Mary Blair created a lot of things. Disney's "Small World" is just one example. She illustrated children's books (Golden), did some pretty cute advertising work, and is known for her work with Disney visualizing many of the classic animated movies as well as creating the palettes that really define the early Disney animations. Is Mary Blair known for her hankie designs? I don't think so...but she should be as she brings a whimsy and yet a strong hand and strong common composition to the hankies that are out there. And, do you think they are valuable? One person noted she bought a Blair hankie at a yardsale for $.25 and proceeded to resell it on Ebay for in excess of $150. More>> That is even better than Apple stock! Here are a few examples I have gleaned from the web for your amusement and my reference.
I told you I would come back today for our little chats. So here I am! Trying to get back into the swing of things. First off, before I forget this wonder, I have posted the most wonderful recipe (my recipe of the year) to the Treats section of this page. It is for a red onion and cilantro chutney or salad or whatever. You can eat it on its own, or dollop it on burgers or a side for a cool veggie plate. It embraces the constant wonder of fresh lime juice/cilantro and cumin. Make up a little batch and see how long you can keep it in your fridge. Not long is my guess. The book, Asian Pickles: India by Karen Solomon is filled with these gems and I plan on trying quite a few this summer.
The mid-century modern hanky designer du jour is Tammis Keefe, born Margaret Thomas Keefe (1913-1960) and was one of the first designers to sign her work. The Keefe site quickly gives us a terrific bio:
"Originally a math major in college, she transferred to the Chouinard Institute of Art, now part of the California Institute of the Arts. As did many Chouinard graduates, Keefe worked for the Disney studios, and later became art director of the influential periodical Arts and Architecture, a publication renowned for innovative layout and graphic design. Next followed a stint in the California studio of textile artist Dorothy Liebes, who mentored many young designers.
Keefe became one of the first women to sign her name conspicuously on her work and to achieve name recognition. Lord & Taylor Manhattan even took out a full-page ad in The New York Times for a "Meet the Designer" day to introduce Keefe and a new line of furnishing fabrics. At the time, the major department chains, such as Lord & Taylor and Wanamaker's, were still temple complexes to the gods of mercantilism, with their own home furnishing departments whose buyers had national clout and influence.
Before her death at age forty-six in 1960, Keefe produced approximately four hundred designs for handkerchiefs and at least one hundred for dishtowels, all featuring her trademarks of unexpected color and subtle wit."
The Tammis Keefe website sums it up (go there to see broad selections of her work) . Gorgeous, whimsical, happy, imaginative, and celebrating the ordinary (such as hankies about housekeeping) and cocktail time. She is of her moment (Disney, Chouinard, Mary Blair, Morris Lapidus)--the incredible decorate and pattern everything with a particular, and distinct style. Her work and scope resonates with me...and I am sure there is lots to learn by looking.
Work awaits. I thought you might like the Tammis gumdrop. More later.
I am working on a collection of images...freeflowing images of "My America" as you know. I find that symbols and corporate logos are coming to the fore along with those personifications of brand (Mayor McCheese, Big Boy, Uncle Ben, Aunt Jemima, Betty Crocker, the Android, etc.) and find them flowing into images of war and weaponry. It is wild when I let my brain relax to see which avenues it travels in...to scare me or amuse me...but to result in images. Yes, the symbols of power and position, of money and greed, of the ordinary and extraordinary, of rockets and robots, of artificial intelligence and artificial insemination all are fluid.
Today's insanity around women's issues from health, reproduction, ability to vote and those rights we hold dear--coming under question from the likes of Governor Ultrasound and the Cooch....really are disturbing and are beginning to filter into this unsavory illustration brew. As much as we hold ourselves as so superior, I find being an American these days pretty thin soup given the low level the national conversation decended. It is appalling that the silent majority is allowing a vocal group of radical conservatives make decisions for their wives, daughters, sisters and friends. And, that those women, the wives, daughters, sisters and friends have by their silence and inaction, have condoned the eradication of rights they do not value and will not value until they too have a reproductive issue or a voice to be heard...and have given away that right without any knowledge of what they have surrendered.
Off the soapbox, for today.
Well, I am starting the American journey. Just started making my "kit of parts", my mis en place to get the ball rolling from brushes with stripes and stars to the all seeing eye that protects us on our dollar bill. It is the beginning and I am stunned by the opportunity for images here--the juxtapostion of imagery--of icons, and color. The mash up of popular culture, masonic imagery, religious imagery and suggested ideas (such as the Tea Party) spurs me on. The possible use of text to compliment and confuse....what with phrases out there speaking to how God legitimizes and approves of all things American--its pretty irresistible to me. I am pretty pissed off at a lot of things American these days...and this will be the spur to make the fury into something tangible. More as we go.
