Okay. Enough already. The sun is shining and on a day like today, I can believe that happiness is around the corner and the possibilities have gone from zip to Huh...maybe there are some fun aspects of my life. Lets just say its a long climb out of the hole I have been in and a big dose of my dear pal, Prozac, is helping me to smell the peonies and think happy thoughts. Amen to drugs.

©Alexander Cassetti, 2016

©Alexander Cassetti, 2016

So much has happened. Alex Cassetti has graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a BFA in Photography and won the Royal College of Art Scholarship which entitles him to a semester in England at RCA to continue post graduate studies. His work is remarkable (but I am his mom)...you make your own call>> and he is growing by leaps and bounds. Note to any parent who is worried about your child's future: do not even anticipate what the future will hold as it will be something you couldn't even imagine. Trust yourself. More importantly, trust the work you have done with your child and trust that person. It's hard. I know...but you just need to hang on and let time, maturity and the people your child connects with form the person you have raised. When we dropped Alex off at Hofstra the day one of his college experience, with his desire to be involved with music composition--there was no way that we could have even anticipated his explosion into photography, his interest in art and architecture, and his growth personally and spiritually to become the person we know today. No way. No how. And here we are. Formed by SVA. Formed by the remarkable Stephen Frailey, the sage Lyle Rexer and the generous Peter Macgill.  Formed by the University Studies Program at Hofstra. These men, and so many more people have pushed and pulled our boy to think big, work hard and grab it all. And our son, the one who has to work hard for everything-- is doing just that and is so appreciative of all that his community has done for him. Stunning. And it is adding up. I cannot wait for the next chapter.

Did I mention that the graduation was at Radio City Music Hall? Well it was...and it was a lulu complete with gigantic pictures of people from the graduating class (yes, Alex was one). Uncle Miltie (Milton Glaser) was in the house and his touch was there.  It was beautifully done from big projections to secondary screens, Push Pin inspired titles, and everything red/white/pink. The articulate and passionate Carrie Mae Weems spoke. There were selfies on stage. Hugs for everyone and to put a cherry on it, the organ was played and we all delighted in the festivities. It was PERFECT. It was a long day as we moved Alex out of his room/apartment the same day and drove home to Trumansburg. Rob is a saint.

Kitty is crazy busy throwing it all in at her job as a buyer at Eric Winterling working on some fabulous theatrical costume production projects I am not sure I can mention. Let's just say she is touching big big shows and getting some interesting exposure to some of the biggest costume designers out there (folks that get Tonys etc). And she is learning the business-- no magical unicorns and cups of tea. Hard work. Schlepping 4 irons and bolts of fabric. And the mechanics of the process. I cannot say how delighted I am that she is having this remarkable experience. She is also having a lot of fun with her friends--going places, doing things, dancing, experiencing NYC, doing the gallery/show thing. Another blessing. I am awed by her.

We have been to Lake Placid for the Museum Association of New York conference where I was blown away by Museum Hack (for another conversation) and by the beautiful little town of Lake Placid. It was a lovely time.

Work continues apace. Lots of very knit picky stuff. But its paying and I cannot complain. I wait for my mojo to come back with the anticipated happier Q. It will be a welcome change.

More later, my friends. Life is more interesting to me, so I have some great things to share with you beyond my dismay over the world and my disgust of Donald Trump. Later!

Black with a touch of color

Find Alex in the Black and touch of color, Choral Concert, June 2012, Q. CassettiI am feeling quite myself after the weekend of just being a lunk, sleeping, doing a bit of cooking and reading. Totally veg. Last week hit hard with our friend Paul leaving us, and lots of stressful action around 2 Camp Street. But today after all of that, I am feeling a bit snappier, happier and able to put the left foot in front of the right to keep onward. The giant pitcher of unsweetened sun tea is helping too…with the 90˚, high humidity day we are being treated to.

The apples are sad this season, but to make up for our longings, the strawberries are bursting out the gate…and they are being picked as fast as can be at the You Picks…and more keeps coming on. Great promises for raspberries. I got a bag full of basil at the CSA (SweetLand) and have a tub of pesto that sandwiches and all other sorts of things are eaten with. Alex is in heaven. Basil is my absolute favorite (fields upon fields on it in my heaven along with rosemary and lavender).Sugar Snap peas are up too, and ready to pick. Yay! Hurray….the early summer fun begins.

I bought a dozen pink poppies and a half dozen white poppies along with a variagated and a red coral bells. Also bought a hanging plant that is chock full of little yellow cherry tomatoes. What fun!

Update: Princess Kitty in NYC. Well, she is getting hit with it and lovingit….from the totally girly girl roommate, to the work work and hard work that FIT is throwing her way…and she is bouncing along quite well thank you. She is writing a blog on Tumblr, and though she is a bit racy in her talk, I am loving her spirit, her observations, all that she is learning and going all between her ears from Tea shops to sexuality.I love being 20 with her again. The Girl in the Newspaper Dress>>  Proud mama. Yes, I am.

