Illustrated Places: Waikiki Beach, Norfolk, Saratoga, and Charleston

Hey! Long time no see! Spring is in the air (as long as you ignore the dump of snow we got yesterday and the toothy icicles that are dangling from my car’s bumper) and I’m thawed out and ready to ease back into my routine of spewing hot air at you here on the blog.

Where have I been, you ask? All over! In places sunny and warm! I spent January and February working on a commission that had me traveling (okay okay, I wasn’t actually traveling…it was more of a mental thing) to Hawaii, South Carolina, New York, and Virginia. I was working on a project for a dear friend, who, back in December, asked me to illustrate each of the four places that her boyfriend lived while he was serving in the Navy. She wanted to surprise him with the set when he got out of the Navy in March.

So after the December holidays were over, I got to work on the project. It began with a lot of fits and starts as I worked out my ideas and tried to settle down on a style. (Note to self: don’t get carried away getting “inspired” on Pinterest and the Googles. If you look at TOO MUCH art by TOO MANY wonderful people, your brain will short-circuit and you’ll lose the ground beneath you. You may love everyone else’s artistic style, but in the end, your work always ends up looking like your own. Don’t fall into the trap of brainstorm overload! You’ll get washed away in the surge of “possibilities”!)

Things also stagnated for a couple weeks when I got the flu. But eventually –after enough trial-and-error, mistakes and re-starts , bowls of soup and boxes of tissues — I settled down and found my groove.

I finished the set at the end of February, just in time to mail before March 3rd. Since they are now safely in the hands of my friend and her boyfriend, I can share them with you without ruining any surprises.

So here they are! 4 ink and watercolor illustrations (with hand drawn logos, I might add) of Waikiki Beach, HI; Saratoga, NY; Norfolk, VA; and Charleston, SC. Enjoy!

commissioned watercolor and ink illustration of Waikiki Beach by Jacque Oman Clinton

Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

ink and watercolor illustration of the horse tracks at Saratoga Springs, New York, by Jacque Oman Clinton

Saratoga. NY

ink and watercolor illustration of "the Lone Soldier" statue in Norfolk, VA. By Jacque Oman Clinton

Norfolk, VA

ink and watercolor illustration of Rainbow Row in Charleston, SC, by Jacque Oman Clinton

Charleston, SC

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“Sarge”: Custom Illustrated Dog Book in PRINT! + A Quote for New Years

And so a new year has begun. Before I get carried away sharing my new projects that are already in full swing, I figured I better show you the things I was working on in December, first.

Perhaps you remember the book I said I was working on — the illustrated story about Sarge the farm dog? Here’s how it turned out!

custom made illustrated story book by Jacque Oman Clinton

cover

custom made illustrated story book by Jacque Oman Clinton

first pages

custom made illustrated story book by Jacque Oman Clinton about a farmer and his dog

random middle pages

custom made illustrated story book by Jacque Oman Clinton about a farmer and his dog

more random middle pages

custom made illustrated story book by Jacque Oman Clinton about a farmer and his dog

more random middle pages

custom made illustrated story book by Jacque Oman Clinton about a farmer and his dog

last pages

I used blurb.com for the printing, and I’m really happy with how it turned out! Their design software is easy to use and the website is informative, helpful, and full of options. (I highly recommend them if you’re ever looking to self-publish or print-on-demand). Best of all, I can order more copies whenever I want (so if you’re interested in buying one (or commissioning your own personalized book), let me know!).

EDIT: Enough people expressed interest in buying the book that I’ve put it up for sale here: http://www.blurb.com/b/7576769-sarge

Then there was this watercolor portrait I was asked to do:Commissioned Wedding portrait painted in watercolor by Jacque Oman Clinton

The above projects, plus a few orders for prints on Etsy, kept me plenty busy right up until Christmas. Then I spent the holiday week celebrating with family, relaxing with my husband, and enjoying the well-earned freedom of not needing to be “productive” (all while trying to recover from a germ that just WON’T go away). There was some re-watching of the Lord of the Rings, and a wee bit of jigsaw puzzle-ing, but mostly, there was the glorious luxury of sitting around in sweatpants, watching birds at the feeder, and doodling freely in my sketchbook for no purpose other than the sheer joy of it. Sigh…it was great.

bird blob doodle from sketchbook of Jacque Oman Clinton

bird blobs from sketchbook

And now I shall conclude with a bit of insight I picked up from author Anne Lamott in her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Though specifically aimed at writers, the following quote is helpful to all of us who are…you know…trying to live a life. May it give you the courage to face a new year and the many unknowns that lie ahead:

“E.L. Doctorow once said that ‘writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice about writing, or life, I have ever heard.”