I have a new camera. Rob admonished me when I bought my last point and shoot, that I should check in with him as the world of point and shoots were getting more interesting...and that I could upgrade when the time was right. Seeing that I loaned Alex my big Canon EOS camera (which, unfortunately took a bath during a rainstorm this summer at a music venue that Alex was shooting), and seeing that Rob brought this camera up, I bought a Canon EOS-M--a tiny, mirrorless camera that can take all of the Canon EOS lens and has a limited number of EOS-M specific lens. I bought it with a fixed "Pancake" lens and have been really enjoying shooting in the RAW file format (another first)--and all that that entails with Photoshop and Lightroom. I took a handful of photos at the community build (at GrassRoots) of our new Trumansburg Farmers' Market stage (see here)-- and was pleased with the sharpness, less parallax ( I think this is the term)-- and the work that I could get this camera to do. We will see. I am in love.
So, tonight it all begins. It is the eve of the Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival. The tents are all up. The ticket booths have been put in place. The community build (our little stage for the Farmers' Market, and an adorable prep kitchen for the Ithaca's Childrens' Garden ) has happened. The massive kitchen is built. The stages are in place. The towers of beer and fruity alcoholic drinks are stacked to the ceilings at the dairy and grocery store. The festival go-ers are beginning to trickle in--to take their places on Rabbit Run (yes, there is a place in Tburg with this sort of adorable, Beatrix Potter-y name) to wait patiently in line for well over a day to get dibs on a camping spot in the infield. We hope to capture some of these folks to invite them to come to the Farmers' Market tonight for music (Rockwood Ferry and Home Remedy) and for circus yoga ( a demonstration) and of course the general conviviality of food to eat, food to buy, crafts and products to buy. My back up team will be walking brochures down Rabbit Run tonight to get fliers out to promote the gig.
Rob and Mary are doing a round trip to NYC today to pick up Alex from his NYC/FIT foray this summer. I am pleased to have him home--and know that this time in the city has been a great adventure and good learning experience for him. We should see him by early evening. I am glad Rob and Mary are taking my car with good tires and functioning air conditioning given the sweltering day that is promised.
Waiting. No biggie. But waiting for the car. Yes, I am finally getting the snow tires off my car and it has been not the single hour that I was promised but it is going on two. I was going to go back to the office between my two Ithaca appointments today...and now It feels as is the two are going to blur. Ah, well. Thank goodness there are no crazy deadlines today other than the great meeting of the Farmers' Market. And thank goodness I have discovered and changed to Google Mail, Google Drive and Google Calendar and I can use a dumb p.c. here at the car dealership and actually get work done. I like how simple and portable things are getting. Nice change, that.
We are on the verge of Grassroots. The cherries have been picked. The raspberries and strawberries are going full bore. Garlic Scapes are on the outs--and bunches of delightful dill, cilantro and basil are in the future. It is the season of produce and fruit, and we can plot the course of the summer by their appearance at the CSA and at the Farmers' Market. It has gone from mild to hot very quickly with many fans and cold showers before sleep marking the change in the season. We have been in the lake to start our summer drifting under the high cloud bowl.
How is it that the sky over the lake is so vast, so high, so much part of the moment, when, even on our plateau, it doesn't seem to loom above us? The water must change that relationship as it is a constant--and mirrors the dome above it. The cloud bowl has been particularly dramatic in the last week with massive cumulus clouds--changing from puffy, angels sit on them, clouds to towering castles changing from white, to pearl, to grey. It has been the sky of full on Summer--giving us cloud bursts and within a half hour, scrubbed skies. It is the mid point of the year...and such a sweet spot that we are all trying to hang on to the quiet moments together before being spun into our respective other lives.
My America. I have been worrying about another body of work- stressing that nothing was clicking. Well it did. Rob asked my why I couldn't do something like the Advent Calendar annually and it forced me to think about the triggers around the Advent work. I guess what I love about it are all the "knowns" like palettes, distinct traditions and expectations, the iconography, the ideas and the global aspects of the holiday. I have been mulling over all of that and somehow it just pinged, American things... my America. It has symbols and colors. It has traditions and expectations. Plus, there is more...things that have been bothering me that I think is time to surface. There are womens health issues. There is Uncle Sam. There is the religious right. There are the Masons and Mormons. There are honeybees, and hams. There are guns and grain. And so it begins. The research, the prep, the sketches...and then we are going to load the cannon and start firing to see where we go. It will be a fun ride, with I hope good results and interesting learning. I am ready for another journey--and you will be coming with me. It has been 6 months since the last big push...so I am ready (as is my portfolio).
