Otherworldly and wierd

Warrior Crabs, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Pen and InkI am inspired by all things Japan. A J thing. I am all caught up in reading and studying about Yokai, which according to Wikipedia is:

“Yōkai (妖怪?, ghost, phantom, strange apparition) are a class of supernatural monsters in Japanese folklore. The word yōkai is made up of the kanji for “otherworldly” and “weird”.[1] Yōkai range eclectically from the malevolent to the mischievous, or occasionally bring good fortune to those who encounter them. Often they possess animal features (such as the Kappa, which is similar to a turtle, or the Tengu which has wings), other times they can appear mostly human, some look like inanimate objects and others have no discernible shape. Yōkai usually have a spiritual supernatural power, with shapeshifting being one of the most common. Yōkai that have the ability to shapeshift are called obake.

Japanese folklorists and historians use yōkai as “supernatural or unaccountable phenomena to their informants”. In the Edo period, many artists, such as Toriyama Sekien, created yōkai inspired by folklore or their own ideas, and in the present, several yōkai created by them (e.g. Kameosa and Amikiri, see below) are wrongly considered as being of legendary origin.[2]”

All of this aligns perfectly as cultural inspiration from which Pokemon, the work of director, Hayao Miyazaki (“Princess Mononoke” and “Spirited Away”)—Yokai has been a bubbling undercurrent—explaining the unexplainable, giving personalities to unwanted or forgotten objects or just plain to be scary and dark. I am reading a series of wonderful books butterfly style …flitting from one to the other, and many of them I highly recommend, to best grasp (as best I can as a Westerner) the basis and the lyricism of this profoundly Japanese mythology.

Samuri Crab, H. Japonica

The Warrior Crabs, or Heikegani, are part of the Yokai stories. Wikipedia tells the story better than I. The Heikegani:

“Heikegani (平家蟹, ヘイケガニ) (Heikeopsis japonica) is a species of crab native to Japan, with a shell that bears a pattern resembling a human face. It is locally believed that these crabs are reincarnations of the spirits of the Heike warriors defeated at the Battle of Dan-no-ura as told in The Tale of the Heike.

From Arthropoda.wordpress.com

“Popular legend alleges that, following the battle Dan-no-ura, the souls of drowning Heike samurai warriors were transformed into crabs. These crabs are distinguished by having the faces of the fallen samurai on their backs. To this day the Heike crabs roam the depths of the oceans around Japan, searching for the lost heirlooms of their empire.”

There truly are crabs in Japan with faces on their backs, and so this tale emerges to explain this phenomenon, making magic for me, and for many others to best remember and honor the memories of ancient Japanese warriors.

The ghost of the Heike general Taira no Tomomori (bottom left) at the bottom of the ocean with the anchor he used to drown himself following defeat at Dan-no-ura. He is joined by Heike crabs bearing the faces and souls of his comrades. By artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 17th century.

Day after Advent 2: What a wonderful world

Madhubani Painting by Bharti DayalSo, Today is our thirtieth wedding anniversary. We are having FB requests to post a few pics which I might do just for fun…I am thrilled to be housebound with snow and cold and noplace to go so I can jump on the work for the Hangar. Got a bunch of stuff to close on the car…and move forward.

I got a curious email from an Indian fashion designer and fine artist  who saw my work (on LinkedIn via the Behance Portfolios I have streamed there). Lesson here is, whenever you can have twitter feeds or rss feeds do the heavy lifting to get your work sent to different networking sites, do it. You never know who will see this work. She said that my work reminded her of Madhubani art (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithila_Painting). And so, I took a look!. Love this stuff! Wiki tells us that this painting technique was practiced by women and passed down to each generation from woman to woman. Wiki also says:

“Madhubani paintings mostly depict nature and Hindu religious motifs, and the themes generally revolve around Hindu deities like Krishna, Ram, Shiva, Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. Natural objects like the sun, the moon, and religious plants like tulsi are also widely painted, along with scenes from the royal court and social events like weddings. Generally no space is left empty; the gaps are filled by paintings of flowers, animals, birds, and even geometric designs. Objects depicted in the walls of kohabar ghar (where newly wed couple see each other in the first night) are symbols of sexual pleasure and procreation.”

No room to move, eh? I can do that.

Look at this jewel:

or t his one with the flower faces, the baby elephant and the sky fishes?