Last day of High School for Alex tomorrow. He has “had it” as have we. Time to turn the page. No big moment of nostalgia right now. I am sure come mid September, it will be another thing. I just see how his sister is getting jazzed up, and want the same for him. Rumor has it that he and Rob will be taking rowing/shells and taking sailing lessons this summer. So, more for him to try (he finally said yes…I have been bugging him for years…finally). Did I mention tap shoes for his part in OKLAHOMA? And I am sure I didnt mention his Drama award at Senior night. We did not see that one coming! We are all thrilled and surprised at that honor!

The picture above commemorates our last High School Choral Concert…with Alex protesting the requirement to wear black with a touch of color. He opted for colorless glasses and all black. They sang a beautiful piece by one of Alex’s favorites, Eric Whitacre who is becoming something for me too.

I am a bit obsessed with findings and cabochons these days. What? Yes, I am making fake jewelry to see either on the web or at the Farmers Market when we have a swap meet/flea market. This stuff is hilarious…and as soon as I have finished goods, I will post. It is very Memento Mori meets Goth, meets Pirate…all rolled up into one fun ball of gorgeousness. I do not know if my adult friends will approve, but my younger pals are all over it. I am poised with tube of glue, findings and a packaging concept in front of me. Nothing can get in my way. Watch out….!

Springing

Onion love, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5Brilliant cool spring day today. We are back to semi-normalacy as the weather is acting like it should this time of the year. I am looking over at the back forty, blown away by the sheer green of everything. Both Alex and I are feeling that Spring surge of getting our creative mojo back—and we are both relishing it. What is it about the change in season that always flicks a switch and away you go (creatively). I always respond to the change in light…the longer days, the brighter time…but maybe its just that its the change. I find myself doing the same thing when its longer nights and darker days just as instead of opening up, the delight is the hunkering down.

I must admit, that this fruit and veggie thing is still going…and I am loving the response I am getting to this much more graphic work than I normally do. I am thnking more colorfields, simpler, more graphic… As you can see from this work, there is very little shading/ tiger toothing— but more solid shapes intersecting solid shapes, and it still comes off as believeable. Plus, this work is distinctly my own. I don’t  have reference around me from Alexander Girard, the Provensens, Matisse, Milton Avery to goad me into being true to the graphic aspect of this work…it just is flowing. And, I am drawing these things on paper—not using blue line to make the original drawing something that becomes central to the illustratration, but parker pen on bond paper. I am designing these things prior to picking up the wacom pen to see what can happen. And, though they are designed, they always evolve, like magic when I am working them out in illustrator.  So, I cannot wait to get the pen moving to see how the image will resolve itself during the rendering process. I know it’s simple,  but it delights me to no end to see how the head and hand unconsiously resolves these things, and the bodily me just moves the hand and eyes…and drinks in the image.

New thing I am delighted in: Craftsy.

Thanks to Laura Nelkin, local knitter, beader, teacher, world celebrity, and really on the cusp of internet cool, I discovered Craftsy as Laura is doing a class on knitting with beads. What is Craftsy? It is s site you can sign up for online classes and workshops from knitting to giftwrapping, to even illustration and tailoring. The classes are longer than the workshops, but there are videos, access to the professionals, and patterns to learn a technique (like the fancy knitting I want to learn like Entrelac) to soapmaking to sugar flowers. It is very much in the mode of Lynda.com (for those of us obsessed with our computer applications) but friendlier, shorter and more can do. What a great idea—craft classes you can take at home on your own time. One could plan a crafts vacation for a day or so and go wild making lip gloss and crocheted baby hats (take a look at this one…the crocodile stitch floral baby hat>>). Not that any of us have a ton of free time, but a rainy Sunday afternoon and Craftsy could be trouble (if you get my meaning!).

Gotta go. The day awaits as does Yearbook.

cruising

Hairhoppers, Q. Cassetti, 2012, pen and inkIts been heads down on this presentation I am working on. Delighted with the process and the solutions. I have a few more things and then it will be ready to be shown (I hope tomorrow). I did a little font shopping (something I havent done forever and forever. I forgot how fun that is—and found some fonts that jive with my illustration style and speaks to handmade a bit more than the corporate fonts that I use in the publication work I do. I have been taking these fonts out for a testdrive and am delighted. My heart leaps a bit. I find the fusion of my graphics and my illustration coming together with these projects which is really making my brain work. I know its all good as it is all coming way to easy.

Interestingly, I am finding that I am loving creating these happy brands…things more consumery,more upscale and I wonder how I can do more.