This collection of five guys are from my annual (2012) Advent Calendar project, "Gingerbread Advent". They were, just today, accepted into the annual, juried competition that 3x3 Magazine has to celebrate illustration. They were accepted as a group. Hurray and Thank you to 3x3. It is wonderful to know that the freakish stuff that flows out of this brain onto digital paper has some bounce in the real world beyond the happy high (when I get the cogs and gears rolling) that this December project can give me. Double the holiday gifting for this girl. To see who else got in>>
I have been cutting lots of paper. I am surrounded by little clips of white with black insides, and little clips of matte black with white show. I am trying to be discrete and cut into a box lid--prior to snipping all over my wacom pad and the pile of notebooks and pencils I fear I will somehow run out of. But paper has been an issue. Not too stiff, not to flimsy.
First, I used a rather stiff black through and through paper made by Strathmore. Then, I attempted to cut matte black tissue paper. Wayyy too delicate. Then, I discovered that there was this lovely, origami weight black paper made for school teachers to cut silhouettes of their students. It is flat flat, matte matte and almost seems as if the black side is screenprinted due to the texture, matteness, and purity of the cover. So, I ordered it from Hygloss (a very inspiring teacher's supply catalog and now snip snap snip....I am at it. Why? Well, 1. I need to get on the inspiration train. Something, anything...and it seemed like a good place to start. 2. I can make a ton of like images and make some patterns and little designs that might be good for cards etc...again, priming the inspiration pump. 3. Its me/black and white....it can be manipulated or cleaned up digitallly (if I choose to)... it can be intentionally crude, but can by scanning in as a bitmap, turn it into a workpath and then, into vectors for illustrator where I can have my daily illustrator party with my fun tools..
So, a series of patterns, little buildings and a village is in the works. Little buildings and snowflakes with pine trees for a possible holiday card...who knows. All I know is my cards are selling well, and I should push it a bit to see if more money can be made from this dream spinning I call illustration.
I am churning away on a project I need you to remind me I do not enjoy doing. That's right, theatre work. I used to just not like it, but now I know why. Good thing too. What the deal is with theatre illustrations is that they are not really illustrations but an icon developed of the show that somehow has to capture the vision of the director (which may not be formed as it is so early in the game) the vision of the season, the need to tell the whole compelling talk and talk to all the angst and play between the characters PLUS, it needs to attract an audience, an "aw yes" feeling PLUS it needs to work really small (1" square) to banner size. Point of the spear of any theatrical season. So, it has to do everyting and has to be considered and approved by a panel of people. Spells nightmare for Little Miss Impatience. Plus, if that isn't enough, the pay is substandard (what is new for illustration?). One amendment was to create a head of parts and it was suggested that this head be vomiting. What? Let's try that again? And the very thin line art that I should do detailing each and every character in the play, and then have a huge shadow of another character superimposed on all of this (can you say "has to work in 1"" square)? No, don't think so. And an ole favorite of your friend..."we loved the two ideas...could you just put them together?" I do not do Chinese menu artwork...and if I did, we would have to do a photoshoot with a photographer who will want a chunk of change to make your desire a reality. I love the person I am working for, and love her energy and ideas...but just remind me Q. does not equal Happy when it comes to those things on a stage. Please poke me with a sharp stick if I start nattering on about how maybe this time will be the fun one.... But to refer to my ever optimistic and smart husband, you are getting paid...and it is illustration--so be happy. I need better rose colored lens. Maybe he can lend me his.
Speaking of Dystopic--man, am I digging into a pile of YA Distopic books. Love em. Just am digging through a great one starting with Gregor The Overlander by Suzanne Collins (the same author as the great books and not so great movie, The Hunger Games). One cannot miss with a fun hero (Gregor) and his crazy funny little sister, Boots who has been crowned the Queen of the Cockroaches. Gregor and Boots fall through a grate in the laundry room and end in Underland. The characters are wonderful, dimensional and endearing. The adventures are fun, not too frightening. They are a treat and a great way to leave this plain for flying on the backs of large talking bats, strategic rats, chittering mice, and plodding/kind cockroaches. If you wish to hasten spring along, Gregor and Boots might be the pair to help you on your way.
The Sagamore invitation is done and looks good. Farmers Market is opening this week with an amazing lineup of events and music to complement the food and produce and artwork/crafts with more folks stepping up to volunteer to teach drumming, yoga, or play music. How lucky are we?! Asparaganza was gorgeous! with Melissa's beautiful groomed farm, happy apple trees, nice farm friends demonstrating and having great things to buy to eat! What a gift Good Life Farms brings to all of us beyond the gorgeous Russian Kale and spinach, a dairy share and of course, asparagus!
It was a mild spring day yesterday, but this morning snaps us back into winter on the first of February. All of our mounds of velvety moss had seized up into bright green patches by the side of the house. Shady romped while Mr. White wriggled on the pavement with feline delight. Today we will be running for the radiators and prime spots under the stove. Its frosty and white.