There is much much more. Just when things started to slow down…a little internet shove ! Cheers

Lubok, Lubki

The Goat and Bear, second quarter of the 19 c., National Library of RussiaLubok is singular, Lubki is plural…who would have known? Figured if I found out the plural, I might find more of a cache of images than the ones I have found. Nice thought. Fraktur and the Pennsylvania Germans were prolific and collected/curated. These babies are few and far between despite their popularity:

The National Library of Russia>>

Johns Hopkins University, Sheridan Library,  Alex Rabinovich Collection of Lubki Prints>>

Fine Press Book Association: Lubki, The Wood Engravings of Old Russia by Adela Roatcap

San Diego Accountant Guide (?) Lubok Multimedia Guide>>

The Koren Picture Bible (Wikipedia) (1692-1696)

Lubok (Wikipedia)

Boguslawski, Alexander. “Russian Lubok (Popular Prints).” 29. January 2007

New York Public Library Digital Collections: Lubok>>
(best resource by far) 

I thought for sure, the Russian Library(for Lubki) would be the Free Library of Philadelphia (for Fraktur). This was popular art that even the Czars collected for themselves and children, charmed by the stories, the humor, the crude color and linework. So where are those royal collections? In the trashbins?

Need to cut it short. I am betwixt and between today with lake work, work, work and kid work. I will pick up a bit later to see if there is more to talk about.

A Lightning Bolt from the Sky

Work in Progress, Q. Cassetti, 2010The poster to the left is work in progress for Tburg’s Zydeco Trail Riders show at the Rongo prior to Grassroots. Still working with it and am thinking about color and junking it up a bit more. I don’t know if color will help this..you and I will see.

A lightning bolt from the sky happened yesterday. I heard my email ping…and checked a letter from a person who found my Fraktur inspired work. She is a curator for the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center in Pennsburg,PA and liked my work (Wunderfisch!) and was interested in my possibly having a show at their Museum. We have had, since then, a wonderful conversation about our respective passions about these people, their beliefs, the imagery—We may be looking at a show in 2012 (so I can expand the body of work…maybe work a bit with the images I want to do from The Long Lost Friend. My new friend clued me into an individual in the 1800s from Penn Yan, the Public Universal Friend, Jemima Wilkinson>> From Yates County.org says:

Jemima Wilkinson, the first American-born woman to found a religious movement, was born in Rhode Island in about 1765, of Quaker parents. In 1776 she fell ill of a fever. She awoke from a coma and told those standing by that Jemima had died and a spirit from heaven now inhabited her body. She never again used her birth name and until her death in 1819 was always referred to as the Public Universal Friend. 

Her teachings were influenced both by the somewhat mystical version of Quakerism current at the time, by the Shaker movement founded a few years earlier by Mother Anne Lee, and by the New Light Methodists, whose meetings she had attended. She wore androgynous clothing, rode horseback, let her hair hang loose on her shoulders and wore a man’s broad-brimmed hat; and she preached in public, a tremendous novelty for a woman in the 1770s. She preached all over southern New England and beginning in 1782, in the Philadelphia area. Sometime about the middle 1780s she determined to remove her followers from the persecution and distractions attendant on living among people not of her faith.            

ooooh weeeeee~! Bring it on!


The author of A Journey Around my Skull, an inspired illustration/design driven blog, mentioned Lubok in his recent post "Russian Fairy Tales from A. A." and he/she inspired me to go deeper.

Wikipedia say:

The lubok or Russian popular print is a variety of Russian popular art. In Russian, Lubok (Cyrillic: Russian: лубок, лубочная картинка) Earlier (latter 17th, early 18th century) they were woodcuts, then metal engravings or etchings, and in the 19th century produced by lithography. They sometimes appeared in series, which might be regarded as predecessors of the modern comic strip. Cheap, simple books, similar to chapbooks, which mostly consisted of pictures, are called lubok literature or (Cyrillic: Russian: лубочная литература). Both pictures and literature are commonly referred to simply as lubki. The Russian word lubok itself means the inner bark of the linden tree and refers to a technique of woodcut from bast of the linden tree, which used to be a common material in Russia for manufacturing various items: bast shoes, baskets, chests, etc>"

So...does any of this look familiar? Need to dig deeper..but figured I would let you in on the research.

Just finished processing left overs into rice pudding with cherries and lemon zest and a pile of cortland and macintosh apples into bowls of applesauce...

Need to go poke more apples. Just was thinkinig of you...and didnt want to let the day slip by without a little gumdrop.

