Better understanding the obvious

Collection of images of Evelyn Nesbit

Had a meeting with the new Director of the Baker Institute and new Assistant Director for Development/Public Affairs. They have a change agenda which should be interesting to see how it evolves…and whether I am in the mix or not.

Prior to the meeting, I had a little oasis of time and went to GreenStar. My granola was critiqued by my major eaters and they suggested we get rid of the sunflower seeds. So, minus the sunflower seeds, it changes the ballgame.There I was at the center of the green universe in Ithaca, fully immersed in the bulk grain bins. Adding more nuts is an option (pecan pieces, not walnuts…they are too definitive) but is there anything else?. Turns out, there were all sorts of other rolled grains outside of oats. There was rolled rye, rolled rice and a nice (visually) rolled Kamut (a relative to wheat but apparently nonwheat eaters have no trouble with this). I am a visual person and the Kamut was golden and a bit thicker than the other grains, so I weighed out a bag to see what could happen with it. I liked the thickness, the less bendy quality (than Oatmeal) and maybe it would add some crunch to the mix as it might grab the oil/syrup sauce in a good way. Last night proved I was right. Best batch yet. New add…vanilla to the slurry. Onward.

Also bought some vegetarian “meat” from the “Field Roast” brand. Vegetarian meatloaf and vegetarian chirizo. lets see what these things taste like without the meat titles. Also  bags of basmati and arborio rice. Bring on the snow. We have enough stuff to last the winter. It was so nice and tranquil at GreenStar at 8 a.m. It was refreshing from the normally shopping cart olympics that go on during prime time during the weekend when we normally go. It was sane enough to check out the nooks and crannies to see what else is there. I found peppercorns and the spices quite a treat.

Hangar Theatre posters are wrapping up. One more…and then tweak time. The Triathlon is knocking on my door too. Valentines too. Yikes.

Today was haircuts for the boys and lunch at Thai Express. Back home, and frankly, exhausted as this cold is still holding on like a hungry monkey. I am a bit better…but tired. Tomorrow its the zoned zone.

The Evelyn Nesbit pictures come out of my doing research on ladies in picture hats (1900) on Flickr. There are some really searchable antique picture sets from several national sources. While I was looking, I found these of Evelyn, the wife of Harry Thaw (nut, drug addled idiot and related to me), and lover of Stanford White. I have never really thought about Evelyn and what she was all about. Well, a picture does tell a story. This is a young girl, whose lawyer father died, and whose mother took her to a photographer as a model and away they went. Today, she might be on a reality show such as “America’s Top Model”. But instead, influential tastemakers such as White and Charles Gibson (who word says that Nesbit was one of the reference women for his famous Gibson Girl) took her in hand and hurdled her into the limelight. I mean, I audibly gasped with the flower pictures (above). They are so amazing, fresh, and timeless. Imagine seeing this delicate girl in the broad daylight. Spiritually, she does match up with Gibson’s girl. Her life was formed by tastemakers, supporting her family. She tumbled into a horrific marriage with Harry…experiencing her own addiction to drugs and alcohol without the fortune that these men made from her.

Must go scan and think about this lovely girl.

Big Shapes

A Moment of Peace, Q. Cassetti, 2010, digitalAnother day predicted to be early Fall. Cool days and nights, though there is talk that the weekend will be summery and warm enough to swim. That would be excellent. Never enough swimming this summer.

I had a nice lunch with the artistic director of the Hangar Theatre, Peter Flynn. We talked about the outstanding things that kept people from their expertise this summer and then settled down to talking about next summer’s Mainstage performances. As we ate lunch, I was delighted and thrilled as Peter told me the stories of these performances so we could suss out what the imagery might be for each piece. The plays are: Rounding Third, Ragtime, another August Wilson: Gem of the Ocean, Tim Pinckney’s Ever So Humble, and the stage version of Rocky Horror Picture Show. Peter took me through each one, entertaining me, underlining important stuff…so I feel like the pen can hit the paper and start going. I am most puzzled with what to do for the Rocky Horror as it is so well known ..from the movie, that breaking from the iconography of the lips and the dripping type will be hard (and maybe not recognizable. So onward. I am aiming to have the graphics completed by November to get a jump start for the next season well in advance of 2011. It would be so great to be able to get the Hangar on a schedule that is more like a retail one (all the holiday stuff done and printed by August 1)…or in the case of Mainstage, all the stuff ready to roll by January 1. I can hope for that.

