Dropped in the clouds from another piece. The ink drawing was too spare...and needed it. I think they helped. Also,putting my Virginia Lee Burton hat on (particularly evident in her inspiring illustrations for Robin Hood)--I should redraw the field the owl is sitting on...regularizing the ground shape).

A Corner of the Garden

Snow. Freaking snow projected for today/tonight. At least two inches here. Over towards Cooperstown, the Central New York locus for snow, there are 10 inches planned with many of the schools in that area, calling a snow day for today! So, snow on the halloween pumpkin. The saddest picture for me are the little children in their special sparkly costumes that often they have to zip snow jackets on top of accompanied by rubber boots versus light little slippers. Really, the only costumes should be made to make the littles look like stuffed animals (with plush material) so a down coat could be stuffed inside...and a little tiger with boots is cute versus Cinderella in snow treads. Have to get the candy and cat litter. No, we do not give out cat litter. We fill lunchbags with an inch of cat litter and put candles in them (making a country lumiere) and have fifty of them line our front walk. Normally we have tons of carved pumpkins but time is short this year so four will have to do. We play spooky music and if the weather is nice, we have drinks and drinks to offer (this year we have a ton of left over cheese and crackers too) so the grownups often come and visit a bit before they go on their way. Its really fun and very Tburg. Many of our neighbors are convivial like this too, so its an open house throughout town.

Little visit to the House of Health today. Worth it. Lots of folks there--the black and red lady, the energetic lady who is one of the water walkers and the persistent lady who spends tons of time on the elliptical by the window where she camps out with food, drink, towels. She is totally set up. I enjoyed my time and feel stretched and more flexible.

Trying to get the numbers and charges from Hartford straight. Spent some time with their IT folks and managed to get all the email addresses, logins, and passwords straight. I know where to go for the finances and where to go for the email etc. Our faculty doesnt use Blackboard--they use OIL Paint instead. Speaking of computers, the MINI ME showed up on the front porch. It is a PC which makes it hard but its a SWEETHEART. I got the black one...not the pink, bronze or light blue one...but it is a real computer, has MSword (urg) and I can download mozilla and a itunes for travel. Its about as big as a National Geographic and about 2.5 x as thick. Lightweight and will do the email without a problem. It already has the wireless card integrated into the package so its pretty close to plug and play despite its right and left clickness I need to get used to. So, instead of writing blog entries on my phone (which I have done and will continue to do) I will be able to use a complete keyboard and not have to parse the blab that comes out of my mouth.

I was up early and thought about Adam and Eve and how Eve was derived from Adam. Adam's rib, Adam derivative...I also thought about how in Christian symbols, Adam is represented in Crucifixion scenes by a skull or partial skull at the foot of the cross. This depiction represented Adams fall from grace (as it is said) or fall into grace (I say) in his acquisition of knowledge. Why is it that knowledge is a sin? Yes, Adam and Eve did not do as they were told in 1)touching the tree of knowledge of good and evil and 2) eating the fruit of the said tree. To plead their case, if they were pure--God commanded them not to do these things and they readily accepted. They didn't even know they could choose. They could say no. They could have an opinion. They could act independently from their creator and maybe, jailer? Beyond the encouragement by the snake,what spurred them to act? They made the choice to disobey--and out of this disobedience they became more godlike in their ability to choose and their acquisition of knowledge of good and evil. I guess that is why they were locked out of the Garden to keep them away from the Tree of Life which would have given them immortality. I love it that Eve came from Adam's rib. Eve and Adam's dna must have been the same. How did God manifest this change. The book tells us that Adam took a nap, and the procedure to make Eve happened. Were there stitches? Did poor Adam hurt? Was it like looking in a mirror? If they were as uninformed (or simple) prior to their gaining knowledge, was it like my pets TJ and Mei Mei regarding each other, tolerating each other, coming up with ways to co-exist? I don't understand why knowledge was a bad thing for these elementary beings?


Squash bake off here. Two pumpkins, a spaghetti squash and two butternut squashes roasting up a storm in our fifties electric stove cranking out a pretty autumnal scent. Plans are to roast and scoop and freeze for soups later. While the squash is cheap, I should make hay as the beta carotine is great in these veggies and is good and happy making in the dark winter. I have another cookie sheet of butternut squashes in the oven to bag and freeze later this afternoon. They are predicting snow tomorrow. Imagine.