Ein grosser Wunderfisch : A meandering in Fraktur

I ran into a very rich cache of fraktur at the Free Library of Philadelphia site. What I learned was the types of fraktur went far beyond my original understanding with categories from Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates, to listing of one's children, to Letters from Heaven to letters to your beloved. There are New Years Cards, Bookmarks and bookplates (as school rewards), illuminated songbooks and hymnals, Baptismal Prayers, Death Memorials, to illuminated writing samples and books. There is even a type of illlustration referred to as a Spiritual Labyrinth (will show below) and the most curious(and remarkable, the big "Wonderfish"). Say no more. I am ssooooo on this train! Spiritual labyrinths, wonderful magical fish, Letters from heaven...Bring it on...This is a remarkable vein.

to learn more on this topic, please visit the Free Library of Philadelphia.

The Free Library does one better in providing a lovely page of links (the better to study more!)>>

Courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia
A big Wonderfish (Ein grosser Wunderfisch)
Category: Wonderfish (Wunderfisch)
Decorator: Anonymous
Scrivener: Anonymous
State/Province: [Pennsylvania]
Note: Based on stylistic characteristics
Creation Date: ca. 1820 - ca. 1840

From the translation of the copy:
A big wonder fish which was caught with effort near Geneva, the beautiful city. The same had a man’s countenance and on his head a crown with crosses; on his body a sword, two war flags, a cannon, and three rifles as well as three skulls. As this drawing shows in detail the same was three ells high and also five ells long, as can be seen in the following hymn with more. Such a miraculous sign on the 12th of February A.D. 1740.
In this fish’s name I now begin; you people all together, who stand by me quietly, hear: this great miracle happened this year on water and on land. This is certainly true. First I will describe Geneva, the beautiful city, where on the 12th of February a fish was caught by man in the sea. It was felt it for five whole days; it was caught with great effort. Three ells high, it was, and also five ells long. Everyone wondered who looked at it. The fish had a true human head. Everyone was amazed who viewed the fish. He has feet like the swans, on the head a crown, a sword, two war flags, as can be seen. Three skulls with it, there are seen down there. What can be the meaning? Who knows the fish’s miracle? Many people came together to view the fish. On the sea there came a wonderful man, who was adorned on his body exactly like a fish with big and wide scales. He carried a simple sword. The man said to the people [continued on reverse]

courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia
Love Letter (Liebesbrief)
Decorator: Anonymous
Scrivener: Anonymous
Creation Place:
State/Province: [Pennsylvania]
Note: Based on design characteristics
Creation Date: ca. 1800
Hand-drawn; hand-colored; hand-lettered. This document is a square sheet of paper that is folded into a star. The text and drawings are on both sides of the sheet. The areas that are visible on the folded paper are decorated with text, hearts, flowers and a small cross. One of the hearts is pierced by an arrow. The measurements refer to the unfolded paper. For records of the unfolded front and reverse, see FLP 753 and FLP 753v.
1 \ My Dearest Dear and blest divine \ I’ve pictured here your heart and mine.
2 \ But Cupid with her Cruel dart \ Has deeply pierced my tender heart
3 \ And has between us set Across \ Which makes me to lament my loss
4 \ But I’m in hopes when that is gone \ That both our hearts will be in one

Say no more!

courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia
Which is written in Golden Letters (Welcher in güldnen Buchstaben geschrieben)
Letter from Heaven (Himmelsbrief)
Decorator: Anonymous
Printer/Publisher: [John S. Dreisbach (1825-1867)]
Town/Township: Kreidersville or Bath
County: Northampton
State/Province: Pennsylvania
Note: Based on location of printshop
Creation Date: ca. 1850

Oh Yes! There is more interesting stuff than what originally meets the eye. Himmelsbriefs , religious documents are believed to have been written by God or another divine being. It is often reported that these documents miraculously fell from the sky into a recipient’s hands. Letters from Heaven often claimed to give magical protection to their possessors and blessings to those who published them, while those who disbelieved their claims were promised divine punishment.

Bring it on!

courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia
Family Record of Daniel and Sarah Sexton
Family Record (Familienregister)
Decorator: Anonymous
Scrivener: Anonymous
County: [Monmouth]
State/Province: [New Jersey]
Note: Based on genealogical research
Creation Date: ca. 1765
"Be faithful unto Death & the Lord Will Give you a Crown of Life \ "

courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia
Death Memorial (Denkmal)
Scrivener: Anonymous ca 1818

courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia
Reward of Merit (Belohnung)
Decorator: Anonymous ca. 1820 - ca. 1840
Creation Place: State/Province: [Pennsylvania]
Note: Based on design characteristics

thoughts and ruminations.

