Hairhopper, Q. Cassetti, 2012, pen and inkA little snow this morning to remind us that it is winter. I am just back from showing another new producer a logotype exploration. They were happy and actually picked one! YAY! And, they picked one of the good ones! So, all is on the up and up there. Next step, designing some labels, working with them on packaging, website, etc. etc. It should be great. Working with these thoughtful, creative people has been beyond fun.

Lots of excitement around the up and coming Farmers Market Vendor Meeting on Wednesday, Feb, 29, 2012—from 6-8 p.m. with a dish to pass supper, rules, guidelines, applications and the like. Timing is around the seed starting time of the season…so it feels right too. Time to nail down the music, the programming, and the extras (stuff for kids, maybe a Holiday Market etc) so as to have an implementable plan by April. Also, we need a rack card to do a bit more promotion in and about the area.

Rob is busy on work stuff. Alex is hanging out with friends. I am talking to you and then plan on doing a bit of quiet reading and thinking. I am surprisingly tired…and would like a bit of tranquility.


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.

Theatre tonight

Hairhopper, Q. Cassetti, 2012, pen and inkIt feels like a teensy fever with a bad head cold. Not enjoying this in the least bit. I am wheezing and fluid. Yuck to the tenth degree. But nothing, not even the extreme desire to sleep will keep me from the freak show on television tonight, better than the Kardashians, better than any estrogen fueled bridal screamfest, better than towers of candycolored cupcakes or the lathered up spewing of the Fox News nuts—-will be  Newt Fest tonight on NBC. The cast of characters today, will be all hyped up and ready to get Newt and get Willard the Mitt—from their infidelities to their extreme wealth just promises to be a true 3 or four ring circus.

I am planning lots of hot tea for my throat, sharp non-photo blue pencils at my elbow and the needle point Optiflow (from Staples) to keep me amused. Alex will be doing the theatre thing…so I am solo for this activity…so drawing and pet cuddling will be in order for this political theater. I hope they play the music with the patriotic bells (only for the election related stuff and the Olympics do we get this treat).

Here is the Hairhopper body of work for now>> I am always kind of stunned when the incoming graduate students worry about their thesis so much as a body of work (only 6 images max) proves to be such a hurtle. I have been working on this grouping since January 8— and have another few weeks on it…before I either go to another thing, or start massaging these drawings by adding color/tone to see where they could go. Of the current group, there is at least 8 that could be culled out for a body of work that could be a thesis….Maybe I should be doing more writing around these bodies of work so as to truly process the thinking and where my head is as I do this. Right now, I am doing this as I am loving the line…and interestingly, hair is a universal too…so there are plenty of heads, hair, and fanasy around that which keeps it amusing.

I had a wonderful, energizing meeting with another pair of young farmers— learning quite a bit from them about local resources, their philosophy and raison d’etre and talk about what sets them apart. More on them soon. Lets just say, I am charged up.

Station break

hairhopper, Q. Cassetti, 2012, pen and inkCold and hard as diamonds this morning as we got Alex off to the ski bus before 8. He was dead tired as he had the Snowball at school last night until midnight, and as is his tradition, he stays up until 3 a.m. His loss. His fatigue. The snow is fresh, so get out there and hit the slopes. The patterns on our old windows were quite spectacular and in one instance it was if jack frost was working with lines as well, giving us drawings that were Mucha-esque in their expression.

Elly came over with her hawk yesterday to hunt on our property. Tucker, her hawk was a bit thinner than usual and I guess that was the trick. Elly and Alex went out into the back 40 and let Tucker fly. They saw a few squirrels who were scrambling about, so they beat the trees to get the squirrels going—and get Tucker to get the idea. And he did! This is the biggest trophy he has landed to Alex and Elly’s grinning delight. He had a terrific feast and all was well with the world (except for all of Ellly’s apologizing for Tucker making a mess?).  Not your usual teen sport.