Am fooling around in my sketch book. Nothing gelling. Need to get back to looking and thumbnailing things for November and Hartford. I think the figures need to be seriously looked at, and tracing is in order. I am getting tool locked up in the details to really envision the image which will have details as this is part of the stretch this MFA should be doing. I could keep doing the vector thing (big bold,no context, no environment) which is okay, but making full fledged pictures is a whole nother thing.

Need to work on grown up stuff like contracts and flow charts. Also have a booklet and a logotype to finish by the end of next week. Crash and burn once the grownup stuff is done. One more holiday card too.

Need to look at clothes for NYC and for the Celebrity Naming Cruise that is on the horizon. Shoes? Passports? End of year stuff? Dramamine. Funny compression bracelets. Maybe the man who runs the art galleries on these ships will be there? or at least someone I can talk to?

night and day

I am just beginning to get my wits back from a master blaster weekend, week and weekend before. Saturday it was packed with life stuff, Art Trail and then a party of 130 friends who figured in our moving and living in Trumansburg. Sunday was up early to get A to the Chris Bond Run (he placed first in his age group), see the run and then another day of Trail. Sunday was by far the better day with more interesting people, chatty high school and college students who wanted to talk about studies, their work, schools, and people who were more of the "tribe". So, we finished on a positive note down to selling all the Garden of Eden pictures (framed) confirming I might not have to dump this work as they liked it. The yardsale approach ("I am emptying my portfolio concept...all prints on the dining room table $25.") worked. Those who understood it..bought 4-5 images, those who didn't, didn't. Cards sold at the new price. So, the Trail paid for our party and the frames.

I have since last year moved in my thinking. I want to have national noteriety. That is what is important to me. Being celebrated locally is more important to me as a civic moment, as a good neighbor, as a illustrator/designer for parents of artistic kids--a posterchild for the ability to make a living as a "creative". That is what makes me tick more than local illustration jobs. As art directors who visited and dangled sad carrots (free poster illustrations, or holiday cards), I found myself not psyched about that because the only art director I want to work for is me. R. and a few more...but not these simple people who will put a wingding type treatment on my work. It may sound snotty, but this is where it stands. If I am going to work for any other art director, they need to be of the highest level...not a tertiary player with little experience. I didn't understand this at the last Art Trail. I do, now. I would rather develop work for Surtex, for merchandising, for books or self driven projects. If I can sell Memento Mori illustrations on projects for wine and glass, or a not even fully fledged Garden of Eden project for a holiday card...I am at least pursuing my interest and making it pay a bit. No interlopers. Just me and the end client.

The food from the Regional for the party was perfect. I bought a case of smoked trout, an enormous pate de campagne, a jug of pitted greek olives, a wheel of Maytag Blue, a wheel of herb brie, and a big hunk of pink peppercorn chevre from our local Lively Run Dairy. We got crackers and filo crackers. Snack mix with those lovely sesame sticks, packages of dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), baba ganouche and humus. Every scrap devoured. I bought vegetables and bread Saturday morning--and I had K and M conducting the chopathon Sat a.m. I also bought some nice italian sausages, artichokes and roasted peppers to add to the general cru dites that normally show up. I bought 6 baguettes, 6 packages of pita, 3 cibattas along with 6 packages of crackers which manifested itself as an empty basket by 10 p.m. We should have had a spiral sliced hunk of meat...a "centerpiece" or sorts...or even a box of spanakopita to flesh things out. But it was all done by K, M and me. No caterer. Just cutters and stylers. The music was fabulous and I think the musicians had fun too. We had people dancing and many of my favorite people from our plumbers and electricians and contractors to professors, artists and glassmakers, to bastions of our community. All ages and sizes. We had teachers and writers, nurses and naturepaths. And they all seemed to get along together and talk and talk and talk. With the ease of how this all came together, we should do it again, soon.

Back to the Eden Story.

"First God made heaven & earth 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. "

How does one depict the Spirit of God moving over the face of the water? What does that look like? There is a lot of abstract energy. Hmmm.

Pix up top are of my office, our hallway ready for the Art Trail, our dining room table sale and a corner about Memento Mori.

One more year

Today is my birthday. One more year. Three hundred and sixty five days to make pictures, read books, make lunch, shepherd teens, sleep deep sleeps, swim among the clouds. Three hundred and sixty five opportunities to change, evolve, and try to keep things interesting for myself and others. Three hundred and sixty five wishes and lists. Three hundred and sixty five (plus or minus) blog entries for us to share. And so it goes. Keeping the wheels spinning. Maybe more hair dye?