Love Leif Peng. Love Leif Peng’s “Today’s Inspiration” illustration history blog which surfaces people, time, projects, trends of illustration. Leif recently interviewed my mentor, Murray about Herb Lubalin and more broadly, on the ’70s. Take a look. Murray and Leif surface some lovely things and trends highlighting the amazing PushPin Studios along with the work of John Alcorn (wooooooweeee!!)
More pictures of percieved glamour… Here is a vintage Barbie with the half frisbee eyelash shelves, pouty lips and the tiniest pre-surgical nose in the universe. Freakolicious! Isnt she horrifying? Not surprising, even in her updates, she continues to be horrifying though her nose gets a scootch bigger, and her body a bit less atomic…its still pretty unreal. Good thing Barbie never gets old, gets pregnant or has gall bladder surgery. Middle age Barbie goes to the PTA meeting? Colonoscopy Barbie? And its also good that Barbie is independently wealthy, so Barbie working at the Grocery Store or Walmart is out of the question. If she does work, she is a Vet or owner of a candy store…but never a window clerk at the DMV…though I am sure she has some rocking denim studded number that would really make folks sit up and take notice.
Wintery mix. The weather got so nice and warm this weekend, it was doors open, with Rob chipping away all the left over ice in prep for the next go round. It is white and magical this morning, with a slow fall, falling quietly albeit not too oppresively. Alex is itching to work, and I need to figure out how to get him occupied for a significant amount of time so it isnt this little thing and that little thing. I have projects to do, and with the littleinterruptions all day, it can make things a bit unwieldy and though productive for him, not so for me.
I got some bad printing back (first time ever) from an online source who has an email customers service thing…and I am anxious as the job is def needing to be reprinted and it is their problem… I think I am going to send another email with a photo of the job attached….so that the question of fault goes out the window. It is a time sensitive thing, so I need to get them rolling and I do not want to take a hit to reprint a job that I am doing as a courtesy for a friend. Quel Drag.
The winter bunny is an exploration of the color palette for a local college who has gold and blue as their exclusives, which I have pushed to a rainbow of tints, with beige. I was monkeying around with it for a legit picture, and figured I would salvage some of the parts and make my own picture just for kicks. They also are looking for another approach which dawned on me could be a photographic collage which skirts the color issues (no guidance on photography) yet, gives me some leeway with imagery and the mooshing of all sorts of ideas. So, I did one for kicks yesterday in addition to the vector image just to see what their response would be. These images may be “grandmother tested” when the kids come back to school to see what they respond/react to, and then move accordingly. Collage is a whole world of opportunity we have not really even explored! How exciting! Equally time consuming but in a different, more humorous way.
Peace be with you and yours on this day that reminds us that each new day is a new birth, a new opportunity to grow, change, give and love each other. Have a lovely and warm Christmas with those you hold dear.
Advent is done. Christmas is here. However, if you want to review the images created for this years Advent Calendar, they are all compiled here (and a few more I didnt post)… its right here
Love to all my friends and family here and abroad on this Christmas Eve 2012. The day looks to be promising, filled with light, people gathering, and the space for all of us to assess all that we have to be thankful for—in the past, present and hope for the future. May you soak in the day—with those you love.
I know its off topic, and I know it really isnt part of the proper advent calendar, but it was created only last week, so I will post this as a bonus on a beautiful Sunday before a week of celebration and joy.
We got some snow yesterday. So, it is feeling a bit more like winter. Kitty made a ton of earrings out of the dollhouse treasures—and sold $70. worth to friends during the course of the day. Alex visited with friends and helped Rob get the tree. I wrapped presents while waiting for my computer to boot up from the numerous crashes while making tomorrow’s picture for the next to final Advent Calendar project. I love what is going on with this picture and my mind is whirring about what is next. So, this body of work drove technique inspired by content, and now the content is evolving for the next collection of images inspired by the new techniques. The Catherine Wheel of insipiration keeps proving itself to me.
A person saw my food brooches at Sundrees and contacted me to create a holiday feast without the pins to give to his wife for a holiday gift. I have a bunch of small pine tables and whomped up platters of cookies, veggies, a turkey, tea in cups with lemon, bread in a bread basket, a pie and more…so cute…I think I have another product to sell for Valentines Day? I need to get the valentine printed…and create a few to sell. Maybe this little deer would like to be part of a Kawaii valentine? Or the head of antoher stratosphere suit. Why didnt I see that yesterday? Jeez. Not much time to reflect on what is being thrown out the door.
Alright, I couldn’t resist. There were two Jack in the Boxes done for Jennifer Houghtaling….the happy and cute one posted earlier, and the Punch in the Box (as in Punch and Judy) that I had to do (if anything, to see if I could make a monster brush, which I could)… and so, I need to post that right now as a counterpoint to cute. Punch does not have his club, but as you all know, he uses his head as a battering ram on his poor scapegoat of a wife, Judy. I hope Judy gets a break over the holiday….