I am fighting off some sort of stuff, so I have been feeling tired and spent the day quietly with a few friends dropping by to chat and my pen filling the page with more hair. I am so in love with these lines that it is pretty addictive just letting your arm move over the page and see what evolves once the big shapes are roughed in in blue pencil. Speaking of blue pencil, I was trolling my most fabulous, most favorite site for all things in the graphic media department, JetPens to discover I am not the only fiend for non-photo blue pencils. They have a whole gosh darn section devoted to them>>from mechanical pencil leads (!) to gel pens. I also delighted in their white pens some of which were being postitioned to be as good or better than white out pens (my favorite being the Pentel Presto). I was also intrigued by the variety of black inks available thanks to the Manga artists out there. Deleter Inks have six different black inks (matte/waterproof, drawing and painting, waterproof and extra dark, fast drying, eraser safe, and glossy). And again thanks to Manga—pen nibs and holders are no longer the rarity that they were until recently. Phew! And if you want to really go deep, their “asian office supplies” are for the stout of heart…and can make some people run screaming into the night (my husband, for one). But, if you are patient, here are some shining examples of the jewels>> here>> and here>> and oops here>>. You get the idea. And I have saved some of the best for you to discover. Relish the idea that yes, this stuff is sold, that someone may actually buy this stuff to USE and that it all might end up in the garbage…. But, if you love brush pens (as I soooo do), this is the supermarket for brush pens that you can shop until you drop—and use until the brush falters, splays or dies due to over use. JetPens, the best.

Today Rob and I are going to Famous Brands in Watkins Glen to get Rob a pair of stylish, and yet so functional, steel toed shoes (necessary for the site visits that he will make on his new project). I hope to use our new grill (recently hooked up!!). And maybe more lounging…and political mastication TV. I am loving this Republican fun—with all the pundits and faux pas. The roster of candidates is so perfect, I am puzzling over who did the casting? We have Captain OOps! and the odd Mr. Paul (always surrounded by his family—a visual display on how crazy the looks got with the DNA), Rick Santimonious (as someone from the Keystone State, this man is too righteous and sanctimonious…but def. is a character study). Poor Mitt is a ticking timebomb ready to go off. Too much stuff to be “disclosed”— and if anyone really gets a whiff at the Mormon stuff (Terrestial/ Celestial kingdoms, celestial babies, baptizing the dead through surrogates, the temple garments)—the “American” people will  go apeshit.

And now we have Newt center stage with Callista (with the most bionic hair in the universe—and her mean, thin, wrong red mouth)—the ‘bullyboy” getting ready to take on our gentleman in the White House. Such bluster, such presence…almost victorian/ Boss Tweed style antics (or so I could imagine). Newt and the missus are so Thomas Nast-ian characters, the illlustrations are going to be SWEET.  

Steve Broder is on it>> “Suicidal Person of the Day”>> Zina Saunders is dead on too, (see her recent image of Newt on Cartoon Movement>>) 

The only thing that might make it better is to have either Herman Cain (my absolute favorite—the “Herman Cain Art Project” as the brilliantly funny Rachel Maddow delighted in embroidering on) or Sarah Palin join the fray. President Obama will need to take the gloves off with this blowhard. No gentlemanly sparring with this new crew. And just one question as the bombs are being launched—and the dirty laundry being airred, “Where is the former (or is he still) leader of the party, George Bush?”. Is this his legacy? Shameful and pathetic.

Enough of my preaching and art supply talk. Need to move forward.

Go with the flow

Hairhopper, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and ink.Did I mention that I have figured out how to make a really decent vegetable stock? Probably not. But I did!

You know how the vegetable stock at the store is kind of weak—not really very flavorful and loaded with salt? That was my impression of what the starting point was. But, thanks to the bounty of root vegetables, the frozen chopped leeks and organic (read majorly flavorful) celery—filling a large roasting pan to the top. I did a big roast last weekend, and then after around 3 hours at 300˚ with lovely crispy brownness—in it went into the big stock pot with water to cover and cook down for another 2 hrs at a simmer. I emptied out all the bits and ends of parsley, of wilted red peppers and the scroungy bottom of the vegetable bin and dumped that all in the pot too (that might be the secret). And voila! Brown deliciousness. Plus, all the soup detrius goes right into the compost bin, so nothing goes in the garbage. Yay and double yay.