No plans here. Need to get ready for Art Trail and for my mother in law's guests coming in this weekend. Bathroom needs to be tidy, bed and towels new and clean. Grass seed replanted where the wonderful Dare Daniels dug up the stuff we planted this spring (which really fully integrated (complete with the crab grass and plantain weeds) and looked just like it had been there forever.

Working on a bunch of approaches to Genesis 2--the separation of the firmament. But need to also do a Winter Solstice picture for the Museum, recolor the Tree of Knowledge for my client to use for a holiday card. Found these images from the New York Public Library Digital Archives. Love the bony Adam and Eves with with skinny dumb tree with the crowned snnake tempting them. Such a sad little scene, a bit of knowledge of good and evil looked pretty good. So somber and sad. And the miniature painting in a psalter of Adam and Eve being expelled by a bronzed angel is the polar opposite.

More later>>

quiet day

Red beans and rice on the stove for the team (we will have 8 or so today) for lunch. I am thrilled with the Indian food section at Wegmans, the Museum of Food as I have started buying basics from...like big bags of basmati rice, spices, garlic and ginger paste, and indian cooking sauces. Of course, how could I forget the jars (multiple) of coriander chutney that is consumed in massive quanitities between the team, the teens and others...dumped in soups, spread on sandwiches, eaten with rice and tzaziki. So I bow to the Museum of Food and the new adds to helping cook dinners and lunches week in, week out.

Pinned two teens into togas before 7:45 a.m. It was a bit of a time push...but they both were respectable toga teens for Pep Week at Trumansburg Central School's Charles O. Dickerson HS. Homecoming week. The expectations of bonfires, pranks, the big game and the top of the pyramid, the big dance. We looove the dances. Whoa. Thank goodness I could put my hands on a box of safety pins or we would have been in trouble with the bed sheets.

Plugging away on projects, mailings, work for Hartford and getting ready for people descending on my in laws this week (need to prep a guest room). Back at the House of Health. Loving getting back into the schedule of the walking and biking machines. Am listening to a book about one of of Brigham Young's wives, the 19th wife, and her disallusionment and leaving the church. Good stuff. Keeps the left foot, right foot continue and eyes on the inlet with the graceful rowers and teams. I have been looking at the foliage and pretending I am an indian miniature painter...and trying to see the stylization.

Very exciting news. One of the Tree of Life illustrations have been accepted by one client for their holiday card for this year. They print well over sixty thousand pieces...! Getting the work out there.

More later.

darkening skies

Yesterday was hot. In the nineties hot. So swimming was in order, twice...at the lake. It was glorious. And when we weren't swimmning, we sat on the end of the dock and watched the big, black striped perch hide in the grasses--silent. Or the micro patterns that evolved on the breathing water. It was great. The whole day was swimming, drawing, and making a nice lunch and dinner. The wind whipped up and moved the warm weather out of here giving us an overcast day with lots of of big branches and twigs on the ground. Over on Washington Street, a seemingly healthy tree snapped in half to find out it was hollow and on it's last legs, in the road. The temperature dropped another 20˚--so to put it simply, the weather is changeable and getting colder.

I got my illustration to Vin Di Fate with a lovely note back encouraging me to look at the illustrator, Joseph Mugnaini who was an influence on Edward Gorey. Vin sites the Halloween Tree book jacket cover...which is a jewel. Mugnaini's line work has a whole different look and feel. I love the Halloween tree (above) with the intertwining fields, the layers of information, the mushrooms at the bottom with checkered skirt and a series of characters that make up the front of the skull. Beautiful. Now I need to redraw my picture. Recolor and rego.

Have a call with Murray today to see where to go next. Checked on the work from Barry Zaid, another illustrator from the Pushpin Studios that Murray recommended. From a thesis standpoint, I need to break out the story for the book on Creation and figure out what the pictures should be and thumbnail the book. Then I have have a little 8 month illustration party on these images and see where it goes. I am beginning to get into the outer reaches of the zone...and the sooner I get there, the sooner I will become obsessed which is a delightful place to be.

More Lorraine Fox illustrations

Hi. I found this cache of Lorraine Fox illustrations from Flickr from an individual called, JelloKitty, who scans in old cookbooks for the visuals and humor they have. These are the chapter section pages (there are quite a few). I love the pink and the way Lorraine handle line, texture and her drawings. They evoke a time in a very stylish and current way.