I am surprisingly liking all this graphic illustration work. I have gotten my head out of  “its a logo” to its a picture…enjoying working the curves in illustrator (with a fineness that even my hands could not render and a knowledge of french curves beyond my elementary understanding). Making lovely shapes, reversing shapes out of them  As I was coming back from dropping Alex off at the park this morning, driving through all the greenery, the lake views and the summer fields, I thought about this emerging approach, and would like to do some more pattern studies in a grid/or in a grid with some obvious overlaps per yesterday’s Bird Collection. I have broken my own rules by adding gradients to this style (one of my personal rules has, until now, been no obvious Adobe Illustrator tomfoolery with filters and the “cheats”). But this work occasionally wants a bit of gradient and I do not think the tiger tooth approach is as nice in this approach. If I were working with cut paper or screenprints, a gradient or screen blend is not out of the palette of options available. So, you will see a bit of tentative gradients plunked into this work.

Gotta go. I have to dial into a call.

to a "T"

Redraw of the Farmers Market Weathervane, inspired by Durand Van Doren’s workBeautiful weather here. The Farmers Market Building moved yesterday from the fairgrounds to the Market Site. We got shots of Durand’s weathervane, and I asked him if I could generate a flat illustration from his work to make a shirt/graphic from. Here is my shot of the thing from his metal illustration. It was kind of cool as I took Rob’s photo of the weathervane against the sky, translated it via photoshop to a high contrast black and white image. I selected the darks and created a workpath that I imported to illustrator to work on. Cool. I think this will be converted into white on black for a teeshirt to give to the guys that worked on the creation of the bandstand during Grassroots. Need to price that one out. Alex’s shirts turned out nicely and inexpensively.

I was given next year’s Hangar’s productions (shhhh) and need to start mulling over what the images need to be for the posters/advertising etc. I would love to have this all in hand by the end of October/first of November. It would really give us the jump on getting in front of this for next year. I also committed to doing the graphics for next year’s Ithaca Triathlon. I didnt do this year as it was getting a bit tedious, so the break gives me a bit fresher look at the design/illustration problem. We will see. That too, has a near and dear expectation too.

Speaking of local projects, look what just arrived today! A tee for the Pourhouse! So, get yourself down toTburg’s very own funspot and get a shirt (guys or gals) to show your civic support. Limited edition.

Someone has posted a request for a Hangar Poster to frame. I am thinking that there might be something in having this stuff early to send out for prints. Also, the new thinking is the $2. gumball art thought. Which is, that people have no problem plunking down a buck or two for a button, a sticker, or a tattoo. They do not even need to think about it. NO problem whatsoever. So, what if I were to create a cool point of purchase, hippie display that gives the person a choice of buttons, stickers, postcards, tattoos…at a good price with the price getting better and better as one nears $10. and $20 a shot. This would be put in places that Q. has relationships with (Grassroots, The Hangar, a gallery, chez Camp, or any of the restaurants etc that I do gratis work for). Build the local brand in a very local way. Adding value  and allowing the individual to take a little bit (bitte ein bit) of Q home with them…priming the pump (?) for an incremental build of sales. That’s today’s thinking.

Just started reading The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo. Delicious summer readling! 

USA Cassetti

Poster for Bunch show featuring the Star of Bethnal Green Star artworkWell. Its the kick off to a beautiful weekend. Changes in the household. Mandy and Sonata coming back for the summer. Bruce on board. Alex listening to live music on the commons and swimming in the creek with his friends. Kitty and I bopping about shopping and looking and laughing.We took in the grocery store, Countryside Produce in Interlaken and Funky Finds in Tburg. Funky Finds is our new and curated second hand store owned and curated by Jill who we met a few years back while she was waitressing at Simply Red. She has a real handle on what people like so racks of pearly snap shirts, cowboy boots, used jeans, cute sundresses, and other household things are there in good order. I got a pair of very snappy boots the other day. Kitty bought rainbow suspenders. Today it was a snap shirt for Alex, a vase, an odd 70s type apothocary jar, and a vase ($1.50 that I bought to give to someone with flowers in it).