Fraktur on the brain. Rob is goading me nicely to get going in figuring out these products for the Museum of Glass --and to get the team in place, the thinking in place and get going. He is right. Plus, it gives me some venues to push the illustration that are not traditional, are about me being an illustrator/designer, is about an alternative stream of income and could be a beneficial and fun thing to do. So where is the downside? A tad bit of risk...but nothing inconceivable.

The pix above is the second Fraktur inspired picture. I decided to get back into coloring these things just to see where it could go. So, this is where it is (not done) today...with more work tomorrow. My intent is to try to infuse more color in the work and though its not bad, to not keep the black work in a single color in every iteration. Bunny Carter cited my Indian Tiger as the only full color piece in my thesis which I thought was interesting. So, to that insight, I credit Bunny with the push (not even a tiny shove) to think more about the color, their relationships and how the image begins to change with more color added and not frames that are filled with color and the line work all the same. Seems richer...more dimensional. I think this may be criteria for the color for this next round of valentines. What do you think?

I am going to contact Boxcar Press (a Syracuse Letterpress shop) to get prices on one and two color letterpress work as I am thinking of developing a series of different Birth Certificates and Marriage Certificates (maybe later, a Bar /Bas Mitzva, a Confirmation one) to be illustrated and designed for the user to have a calligrapher (or me) fill in the name/etc. and be able to sell them through high end stationery and/or gift shops. With that may come Birth announcements, Marriage stationery/thank yous that match. Plus, with an affordable letterpress option, creating condolence cards (I have had requests) from some of the Memento Mori work and selling sets of 10 with (lined?) envelopes and or as one off.

Just got back from the Oral Surgeon's office in Corning with two high school near future patients. It was a great consultation with pictures/xrays, a full disclosure of process and medications, time frame and process. Now, all we need to do is schedule it.

So, must go...now. Hotdogs on the grill await.

swirling in ideas

Flower paintings, Ambrosius Bosschaert (1573-1621) a Flemish-dutch painter. Note: a Pila sp. shell is situated at the right corner.
So the fiddling with the frame and a reverse flower thing has spurred me to look at Ambrosius Bosschaert's paintings of flowers and bugs and the promise of the season that these blown out florals make. I am liking making these borders and need something for them to border or better, once on track, have the borders match the subject and vice versa. But for now, I am amused, researching and not too serious about anything illustrative. Bosschaert's paintings are simple compositionally, simple forms and yet they speak to me of lush summers and springs, the wealth of nature and for the dutch, the wealth generated by their trade in tulip bulbs. So, that said, have that plate and interest spinning.

Additionally, I am reading up on Fraktur. Wikipedia says:

Fraktur is both a style of lettering and a highly artistic and elaborate illuminated folk art created by the Pennsylvania Dutch (also known as Pennsylvania Deitsch or Pennsylvanian German). Most Fraktur were created between 1740 and 1860.

Fraktur drawings were executed in ink and/or watercolors and are found in a wide variety of forms: the Vorschriften (writing samples), the Taufscheine (birth and baptismal certificates), marriage and house blessings, book plates, and floral and figurative scenes. The earlier Fraktur were executed entirely by hand, while printed text became increasingly common in later examples. Common artistic motifs in Fraktur include birds, hearts, and tulips, as well as blackletter and italic calligraphy.

Today, many major American museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art have Fraktur in their collection. Important Fraktur have been sold by major American auction houses and antique dealers for prices in excess of $100,000. The definitive text on Fraktur is widely considered to be The Fraktur-Writings or Illuminated Manuscripts of the Pennsylvania Germans, written by Dr. Donald A. Shelley and published by the Pennsylvania German Society in 1961. In late 2004, part of Dr. Shelley's Fraktur collection was sold at public auction in Pennsylvania for $897,833.