Talk about fascinating, I went to Sweet Land CSA yesterday to collect my share. Of course everything was gorgeous—-and there was the centerpiece for many of us, the KALE. Funny thing though was the kale was in a pile of snow in the totes they keep all the produce in. As I was digging through the snow to garner some to take home, my neighbor was happily anticipating how sweet the kale is this time of the year and that to her thinking the snow is what does the trick. Who would have guessed?

In the spirit of new things (Kale being the newest obsession), I have started the Tofu initiative. I like tofu, when I have it out. I like tofu when others make it…but there somehow was fear involved with my giving it a try. No more! This winter launches the tofu initiative, where yours truly will buy tofu, read recipes, and then cook with it…pushing it on the poor souls (read the boys) who then will be forced to eat it and provide feedback. I have been quizzing everyone on how they cook with tofu and yesterday was the first foray.  First off, there is the pressing. Tofu is predominantly water. So, in order to really have a go at something that can compete with meat on a plate, the tofu needs to stand up and not a be a wiggly form. So, one cuts slices (not too thin, not too fat), puts it between towels, and puts weights on it to drain it (much like eggplant). Then I marinated it (ginger, garlic, soy sauce and a teensy bit of sesame oil in the blender to immulsify) for a day. Then onto a greased cookie sheet for around an hour at 300˚ and it was ready to go. I served it with fresh sauteed spinach (from Sweetland)—and you know, it was good. Worth doing again good. And so it begins.

As you can see, the hair obsessed hairhoppers continue. This approach is really fast—and the less I think about them, the nicer and less uptight they are. I like the way this one has Klimt hair, where it flattens out at the top and takes a life of its own, really not related to the head in any way. I am trying to stay discipilined and not get in and over noodle it with shading etc. I like the purity. I am also trying to remember all that Mentor Murray (Tinkelman) would say about women’s noses, and mouths…and I think it is working.  I am also being entertained with seeing how much of the page I can fill with hair…and head and stuff. There is  a ton more here. Again, who knows if it has any other reason than entertainment, but at least that is being provided.

I am getting some traction on a project that frankly, I was dreading (fearing) doing. This dread and stupidity is in my head as I got rolling on it yesterday afternoon and have been enjoying the work, the process and the design. Today I have some spot illustrations I will need to do for part of this project, so it will sing. Enough of putting things off…they get worse when you postpone as my head takes over. Stupid me.

I see my farmers today to see where they want to take their image/symbol. Should be interesting to see what works/doesnt. I have a few more farmers circling…so I will need to get this finished up.

An inch of snow is promised today. Rob is one of the ringmasters at 2300˚ tonight at the Corning Museum of Glass. Ann Gant will be drawing with fire which should be amazing. Alex is practicing at school (prince in training). He is suffering a bit at getting his lines, getting his songs, and the general start up of learning all t his stuff. He fumed a bit a me yesterday (which was good) as he needed to get it off his chest. I am always intrigued to see what ticks him off, and how he deals with it. He is so solid and centered…and young, that the pressure of many things and wanting to be perfect right out of the gate is the prime sweet spot. It can only get easier as he goes.

Not too fascinating

Hairhopper, Q. Cassetti, 2012, pen and inkRaining today. Our little piles of snow are melting to Alex’s chagrin and sadness. We are both praying for another freeze and flakes to help the ski club investment make sense. Just as soon as we think we are good to go, then the rain starts and away we go. Oy.

However, the rain is better to travel in than snow and wind sheers…so we will have Rob home safely (we hope) from Florida via NYC tonight. He is going to be whipped. It will be good to have him home in the frozen north. Next trip is in two weeks to interview at  Landmark College and Hampshire College. Rob is identifying some cool places to stay (one has a salt water lap pool, an outdoor heated (winter) pool and other cool treats like that.

I am having to write a bio for myself which is puzzling. I have been reading the existing bios and getting a feeling for what works, what doesn’ t, but my story is a bit different, and I do not want to  be odd. I think I need to call my contact and suss out better what they are looking for (character count) and in the case of the portrait (urg) file type etc.


