moment, just a moment

Barn Owl, Q. Cassetti, 2013, Adobe Illustrator, CS5

Barn Owl, Q. Cassetti, 2013, Adobe Illustrator, CS5

It has been solid...and I have a minute to say hi. The past few weeks have been solid work with kids packed in (Spring Vacation for each), a funeral with out of towners, food planning and serving and more work. The work has been mammoth with both Rob and me working nights (seriously) and weekends with a window of a morning or an afternoon unprescribed/ unscheduled. It was quite a moment that we had to be able to get Rob a haircut last weekend. Monumental...a haircut, right?

It is still grey and rainy. My farmer friends are delighted in the mucky cold. Nothing is too hot, too fast so our lovely cherries and apples are going to have a slow birth this year to promise us buckets, bushels and barrels of fruit.  It was great to pick up our spring greens from Good Life Farm yesterday to watch sweet Melissa doing funny pet trick with her white goosy turkey, strutting about all rigid and shaking, clucking and chortling. This pet turkey is named, Bonecrusher...and to see the Bone being wrestled to the ground by bouncy Melissa was very cute and funny. She held him tight so that our friend Eric could touch Bonecrusher's (from Roald Dahl's BFG) wattles.

Rob is home. I have to go. Tomorrow, I will catch up more with you. He is working and so am I...but I will make a little time for us.

The Green Man 3, Q. Cassetti, Pen and ink manipulated in Adobe Photoshop CS5It turns out to be cool and breezy today. As we have easily 7-10 for lunch this summer, I am worrying about food more than I normally do. The pork butts at the store beckoned, so I have pulled pork in process (crock pot) for the tribe…and I am busy thinking volume, volume, volume. Pasta and big vats of some sort of soup or starch. The eating tribe includes 6 men, and 3 women… So t he trips to the grocery stor are ceaseless.

As you can see, I am on a Green Man jag. Its an interesting process to generate a foliage inspired face. More on that front.

The day is getting away from me. Gottago.


Nosmo King, Q. Cassetti, 2010 (a No Smoking sign from Grassroots)Hot summer day. We were up and going to get Kitty to her job and Alex to practice with his friends. Jacob and I did a little shopping. Rob hungout and then went to the Fairgrounds in anticipation of the big week ahead in prep for GrassRoots, our little holiday here in Trumansburg. The bright yellow dance tent was erected yesterday with many of the ancillary tents and structures arriving today. The volunteers are gathering. Gimme Coffee is looking more like a clubhouse than just a coffeehouse and the buzz begins. I have threatened to do a photoshoot of all the walls of beer that will be erected by Tuesday. The Walls of Beer are an architectural feature that happen here…and are to be admired as they dwindle over the course of the weekend along with every ice cube in the county.

My stuff came for the Art Barn. I ordered two big pix (a skull and a big mouth of hell illo from my moment with the rapture) along with a portrait of Jeb Puryear that hopefully they will let me show. I sent to the ever fabulous and very impressive, Picture Salon, who never, ever disappoint!  Big is Better re my work. Big is bold and on our red walls here at the Headquarters, the black and white JUMPS. I am having ideas about physically painting these big black and whites? What do you think? Could be cool if I use a sheer acrylic so I do not need to worry about perfection with the painting….and let the big bold black lines do the work. Just a thought. Need to get a new topic to work with. Thinking of surfacing the wild Pennsylvania German book of folk medicine. Just thinking.

Got a lot done and out yesterday from the big client work to a teeshirt finalized for Wide Awake to getting our Luckystone holiday card out to the printer. I am feeling a bit proud as I think I have licked the file issues with my cheap cheap printer ( and am no  longer spending hours resaving files to have them spit back out at me. Great! Brilliant red envelopes winging their way here. Holiday will be stuffed and labelled by Labor Day so we can roll into the Fall without that extra detail hanging over us. You know what happens…come November when one should feel like doing this stuff, the big crush happens with our clients and so, the pressure is on in the world of work and other…making things not cool. Doing this stuff early creates a very smug me, but someone that is a bit more pleasant to be around in November/December.

Big trip to the store today. I have bags of chicken marinating and a mess of things for our two boys to eat (jeez louise, they can eat!). Next Tuesday and Wednesday, in addition to the tribe that is working here (Erich, Nigel, me, Mandy, Tucker, Kitty , Alex and Jacob) we will have Jacobs band and roadies here as they are recording an album. So plan on lunch for 20. No kidding. I can hear the culinary vacuum cleaner running. Whirrrrrrrr. All things that can be eaten will be sucked down—everything else, we will  need to tie down! ….But I delight in it…and the interesting brains that are attached to the masticating jaws.

I am listening to the jump up and praise tune, “The Great I AM” by Donnie McClurkin. Love it. AMEN.

Summer dreams

StarGazing, Q. Cassetti, 2010, vectorHere we are in Sheldrake with the day lilies brilliant by the side of the road. It is the time of ebullient sweet peas in masses, curling and twisting themselves in the greenery and down by the shore. It is breezy and definitely summery— that sweet spot I remember on dark and snowy February days and whisper to myself that  the time would be coming for breezes and the tonic of lake water and blue skies. And, we have sunsets dwindling at 10 p.m. with the sketching of pink reminding us of the slow burn of the sun.