Another cool thing that I have been paying attention to is Pinterest. Pinterest is a visual social networking site that one can “pin” images to virtual boards (or files). One of my new friends used this site to create a clip sheet of what she likes/loves for a project we are working on. And just for that, I thought, wow…this is a cool tool I can take beyond the icing recipes and girlie girl cred that this site has. So, in that spirit, I have launched into pinning…and find that it has far, far more value than Tumblr for me. It is a teaching tool to teach myself, to be a place to reflect on what is hitting me -so I am getting a bit more coming back to me than other social sites. I have posted some illustrations and find a great place to keep my reference materials. I find the posting of new content is far more interesting than repinning/reposting others content. If you want to see what I am pinning, you can follow me here>>

Oh! I got some stickers back from the Sticker Guy. If you would like me to send you a set, send me or post your snail mail address and I will pop them in the mail to you with my compliments! Tattoos on the way.

Noodling.

Phantom from Friends with You, Miami, FLI went downstairs this morning and found that some furry friend had stolen the turkey breast (cooked and frozen from Thanksgiving) and taken it somewhere. I found the wrappers but the carcass is no where to be seen. Turkey Burgler. You never know where the meat will end up. She hides things like little bags of dried milk behind pillows in the living room or odd groceries in the spare bedrooms. One Christmas she snuggled up with a stick of butter in her black watch plaid fleece dog bed (complete and never even nibbled). No, the bird was not in the standard places. No wonder Shady was so blissfully happy and a tad thirsty this morning when she greeted me. She has more bounce in her step than the double pork roast fest she had earlier in her life with us. She has been slinking around in her guilt…but its pretty funny despite it all. The cats are oblivious but they could be party to these antics once Shady does the big deed of the grab. We will all need to keep our eyes peeled for the bones. I guess we are not having leftovers for dinner.

The inflatable above is part of an adorable installation by Friends With You. Friends With You had a sweet little space covered in polka dots on a white ground, with a big white inflatable, snowman type creature. Alex noticed someone coming out of a hidden door which we went through to see more art, things to buy, and the corporate offices of the Miami Friends With You (complete with their terrific collections of toys and collectables). Check out their work and ideas. They are a bright team with a lot of good ideas and even better methodologies to bring attention to their work, fuse art with commerce and license. Smart and sweet.

Detail Aleoop.com Decorated Mini Coopers, Art Miami, Q. Cassetti, 12/03/2011Miami seems to be a great incubator for the fusion of art and advertising. Remember the slew of decorated Mini Coopers in front of Art Miami? What about the decorated trucks promoting Coconut Water (big deal down there) and handing out samples to all that strolled by? There were the girls in pink wigs and matching clothes promoting having your hair blown out “a catwalk quality blowout” with pink buttons and a funny tagline. There were trucks filled with real coconuts to promote some other coconut flavored products. Where art melds with commerce is where interesting things happen. We are not talking the zone Warhol lives in…where art imitates brand…it is more that the brand becomes art. Curious.

Psyched to be involved

Halloween Warmup, Q. Cassetti, 2011, Adobe Illustrator CS5It was heads down yesterday. I had yearbook, files to complete, new projects to begin. I am working on a bunch of vector things just to get my hand in, my eye in, my head into the work. I am feeling stale overall, so playing the visual scales is a good thing that is challenging me, and at the same time, making some happy holiday imagery.

Rob is in NYC. Alex is in prep for his play and for upcoming XC events. The girls XC team wants me to do a shirt for them inspired by the Sausage Fest shirt. Its not my design. It’s Alex’s work…I am just the hands…and he has ideas for the girls he knows either they will not get, or better, get and not understand how inappropriate it is. I need to get him to put his brain on this for amusement (at least ours).

Gloria is on her way east. Gloria is my sister-in-law who has lived in Los Angeles since college. She has decided to move east for a change of things—bringing household and horse (big horse) to settle here with family and old friends (and new ones too). We are all looking forward to this change for her…and feel that this will be a good thing for her personally, professionally. Los Angeles, as much as its heaven, is tough going financially, travelling, making friends, engaging in community. These are factors that are sweet here. I think she is going to be pleasantly surprised once she settles in. She is driving her cute little blue car east … Memphis was last night. Tonight is Lexington KY. She will be here Friday. So things are ramping up here on campus.

I started Thanksgiving on Sunday making the filler for the stuffing (I make a combo of sausage, mushrooms, leeks, parsley (sauteed)) that I blend with cornbread, and parmesean cheese. Tonight I start making stock so I can make the gravy in advance. I want to make pumpkin bread and cornbread in the next week or so. Same with the cranberries. All this prework makes the 25th of Nov. a pleasant day. I love this. Totally. I should be doing dupes so that xmas is the same. That would be genius. I am not that genius…but if one is prepping feasts, prep big. I am thankful I am living in the day of the freezer and not the middle ages so this sort of prework can happily be done.