Rob and Bruce took in GlassFest in  Corning last night with music and lights and neon installations in the Park which Rob related were spectacular. They got home late and then inspired, winged it over to the Rongo to hear Warren Bunn's band, Thudknuckle play.  So it was very social for many yesterday and today. I was totally beat from the week ( a trip to Sauders early yesterday morning combined with the "oops we forgot it was June next week--need to get this work done" thing that happens always before a holiday. It was blood pouring out of my ears with the sheer volume of stuff that needed to get done. So sleep was the greatest gift I could be given.

I was talking to Peter Flynn the other day about the actors, technical people, directors, shop people ... everyone who comes to Ithaca for a month or so during the summer. They get a place to stay, but frankly, its pretty cold soup as there is nothing that says "hey...this is fun". Given the Ithaca Journal has really stopped any arts/culture reporting ...and the radio is more Public Radio stuff...(the ladies at the booksale and not the hipster)...That I said off the cuff to Peter, that I would get a list...not promising much, more more would be better than nothing. I mean, how can they learn about the farmers markets, the great restaurants, the fabulous used culture, fashion and dancing, the gathering places of our town? So, bright and fresh this morning, I thought that maybe I could use my network to write this thing and posted a note on my Facebook page:

Today is the beginning of a little questionnaire I am conducting on behalf of my friends at the Hangar Theatre. To set the stage:

We have all sorts of artists, designers, actors, technicians and creative folks coming soon to bring us the Summer Season at the Hangar.

I would like to construct an insiders guide to the Summer in Ithaca (which we all know is pretty fabulous) from shopping to things to do, from localvore groceries to high end dining, from dancing under the moonlight to cool morning dips in the lake. These artists are bringing us such happiness in their performances, I ...figured lets give them local happiness in their spare time.

I would like to construct an insiders guide to the Summer in Ithaca (which we all know is pretty fabulous) from shopping to things to do, from localvore groceries to high end dining, from dancing under the moonlight to cool morning dips in the lake. These artists are bringing us such happiness in their performances, I ...figured lets give them local happiness in their spare time.

So each day of this week, I am going to ask a question and would love it if you could give me five places (if there are five) and a simple one liner or even phrase that sums up why you recommend this. I will post all of this stuff to a Insiders Guide to Summer in Ithaca its there for all of us too!
Here is the first question. Remember: up to five entries with short descriptors):
I love buying groceries, food, wine, things to eat at these places.

And then I decided I would merge it all on a Facebook standalone Page " An Insiders Guide to Summer in Ithaca" Please Join us... I find it all very exciting in a way dumb way. Someone has already complained about the format without putting any comments or entries...but IWe  will morph this thing into a web page so its more soon as I can do it.

We are lakeside. The day is cool and glorious. My yellow tree peony has 8 fat buds with one having burst! Time to straighten up a bit. The weekend unfolds



Queen Contained, Q. Cassetti, 2010, pen and inkLots of active people here. Bruce is here. Gloria is here from California. Two kids in "Snoopy!". The general doings around the campus...and more ideas and thoughts than one could imagine. Lots of real estate talk. Lots of "what am I doing with my life and how do I want to live" talk. The cats keep complaining about the lack of food and the deprivations they suffer. Shady Grove is right on point about her opinions of squirrels and pine cones...and how they are interrelated in many shades of oddity. So, I am trying to keep up with the melee.

I have the Hangar brochure on the boards as well as the Mothers Day poster for the Rongo. Rumor has it that I have been invited to talk with Jackie Merwin on May 16th on her Bohemian Potluck radio interview. We will talk about my design and illustration as it relates to the local music scene. You know, as I thought about it, I have touched at least 5 CDs without really realizing that there is a small body of work there. Imagine! So, we will see. And if it does happen, I will put it out there for all of you.

Another "out of the blue" came into my email box yesterday--a request to use my "Sweetheart" valentine (got into AI), toned with red for a Speck, iPhone case. Sweet? If there are wholesale orders--I could get 8% of gross. If it is over the page, I get the standard markups. Might be fun to get some to sell directly (ie. Wholesale). We will see. These things get so exciting and render zero to nothing in fiscal return. We have also just started posting work to Etsy....>> and will have more in the next few days. There are holiday cards, postcards, even my tattoos. I am going to get some bee postcards printed as the ones from the "Home Sweet Home" series came out so nicely with Printograph.