New things on the local front. First and foremost, celeriac. Yup. celeriac! Our Sweet Land Farm often has a tub of it to pick from, so last week to amuse Kitty who adores the mandrake quality of alll the rootiness of this root, I grabbed two, determined to make something, I have discovered that if my friends are at the market, then we have a chance that someone is a champ with daikon, celeriac or kale (not part odd my local mis en place). So after quizzing a few moms who are good cooks, I dove into making a cold soup of celeriac, cucumber, potato and onion. Remarkable and very complex and herb ally  delicious. I fed it to the corporate lunch table to good results. More this week. Bring on the kale and Swiss chard!

 Also, I have been honored to be asked to on the Tburg farmers market board. It should be interesting as it is in it’s infancy and is ready for the next steps of programming and public awareness. The Wednesday market is wonderful and embraced by many with our Tburg musicians, chefs and farmers there to make Wednesday evenings more jolly. I have been charmed to see groups of scouts congregating there for ceremonies. We could have community dish to passes or bring back the summer movie fun of a few years ago. Our new bandstand is perfect for a summer wedding…with tables under the roofs for the reception. Maybe a permanent puppet theatre / child  mini farmers market too? Something new to ideate about. I can see a posters or something illustrative!

Part of this momentary peace comes from drawing and reading. I had to stop drawing a few weeks for a project, however, I am in the warm up phase, looking for my topic again. I have jet downloaded some fiction along with listening to the newest from the author of The Devil and The White City. A miasma of sleep, books, and my imaginary world with my ink pens. Dreamy!

1 hr. portrait v.2

Liz, from the I hr. portrait series 2011,Q. Cassetti, 2011, Adobe Illustrator CS5I am becoming a disciple of the Vonster and his work methods in Vector Basic Training. He is such an organized illustrative designer, that his work is accurate, well planned and thought out, and drawn within an inch of its life. I toted the book with me on our chores yesterday and dipped into the chapters waiting for hair to be cut, rides to be coordinated.

As you can see from the left, I am working away at one hour portraits really taking 1 hour. Nix the shading, nix the complexity. Paths, blob brush and eraser are the Adobe Illustrator modes in play here. Liz truly took less than an hour. Yes, some of the curves could be a bit nicer, and more tone could have found their way into the image…but the clock was key here. More vixens and others to come. Chops building.

Alex is packing for two weeks of Ithaca College Summer Music Academy while playing the piano and the unamped bass. Kitty is off in the world of fashionable thifting. Rob is working on village things so I have a moment to say hi. After we drop Alex off, our hope is to hear Eilen Jewel play at the Sheldrake Point Winery. Eilen Jewel is a great talent that we all love—and to have her in our back yard is an extra YEAH!

The week ahead beckons. Lots to do so I will not be counting raindrops or measuring the grass as it grows. As an aside, one of my apple trees which I thought had died, is sprouting green stuff at the bottom, so my heart leaps as one is still good. The caged cherries flourish albeit the tops are eaten by those varmints (deer). There will be cherries to be picked for cherry pies (the Amish celebrate wedding breakfasts with sour cherry pies) for all of the new couples who will be married here in the most perfect spot in New York State. Time to start baking!


Red Floral, Q. Cassetti, 2011, Adobe Illustrator CS5Feeling so happy that I have crashed through my creative barrier and have gotten the first blush of my project done  to see where we stand…what we hate? what we love? where we could lean a bit more…what could go away. I am always reticent to edit grandly as there may be stuff I weed out that the client loves as taste and perception is so personal and I admit, I always like the odd stuff. Always. I am always quick to apologize for liking the “wrong” solution…but maybe that has to do that I like the wrong colors, and have a skew that is not quite the same as the rest of the world.

Vector Basic Training: A Systematic Creative Process for Building Precision Vector Artwork (Voices That Matter) by Von Glitschka is front of mind for me. I am only in the second chapter but am charmed by how Mr. Glitschka peels back the mystery of the vector down to who Mr. Bezier was and how the curve was created mathematically to the delight of all of us that despair of numbers and figures. I love the author’s fearless writing style combined with his honesty on his likes and dislike/hates of the software. I hope I can get to another chapter today as he is building my confidence to try more things which are surprisingly speedy and fun. There have been some cool plugins that Glitschka recommends: Xtreme Path and Vector Scribe. Vector Scribe is something I am going to take a peek at when I have a chance.

Illustrator/ Photoshop /Ink

New Process happening…and I am liking it.

Allow me to torture you by sharing what I am doing…as I believe in full disclosure, no secrets…and if there is anything I can share to make your work go further, better, faster…I am more than happy to collaborate.

First, I am doing ink drawings (keeping the “hand” in the work). Scanning them in at high resolution (600-1000 dpi). I retouch them/clean the drawings up in Photoshop (brush/eraser/paths) to make them a bit less wiggly and “I drew this messy thing in my sketchbook”. Nice and clean. Then, I res that image up to be at least 70 MB (in “Image Size”). I make a workpath and export to paths. Photoshop is done (for now). I open the path in Illustrator and clean that up (pathfinder and paths) and then I start working into the new vector “inked” illustration.  More real drawing…feels less mechanical and moves surprisingly a bit faster. Simple. Plain. Done.

