Swirly scribble

decorative banner1, Q. Cassetti, 2011, vectorCruising. The work is coming and I seem to be keeping more on top of it versus swamped. Moved the big rocks before Sagamore so the leaves that are landing (the light projects that pile up) and I am able to move them without the mental burden that there were significant things that needed to be done. I have the holiday card on my desktop and am working away with lines/vectors and the wonderful live paint feature which is perfection for this project. I had to get my how to book out and between the switching of my glasses and the youtube videos—I think have a handle on this.

I am enjoying this work with images and logotypes. I am working on a logotype for a local distillery—and have been revelling in the shapes, the images, the barley stems and a scandia chic typography which is a real break with the woodtype/ antique image that this already branded farm has. It was fun to let it flow…and just to tweak and tune. All of this has helped me (along with two days of sleeping and stupidity) to really look at my work and how I spend my 40 hrs (+) a week. if I could squeeze more illustration and logo design (illustration that you can charge for)—it would really balance out the work/happiness factor more. If I took the logos and promoted them like I am promoting illustration, would I get a little more action? If I called the big logo shops in NYC and suggested I act as a stringer for them….would there be a bit more action? if I participated more actively in the world of logotypes online…would there be a bit more action?

The big fat pen is poised to move today on some swirly scribble.  Lets see what happens. 

little chrysalis

Kitty and Robbie at the Haunt, July, 2011, Q. CassettiWell, the new year according to the Empire of Q. started this morning with a Shaggin’ Wagon dead battery—key in, no results. But, Alex got to school on time, empty bookbag, gym clothes, a check for lunch and his favorite greasy breakfast (at school). Mr. K from AAA came before 9. to give me a jump and I did a bit of driving over to Peach Orchard on Seneca Lake to get some peaches to peel and freeze, to make a cobbler, and to make more peach/ginger jam (freezer jam).

We got off around noon on Sunday to get to Amherst around 6. We stopped at Kitty’s new abode and ran into a bunch of her friends. So, we left her to catch up and did a little tootling around with Alex to see what was new and where we might have dinner (Mission Cantina, a new Mexican place on West Street—just steps from Hampshire). We then got Kitty and a friend and had a nice dinner watching Alex reel from the great music they were playing on the overhead combined with a double love of fresh fish tacos that he consumed happily (in hindsight, we should have ordered him two plates…he loved them soooo much). Then, off to the hotel for sleeping before a big day on Sunday of moving Kitty in, going to Target to get stuff to make her life a bit more liveable and then back home in the afternoon.

It sure felt like the brave new world. Kitty was ready to shoo us out the door when we  started getting in her space trying to help but making her crazy. I am the queen of noodlers, so I fear I made her the craziest. So, going to the store to buy olive oil, honey and peaches, fresh tomatoes and bread got me out of her space but alllowing me to show the love as the pseudo italian housewife I am. She is in an onward and upward mode versus the poor little lonely girl we left—a girl filled with fear and trepidation. We left  a far more confident young women this year with more of a grasp on what she is about, what she loves, where she is pointed. Her work this summer along with living in the house of the Lost Boys give her a boost that was happily unexpected—along with the mental and emotional sorting that coming home often initiates. After she showed us all around to the wonderful round room in the center of her Greenwich mod to the other mod with the cutest little student run library—I feel that this year our little chrysalis  may begin to notice her wings this year with new friends and acquaintances, new opportunities and studies, new learning around how to live on your own and with friends, and the raft of other things that just happen in college. I am not sulking and mooning over my little girl albeit she is on my mind as we had such a treasured time this summer. She is back with her tribe—with a desire to learn more about fashion, clothing, sewing, decorative arts and fashion.

So, it really wasnt much of a weekend….but the beginning of the new year for all. Rob is off to Miami later this week/ back Saturday—so I will be handling the XC breakfast solo. which is no biggie. I will be making little Granola/yogurt and fruit parfaits (so peeling and prepping the fruit will happen Friday night (more peach use). I am going to do a Tuesday pick up at the CSA now that school is back in session. Oh my.

Alex is back to running full time. We have so much to do with him!


More miracles

Portrait in progress, step one, Q. Cassetti, 2011, Adobe Illustrator CS5

I have two portraits to do by the end of September. I got a crack at one of them yesterday and delighted in creating the silhouette and beginning to digitally cut the highlights out of that shape. I hope the mid tones and darks will go in today. I am always, without a doubt, nervous when I square up the paper and start these thing—asking myself if I can do it this time…as I rarely have much confidence in the reference combined with shaky personal confidence. Just picking up the pen, taking a deep breath and then the focused chipping away often checking every decision takes the time. When I have a half dozen highlights in, I know this is going to work or not….and my optimism can rise. Its a nice charge to drive the work forward. Then, I give myself a little permission to go a bit rogue with some manufactured highlights and shadows. I am optimistic I can give my client a pair of portraits that will work complete with working a hand with a smoking pipe into one of them as the pipe was so iconic with this particular artist.