Interesting time period, no? Sort of overlying the early American gravemarkers you all know I love--spanning through the writings of Jane Austen and like writers, through the civil war. So, its pre Victorian and then at the end promises that time. However, on the early side, this is similar imagery to that of the early funerary art. There is a great website Fraktur Web that explores the known Fraktur illustrators and shows how one informed or taught the other in this very limited geographical area. Additionally, this site details the types of Fraktur work that was created. Simply put, Fraktur had a use and a place to note and commemorate things in people's lives. Fraktur was used to embellish/design / detail hymnals, bookplates (for awards of merit); religious broadsides, house blessings (Haus-segen) and purely pictorial works all received the fraktur treatment. As early as 1772, the Ephrata Cloister brother and sister calligraphers were turning out the “Goldene ABC,” an inspirational work. Iluminated birth and baptismal certificates are the most numerous fraktur (Taufschein Fraktur). The other, Vorschrift fraktur were "best examples certainly are the most inspired marriage of writing and illumination within this art form. The fraktur Vorschrift is a model for writing exercises often drawn by schoolteachers and particularly popular among Mennonites and Schwenkfelders. Consisting of Biblical verses or hymns, they were used in the parochial schools that pre-dated the founding".

These symmetrical illustrations fascinate me as they are part of a culture of a small group of people, illustrated by known calligraphic illustrators or illustrative calligraphers..creating pieces that were noteworthy as images but that were significant in recognizing life's progression and the recognition of those key moments in a graphic way. When I was younger, my mother had found these printed marriage certificates that were rendered in a fraktur manner that she would have me ink in the names in blackletter to match the spirit of the certificate. I am thinking that there may be a place to develop some illustrative marriage and birth certificates in the same manner for sale of my own work (inspired by the Pennsylvania Germans or by any other whimsical birth or marriage images that strike me). These could be letterpressed into rich, all cotton paper and packaged in a beautiful way. This is a saleable idea...and will allow me to explore this form with a few goals in place.

Today--more pushing of the teenagers. More work and a guest arriving for a two night stay. Alex is love/hating the preseason crosscountry, but there is talk he may be a varsity runner. We got everyone's schedules worked out with Alex getting a roster of great teachers and his two top picks--guitar lessons and Music Theory. We swapped out 2 of the four AP classes for better/more engaged teachers for Kitty--with English being public speaking and Shakespeare...and the government class taught by a spitfire who has opinions and isnt afraid of dragging his class into conversations. It feels like this is all very positive.


Feeling busy and stale. Sad. Might be that I am a bit housebound...but the work is frustrating and fast...where a more sophisticated approach isnt understood (more color is better and please fill up all the white space...). But I am feeling stale and inept with illustration (I have no idea...but my confidence is in the crapper. Its been only 3 days of just us...so I need to give it time... and we are expecting an impromptu guest tomorrow night. I will not have a chance to prep the room, make up the bed in advance...Rob is in two all day meetings with dinner tonight. The truck is still broken, so I am situated at the Camp House with nothing to drive. Enough kvetching...? Sorry.

I am using the new things I learned with Jean and Nancy (brush making, live paint, live trace, "average" points) and I am surprisingly making some productivity strides. Additionally, I am reading two books on illustrator (one paper book, another on my kindle and picking up all sorts of other new stuff along with the power user stuff (like the minus sign is the minus points key)...

Whitney Sherman, Chair of the Illustration Dept. at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) broadly asked for names of books/etc. for the History of Illustration she is teaching this fall. However...good things flowed from this call for entries--this marvelous, eccentric, smart and illuminating blog surfaced, "A Journey Round My Skull" captioned as ""Unhealthy book fetishism from a reader, collector, and amateur historian of forgotten literature." Recent obsessions: illustration and graphic design." Will, the author surfaces interesting and new people everyday along with smart mini "bloglets" on illustrators, ideas (like beards)--a magic place where Will's imagination captures ours and we soar together.

Take a look. Click through the placeholder pictures on the right. Interesting and a big time consumer.

Time to take Kitty out for a sandwich!

Granary Burying Ground on Tremont Street in Boston, Massachusetts is the city's third-oldest cemetery.

from Wikipedia>>
The Granary Burying Ground is the 3rd cemetery established in the city of Boston, dating to the year 1660. The need for the site arose because the land set aside for the city's first cemetery, King's Chapel Burying Ground located a block east was insufficient to meet the city's growing population. Early in its existence the area was known as the South Burying Ground until 1737 at which point it took on the name of the granary building which formerly stood on the site of what is now the Park Street Church. In May 1830 trees were planted in the area and an attempt was made to change the name to “Franklin Cemetery” to honor the family of Benjamin Franklin, but the effort failed.