Nice, right? Whatever you may hope to accomplish in 2017, just remember…you don’t have to have it ALL planned out. Sometimes you just have to point yourself in the right direction and start moving, one day — one step — at a time.

So buckle up! 2017, here we come!custom made illustrated story book by Jacque Oman Clinton about a farmer and his dog

 

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Holiday Commissions, Who-Hash (yes, from the Grinch), and Learning to Like Dogs

December always gets busy with Christmas commissions. Commissions that, more often than not, involve DOGS.

Whenever I get hired to paint someone’s dog, I like to be a pest and whine to my husband about how much I dislike dogs. I say things like “This is the last dog drawing I’m ever going to do. I’m serious!” and “Why doesn’t anyone ever want me to paint LEMURS?” Then, a few months go by…and another person requests a dog picture…and I do it all over again.

But this year…THIS year…my December project isn’t just ONE picture of a dog.

It’s a whole BOOK. A book about a man and his dog, which will be given to said man (and his dog) as a Christmas gift.

And honestly? I’m having a blast. All you dogs that are reading this right now: rejoice! This project has redeemed you in my eyes. I’m like the Grinch, whose heart grew 3 sizes –not because the Who’s in Whoville shared their Who hash with me –but because after drawing 18 illustrations of Sarge the English Setter, I’ve just given in. You’re okay, dogs. You’re okay.

Anyway, here’s the most recent page I just finished for the book. In this scene, Peter the farmer is hauling Sarge up the steps to go for a ride in his tractor:

Pen and ink illustration of a farmer and his dog getting ready for a ride in the tractor by artist/illustrator Jacque Oman Clinton

(A green shirt on a green background, what was I thinking?!)

Pen and Ink illustration of a farmer and his dog getting ready to ride in the tractor, by artist/illustrator Jacque Oman Clinton

(mmm, that’s better)

Happy December, all you dog-loving fiends.

 

 

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Now Showing at ArcWorks Gallery: “Niche (Wall Shrine)” acrylic painting

On display (and for sale) now at the ArcWorks gallery in Peabody:

"Niche (Wall Shrine)", acrylic

“Niche (Wall Shrine)”, acrylic

It’s part of the juried show “Spring Fling”, going on from now until June 30th. If you’re local, consider stopping by to check out some of the other artists that made it into the show!

This painting is a continuation of a series of acrylic paintings I did in college. It’s about memory, nostalgia, and the passing of time. The jar holds memories from my childhood — of long humid summers, my grandpa’s house, and other moments that have become unrealistically beautiful in my mind. It’s about our tendency to make certain memories “sacred” and the romanticized light we cast them in. It’s a shrine, more or less, for the idealized moments of the past.

(Here’s a less dark photo)
Niche (Wall Shrine)

(and a close up)

(close up)

I’m considering doing some more of these. Since I last worked on this series, I’ve racked up some more memories to preserve! I’m also considering taking commissions from others who have memories they want preserved. Got any symbolic objects of special memories that you want me to paint? E-mail me if you’re interested in commissioning some jars!

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Commissioned Painting: An Afternoon at the Lake…with Dog.

This is what I spent most of November and December on (when I wasn’t baking or eating cookies…)Luna at Lake George It was a commissioned piece based off of a photograph taken at Lake George. I painted it in acrylic. (This photo isn’t the best, but you get the idea.)

January has been off to a good start — I’m pretty excited about a watercolor and ink project I started this week. Wont you be surprised to know it involves more twigs and berries. Stay tuned.

Ok, bye.

 

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The Christmas Cod

Christmas CodMerry Christmas! Here’s a Christmas cod.

This was a custom design I came up with for my parents’ Christmas cards this year.  My parents moved to New England this year and my dad wanted to poke fun at the Boston accent by sending a “cod” instead of a “card”. So here is my illustration of said cod. If only it was scratch-and-sniff.