Have you heard about Wacom’s newest offering, the Inkling? I discovered this wonder yesterday and currently I am transfixed and cannot wait until mid September. The Inkling is essentially, a ballpoint pen that records your hand drawing and transfers that work to digital. You use their pen, and your own notebook. I am wondering how it translates your drawing to make it better than a high res scan. Its too cool…but now that I think about it…unless it saves it to vectors or layers or provides me more than a scan, I am trying to figure out whether this is more of a toy than a real work tool. Maybe if there is a chance today, I will do a little reading on this.

From EverythingUSB.com:

“Finally this fantastic pen interface technology has made it to where it belongs, Wacom Inkling Smart Pen. The Inkling Smart Pen is a 2 part device that transfers handwriting strokes to a digital format. The technology is quite clever and extremely energy efficient which is what gives it such great potential. The base unit uses 2 microphones that give it the sound version of stereoscopic ‘vision’, allowing it to hear where the pen is moving.The pen emits a completely inaudible pulse helping the base unit track location and pen pressure. The datagrams on these coordinates are tiny allowing for cheap storage of many pages. The pen is normal sized thanks to only needing to make its silent ping while the base unit listens and records. Other competitors in the space require a hot-dog sized pen to hold all the electronics. Some of those require special paper as well, where none is needed by the Inkling.

The touch of a button on the base tells the device to start using storing the pen strokes in a different ‘page’ and it can store dozens if not hundreds of pages. An internal battery in the base is recharged by USB and the pen only needs inexpensive watch batteries. This technology has been hopping from company to company for some time now, A-open and IOGear to name a few. Both have products based on this technology but no one does pens like Wacom. We’re looking forward to see how much they’ve improved upon it while unfortunately upping the prior incarnation’s MSRP. Wacoms plan to release the Inkling Smart Pen at $199 later this year. Being able to import directly into Illustrator is probably worth double that for any serious artists.”

OH MY. v e c t o r

I wonder if one will be enough!

It was study hall yesterday at the office. It just dawned on Alex that maybe, just maybe he needed to get to work on the paper he has due next week for his environmental science class. This has a lot of research and processing of information which my son thought he could dash off….NOT. So, I made him sit with me all day to work on this paper. Unfortunately, he is busy counting words versus focusing on truly delivering on the paper’s content and requirements. I think I am going to throw the role of the heavy to Rob as I am making him sit and focus. I hope there is more we will learn about Alex from the testing we will be starting in a week or so. He just focuses on the oddest things and doesn’t really understand where he should be tracking. If I can talk him through, sometimes it hits. Sometimes he is there with me. More study hall today.

I have a meeting in a few and need to get the already foley-ed tomato sauce on the stove to simmer for a few hours to get the water out. I am a sauce making machine. I feel like there may be a few more pots out there. Loving it.


Rapture! The End is Near, Q. Cassetti, May 18, 2011, pen and inkOnly three more days until the Rapture. What to do? Cook? Plan? Cancel our utilities? How to prepare? Make all the beds and iron our all white outfits (or for some of us, like me—get the pitchfork out?). So, instead, I am doing some little greeting cards to honor the Rapture (yesterday and today). More to come. Great to have a fun little topic. Devils! The gaping maw of Hell (inspired by our pals the Lubki artists!).

Work has been insistent. A drumbeat of little niggling details that I am fearful of dropping or forgetting…so the list keeps getting longer and more abstract. It cant be me getting older…it is a slippery slope of disconnected ideas…and everyone moving a bit too fast. At least the exhibit gets put out…as does the big book. Oy.

Am looking at all the interlinking aspects of social media. Why? Dunno…but I was thinking about Tumblr (which I flow my blog and tweets to) and trying to understand how it works. I checked with my consultant, the college student and she reassured me that as I had coverage with a blog and twitter, I didn’t need to worry about Tumblr as it is a way to blog in a mini way (microblog). However, the magic of a RSS feed always stuns me. Behance, as I mentioned the other day, can be flowed to Facebook (the easy one is the LinkedIn> Behance relationship—total sweeness while not needing to.to monkey with Feedburner to make that happen). I am interested in becoming part of Dribbble, a site that one submits a small screenshot of what you are working on to share with the community of like souls. I’ve seen some of my more favorite Dribbble players post to FBook from that site. Another thread to understand. What else can I trigger with a RSS feed url or a twitter post. The whole mechanism is fascinating and an intuitive thing  that I wish I could better grasp.

Gotta go. Files to release.


Inspired by a Massachusetts Headstone, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and inkOnward! It was a quiet day yesterday with projects and nonpaying jobs. I worked on the Hangar work and Rob worked on the bathroom imaginings. Kitty slept and relaxed. Alex visited with friends. I got a little bit ahead, but now, back to the drawing board with late late thinking and amendments.