The Burying Ground was originally part of the Boston Common which originally encompassed the entire block, but two years after the cemetery was established the southwest portion of the block was taken for public buildings, which included the Granary and a house of correction[2] and the north portion of the block was used for housing.

Tombs were initially placed near the back of the property and on 15 May 1717 a vote was passed by the town to enlarge the Burying Ground by taking part of the highway on the eastern side, (now Tremont Street). The enlargement was carried out in 1720 when 15 tombs were created and assigned to a number of Boston families.
I was struck by the extrodinary liveliness of line, of spirit and of image that was expressed at this significant graveyard. Yes, there were many stones that were to the raw eye, probably developed, cut and finished by the same artists. However, even in those "gimme one of those" moments, how each stone had a special attitude, spirit that suited the stone that was selected (with many of them having the carving and lettering conform to the basic shape of the stone), the depth and fineness of the line, and the expression of the faces/skulls. I was intrigued by the way the wings even in this small community of stones were different from a central form from which feather forms developed either horizontally or vertically. There were some pomegranates, pinecones, masonic symbols, and sometimes a stacked spirit effigy and skull combination.

I am charmed by the stone with the heart as the central vehicle to hold the type . In the same manner, I am charmed by the stone with the urn that holds the type. This is originality that is not the same as the look in this neighborhood for the afterlife. I just got a great book on American printer's woodcuts/etchings. There are a few examples of handbills notifying the public of a death at this same time. It is a fascinating juxtaposition that somehow dimensionalizes these stone versions....Unfortunately, I didn't shake poor old Memento Mori out of my system when I stopped a while back. I think there are more images (perhaps a bit more refined) but more images nonetheless.

As pleased as Punch!

There he is, Punch. Mr. Meany--always portrayed with his stick that he uses quite vehemently on the other person (generally Judy or their baby(!)or the crocodile(!!)) with his big nose, big chin, motley clothes and his little scary voice (which I find out is part of his signature...it is called the Swazzle--as wiki sez:

In the British "Punch and Judy" show Punch wears a jester's motley and is a hunchback whose hooked nose almost meets his curved jutting chin. He carries a stick, as large as himself, which he freely uses upon all the other characters in the show. He speaks in a distinctive squawking voice, produced by a contrivance known as a swazzle or swatchel which the Professor holds in his mouth, transmitting his gleeful cackle— "That's the way to do it". So important is Mr. Punch's signature sound that it is a matter of some controversy within Punch and Judy circles as to whether a 'non-swazzled' show can be considered a true Punch and Judy Show.

I love this Swazzle thing. Really could be a great name for a lot of things. A whole twist to the character, a sound, a signature beyond the beating of the other characters. The Professor is the name of the single puppeteer who performs these little plays...always of two characters. I was musing on the history (there's quite a bit) of Punch and Judy  to Rob. Surprisingly, we both had the same opinion of them (albeit, I always go for the look as primary) as they are anachonistic and the shows which both of us saw in our childhoods...the children of today do not even see. It was horrifying to go to a show, not understand what this little puppet who hit people and spoke in this bizarre manner and try to figure out what your parents had in mind in taking you to this performance. Was there some message I was too stupid to understand? Was this something to expect as my parents wanted to hit me with a stick? Why were people laughing? It was puzzling and scary the way the clowns are..only somehow Punch and Judy were more academic (translated, more tasteful and somehow, good for you).

I like it that Punch is a derivative character from the Commedia del'Arte, Punchinella...who also has a wonderful nose (and mask)...not quite a clown...but maybe close enough?


House of Health visit this morning. On the treadmill like all the rest of the gym rats moving towards health nirvana. It was a bright and frigid drive down and back. Clear and cold with a beautiful sky.Lunch with a client. Lots to talk about from holiday card successes to a new, zine inspired approach to the Annual Report looking original and inexpensive. I think we are going back into a design cycle that things are measured against things looking "expensive" (ie lots of color, coated paper, multiple varnishes, high production which, to you who know, often costs the same or less if you are clever) but need to communicate affordable (and now green can figure into this piece too!). This was rampant in the mid to late eighties in particular--so I feel smug that I have this experience from "way back".

Lots of junkie television last night--with drawing. I need to find some reference of flying birds to begin to sample some images.I need to pull the gardening catalogs filled with pictures of flowers and grasses. I need to think parts and pieces as Chad suggested, two parts making three...thinking complexity, thinking diversity in the images and content. Fuse them in photoshop. I think this Sunday studyhall will be coloring and tinting. Seeing where it goes. Balancing 80/20 color, line, spirit and density. Client valentine went to PSPrint today.