Postcard, Wide Awake Bakery, illustration/design, Q. Cassetti, 2011, Adobe Illustrator CS5In the spirit of giving, I was thrilled to read about my friend, Stefan Senders championing a local food delivery to the Occupy Wall Street folks>> Ithaca is filled with protesting old hippies who love local food. We are all over being part of the 99% and want to share our goods to keep cheer for those who are doing the occupying. Stefan, as you remember, is the baker/owner of Wide Awake Bakery (a wood fired, artisan bakery who uses flour that is grown and ground here in Tburg. Here is a bit from the Ithaca Journal article by Rachel Stern:

“A van, running on biodiesel and chock-full of goodies made in the Ithaca area, traveled to New York City to feed protesters with the Occupy Wall Street movement last week.

Organized by Stefan Senders of Wide Awake Bakery of Trumansburg, the van was packed with bread, pancake mix, cheese, scones, cabbage, bulgur and whole wheat pasta, to name a few items. Eager to find a way to contribute to the movement, Senders decided to enlist the help of local farmers and restaurant owners.

“Our bakery has a mission to bake the best bread in the world, but we also have a social mission to do good things we believe in,” he said. “We really wanted to contribute in some way to the movement because it is very much in line with what we think.”“…

“This is part of our mission — it is part of the mission of many of us in the area — to do all we can to help what we see as an important movement,” he said. “We feel like we are doing the right thing. We are totally psyched to be involved.”“

Not necessarily going to seed

Allium Gigantium going to seed by the pumpphouse, Q. Cassetti, 2011We heard the Chicken Tractor at Felicias last night to our delight. So much so, we are going to hear them again tonight at the Rongo. It was a bright and breezy summer night last night with the crowd being at the Ithaca Festival, so the Atomic Lounge was not insanely crushing…and the music was brilliant and fun. Kitty was the dancing princess at the contra dance at the Bethel Grove Community Center. Alex was doing the festival, movies and then more bro time. So all were engaged…albeit not as a tribe. But, everyone is growing up and need their own groups, their own communities to flourish and identify with. I know this…thanks to being a member of my own community of artists, musicians, localvores and the fine IthaTrumansburgers.

I am working on a new body of work that I am not going too public on as it is a warm up for a project that hopefully start soon. Alex was asking my why I needed to do this warm up, this sharpening up— and I likened my process to that of a musician doing the scales, or singers doing trills—I love getting my eye “in” and sharpening my sensitivity to the work through practice works. I guess it comes from the calligraphic work with the esteemed professor, Arnold Bank.

    “Calligraphy is the autographics of alphabetics… . Calligraphy is simply the art of writing,or of sketching and drawing transferred to the use of letter design, on the beautiful blank of a fine sheet of paper… . Now in doing it, it has to be clear and it has to be beautiful.”
    Arnold Bank (1908-1986)

I might have mentioned this before, but Arnold Bank was my first real art/ design teacher. Quite honestly, there have only been two significant teachers in my visual career—those being Arnold Bank and Murray Tinkelman. Arnold Bank was a self taught calligrapher who had studied at the Arts Students League—perfecting his thinking and teaching. His course was a disciplined self study to learn a letterform from drawing the forms with different pens from a pair of flair pens taped together to simulate the thick/thin to ink and pens. From music pens to metal brushes to flat brushes. We worked from big to small producing a poster/placard, a poem and then a small book to explore text sizes. This work to learn a “hand” led the student to fully understand and build fluidity in the letterforms, leading, spacing and design in the most granular way. There were pen warm ups that needed to be done prior to picking up the pen to start the work….and these warmups are the source of inspiration for these pre illustration, illustrations…to get the eye in, to tune the design sensitivity, and think about the black and white, designing the negative and positive as the pen hits the paper. I really havent given it much thought, but I do not think other illustrators do warmups…but for me, it is imperative to do the warmups along with thumbnails as it is the physical and spirit aligning….in preparation for the trance that can happen with the work.

Forgive me for not sharing right now, it just is important that it stays with me. So, I will share photos and other things for while until I am ready. You will get snippets of my concerts, my friends, whats growing…the color, forms and shapes in my world.

Must go. I have Kitty and 4 friends, Bruce, Rob and soon Alex who will be anxious to eat. Now, what to cook?

2011 Pantone Color of the Year: Honeysuckle

Yes folks. The Pantone color of the Year is Honeysuckle! I totally missed turquoise from last year. At least I have time to get with the program this year!

From the Pantone site:

“While the 2010 color of the year, PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise, served as an escape for many, Honeysuckle emboldens us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting. It elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life. 

“In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Honeysuckle derives its positive qualities from a powerful bond to its mother color red, the most physical, viscerally alive hue in the spectrum.” 

Eiseman continues, “The intensity of this festive reddish pink allures and engages. In fact, this color, not the sweet fragrance of the flower blossoms for which it was named, is what attracts hummingbirds to nectar. Honeysuckle may also bring a wave of nostalgia for its associated delicious scent reminiscent of the carefree days of spring and summer.” 