The snow is melting…as we continue to get icy flurries that dust the mud piles. We are looking at the season of mud in front of us…We all just hope that we can move forward with the brighter and longer days. We have had enough of the miasma of mud and ice.

Thanks to the intellectual salad bar that the iPad provides at quiet time, trolling or shopping for cool ideas surface things that are out there that are wonderful, interesting, useful and thought provoking. Here are some new cool discoveries:

In the tradition of Rip Van Winkle, I always find myself shaking my head and feeling like somehow I missed it again…and this emerging approach to type for the web and mobile devices (the WOFF Standard). The blog, “all Blogging Stuff” highlights some of these changes and resources for Web Typography in their entry (03/12/2011) “8 Essential Web Typography Resources.”

I also found this wonderful website: The Grid System, a resource and forum for grid systems. I love grids and the way it formats and puts bones into any publication or design program. And with a  Josef Muller-Brockman quote to open this site (I mean, he is the MAN)—how could any girl resist?

“The grid system is an aid, not a guarantee. It permits a number of possible uses and each designer can look for a solution appropriate to his personal style. But one must learn how to use the grid; it is an art that requires practice. ”   Josef Müller-Brockmann

83 Awesome Links for Cartography Geeks>>

Teehan+Lax speaks about “Designing faster with a baseline grid” by Pierre Marly and even provide a grid to download (a 960px grid system designed by Nathan Smith) as tryout.

Love the writing and simplicity of Graphic Mac/ Smart Typography Tips A terrific starting place. I wish I  had written this.

And, totally off topic, but part of the salad bar concept (this is the pudding next to the vinigrette), The Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilizations from DARMC/ Harvard.

And now, to move onward to cook dinner.

Luscious Linoleum

flippity flop 3, in grisaille, Q. Cassetti, 2011

So working on the technique of these things. The bolder the lines, I find it getting harder to make them interesting in color, but the grisaille works (at least for me). I could color this. These images are different than the memento mori images, using techniques from the Home Sweet Home body of work last year around this time. As always, color stumps me, so doing it is pushing the old girl along to see if the images evolve and snap more with the color than just plain black and white which is my “go to” and safe place. The original line drawing (bottom) is where I started, took it to color (I’ll post, but am not thrilled with it), back to reworking in greys (top). The image is drawn in my moleskine (A4), with sharpie pens, and new copic brush pen (nice).  Original sketch done in verithin photoblue pencil. Verysharp please. Then, I scan it in, retouch the half and then flop. Then I make another one, (negative) on another field…and cut and paste between the two. Pretty crafty…all we need is the virtual gluestick.

I am pondering….”Is it better to get an undergraduate degree in art/visual art from a liberal arts school if you know you want art? or is it better to go to a for real Art School?”. I have landed on the side of get the liberal arts education and draw like no one’s business. Learn to write. Learn some skills directly related to art, but also develop interests that are the sources for content, for inspiration, for further learning. Learn to learn. Get the spark. Focus happens for us all…why cramp your style by focusing down so quickly? Why get stuck in a groove too quickly. You might create a hybrid that can change you and or the world. You could find content in DNA and it can inform your art, your films, your stories.  You never know. Mark Zuckerberg did not go to school to create Facebook. He learned to learn….and with the climate today with what a job, what work is— who knows if you can learn how to be something when the terraine is shifting in such wonderful and interesting ways. What with Etsy and the money one can make at short pops during the year…making a living is not limited to a nine to five at a Fortune 100 with your “work/life/balance” defined, and your personality questioned insofar as wheither you are good or bad. There is so much out there in this wide world, focusing down is safe insofar as the “job”, but isnt your time on this plain so, so much more?

I need to get on the ball and look at summer programs for the babies. It would be great to find something for Mr. Boy that might be related to photography or something else. Kitty, art. Maybe Illustration Academy (did you know its not in Florida anymore?). Here is what they say:

“The Illustration Academy’s 2011 summer program will be held in one location, Kansas City, MO. The Illustration Academy is now operating as a Special Program within The Art Department’s (TAD) Illustration Major. The 2011 Illustration Academy will be held in the TAD studios (Pods) that have been developed to accommodate the immersion component of TAD.

The Illustration Academy will begin June 12th and run through July 8th. The same stellar professionals will make up The Illustration Academy Faculty. It is a major advantage to have the Academy in our own space once again. We are presently speaking with a major convention hotel about housing for the Academy students and instructors. “

I have sauce bubbling away while two testosterone filled juniors bellow and moan over this shoot em up game they are playing on the t.v. There was drum music for about an hour and now we have breaktime with chocolate milk and gunplay. Alex had the school play practice today. Skiing (in the rain?) tomorrow.