Started a group on Facebook for Hartford.New experience. Easy to use. Very effective. Love the twitter/tweeter feature/app on Facebook and the fluidity that you can effect change in both social sites. Learning how each work is very interesting. The more I use them, the more valid this Web 2.0 for numbskulls becomes. Maybe no "direct" successes, but lots of building a brand, promoting an idea/viewpoint, or a message. I think after 6 mos, I might really be able to talk about this.

Just got a book on Mendez (a follower of Posada). More to read.

Monkeying around

Need to get stuff out to 3x3. Corrections for the Museum's calendar. Newsletter layouts for a marketing group. Still working with the monkeys. Was looking at some reference and had a little epiphany...the pix are getting more interesting. I figure if I give myself until Labor Day, I will be on to something for Vin. I know that this is not real world for jobs...but, this graduate stuff is not real world anyway and I should wallow in it. Wallow away!

R is out for a conference. More painting here. More moving of old materials. Big dump run. A. at friends. K. having PSAT training and then history book stuff. Need to get in front of the school year before the end of the summer. Will need to find a geometry tutor. Lots beginning to mount up prior to September 1.

Was swimming in the book The Animal Farm. Cute as pie with some strong references: Grandma Moses most particularly. That Alice and Martin...writers and illustrators! The little bit on Hibernation makes you want to lie down and sleep along with the bear.

More later.

bright morning

The Queem of the Barnyard is one of the sketches for Marie Antoinette. The six are Marie Antoinette, Let the Eat Cake, Queen of the Barnyard (Le Petit Hameau de la Reine), Holding the Rose, Last Chapter, Dancing Parties. The Queen of the Barnyard sketch represents the "pampered farm animals that she and her fellow "shepardesses" (MA referred to her attendants as Shepardesses when they were in the mock farm at Versailles). As an aside, I was googling Le Hameau and was dumbstruck with the sheer 1780's version of the Enchanted Kingdom at Disneyland. It truly is designed as a fab confab with all sorts of experiences all mooshed togethere in one structure.

Wiki says:
The petit hameau was small, a rustic but in essence ersatz farm (or ferme ornee) meant to evoke a peasant village in Normandy, built on the far side of a landscaped pond.[1] Created in 1783, to designs of the Queen's favoured architect, Richard Mique, the hamlet was complete with farmhouse, dairy, and mill. Here, it was said, the Queen and her attendants would dress as shepherdesses and milkmaids. Particularly docile, hand-picked cows would be cleaned. These cows would be milked by the ladies, with porcelain milk churns painted to imitate wood specially made by the royal porcelain manufactory at Sèvres. These churns and pails featured the Queen's monogram. The simple and rustic ambiance at the petit hameau has been evoked in paintings by Fragonard; however, inside the farmhouse, the rooms were far from simple, featuring the luxury and comfort to which Marie Antoinette and her ladies were accustomed. Yet, the rooms at the petit hameau allowed for more intimacy than the grand salons at Versailles, or at the Petit Trianon itself. Such model farms operating under principles espoused by the Physiocrats, were fashionable among the French aristocracy at the time, and one primary purpose of the hameau was to add to the ambiance of the Petit Trianon, giving the illusion that the Trianon itself was deep in the countryside rather than within the confines of Versailles.

Maybe we should set up some little fun spot like this in the backyard? Unfortunately, for us, it would not be an escape from anything...just plain more work!

Got the WordPress machine going yesterday--learning incrementally what it takes to put up a WordPress blog, the themes available for free or for pay (there are some spectacular "magazine" formats for $79. which would take hours to program and minutes to customize the colors, fonts, headers). Picked a simple layout and put up all the links (will edit as I put some silly ones up too) for the Hartford blog. Once we get rolling, it'll be great and hopefully, I can lean on some other students to add to the content veruse having this as another full time tssk for me. You can backup a blogger page (like this) and reflow it innto a free or paid theme (which the magazine format is ticking my fancy) which is going to happen for this site as it will allow me a bit more creative freedom, allow me to set up all sorts of pages for my projects and allow me a chance to backup and save the work as I go versus being dependant on Google Blogger which is a tremendous, simple resource that promotes blogging for all. After all, isn't that what this is all about? Blogging, writing, putting out content!