I get drawn forms and feeling, but lay in the detail with vectors. Faster, truer and really nice. I am delighted.

I am slugging away on a fun project and feel like finally, just finally, I am getting some traction.

Today, I am hoeing out my stuff…wheat from chaff. Keep versus Sals. Exciting? Right? I have a book on tape to keep me amused. Kitty is working. Alex is hanging. And, best thing of all, Rob is home (our Father’s Day present). So, a bit of spring cleaning and coffee. A bit of picture making…and then our wonderful boy is back. Hurray!


Predance Group (left to right) Alex Cassetti, Emily Pratt, Thea Clair, Kitty Cassetti, Laura Vann, Shawn LauperThis is the group we had for dinner prior to the “dinner dance” sans dinner plus dessert on Saturday. We had a really nice time. The food was easy and they tucked in. We had mocktails (cosmo syrup with cherries and seltzer) and sparkling grape juice so that we could be elegant and use champagne glasses without the fear and incrimination of parents out there. There were lots of high heels and cocktail rings (provided by me…the queen of the rhinestones, these days).

Worked some on Sunday on a poster for the Zydeco Trail Riders while listening to Boozoo Chavis (a leading light in Zydeco music). His lyrics are wonderful…for example ” You’re going to look like a monkey when you get old”— What is not to love? Hucklebuck is another jumping zydeco tune…love the word, love the music. I started this poster as a hand drawn thing that I scanned in. I redrew parts of it in both illustrator and photoshop…using brushes in a new way for me…along with slugging in type and importing small details for other handdrawn pieces..that the design is looking good in black and white…so, color will only bring it up. I am learning more about working in a hand-drawn exploratory way with  brushes and “expanding” paths. Maybe not as quick as one would think…however, the tools allow you to try  things that I might not consider drawing..I will share as we go.Funzees. 

Also need to work up an approach for the Cabaret Season of the Hangar Theatre. Rhinestone lovlinessThere is a wonderful mix of offerings mainly musically driven. We will be working with the word: Caberetc. There is a graphic treatment and some visual planning for midJuly.

Rob is off to Switzerland and France for ten days this week with visits to ArtBasel and Boisbuchet. We managed to grab all the shirts and laundry and get them done yesterday. He just bought a new used car from Bruce, an Audi TT which is very sporty, very fun to drive, and great design. I am so happy for him as it is a very stylish ride…a step up from the high mileage, peeling pickup truck. So, he rolls into summer looking like an imagemaker…with some fun getting him to and from work.

More later>>work awaits.

Vitamin D Day

A House You Can Eat, Q . Cassetti, 2010, pen and inkWhoa. Dreary. Right? Need to pop those Ds to keep the happy factor going.... What a weekend. Friday night was Pourhouse with the Yardvarks. Last night it was rocking with the Zydeco Trail Riders. They were very good with many in the room jumping up to dance with each other. Quite fun, quite convivial.

Today we stay home and celebrate Saint Patricks Day with the crew (all 6 of us) and the neighbors and their friends. So, 10 for dinner. We are boiling up slabs of corned beef with a Pizza Rustica for those that cannot fathom or stand the corned beef. I bought a cabbage and a bag of potatoes that are going into the pot after the meat stews. I have been blowing the fuse of the electric range (my Fridgidaire circa 1942, complete with the frightening Thermonizer (which, to the uninitiated is an integrated aluminum stock pot taking up the 4th burner on the top)--with great scary pops and lights. I am a bit frayed from that so I am writing you and planning my next attack. Additionally, I busted (sounds like I stripped the gears) of my Kitchen Aid mixer making bread, so I ordered a new powertool, a Viking 7 quart, 1000 watt machine. The bread baking continues as does making granola. Next trick is the granola bar as we spend a fortune on them and they seem to be predominantly corn syrup.

These gingerbread houses are running their course for now. I need to take them further with pix of the kids, the witch, the mom etc. but I am done with it. I have exhausted my sketchbook, so I am changing channels and going back to a smaller book with watercolor paper just for a break. The bees are on the horizon for the next few weeks. Then, per the 3x3 entries, I need to rap out a bunch of portraits as I am missing doing them and they get me a bunch of traction (or at least they have been). The key learning with the gingerbread houses is that in Adobe illustrator, (I was drawing the images in ink, scanning them and then reversing them in photoshop--and then bringing the image into illustrator to color them (new approach for me)-- I am using the multiply function to get the color in...laying on layers and layers of color. But the new thing is the sensational blob brush (shift+ B) as a drawing tool and also, that the eraser (shift+e) can be used to erase spots out of established objects or shapes. Small stuff, but very cool as a pair of tools go. Feeling charged with my new tricks.

Gotta make this short as there is amendment with the Hangar Theatre posters that needs to happen this p.m.Then on to finalizing the dinner.