing words-in-a-row, than I did once upon a time. Reading text has never been a problem for me – but speaking, and writing. Whew! Lets just say good speech therapists, theatre-acting coaches and writing class instructors are worth their weights in all the precious things in the world combined. As a kid practicing speaking by reading aloud from a comic book or a picture book felt less intimidating than reading aloud from a text-only book.
Even today I enjoy visiting art museums and galleries and looking at the artwork first, reading the labels last. I enjoy looking at coffee-table books with big glorious pictures – forming my own thoughts first – reading the words later.
Nowadays I read plenty of books cover to cover that have text only, no pictures at all. I even give demo’s and talk in front of 200 or more people without as much as a blink. (Wish my 10 year old self, who threw up at the thought of giving an oral book report, could see me now!)
So it has become a philosophical point to ponder with me – when is text important? When is an image important? When to have the words? When to have the pictures? How much of either?
For example I love it that signs for the restrooms are often pictograms. You can “read” them no matter what your language – or your linguistic skill level. Much of our international travel culture utilizes visual maps and non-verbal way-finding signs for things like hospitals, airports and government buildings – using pictograms rather than single language dependent text.
As I’ve worked on a new artist book containing my cat themed fine art I’ve thought a lot about whether or not to have text along with the images. If text – how much? Text located where in the book?
When I did my book “Dogs” I had the text at the end – and didn’t include much of it there either. The majority of the book is images.
On the one hand I spend quite a lot of time coming up with the titles for each of my artworks and it seems almost a shame to not list the titles. But I’ve often noticed – at museums and galleries – that people read the label-wall-text and sometimes forget to look at the pictures.
So sometimes I deliberately create text for use in my fine art gallery exhibits… just to be contrary. I’ve even created whole artist books with text and sketches to accompany my fine art exhibits. But sometimes I omit text completely and rely on my art images alone, the curious can ask the person running the gallery for more info. In this way I purposefully encourage people to verbally-talk with each other. Which way I go – words and/or pictures – often depends on the exhibit.
Like I say for me the words and pictures question is an ongoing, almost daily, one.
People seem to enjoy my Dogs book as it is – largely without text. And I’ve noticed that I’ve sold that book fairly well in non-English speaking countries. People of all ages seem to like it. So….
“Cats by Sue Clancy” will be largely wordless too. Here’s what the cover will look like:
The book is square, 7×7 in, 18×18 cm and 22 pages – full color. Here’s an early-reader link to the book http://www.blurb.com/b/8837851-cats In fact “Cats” has even fewer words than “Dogs” does – but more pictures in full color.
I’m sure I’ll continue to have this words and pictures discussion with myself in every book and every art exhibit I create. But I’m curious about your thoughts: do you look at words first? Or pictures first? What are your thoughts about wordless books?
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.
Hanging out at a bookstore yesterday with friends I happened to spot the book “Making Stuff and Doing Things: DIY guides to just about everything!” edited by Kyle Bravo https://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/books/1400
This book is now in it’s 4th edition and there’s one chapter by me titled “Why Make A Zine or Artist Book?”.
Back in 2003, if I remember correctly, my work was included in the first edition. Rereading my work now in the new 4th edition I’m still proud and honored to be included! It really is a useful-in-creative-life book – I’m not just talking about my own chapter.
Here’s a teaser hint of some of the book contents in addition to mine.
And here’s a teaser page spread from my chapter within this useful book:
Sharp readers of my blog will probably notice that I’ve used one of the book-stitching techniques I mentioned in “Making Stuff…” on my current project “Time Tavern” (here’s a link to some Time Tavern posts; stitching the book here and more progress here.)
And here’s a panoramic photo of me along with Sweetie and one of our friends (the 4th friend was taking the photo) outside the bookstore Annie Bloom’s Books in Portland Oregon. http://www.annieblooms.com/
On Saturday I’m participating in a “Words and Pictures Festival” at my local library. I’ll be signing two of my book titles (more about my books here: https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/ ) and doing some of my dog drawings and talking about how I create my images. I’ll talk about my ideas, show my tools and discuss methods.
The challenge for me is the talking-while-drawing part of the demo equation. So to help myself I’ve done a video of me drawing… this way I can watch myself and think of what I need to talk about. When you watch the video do you have questions that you’d like me to answer?
I’m getting ready for a one-woman fine art exhibit held at Burnt Bridge Cellars and set up by the Caplan Art Designs gallery – and part of getting ready is writing an “exhibit statement”. I prefer creating pictures to writing non-fiction/prose so I’m making my exhibit statement as visual as possible. One thing I’ve done is collect some of my sketchbook pages into a free downloadable eBook. This eBook relates to my exhibit… more about that in future posts. Here are pages from my “Glad To Be Alive Sketchbook – drinks and music edition 2017″… you can see more information and download it from my artist book webpage here https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/ or via this direct link: GladToBeAliveDrinkMusicEd – Enjoy!
By Sue Clancy
Rattle, rustle, bang, bump,
my closet door opened – THUMP!
I smelled it first and wrinkled my nose
then in the moonlight there arose
a creature with a tennis racket head.
Its flannel arms stretched toward my bed.
It smelled of moldy milk I’d dripped.
It staggered in muddy jeans I’d ripped
and moaned as it came toward me,
“I am the ghost of Dirty Laundry!”
What J.J. Said
By Sue Clancy
John Jerry Adler
climbed up, up, up
a very tall ladder
in the ear of a giraffe