I have my valentine coming via mail (just checked this a.m)—complete with spot uv. and full color on what is promised to be an interesting board stock. We will see! Also ordered a bunch of tattoo-ey ink drawings as stickers on vinyl from The Sticker Guy—my source where I can pretend I am a radical extreme illustrator/designer and be able to make cool stuff for a low price. I am planning on making sticker sets to sell (Etsy and Grassroots) as well as to send to a select group just to say hi and hello. Coasters will be next on the roster.

I got all my entries submitted to American Illustration (AI) yesterday. Goodness, that takes quite a bit of time—but it is a good show and I am always surprised when I get something in…and those things selected are always the least predictable of the shows I enter. I find that AI can point the way towards work that others may not have paid attention to…and they do. Interesting. I may enter the next Creative Quarterly just for kicks. You never know until you enter!

This is the time of the year for taxes and accounting, contracts and paperwork, files and all things paper. I find myself throwing all sorts of that stuff off. Time consuming and not overly fascinating. I guess the fascinating is in February.

two sweaters looking for three

Hairhopper, Q. Cassetti, 2012 pen and inkQuiet day yesterday. Hopefully the same at the office today. I cooked a bit yesterday and did a few more pictures to add to this group of hairhoppers. Its fun…and its going someplace, so I need to keep in this linear trance to see where the lines lead me. I made a  big pot of turkey stock and cooked some tofu to begin the process of beginning to understand how to cook and work with it. I made up a small batch of pizza dough. Its sitting in the fridge developing flavor.

We all are looking for some heat. Bit freezy here…so maybe a lap blanket on my shoulders to keep things a bit more cuddly wuddly for me.

Time for coffee.


Hairhopper four, Q. Cassetti, 2012, pen and ink.To Marina (excerpt)

by Kenneth Koch

Let’s take a walk
Into the world
Where if our shoes get white
With snow, is it snow, Marina,
Is it snow or light?
Let’s take a walk

Every detail is everything in its place (Aristotle). Literature is a cup 
And we are the malted. The time is a glass. A June bug comes
And a carpenter spits on a plane, the flowers ruffle ear rings.
I am so dumb-looking. And you are so beautiful.

from “To Marina” by Kenneth Koch, from The Collected Poems of Kenneth Koch. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2007. from the Writers Almanac (01.12.2012)

Isnt that lovely? I was stunned this morning listening and actually hearing the poem versus Garrison Keillor’s delivery and voice. I am thinking of snow, of course, with many schools in the “2 hr. delay” area of the state, kicking into full 2 hour delays. They are talking snow for us tonight, and tomorrow though for Rob’s sake and his travels, I hope it isnt too horrendous as he has many miles to go. I am ready for the white stuff.

I am ready to settle in with my pens and focus on my new body of work (yes, I have a direction for another 30 or so pix…), “Hairhopper”. Its about hair. Its about line. Its about hair becoming other stuff. Its about hair assuming other roles. Its about hair engaging in environments. its all about line, line and line. Its quick and inspired by the Madhubani work last year around this time. I am not limiting it to be just scans but I can monkey in photoshop/illustrator to work reverses into the mix (like the piece that got into Society of Illustrators LA) but to keep the work in general linear. Rob was very insightful in suggesting I work with this a bit more as this is a technique that is made for children’s books, their stories and it is quick enough that I could really have a run at that. I used to love linear books…black and white, maybe a single color (Lorraine Fox was the queen of that approach)— and settle in to lok at the detail of the images presented.  Maybe the fast pace of the little electronokids today is different…but when you are dealing in the imaginary, time is a different thing.

The holiday break student staffing is winding down. Gotta get a few things done with them tomorrow to make sure we use up the time. Tucker did something interesting. He decided he wanted to scare off the deer and did some research to do things that are nonevasive and are without a shotgun. What he discovered is if you put Milorganite on deer pathes, they will not come back as they hate the scent of the stuff. Milorganite is a fertilizer so its not going to hurt anything…and if it works, between this stuff and the little buzzers he discovered, we might be able to keep the deer on their side of the property and not in my hosta and peonies next summer. Wouldn’t that be a gift? They were staying away today. We will see tomorrow. If the winter team could lick the deer varmit problem…how remarkable that would be.

Need to go. Night is on us.