Other news includes a publication that was a surprise yesterday from the Cornell Veterinary School on the practice and training of vets in shelter medicine. Shelter Medicine is fascinating as it addresses dogs/cats as a herd so keeping the herd healthy and viable translates to adoptable pets which then make happy families (the last part is my putting a bow on top...but hey, its to raise money so a bit of schmatz is what is needed here). I am looking forward to this.  Queen Schmatz, thats, me.

Plans are afoot to make granola and sell it at the Tburg Farmers Market this season under the "Hodge Podge Lodge" brand. Its is so easy and the kids need to raise some money so I am working on a label and coffee bags to have a nice presentation...and we will go for it. I'm excited. Who knows if the kinder are.

Gotta go. I have been wild in bone management--making more chicken stock (almost obsessively) than we can consume. But, everytime I go to the store, I somehow hit the bone jackpot (at $.29 a pound) and feel the need to load up on backs and wingtips to roast and boil to make soup for lunch. And dang, the soup is really really good these days. Guess a winter locked in the house with a mountain of bird carcasses has really added up to something beyond a grim mortuary pile.

Saturday in the New Year

Holiday decor is down and packed away. While we were at it, I measured my santon figures (Provencal Nativity characters) to find out they are #2 size. Marcel Carbonel have six different scales of figures from the average figure being 15 cm down to the smallest being on average 2.5 cm. I bought these figures when the wonderful knitting shop in Corning went out of business. Then, I bought more when we visited Nantucket the following summer.

I am thinking of starting collections for Kitty and Alex (and my nieces)--giving them a figure each by the time they are out of college, they will have lovely sets for their own mantlepieces.

So what to start with? An angel? or the big masterblaster, Jesus Mary Joseph--and then add so they have the core figures to start with. I should buy for price and see if ebay is a resource worth supporting.

Holiday Shopping Resources:

Erzgebirge Palace>>The Wooden Wagon>>
German Imports>>



Santons Marcel Carbonel>>

Santons de France USA>>

My Growing Traditions>>

I've learned a lot his holiday season about holiday traditions, holiday decor and the things that make me thrilled. Krampus, Pere Fouchette, Piet Zwarte, and others....the traditions of the Erzgebirge Mountains with nutcrackers, angels, smokers, arched candle holders, and more. I have also realized that despite my dislike of Christmas, I love the traditions and the imagery....intellectually. I think there is work here for next year to pursue and possibly license (?). Hangar work has changed out and is close to done. See here>>

Am working with King Arthur Bread flour using the dough hook on my mixer versus a bread machine to find out what type of results I can get. I made two types of pizza dough with traditional King Arthur (as I did over Christmas with a different yeast) and then with King Arthur bread flour. Same new yeast. One was a pancake the other was perfect. I made two thick foccaccia type loaves which I cut in half and made a type of deep dish pizza for dinner last night with all the leftovers on top. Every slice was consumed. Nary a crumb was left. We will see what happens today. This is a low effort and fun activity which can yield something to eat ( even a flop).

I am starting the Eustace Tilley illustrations this weekend. Here's what Wikipedia says about Eustace Tilley under their New Yorker entry:

The magazine's first cover illustration, of a dandy peering at a butterfly through a monocle, was drawn by Rea Irvin, the magazine's first art editor. The gentleman on the original cover is referred to as "Eustace Tilley," a character created for The New Yorker by Corey Ford. Eustace Tilley was the hero of a series entitled "The Making of a Magazine," which began on the inside front cover of the August 8 issue that first summer. He was a younger man than the figure of the original cover. His top hat was of a newer style, without the curved brim. He wore a morning coat and striped trousers. Ford borrowed Eustace Tilley's last name from an aunt—he had always found it vaguely humorous. "Eustace" was selected for euphony, although Ford may have borrowed the name from Eustace Taylor, his fraternity brother from Delta Kappa Epsilon at Columbia College of Columbia University.

Tilley was always busy, and in illustrations by Johann Bull, always poised. He might be in Mexico, supervising the vast farms that grew the cactus for binding the magazine's pages together. The Punctuation Farm, where commas were grown in profusion, because Ross had developed a love of them, was naturally in a more fertile region. Tilley might be inspecting the Initial Department, where letters were sent to be capitalized. Or he might be superintending the Emphasis Department, where letters were placed in a vise and forced sideways, for the creation of italics. He would jump to the Sargasso Sea, where by insulting squids he got ink for the printing presses, which were powered by a horse turning a pole. It was told how in the great paper shortage of 1882 he had saved the magazine by getting society matrons to contribute their finery. Thereafter dresses were made at a special factory and girls employed to wear them out, after which the cloth was used for manufacturing paper. Raoul Fleischmann, who had moved into the offices to protect his venture with Ross, gathered the Tilley series into a promotion booklet. Later, Ross took a listing for Eustace Tilley in the Manhattan telephone directory.