Rob and I came back from trolling the big box stores for bathroom light fixtures and sinks. We were amazed by the sheet flooring that is out today that mimic the real thing wonderfully amazingly. I have a hankering for a deep brown parquet…which is really, really convincing though the cork was pretty spectacular too. We are finishing up Kitty’s bathroom and the yellow bathroom (one of the original 3) is having all the acid yellow tile ripped off the walls (this is an amazing acid yellow as nothing “went with it”—-we tested colors galore to a big bad yuck) and the dropped ceiling trashed. It is quite spectacular. All the fixures stay (except the cheap vanity) and we are looking at linoleum as we really do not want to have to shim all the plumbing  to raise it for tile (as well as the thresholds and the contact with the tub). So, its a refit…and this luscious, believable, chocolate parquet would make it a stage set for glamour. We are thinking of moving one of the chandeliers (the house came with three yucky ones) into the space as we have the headroom…and it would be great. Only problem as I can see it, is that one chandelier is just not enough. Three? Five? At different heights? Now we are talking.

Mardi Gras illustrations fill my thin skull. I think I need to move towards doing a few.


Advent Calendar Day 20: You never know

Holiday Cookie, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, from the Second Advent Calendar ProjecdFunny how things happen. I posted a collection of these “pretty and creepy” drawings to Behance, the social networking site for artists/illustrators/photographers/ graphic designers just to see what the reaction would be. Turns out, I was notified that this little set was featured today (meaning, it is culled out of the mix and highlighted which has happened twice before for me). What happens is a lot of traffic is generated, nice comments (particularly in the Russian artists noticing that some of these illos feature the Russian Nesting Doll idea) and thats that. More traffic and more response than I ever got for my $700 on the iSpot. And candidly, more actionable response (two jobs already). Interestingly, I got an email this a.m. from an art director in Dubai interested in my quoting on a job from them (from the Behance exposure)….So, hip hip hurray! and if you are an illustrator and not on Behance, I highly recommend it. It’s free and you never know who or what will strike people’s fancy.

I guess this line stuff has some legs too. Didnt think it would…as it isn’t as bold/strong as the other line work with the tiger teeth….but it seems to strike a chord with some. We will see what happens.

Got the holiday cards in the mail this a.m. I have a meeting with the Hangar Team this a.m. and then back to see what we can do about this car and the financing.

Kitty is free, so I plan on her doing a little office work for me (to make some mooohla). Mandy, David B and John, Rob are all here. So I need to add some water to the soup pot and see what kind of left overs I can dump in the crock pot for lunch for the team.

Rob is off to have his foot xrayed. I hope that they can make him feel a bit better. He is hobbling around and it doesnt look very comfortable.  More later.

Midweek fun

Lubok Cat from Sketchbook 2 2010, Q. Cassetti, sharpies.Making a slide show and decided during the image search to just start “riffing” like an illustrator and put things together that go together that communicate speed, internet, movement, connection, biology, micro biology, data, words….and its beginning to flow a bit better. The minute I stopped focusing on this and actually thinking versus feeling, this show starting moving and happening. Its just hard to let your brain go limp and go with the gut…but when it does, Wow. Am up to 80 slides and counting. I am at least feeling like I am not swimming in cement. So I have a flow, color, images, shapes. The next question is sound…Alex recommended LCD Soundsystem’s Beat Connection. I have a few alternatives (including the old Art of Noise Daft Album).

Nice meeting with the cuties in Yearbook. I am always surprised to see who is going to do something interesting, say something engaging or have an original idea. Our foreign exchange student from the Czech Republic is a sleeper as his mom is a  book designer and he already knows how to thumbnail a publication. Imagine!

Tomorrow, the boys have off. Rob may look for another dishwasher (ours cleans but everything is chalky and cakey when done…leaving the plates etc all kind of gross). Alex needs to do some planning around SATs and his tutorials. There is Christmas for me to finalize. And beds to make…and all that domestic stuff that is piling up. I feel so inadequate. So a little time this weekend to tape and tuck, box and bag, list and respond would be great. I am missing help on the house side of things along with my backstop here in the office. I need to do something as I am getting into a tailspin on all that is falling behind….

I need to get half of Thanksgiving in the freezer soon. This weekend, I think I will do some baking and buying. I am not going to be super proud but will rely on some frozen veggies and pre-prepping in advance…so Thursday doesn’t become horrific.

Tomorrow is the last day of the Pourhouse here in Tburg. As you know, we are great supporters and are so sad that this valuable institution will close but management needs to get her life at home in order (and as a mom, it’s really a non-returnable serve). The Pourhouse has provided us numerous wonderful evenings as the town center to meet friends, make new friends and connections, hear some wonderful music and be able to walk to and from home. How great is that? We will see the Pourhouse Team after the physical place has gone, but the conviviality of the moment will be gone…a sparkling moment in time and an inspiration to us all. A gift of community, a place for us to share, connect and meet up. The generosity of the owner and all that she has given us cannot be fully appreciated…the gift of time, people and a place where magic happens.