I hope you have a truly blessed and wonderful Christmas! See you in 2016!

 

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Star Wars Episode VII.5: The Corgi Awakens

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I was commissioned to do the best dog portrait ever.

Jedi Corgi

A former college classmate of mine commissioned this Jedi Corgi to give to her boyfriend for Christmas a few years ago.  To date, it is still my favorite commission.

“There’s been an awakening. Have you felt it?”

It’s the Corgi. He’s returned from the archives. And he’s up for sale now on Society 6!

 

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Commissioned Watercolor Painting: In Honor of Dad and Dog

Recently, I was approached by a client with a particularly heart-felt request. Her husband had just lost his father and his beloved dog within a short time frame. She asked if I would create a piece that featured the two loved ones in an atmosphere suggestive of heaven, to remind her husband that his Dad and dear dog, Lillie, were there waiting for him, peaceful and together.

I was honored to be given such a commission. It’s projects like this that are the most rewarding: projects where I am given the opportunity to make things that touch people in meaningful and personal ways — ways that go beyond words and speak straight to the heart. It felt so uniting, so wonderfully human, to be able to reach out to someone in this way. It was also a very powerful experience to be entrusted to pay homage to two clearly respected and beloved individuals. Even though I did not know them, I inevitably felt like I was connected to them. Working on this piece, I was filled with gratitude for the positive influence they clearly had on their family, and how that influence had spread to me as well, giving me the chance to do meaningful work. It was another one of those awe inspiring experiences that shows how much one life affects many others. Here we all are, moving through life, creating ripples and currents along the way, whether we know it or not, and (I know, I know, I conclude with this all the time): that is a beautiful thing.

Lil&Dad_Blog

And here it is, matted and framed:

Lil&Dad_Framed_Blog

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Skyline Painting

Here’s an informal photo from my studio featuring my most recent painting. It was commissioned by my brother-in-law to hang in his NYC apartment.

Skyline_iPhone

I’m curious what other people “read” into this painting. For me, the drips represent several things. On a basic level, they remind me of the subway system, since they are dripping down beneath the skyline and because the colors remind me of those used on subway maps. But they also represent the individual lives of all the people that come in and out of the city, both daily and over the course of history. Each line is different, like people, and each follows its own path, the same way we each chart our own course through life. Some of the drips end up pairing up and joining paths. Their colors combine and become something new. And some of the drips break off from others and find a different way. It’s the drippy network of humans coming and going in the world — a representation of the way each person spreads their influence from one place to another through communicating, traveling, and connecting along the way.

 

 

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The Jungle of My Mind, Plus A Commissioned Jungle-Themed Painting

Hi folks! Hope you’ve been having a good summer!

Summer, with its shameless abundance of visual splendors, is a wonderful and dangerous time for my creative brain. Every thing I look at– be it a homegrown tomato, one of the neighbor’s perfect marigolds, or the ever-changing cloudscape– inspires an idea for some piece of art that I could make, if only I had infinite time, energy, and concentration. A five minute walk down the sidewalk turns into a bombardment of ideas. They hit me one after another with such speed that they knock the wind out of me, leaving me (mentally) sprawled out on the sidewalk, grasping, with great futility, to capture them all before they escape beyond reach. Don’t get me wrong, it’s truly exhilarating to have my brain go into creative hyperdrive each summer. But I have to be careful or else the excitement gets TOO big, the ideas come TOO fast, and I get TOO attached to each and every one of them. Then I crash, hard, when I have to face the reality that I can’t conceivably pay artistic homage to every inspiration I have.

Thankfully, I can maneuver through Summer’s jungle of ideas just fine as long as I remember to “let it go”. Don’t get too attached to my ideas. Don’t fool myself into thinking that I have to create every painting that I’m inspired to make. It’s another one of those secrets to living a balanced and fulfilling life, a secret discovered through art-making but applicable to all things:

Let. It. Go. (cue “Frozen” music).

Speaking of jungles, here’s one I created for a client who wanted to hang some “animal art” in her son’s bedroom. It’s done in gauche and ink.

Jungle_Illustration

I’m particularly fond of the frog.

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