Honeysuckle is guaranteed to produce a healthy glow when worn by both men and women. It’s a striking, eye-catching hue that works well for day and night in women’s apparel, accessories and cosmetics, and in men’s ties, shirts and sportswear. Add a lively flair to interior spaces with Honeysuckle patterned pillows, bedspreads, small appliances and tabletop accessories. Looking for an inexpensive way to perk up your home? Paint a wall in Honeysuckle for a dynamic burst of energy in the family room, kitchen or hallway. “

Pantone goes on to tell us that you can get paint, wedding apparel and yes, a Pantone Visa Card (I mean, why not!). All of this points, for me, that the end of the world is coming. I mean, a Pantone Visa Card? I guess we don’t have enough to do beyond work and the antics of Snookie and the Situation so shopping with our pink card (maybe only buying honeysuckle, energized products?) is there to fill the time!

Fat Tuesday

Mardi Gras Memento, Q. Cassetti, 2011. Pitt pen, ultra sharpie pen on moleskine We had a magical dinner at Hazelnut Kitchen last night…me and the boys. Alex was courtly and funny, amusing us with his insights and observations which are rational, succinct and quite wise for someone so young. I am so proud of him, his view of the world, and the world that continues to unveil one more interesting thing after the next for him. And our dinners were delicious, beautifully presented and imaginatively put together. They are doing wonderful things there.

Mardi Gras is today. They are eating pancakes in Pittsburgh and boudin in Lafayette LA. Revelry with feathers and music, high jinx and frivolity. The last of the king cake will be consumed because tomorrow, the period of remorse and sadness begins.

Need to get into that spirit.

What to give up for lent? Hmmm… I have a few ideas. Humor? Trying to be nice? I think I will give up being a grown up! Yeah….that feels right.

Interesting how change evokes change. With the snow, I opened a dropbox.com account. Dropbox is cool…as it is a sync’ed file that you can access via the web, via your computer, cellphone and ipad. You are given 2 GB of space for free…and can pay for more…so its not pricey to back up to dropbox to have your files available immediately, anywhere you want…plus, you can set up folders for clients etc. etc. I may even get one just for my personal work…so the work and the play can be separate. Hmmm. Works like a charm. Installs easily. Syncs with the iPad, powerbooks and desktop beautifully. Simply explained and a snap to engage.

Need to get rolling on an illustration. Awaiting the  Hangar materials (a bit late)…as there is a ton to do.

Later baby.

Segue

Flippity Flop 2, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and ink on moleskineLooks like Spring is peeking out. The sun is shining and bouncing off the snow. Shady is passed out on the floor. Mei Mei is sitting on my windowsill surveying the scene outside. Mr. White continues to be quiet and in hiding. I hope he mellows out. He still keeps picking fights with Mr. Grumpy…and now that he only has one operative eye, its is a lost cause.I wish he would figure that out.

Got my printing back from BargainBasementPrinting.com. The brochures were a tad hot (colorwise) but not bad, and for $78. it is better than anything that Kinkos can do. Business cards were the same. However, quick turn around….and prices that are good. Plus, guess where my boxes shipped from? Rochester! So nearby and neighborly. Right? Minimum quantities are 500…but for a cheap mailing?

Need to get the ad for Illustration Directory done as well as the magazine cover I have on the horizon. Gotta finalize the Hangar stuff (they are running behind) along with a few other projects. Looks like a pretty open day….can get a mess done.

I had my hair changed yesterday. I have been evolving to grey. My wonderful Demetra decided I needed to do it boldly, so she created some bold platinum stripes in the grey…and its kind of Cruella Deville but white…cool. Demetra mentioned that the hipsters are coming into the salon to get their hair dyed grey! So…its not so bad segue-ing into that aging thing.

Neck Cat

After Ganga Devi, Q. Cassetti, 2011, sharpies, pitt pen and moleskineBoys are doing a round trip to NYC today to get a family member to a medical specialist for an annual. Just called, and things are good. Thank goodness. They have blue skies and melting snow versus rain and sleet and snow. Shady is laid out in sunshine on the green floor. Mr. White, my new patient, is receptive to his treatment (eyedrops) and cookies that go with his good behavior. The vet tech said that they identify cats just their color and markings. Mr. White fits into a category as a “neck cat”. Neck cats climb up you, and will sit on your shoulders and around your neck like a fashion accessory. And believe it or not, Mr. White was doing that yesterday for comfort. Made wearing a thick wool jacket (like I am) a wonderful foil for the claws—creating a positive velcro environment for the big guy. Now, like a baby, he climbs up and sits on my shoulder after he gets his eyedrops looking for a little sympathy. He is a squinty pirate, and I guess I am the new pirate ship for his captaincy. I am not a big fan of cats, but Mr. White is alright. We have a week of eyedrops and then another trip to the vet for a confirmation.