Dark already!

From the Sketchbook 11/2010, Q. Cassetti, prismcolor and sharpieSent a bunch of ideas to Edible Finger Lakes for their Winter Issue. I sent them a bee, a home sweet home and a valentine for them to pick from. If there isnt anything that will float their boat, there there is more to pick from.

I spent an hour or so with Joe Sepi at Pioneer Printing in Lodi. Heaven. Joe knows what I like and was pulling out all these wonderful european papers (Gmund and James Cropper) as well as funky bone industrial paper that they do hangtags for the local parks…but could make an amazing postcard etc. He walked me through the foil stamp and finish book pointing out woodgrain, sparkly snowball patterns, holographic, metallics and flats. He showed me this great foil that acts on a rub off card…which makes another opportunity to offer my clients. I asked about press kit folders— and Joe wandered over to his shelf of magic samples handing me Hmmmmm one more interesting shape after the next. Over- stimulation without caffeine or sugar. He didn’t blink or flinch when I brought up my valentine up…and perhaps chipboard and matte silver foil… didn’t make him shake or guffaw. And the papers from woodgrains, to a silky suede, to almost a japanese-y thin, laid finish feeling almost antique…were lovely. There were uncoated papers with matte and gloss stripes (!) in rich chocolate browns or heavenly pebbled tarnished silver finishes. Joe suggested I share a sheet with him if I design his business card to highlight his company…! What opportunities. Cornell Cards await. My holiday envelopes and my valentine with the tattoo (I need to design). I was reeling until the phone rang.

My client has us creating an eyewash coffee break slide show for a presentation next week before a session on Communication. The trick is finding the right music. I had Erich looking for it and Alex too. I went to iTunes and gathered up a ton of techno, remixes and digital stuff. Its a taste decision…ouch…I generally miss…not tasteless but cannot often climb into my client’s head exactly. So, we will see. I am moving as fast as I can to find images that speak to information, communication, passage, connection and the devices along with “digital” style images. I shouldnt lose sleep over this one…it is only for a coffee break…and a 2 minute loop…but its not my strong suit.

Current status of my sketchbook is up (from 10/28 to date)>> And did a bunch of new links on the Hartford MFA Illustration Squint Blog (some of my stuff in Behance spurred by a classmate’s pleasure in being selected) here> and here>. I posted the same stuff to the Hartford MFA Facebook Page too. I got some new folks logged into the Squint site so that they can add their respective class stuff versus all of it on my shoulders. I am doing 2009, 2008 and 2007 news…with help from the classes ahead. I hope this works out. I posted some of my sketchbook work to the Moleskine, “my Moleskine”  site>>. Nice thing about the Moleskine page is it makes it easy to twitter these illustrations along with posting to the bookmarks networking site, delicio.us page.

I am lubok crazed again. Guess I will need to draw it out of my system. Magical Cats, Flying Cats, cranky cats.

Gotta go. Dinner awaits.


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.

Closing a chapter

New Parking Lot at the Hangar, Q. Cassetti, 2010Got a buncha stuff done yesterday. Got the Corporate Responsibility Report in toe…really putting some time into thinking out the details/inconsistencies and images. So, now we need to look at line endings, hypenation, and making things line up perfectly. I am pleased that I put the time in. Kitty got a paper done…and she and I looked at the courses offered at Hampshire and got her revved up about the future. She now can think about the next chapter with the current chapter winding up. And how exciting that future seems. I will need to call Hampshire about requirements before she launches into a selection of classes. Tomorrow she needs to pick her topic for orientation. That group during orientation becomes her tutorial group for the year. So, I am going to prod her to be first on. Important not to be lax on this one.

Today is the last day of High School prior to the exams and then graduation next week. Its funny, I wasn’t thinking of anything but the future until this morning, when it dawned on me that a new chapter is beginning. It will only be Alex and me next year. It has been a lot of wake ups and lunch bags. A lot of late rushes and cups of tea teetering on books. Its been a lot of late nights and hard to get up mornings. Its been a veritable wealth of fashion shows….with every morning being a surprise (most often good). Its been growing up for Kitty and Alex and me….(particularly me). And with this, a bit of wistfulness has set in. Not sadness. I have no big regrets. We have had a great time growing up together. I hope they will be as fond of the time as I have been. I guess the day in the way back machine on Friday was appropriate. And somehow with this definite “end” which is so rare in real life…it give us all a chance to reflect and perhaps tonight, celebrate.

Rob’s sister, Gloria is in from California this week through graduation. So, the dynamic here will switch up a bit. Bruce will be back soon for the summer. Nigel is here helping out with weed wackery and Mandy is taking the reigns up at the Luckystone. So, the people are changing out too. All good.

Need to wrap it up as there are meetings and projects awaiting.


