I am sitting on top of the clouds, right now… over amazing landscape that most of my fellow passengers are oblivious to.The earth wrinkles and bends… some of it green, some of it brown with lovely irrigated patches giving me polka dots on the horizon. It is quickly moving from rolling to abrupt with fewer and fewer roads and rivers in sight. No storm clouds like we have had all summer in the Finger Lakes. We had a master blast of rain over the course of the last few days, swelling our streams and causing Taughannock Falls to rage at higher than early spring levels. Not many brown or red leaves in sight yet--as we are slowly cooling in the evenings, but keeping the days warm and remarkable. But, for now, that has been left behind for desert climes. As I look at the crop circles below, I wonder where their water has been piped from? I wonder if our aqueous climate is as startling as this dry, tan and red environment I look forward to seeing from below as much as I am thrilling to it from above. 

My fellow travelers have their game books from the grocery store, others--at ten a. m. in the morning are slugging down scotch with other little bottles in reserve at their elbow.Some are plugged in. Some are zonked out (I was for a little bit). There are lots of Coach bags on ladies arms as well as high high heels in every color of the rainbow, and every conceivable shape. Lots of maxi dresses with deep cleavage--and golden shoes at 5:40 a.m even in Ithaca, home of the boho, low chic. I know I have gone into total Rip Van Winkledom as I am stunned at the world outside of my little hamlet. Well, why shouldn't I be stunned, I am on the way to Southern Utah University to talk about design and illustration (with a demo) by way of sin city, Las Vegas! So bring the bling, the golden shoes and feathers, the high high heels, the sparkly dresses, the bottle service and hair extensions. Bring on the life that we love on Reality TV, and time to get my head out of my Qmade clouds…and soak it all in.

Station Break: Outside my window:

Right now, it looks like the God Damned MOON outside…with no buildings and these mountainous eruptions that poke up over the dusty flat land…..that then seriously has a gradient from tan to grey… and now we are back into, what….greenery again? I think we are getting closer though "our captain" has not  alerted us to the approach--and admonishes us to get the seat backs up and the tray tables stowed. Just looking at the ground makes me want to bolt as much water as I can possibly inhale prior to landing. Here comes a steward with another garbage bag. That has meaning, right?

Right now, we are back in the land of tan and red. Terracotta. Cooked earth. There are remarkable canyons, could they be the Grand ones? Deep, deep crevices scoring the earth…in a very linear and yet willy nilly way. No one dares to live here. Even roads seem pretty rare right now.

Ears popping a teensy bit. Maybe I will get my hearing back. Wouldn't that be a delight?

A scootch of turbulence. Promising. The galley doors are slamming a ton right now.

Back to me blabbing:

I went through my slides this morning. Rob asked me if I had 50 or even 75 slides. I said many many more (read, 180). So I edited big time. I feel very smart as I had output of the slides so I could do it during the "electrical devices off" period of the morning. And have not wrangled it down to 75…but my show is more about looking and less about chatter that I think I can have more, but certainly not as many as I started out. I hope this stuff will entertain (I am amused, but aren't we all fascinated with our navels?). 

I spent a little time yesterday thinking about the demo (illustrator) and remembered how I loved finding out how to create derivative palettes from preexisting artwork that I learned at Hartford. How many versions of Illustrator was that ago? Go I went online to find out that the improvements to Illustrator (CS6/CC) smoothed out all the hinckiness--and made this novel little trick something that wasn't referenced by anyone. I goofed around with  CS5 and then started pulling the levers and pulleys in CS6 and dang, if I didn't relearn the new way to do this. So, the students are getting that along with partying with brushes, symbols, patterns, palettes and patterns. How to get a lot of bang for your decorative buck. And, we are going to pretend we are, yes (to quote Rachel Maddow) "wait for it"--LISA FRANK. I grew up with Lisa Frank (for the second time with Kitty and Alex). Kitty loves Lisa Frank (this is not a past tense)--and when you begin to peel this bizarre art apart, there are cool, almost psychedelic palettes, ideas (I mean, a banana wearing sunglasses?) that though "its the nineties, Mom..!" resonates with me, with the crew of students I will meet (they are Kitty and Alex's age….I know these folks) and kind of bumps up against the sixties in an interesting (read fluorescent) way.

Bell went off… a little shaking and turbulence. Now the ground is not so apparent. We are now above some soft and white clouds, "standing clouds" as the captain says. Twenty minutes out.

Need to shut the powerful powerbook off.  More later once there is WiFi and time.


Las Vegas is kinetic wild and wonderful…at least the airport is, and the view of the strip from the airport is pretty crazy too. Las Vegas redefines my idea of big, bold and bling and surprisingly, right now, on the edges, I like it. Yes, there is gambling in the airport blended with drinking and lots and lots of gigantic advertising either still or moving with lots of dance music to get the gals collecting their luggage to dance a bit. I must admit, I would love to see the scene at Signature Flight Support/ Signature Aviation (private planes only) and what happens there…as this would be the place for all the Jimmy Choo shoes, bling and fabulousness. Instead, I had to amuse myself with Cinnaabon and bars, bells and flashing lights.

On the way to Cedar City, Q. Cassetti, 2013

On the way to Cedar City, Q. Cassetti, 2013

Ron Spears picked me up at the airport and we had an amazing drive through the desert of red rocks, amazing natural architecture and storm clouds hovering. This is a place of terra-cotta, peach, cream, grey and very little green, though the sky is big big big and blue blue blue. It is great seeing Ron, hearing about the painting and teaching he is doing and what he is doing to move the needle for his illustration students (I want to be one!). I have a minute to myself to prep my files and then we go live at 4 with students and a demo (per earlier). Tomorrow, we may talk about promoting yourself, using resources on the web to promote and/or move your work forward. Should be good.

Let me see what I can share with you on my camera!

Later…here comes the thunder and lightning.