I have been at the office since a quarter to 7 a.m. Getting a bunch of things done. Uploaded a brochure and two big sized business cards to Bargain Basement Printing with the cards being (500 pcs. for $14) and the brochure equally inexpensive. So, in a week or so, we will be able to kvell or cry about the quality/price. I hope I am going to be delighted. There isn’t much flexibility around this printer (thus the price), and the file requirements are touchy, but I made it work after a while, and am heartened.

A person I met at The Museum Institute at Sagamore contacted me to see if we could repurpose my valentine for a wedding “Save the date” card. I am flattered, and we have Joe Sepi at Pioneer rolling on the reconfigured redo. What a nice idea!

Next stop, cheap stickers!

Got a poster done for the HS play (on the edge time), got some memos done, paperwork filled out and done, and started some trial-ing the specs….and surfacing more stuff. That hurts. But, if we do not check the work, we will be working and justifying and trying to figure out the specs after the fact. It hurts to have to bounce the stuff back…but better now than later. We still have time to make it work.

Need to go.

 

Catchup

Lotus Valentine, Q. Cassetti, 2011, sharpie.Loved my tutorials yesterday on Lynda.com. Learned about the new variable width line tool, the new pathfinder replacement shape —shaper. And the perspective tool. Oy. I dont use perspective this much, but what with this new easy tool, I would consider adding it to my palette of tools to offer. The Lynda.com tutorials are wonderful…and with the files, you can follow along and actually learn the stuff. I need to keep at it as it will make be more of a “proficient” quicker. And quite honestly, I should do the same for photoshop, acrobat and inDesign as it will inevitably save me time with the reeducation.

I need to catch on fire about something. I am in that miasma of not being neither fish nor fowl, not engaged in a topic but working along with the Mudhubari work…but not on fire. The silhouette illos were happening last year this time. Granted, the color work hadn’t happened at this time last year…and the bees hadn’t happened nor had it become a glimmer in my eye. So, there is time….but I am filled with agitation and worry that nothing will happen. But, it will… I know…

Made a pot roast and hung out with Alex last night. Rob was late as he had a dinner with a new consulting group at the Museum. Good things to happen it sounds like.

Today, I frosted a cake I made last night. I was fearful that Shady might have eaten the cake last night as she brought a half eaten sandwich from the bottom of someone’s bookbag and was cuddling with it on her bed last night. But, thankfully, the mouldy sandwich was far more appealing. I made a gigantic pot of spaghetti sauce for this week’s consumption this morning too. We had a visit from our old friends visiting from Montclair, NJ which was a delight….and here we are with the sky dark and the evening in front of us.

Second Day of Advent: Variation on a Theme

Winter Russian Nesting Doll 2, Q; Cassetti, 2010, Advent Calendar 2010, pen and inkSnowed. Really snonwed yesterday and now we have some sticking to the trees and ground cooling the ground which was very mobile and warm last weekend. Cooling it and cooling it so that when the real snow happens, it will build and accumulate, reversing the efforts of the summer sun and spring breezes. I just finished taking Shady out (she was so happy having a roll in the snow, her absolute favorite) and reveled in the peachy gold light filtering through our gigantic pine trees, the sparkle of the ground and the still, delicate deer—watching and waiting.

It has been a few days of sheer buckle down and do it. Revised a presskit in a half a day. Aircraft graphics revised/ entirely relooked at. Two publications in the works. Pancake and Muffin graphics almost finalized (I will post and link later today). Today, its finishing up what we can on the two annual reports. There is packaging of stuff and some meaningful listmaking in the works too.

Spoke to Kitty. She too, is working hard as all of her papers are due this Friday….and her bill (ouch) is due January 1. After this Friday, she can get back on the animation she is delighting in. I caught her at dinner, tucking into a rather exotic sounding pizza (we were having leftovers) and the chatter of friends and aside conversations with her abounded. Alex and I worked on his student resume (needed today) and then kicked back and listened and talked about a musical piece he is working on. He is loving being a producer…working with his very skilled and bushytailed new music friends who can play anything and do not worry about being directed. My boy is blooming.

Need to take a little time before the office officially opens to do a bit of research for these advent pix. I am thinking up all sorts of stuff and need some reference so that the drawings look like “something” versus the blob and squiggle that it could.  More later.

Look at what the pros are doing

Images drawn on an iPad by David HockneyIf I were Alex Cassetti, I would exclaim that David Hockney is “fresh as hell”. This is an unafraid artist who paints about everything that touches him from his lifestyle with pictures of men in swimming pools in Los Angeles to his new and exciting pop in the iPad art world. I love it that Hockney has been drawing on his iPhone and has newly adapted the pad (down to having coats made with big interior pockets to hold the pad). He has exuberantly leapt on the technology, making new pictures that have merit on their own, and not trying to be anything than what they are. He creates images daily and emails them out to his friends just because…and this resonates with me. So, inspiriation is there. Just get going. Keep drawing regardless of the medium. It will look like you because, silly, it is you.