Got a preview copy of Communications Arts Illustration Annual (due out in July) with work from Scott Bakal (UH 2007), Greg Newbold (UH 2009), Mark Bender (SU 2006) and yours truly (UH 2009) in the ranks. Interesting group and selection. Check it out on the newsstands soon.

R. still in Portland. K and A and I will go to Smith Woods this morning and then off to complete the shopping/phone exchange that needs to happen prior to K going to Fredonia, me to Hartford and the day we get back, A goes to Cornell. So, box fans, phones, underwear. Done. Would love to get to Munson Rd Amish Farmer's Market and to the lake today. The celestial faucet has stopped for now. The grass is radiant. The nicotiana needs to dry out as do the geraniums. Monarda is tall (36") and ready to blow.

More later

makes your hair stand on end?

God Bless the New York Public Library's digital library. I was tooling around last night and found piles of engravings on hairdos, shoes, fashion, fans around or about 1783 (which I am using as Marie-Antoinette's midpoint date)--I found a bunch of these head pages which I find are hilarious in their sheer exaggeration (or is it?) of the whole hair/hat thing. The lady (top row, far right) with the cap daintily perched atop the mountain of hair sculpture is my absolute favorite! I am loving the fact the engravings and paintings of the people, their environment etc. is the reference (or at least some of the reference) for this minibody of work. It communicates far more than just how something looks, but the composition, color, orientation etc. from the hand of others is amusing and also thought provoking. Fun all around.

Got up at 5 and got on the road at 5:30 spending the better part of half of my trip back trying to figure out how to dehumidify the foggy windows so AC cold, AC cold with windows open and windshield wipers going, to finally AC warm working. Tons of fog in the valleys and on the hills as I drove up the hills and down into the agricultural vales. There are strawberries and raspberries for sale. And the hanging baskets are going for about $10 less there than here. So, I am back in the saddle until around 3 when I have another meeting to attend. More later

A bit on the Bourbon family.

The Imperial Nobility of France
The nobility (French: la noblesse) in France, in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, had specific legal and financial rights, and prerogatives. The first official list of these prerogatives was established relatively late, under Louis XI of France after 1440 and includes:

* exemption from paying the taille (except for non-noble lands they might possess in some regions of France),

* the right to hunt,

* the right to wear a sword and have a coat of arms,

* the right (in principle) to possess a fief or seigneurie.

*Certain ecclesiastic, civic, and military positions were reserved for nobles. At the same time, certain activities were required of nobles.

These included:

* honneur et fidélité (honor and faithfulness) such as military service (the "impôt du sang" or "blood tax")

* concilium et auxilium (counsel and assistance to the king)

Other activities could cause dérogeance, or loss of one's nobility. So were most commercial and manual activities strictly prohibited, although nobles could profit from their lands through mines and forges. Other than in isolated cases, serfdom ceased to exist in France by the 15th century. In Early Modern France, nobles nevertheless maintained a great number of seigneurial privileges over the free peasants that worked lands under their control. These included:

* cens (tax): Vassals were required to pay an annual tax on lands they leased or held (the "cens" was often more symbolic than useful),

* champart (work): to work the noble's private domain, to give the lord a portion of their harvest,

* banalités (small charges): to use the lord's mills, ovens, or wine press at a cost.

Nobles also maintained certain judicial rights over their vassals, although with the rise of the modern state many of these privileges had passed to state control, leaving rural nobility only local police functions and judicial control over violation of their seigneurial rights.

More on the link. Kind of points out the world MA lived in...and the expectations that were seconds from going out of control while she was dancing, feeding her livestock and living her wholesome life.

bipolar sense of reference

I ask myself, "what the hell are you smoking?". Dunno. I am going deep with Vignee-LeBrun paintings of Marie Antoinette with every other picture of her holding a stylized old style, David Austen-ish, pink rose. The hands are always the same. Always. I'll show you...(not now). Love the ribbons and bows, the flounces and furbellows, the pearls and feathers, hats and the absolutely luscious color. My puritan spirit embraces the sheer baroque, over the topness. So, I sez to myself...I need to see more, more more of this wonderful lusciousness. So off the Dutch still lives from Ambrosius Bosschaert with the quest of the victorian interpretation of these scoops of gloriousity. On the other hand, I am thinking Andy Warhol...and my artdirector and husband out of the blue suggests the I Miller images from Warhol's youth. So, off to that direction. And the Dream Project. I wallow and sink in it's absolute profundity. I am lost. Wandering...albeit mit schlag.