Queen ensconced, Q. Cassetti, 2010, pen and inkRobbing the Bees by Holley Bailey introduces the concept of Bees as munitions which is very exciting and thought provoking.  Apparently, in the times of Charlemagne and forward--the soldiers had small vessels (clay, straw etc) filled with colonies of bees. These babies were launched and you can imagine the results. Skeps were catapulted ...swarms of pissed off, stinging insects projected at one's enemy. Simple, and yet so perfect. She does go on to talk about bees (the nice and friendly Italian ones) as only stinging unless provoked (being catapulted might do just that) and that being stung to death or even dying of a bee sting (even with those who need an epipen) is an insignificant number even lower than being struck by lightening. However, with the progression of the Africanized bees, "the killer bee"  (an invasive and very surly breed), they will sting unprovoked as well as swarms will move in to kill.

Bailey also suggests that the bee is very circumspect about the people they live near. It is said that a man who is cheating on his wife, needs to sneak around the beehive as the bees do not cotton well to adultery, uncleanliness or otherwise unseemly behavior. Poor Tiger Woods on the golf course...imagine the bees. And what about Jesse James' antics. No wonder the bees are fleeing...swarming and sensitive.

The turkey vultures are sweeping our sky. They are back in force. The peepers are loud and reminding us that they are there. Shady confronted a rather odd and scary milk snake (dun colored on one side and then when they rise up, they shake their tails, and bend their head in a true serpentine line...with the color expressed as white with dark spot--totally different to the quiet camouflage that they hide in the leaves with). We are looking for spots to dig a pond...to take care of the deep wetness in our back forty...which is fun to anticipate. And of course, there is lots of talk of garden follies. If I were the Queen of the World, I would have some delightful Paul Manship sculptures sprinkled about. Most particularly, Paul Manship's Bears (Adore).

Making some good progress with work. Designing and amending like crazy. Seem to be hitting a bunch of base hits, but if I just keep hitting consistently, I will get there. Baked some more bagels and some granola last night on the brand new stove. How elegant to have such a miraculous power tool. What a lucky girl I am.

Robins Egg Blue Sky and Book

Another bluesky day. Colder. But beautiful and happy making.

I whimsically opened the robins egg blue covered Martha Stewart cookbook and mixed up the French Bread recipe. Simple. And so, I have little mounds of dough nestled around the radiators during their third rising soon to be baked off. We had no bread---so I figured I would make it versus going to the story to buy the fabulous Herkimer.... My bread doesn't even hold a candle to Herkimer, but its paid for and the challenge of making something you don't want to throw away is still on.

What else? Kitty and Alex are both in the play. Alex is in the chorus and Kitty is in a small ensemble that she is very pleased to be included in. This is an activity Alex is openly stating his pleasure in starting this new path--with Kitty chiming in on how much she loves being in the play or associated with it.

I got the Behance connection and am talking to the contact about the job. Seems like it could be a good fit--and I checked the very small quantity of reference which most of it is covered by the Creative Commons license. Left foot, right foot.... There is plenty to do and to catch up with. But, this is illustration money on the table...and really as a logotype which my vector work is very workable.

The big book for my client continues. Worked with Rob to thumbnail/concept a publication we will need to gun out for a special client. It may be a handmade piece for this initial deal--rolling into something that can be printed, or print on demand (via OFoto, or Kodak--the multipaneled accordian piece they offer). Was a good conversation that got the ideas out and through chewing on them...simplifying them and really being able to articulate the content was refreshing.

As you can see, I am still working on the silhouette pictures. Again, I don't know where this is going...but enjoying the pictures.

More later> Cannot wait to get the details on the IPad.

Blue Skies + Ermine Clouds

Blue sky. Finally! All the snow has gone with the streams swelling and waterfalls storming. There are lower temperatures so at least the bulbs haven't gotten the message to start pushing up.  And, there is talk, I underline talk, of snow later this week. We'll see.

We are waiting to see if any of the home team get places in the school Spring musical. Either way, they both feel that they will be in the chorus, which makes us very pleased. It will be good for Alex to see the team sport ethos in the drama production as this is the environment he loves to be part of. Plus, I think both of the two members of the hometeam have talents and skiills in this arena that they are just beginning to discover.

One instance of that is that Kitty got an A on her final speech in Speech Class on one of her favorite topics, Birds of Paradise. I am sure she rocked...but I am sure she didnt give them the real treat she will give us, the Bird of Paradise mating dance dance she does. Its wonderful. I am so thrilled that she welcomes public speaking and can really go for it...talk about a wonderful skill to have in life. I wish I could say I was envious of her....I am not, though. I am very proud. Perhaps a small maternal bird of paradise dance?

On the live from the internet world front, I got an email from an individual looking do do some illustration work. Behance is the place that has driven this conversation. The other conversation was the poster I did for the Star of Behnel Green for Adam at Bunch in London.  So, the time spent to post images to Behance is worth the time. It's more than all of us looking at each other's work--there are folks out there shopping too. I'll let you know what happens as we go.