“Who would have thought that the telephone would bring back drawing?”  David Hockney

“I realized when I was doing the sunrises last year that it was partly because the iPhone was beside my bed when I woke up,” “But if I’d only had a pencil and paper there I probably wouldn’t have chosen to make pictures of the dawn.”  David Hockney

And so today begins. Recycled soup (bean as the base…tomatoes added as well as some chicken) ready for the back porch crew. I made two cornbread loaves last night while I joined the world watching the amazing and to me, frankly pretty scary/horrifying venture in Chile to get the miners out. That tube, the rescue contraption called “Phoenix 2”, 26” x 6’ being lowered into the ground essentially with a jerry rigged rope tow, with either a miner or a rescuer squeezed in, coffin style with air and (I hope some medication) to make an uncertain journey (180 feet of it encased in a metal tube as the ground was uncertain towards the top of the shaft). The chanting of Chee Lay by those above and below as if it was a game, interestingly, instead of buoying my spirits, made me chew my lip even harder. Then the elegant Florencio, the first miner up, was instead of having a bit of privacy watched as his dear little son (with a chilean mylar balloon shoved into his hand by some media spinner) break into heart wrenching tears when his papa surfaced. And the media circus surrounded this poor soul who needed a beer and a chance to put his head down, hold his family’s hands and say a big prayer that he was out of that subterreanean prison and his comrades would make it too. There was nothing about this enterprise that spoke of any of this being a “sure bet”— but the quiet confidence of those surrounding the entrance to this shaft was reassuring even to this nail biter. I hope that today brings more confidence, more rescues and closer to this amazing story of these men below the ground.

Sure make the small stuff seem pretty silly, doesnt it?

 

Through the Looking Glass

Amy Brill by Sheryl Sinkow from www.totallybrill.comI had a lovely, inspired afternoon yesterday with Amy Brill. Do you know her? If you don’t, you should. And because of that, being the mom I am, I am going to introduce you to her and do all the talking. If you want to hear Amy, you can hear her at her lovely blog: Totally Brill, Amy Brill’s Blog.

Amy is cute, smart, funny, amazing, talented, creative (with an exclamation point) and an inspiration to me. She lives in Jacksonville (just down the road from Trumansburg) in an amazing big house on an impressive property with lily pads and lovely trees. She has two beautiful black Briard boys who keep her company along with the zillions of cool things she surrounds herself with from blue willow china, to stacks of boxes  buttons from the last pearl button factory in the U.S. to the sample cards from a button factory with the instructions on how to blend the dyes to get that exact blueberry grey color perfectly. She has posters of clowns (her mentors in a former life as a clown) along with photos of herself as a clown. She’s been a mime, a puppeteer and I am sure she held those audiences in her hands as deftly as she did me. She has boxes upon boxes of fiber she has designed and had spun in North Carolina which then is hand loomed (or machine knit) into these lovely, creative, versatile sweaters that can work one way for one look, and then in the world of flip up dolls, you turn it counterclockwise, button a neck and turn a collar and you have something else. The jacket becomes the pants, the pants become a hat and so on…and it really truly works. She is actively engaged in her sweaters and vests and throws and fibers as she puts them on, adding a button, putting a chopstick through the texture of the stitch and making another fastening…trying a new look. She loves her fashions, she loves the process, she loves the people who make her fashions and those that wear her fashions the to make themselves look the best they can regardless of shape and size.Wiggletto Vest by Amy Brill, photographed by Sheryl Sinkow

I am helping Amy get a new look to her company going. I am hoping that this, and perhaps a push with the social media and maybe some local trunk sales might build some awareness in this local treasure and the work she does. Who would know? Right? She needs to have the support to then drive more to the cash register to allow Amy to be as creative and prolific as she is able to be. I hope this is the beginning of my getting to know Amy, her work, her ideas and her influences. She has def. gotten me (and Kitty too) to sit up and take notice. Plus, I gotta get some of those great things she designs. So cool.

To learn more about Amy, here is her website>

Here is Amy’s fan page on Facebook>

Viva Swag on “NY Stylist Sandy Cohen’s Top 5 Underground Designers” citing Amy Brill>

“Okay, we know it’s Summer, but take a look at these and gear up for Fall or for those cold air conditioned offices.  Brill spins, twists, and dyes her own, mostly cotton yarns.  The sweaters are then knit using a knitting machine.   Nine ounces of yarn are spun at a time, a very time consuming process, but one that allows Amy Brill yarns to be unique.

Further, in addition to the incredible sweaters, she also does these cool “Be The Change” necklaces.