The character has become a kind of mascot for The New Yorker, frequently appearing in its pages and on promotional materials. Traditionally, Rea Irvin's original Tilley cover illustration is reused every year on the issue closest to the anniversary date of February 21, though on several occasions a newly drawn variation has been substituted.

Cute, eh? Lots of ideas here... More later.


Thinking of Resolutions

The patients are one day more in the sickroom...or at least thats how it feels right now. They have been nursing their aching jaws with "popcorn bags" which I quizzed the nurse about. Essentially they are any dried bean or popcorn in a beanbag kind of thing. You tie them off and then microwave them for around 2 minutes to create this lasting heat that is not too much. We had some old red toe/heel socks that I made a set out of the toe/foot part and dang, if it didnt look like Ms. Martha Stewart came in to make them! But, these bags of beans work and thats all that matters. There they are, the patients with two beanbags pressed to their chins...Kitty rigs her bags in a teatowel and wraps the whole thing around her head like some scary Dickens character. What a scene.

Rob and Mandy with Jamie, the electrician extrodinaire, turned the kitchen around...moving counters, stoves etc. and it really works so much better.

Goodness knows what this team is on for today.

I got a $26. check from Zazzle for some teeshirts and shoe sales. It's not like I am going to make a fortune with this online stuff...but hey,at least Zazzle is yielding something. Bagstab--zip. I may sell prints on Etsy and or the felt balls I have coming from Nepal. We will see.

I need to start researching summer canoe opportunities for Alex in January as well as starting the Financial thing for Kitty. Yikes. Expertise in something that is beyond my comprehension right now.

As of January 1st, I will be posting only on the new squarespace page for the Rongovian Academy of Fine Arts. I am committing to Squarespace as it gives me a bit more control and they have the gallery features which are very nice and works for my illustration and design work (see the Atelier Section). So, for resolutions, I resolve to migrate to Squarespace, try out Etsy and continue to pursue new avenues in illustration, art and graphic design. Something new should happen out of that resove? Eh?

Rob is gone at a very cool conference at the Great Sagamore Camp in the Adirondacks. He called this a.m. and seemed so pleased and delighted in his environment and the activities to come. It was great to hear the lift and light in his voice.

Yesterday I hammered away at a big publication project as well as some small stuff on the horizon. Today, more on the big pub (trying to get it somewhere fast as the client may go ballistic though the copy took well over 3 mos to have happen). However, not to complain, at least its all in one place so we can really get the hammers and nails out and build this thing in one piece versus the "hang the door and then we'll build the wall" program we normally work with.

Met with a renaissance person yesterday who is very learned and very much living in that world. He is not loving the project he is working on and has reached the point that he wants to do something he has passion about. It was a fun topic because he is good at so much, so we talked about what about this, and what about that. I will help him the branding/logotype of one of these ideas. Should be an interesting process. He also knows quite a bit about grants and in particular, Fullbright fellowships. He suggested I think about going out and seeing if I could get one? Maybe one with Fraktur? Niche but nice.

Lineup for the Hangar Theater 2010 season is Man of La Mancha, 39 Steps, Penelope of Ithaca (a new performance written just for us!) The Piano Lesson and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Had a really energizing meeting with the creative director, Peter Flynn and Lisa Bushlow, executive director and their team and board members to think out where the images/show graphics need to go, their use, their placement.I am feeling really good about Penelope of Ithaca--greek urn red figure vases updated. Also, want to go a la Beggarstaff Brothers on the Man of La Mancha. Why not? The other illustrations seem less immediate.

Everyone is app crazy. McSweeney's (one of my favorite magazines) has thrown their hat into this ring>> .

gotta go. Alex has a high goal assigned by his coach for the XC (Cross Country) meet at our school. Kitty and I just bought a bushel of mixed cortland and macintosh apples for the team ($14/bu Kingtown Road Apples). We also bought a gallon of preservative free cider ($4). A taste of fall.