I am finalizing this quicky redesign of a booklet for my big client. The internal client used an agency and had been working on this piece since September and it surfaced in the review process. It got a lot of attention and input--and I had Friday-today to finalize for a presentation later this week. It has gone from a "make the existing work" to an entire overhaul, new images from my stock vendor and new copy. I have a cover to redesign as well as the inside front cover. This sort of pedal to the metal approach is a bit wild, but 3 days versus 4 months has raised the image/expectation of the piece. Hopefully, there will be some teaching/learning in this process.  The work from one of this client's international business is getting better and better so I am so happy to redesign/rework their layouts as I have to do less and less every time. I am delighted with this incremental change every time.

Gotta go.

Black and White

I have been looking at antique silhouettes and Pennsylvania scherenschnitte. I am surprised and happy as they have a relationship to some of the inked flopped illustrations and patterns I have spinning out..and feel that the narrative aspects of this artwork (example above) I can learn from. I am delighted by the rambling lines, the erratic trees and buildings with tons of detail but still staying as bold and graphic that they are. I am thinking of trying to draw some of these (maybe using the example as a place to start). I discovered a few illustrators that seem to be working in this same vein. One, Rob Ryan, who Daniel Schwartz from the illustration program at the University of Hartford pointed me to. I love his whimsey and fun along with incorporating a whackdoodle font/type into his image. Drawn, the illustration and cartooning blog tips their hat to Mr Ryan>> Here's another great one from the blog, "I heart art heart illustration" Ryan has a shop in London of his work>>. The Creativity Blog has a great article (with a picture of Rob Ryan) here>>. I am inspired by him, his work, his vision and his entrepeneurism. Big old kick in the booty for me.

Thrilled. The Hangar likes the posters. One down. Three more volunteer jobs to go. Am making progress on the other images too....it just takes time. Am enjoying the stuff on the desk. The folks at Zazzle's ArtProjekt are developing a new product that I am thrilled about. They contacted a bunch of designers and illustrators to help customize this thing...which was very fun for me (albeit its quick) and I am pumped about. This is going to be a real star. As soon as I can tell you about it, I will as its something we all will want!

More later>>

See the progression on the Hangar Posters>>--

Work in progress. I think I may assign new colors to them as a way to show variation. I like what is happening with the 39 Steps sketches. And, I like what is happening with the Squarespace gallery function. Its great that you can have an overview of the illustrations and then get the close up with the slideshow feature. Nice...and so easy you don't even need to think about it. Next group of images will be for the farm. Am psyched about it--and feel good that I can knock down this work. I may be helping a friend with another logotype (illustration) of a cat and am looking forward to it.

I finally got the Network Blogs app in Facebook to pull my blog through. I had it figured out with the former location, but somehow missed the details on this one. Let's see if this will work this time. Yesterday's nutcracker assembly illustration surprisingly feels very Alexander Girard. Rob was so cute and said all I needed was some gnarly slab serif Egyptian font to really get it in the zone...and he (as usual) is always right. Will keep going here. Like what's happening. I have a couple of pictures on the top of my pile I plan on finishing today...and then, of course, you will see them. I am also getting ready to get back into the Genesis work. Fired up...

Another thing to get excited about is The New Yorker Contest, The 2010 Eustace Tilley Contest. . Here are some examples of last year's winners. The prize is that you are posted on The New Yorker website...and get your work judged and curated by Françoise Mouly, art director of this esteemed publication. All art must be uploaded by January 18th/midnight. I think I might try my hand at this one. Could be fun and I have the weekend on the horizon. Wouldnt that be fun to get into that little show? I think so. I hope so.

I entered this interesting Canadian show--The Applied Arts 2010 Photography and Illustration Awards, which has a very broad series of categories for illustration beyond the few that the US shows offer. It was the easiest online entry ever (only took a half an hour). And now we wait and see. Print Regional's Show is due at the end of the month--so that is on the horizon too.

Just got back from having a dreamy time at the Shure Save. Bought some real live bread flour from King Arthur in anticipation of the weekend and warm woodstoves this evening. Pizza, I think. Also bought some gluten to help the heavy stuff (Farmers Ground Flour from Greenstar). No more brick bread unless I am planning on building an environmentally friendly house that doubles as birdfood. There's a thought.


Okay. So we have Rob, who is going to the SOFA show in Chicago today, tomorrow and back Saturday. Company plane going to Chicago/commercial back. Takes the pain down to a low level. He should have fun. SOFA is at the Navy Pier in Chicago and defines itself as the annual international Sculpture Objects and Functional Art Expositions (in NYC and Chicago). Its fun and I am sure totally inspiring. Rob always comes back charged up.