Am working away on more Trees of Life/Knowledge. Working on the snake. After reading a bit of interpretations of the Garden of Eden story--here are some things that jump out. One, the apple is a fabrication. The story talks about the fruit of the tree of knowledge. So how did the apple happen? Did the Greeks and Romans make that happen? Does this stem from the Renaissance? Hmmm.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God say, “You shall not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ 2The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3but God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.” ’ Genesis Chapter 3, verses 1-3

The Book of Jubilees, Wiki describes as:

The Book of Jubilees (ספר היובלים), sometimes called the Lesser Genesis (Leptogenesis), is an ancient Jewish religious work, considered one of the Pseudepigrapha[1] by most Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Christians. It was well known to Early Christian writers in the East and the West, as well as by the Rabbis. Later it was so thoroughly suppressed that no complete Hebrew, Greek or Latin version has survived. It is considered canonical for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, where it is known as the Book of Division (Ge'ez: Mets'hafe Kufale). In the modern scholarly view, it reworks material found in the Biblical books of Genesis and Exodus in the light of concerns of some 2nd century BC Jews.
The Book of Jubilees claims to present "the history of the division of the days of the Law, of the events of the years, the year-weeks, and the jubilees of the world" as secretly revealed to Moses (in addition to the Torah or "Law") while Moses was on Mount Sinai for forty days and forty nights. The chronology given in Jubilees is based on multiples of seven; the jubilees are periods of 49 years, seven 'year-weeks', into which all of time has been divided. According to the author of Jubilees, all proper customs that mankind should follow are determined by God's decree.

The Book of Jubilees is more mythological in their stories and detail Adam's life, and the children of Adam as well. According to this book (Chapter 3), the animals spoke to Adam and Eve prior to their fall. Afterwards, they were silenced. God also got into the tailoring business post knowledge, making fur garments/coats for Adam and Eve. Do you think they were leopard skin?

Flaming Swords

Cooler night, cooler day. Saw the swan constellation last night. The sisters showed it to K and she showed it to me. Roof work continues. Small bathroom painted. Lots of hands on board today. Lots of lunch to provide.

A man just walked off the street, in the front door without knocking, and handed me his business card for washing windows. Huh.

A. has a swollen ankle, so he is training on his bike. He was fearing a huge uphill ride, essentially the Rim Trail of Taughannock Park which will burn. But, we'll see.

K has more reading.

I need to get to the Society of Illustrators LA show entries, 2 Christmas cards, more on the Glittering Tradition (refinements), a logo for 2300 degrees at 2300 hours, and two more related holiday designs. I am off the hook with the Tsunami project. I think my nice (not mean, really!) bullet pointed note about what we needed to do to get this job done may have moved it. And, the really nice thing is that I am still on their dancecard for other opportunities. So, I am very relieved as Project Atlas is moving forward with their own deadlines and expectations.

Thinking about The Garden of Eden. Another treasure trove of content...and reference beyond the elegant Bible story. A lot of artists have been inspired by it...so what's one more? I mean, hey, the garden sports beautiful trees, the most spectacular being the TREE of LIFE? from which that fruit, the apple (representing knowledge) grew. HUGE. This is big. Wiki says:

In the Garden of Eden story of the Biblical book of Genesis (Gen 2:4-3:26), God molds Adam from the dust of the Earth, then forms Eve from Adam's "side" (rib in the King James Version), and places them both in the garden, eastward in Eden. "Male and female he created them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, ... " (Genesis 5:2) It may be allegorical, in as much as "Adam" may be a general term, like "Man" and refers to the whole of humankind.

God charges Adam to tend the garden in which they live, and specifically commands Adam not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve is quizzed by the serpent why she avoids eating off this tree. In the dialogue between the two, Eve elaborates on the commandment not to eat of its fruit. She says that even if she touches the tree she will die. The serpent responds that she will not die, rather she would become like a god, knowing good and evil and persuades Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil then Adam eats from it too. Then they become aware. God finds them, confronts them, and judges them for disobeying; it is also widely believed that the snake was the devil in disguise.

It is at this point that 'God expels them from Eden', to keep Adam and Eve from partaking of the Tree of Life. The story says that God placed cherubim with an omnidirectional "flaming sword" to guard against any future entrance into the garden.

In the account, the garden is planted "eastward, in Eden," and accordingly "Eden" properly denotes the larger territory which contains the garden, rather than being the name of the garden itself: it is, thus, the garden located in Eden. The Talmud also states (Brachos 34b) that the Garden is distinct from Eden.

Did I hear right? Omnidirectional Flaming Swords?

Need to pick up A.