Dresden Scrap

Rooster sketch, Q. Cassetti, 2010, digitalWe saw “Inception” last night to Alex’s delight. It was good, but not the work of art that Alex and Erich claim it to be…but I guess as I am “not the audience” as Erich tells me, it doesnt matter what I think. Alex has been talking about this incessantly since the viewing—smiling and talking…delightedly. We had dinner at Maxi’s late and turned back home for a late night.

Today is a beautiful day…all the heat and humidity washed out  to clear and clean. We have the team working on the pumphouse restoration. Nigel is back to making beautiful with the yard. Kitty is working in the makeup factory in the Masonic Temple (for real). Alex is off playing golf as he has dishes later. Chet the Lawnmower man has come and gone…so the green stuff has been groomed and is gorgeous.

I was googling those wonderful cut out pages (from my SCORE at Sauders) and discovered that they are called either Victorian or German Scrap. The metallic version of Victorian or German Scrap is called Dresden Scrap, Dresden Foil or Dresden Foil Scrap. My mother has taken elements of Dresden Scrap and turned them into pins. There is other Dresden scrap that are these elaborate, paper candy cups or frames for pictures. High end party goods and high end scrap for scrapbooks or for valentines or for me, to scan and party with. Some of the holiday stuff (the big paper santas) I have seen iced to the top of gingerbread cookies or the little hearts attached to candy or gingerbread for valentines day. Linked to all of this old fashioned holiday stuff from Germany (like my favorite Erzegebirge stuff), paper mache eggs and holiday decorations figure into this mix as well. I remember our buying them as a kid , I think at Mr. Marioni’s store on Walnut Street in Pittsburgh along with old things my mother and grandmothers had—combined with funny old fashioned postcards and other ephemera they would toss between the families. I guess this is where my craziness comes from.

Here are some resources: Victorian Scrapworks>> Blumchen & Company>> AlphaStamps>> Your ATCstore>> Collage Closet>> There are lovely things to work with. Inspiring ephemera to collage, scan or use in fun ways. I am cooking on this idea.

The Cholmondeley Ladies

The Cholmondeley Ladies
circa 1600-10
Oil on wood support:
886 x 1723 mm frame:
1074 x 1914 x 100 mm painting Presented anonymously 1955 T00069
Tate Britain, London

According to the inscription (bottom left), this painting shows ‘Two Ladies of the Cholmondeley Family, Who were born the same day, Married the same day, And brought to Bed [gave birth] the same day’. To mark this dynastic event, they are formally presented in bed, their babies wrapped in scarlet fabric. Identical at a superficial glance, the lace, jewellery and eye colours of the ladies and infants are in fact carefully differentiated. The format echoes tomb sculpture of the period. The ladies, whose precise identities are unclear, were probably painted by an artist based in Chester, near the Cholmondeley estates.

I adore this picture. Adore. Look at the stiff twins in their paperdolly poses. I guess, honestly, I love this primitive stuff (note Ammi Phillips this summer>>) and want to wallow in it. I actually was thinking about this picture when it came to the first Mary and the little baby, Jesus picture I made yesterday and wanted to refresh what I had imagined I remembered. And, after tweaking around on the web, found that this image is so significantly better than I remembered.

I was also looking at lovely byzantine Madonnas and fell back into Giotto and his gloriously flat and yet sculpted nativities. For as almost medieval as Giotto's stagesetty nativity is--with the odd perspectives and almost rubberstampy angels, the emotion and pathos that is expressed in the face of the Virgin is stunning. I love the flat, but this pop and glimmer of humanity in the hero of this picture takes Giotto out of the Middle Ages and plops him up front and center as very fresh and new...even today.

I think this adoration I have for these very flat people is going to manifest itself into a body of work-- I just need to draw, watch and wait. Something will bubble up. I think this knowledge of the idea bubbling up is one of the greatest gifts that my time at the Hartford Art School provided. I used to be stunned by the idea of artists waiting for "inspiration" to hit them. Doesnt seem to jive with the way I work. My belief follows Andrew Carnegie's motto of "My heart is in the work". I have to put my heart and energies on the doing (which I love) and the planning around an image. Staying on tract, staying focused and generating work. Some of it inspired. Some of it rote. But the continual motion of the pen or pencil on the paper or on the tablet drives the work unconsciously forward. At least, that is what it does for me. And the physical process of hand on pen on paper sometimes engages the brain which, when entertained and happy, engages the subconscious to begin to spin on other things. And from the hand driving the brain, and the brain driving the subconscious, new ideas emerge and from that a new direction. The minute the hand stops, everything else does too.

Holiday and illustration musings aside...we have snow. I am going to Rochester on a pressrun Friday and will need to compact the week a bit. Am planning food etc. for Saturdays Yankee Swap. Iced Cream Sandwiches are sounding perfect...Maybe roll them in a little crushed candycane?

Onward.