We have Alex running all day at big regional meet at the Chenago County Golf Course. He has food to take, drinks to drink and clean running gear (always a last minute event). He is back in time to go to the last rehearsal prior to our Friday and Saturday performances. So, a busy day with lots of friends and teammates to his delight. Alex loves his people.

Kitty is motivated beyond what we have ever seen these days. She has dropped math (not loving calculus and not a must to graduate) and has gotten herself enrolled in a year study of astronomy and another class, production design which includes time in the woodshop. I couldnt be happier with her taking charge and doing this with great confidence and pleasure. She is also ready for the play and says that she and her fellow actor in the one act " DMV" have people in stitches. She plays the touchy DMV functionary--with lots of funny lines. She too, loves her people and looks forward to her debut tomorrow.

I keep getting thrown off course with trying to wrap things up. Little firebombs of "I need it in an hour " "I need an entire presentation by tomorrow" is getting in the way of completing a 60 pp book and wrapping up a 16 pp calendar that also have deadlines. We are pedal to the metal here...literally from 8 til 7 and the weekend beckons for work too. It puts me in a dilemma as being employed and working/ getting paid and adding value to my customers is important. I understand I need to bend and go with the flow, but when is enough too much? When is it appropriate to squeak? Or can I as I am perceived as a virtual member of the team, something that is, an enviable position (or at least to my thinking))? I also did some dumb stuff by taking on some gratis pieces that I want to commit more time to...and the time is just not there. Dumb me, dummy!

I am sure I will get through this moment, its just I have got to think about what it is I am doing, keep tight lists, and not stray.

field work

Relatively quiet day yesterday with a bit of small fireworks at five from the client. Nothing impossible, just hard as I always feel like the branding junkyard dog telling the client who owns this mark and identity that they cannot do certain things. Definitely feel like the odd man out regularly...and then, taking a breath and saying okay...though I have expressed "the line" on brand, their brand, their guidelines..which gets me through that. Generally, there is a ton of work arounds and clean ups around these unconsidered rule breaking. But hey. Thats what i get paid for.

Maddie (my short term intern), Kitty and I went blueberry picking around 6 last evening. It was a glorious evening with breezes and clear skies. We went to Loses Blueberry Patch (signed with some great handlettered arrows), driving down a dirt lane by a pair of goats sitting on top of their goat house, and a golden grain field surrounding us until we got to the blueberry patch. The bushes were glorious and filled with ripe berries (and all levels of berries getting to ripe from pea green to olive green, from pale pink to a brilliant fuscia, to all shades of blue to a shiny purple plum color). It was perfect. We got some small buckets and communed with the laden bushes (rare for me as I always time it that we go at the end of the season and have to glean the dregs). You could just run your hand through the branches with the bucket poised underneath and the berries dropped happily. After a half an hour, we had between the three of us, picked 17 pounds of berreis ($1.65 a pound). So, we are happily eating, freezing and dreaming blueberries. Kitty was musing over children's books and how she would use a blueberry and its transition from a hard green sphere to a ripe shiny berry as a way to express Beauty in Beauty in the Beast. I thought that was an interesting insight. Maddie and Kitty and I talked about food, food in countries they have visited and our plans for our cache.

Maddie is busily registering/copywriting my illustration. It appears to be easier than it seems as images we have used for the website work (note to self, keep a folder on the desktop of images going on the blog or web for future posting). We have also mounted pdf files of images (Memento Mori, my thesis) as a way of capturing images in their entirety. Something to think about.

My classmates from Hartford are settling back into their lives and are talking on Facebook about their work and plans. We graduates are laying back a bit...trying to shift into the new chapter. To be honest, I am having a bit of a traction problem as i cannot really get it going right now. I want to draw and do stuff, but I am a bit stuck in the mud. But, as the program has pointed up, this stall is part of the process. Time and marination is in place.

I just was called about a winelabel for three very sweet (read very popular wines) that are marketed under the Banana Belt name. The Banana Belt is a swathe of Seneca Lake that has a very distinct climate zone "tropical" thanks to the geography of how the land interfaces with the lake. As you know, lakes are a real moderating force whenit comes to weather and climate...with the steady temperature controlled by the the very deep waters and it's temperature of the lake. Takes a lot to make it hot, takes a lot to cool it down. This is a lake that never freezes given the depth. So, back to Banana Belt. Its a pretty cute label as we speak...but Banana Belt reads first without a clear nod to red/white/pink WINE. Love the monkey that is on it...and maybe as the future client suggested, we look at fruit crate art (and my words, put a monkey with a wineglass--not a chimp like Travis from Connecticut, the lawnmower driving, chardonnay drinking, pill popping, hot tubbing monkey)--with a bit of a lakeview in the background? I have been noodling this and we will see. Could be a fun one.

Today I work on a logotype for the Museum of Glass--and do some mom stuff (kid's doctor appointment). Maybe a swim in the divine lake this evening. We did that before dinner last night to all of our pleasure. This is really summer.