Flippity Flop color, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and ink, digitalSo, a new technique is emerging. Not exactly new…but taking these detailled black and white line drawings beyond black and white. I add tone via Photoshop (see yesterday’s image) using postitive and negative aspects of the original line work along with tone added via brush and eraser. Then, the toned piece is the base for the coloring (see above). I am thrilled with the way this is looking. lots of detail, and it is working as a color piece too. So, now onward to working with it. I do not know why Memento Mori images popped back up, but they have and I am looking at Mexican Sugar Skulls again with happiness in my head and pen.

Speaking of pens, do you know about the refillable Copic SP Multiliner pens? There is a wide wide range of widths along with a brush that is permanent. Sweet. Jet Pens have them…. and of course, they have wild and wonderful Japanese office supplies.

I am a bit nuts as a bunch of rushes were plopped inbetween me and the preexisting work that will keep me in my chair until at least 8 tonight. I would like to be able to leave before 7 on a more regular basis. It gets a bit tedious, but books on tape keep me wanting to work to stay with the story (thank goodness!).

Gotta go.

A presidential celebration!

India Inspired Sirin v.2, Q.Cassetti, 2011, moleskine and sharpiesBoys have the day off. I have charged Alex with filling bags with the clothes he will not wear so there will be room for the things he does wear. Rob is writing things for work and I am looking down the long line of projects that need to be done with emails that need to accompany them with questions, responses etc.

I was working yesterday on looking at possible covers for 3x3. There are some maybes…but there are some ideas of doing something new for it…(a squirrel with a nut?). Also jumped on some of the work for my big client…checking on some guidelines by actually haveing to apply them, finding some big gaps that we will need to put to order before we roll it out. I am worrying about these guidelines as we will be involved in implementing them, and finding some big nuggets that are missing is a bit concerning. Need to dig in.

I am listening to books on tape for the last few weeks and have been feeling very indulged—enjoying the tales and the coziness that a story can inspire…a cuddly hunkering down that is inspiring work and focus. Now, if only the books were more than lightweight trash, it would be terrific. But baby steps first. Ah.

Valentine's Day Eve

Inspired by Ganga Devi, Q. Cassetti, 2011, sharpies on MoleskineIts been busy here. Late nights and then yesterday the prep and provisioning for our Pourhouse Anniversary Party. I got off to the store to buy all sorts of this and that for the party with my dish to pass be 50 hot dogs (which were very well received by the crowd). Rob and team built a bar out of parts from around here—wood and saw horses along with a back bar and a monitor on the fireplace for the unbelieveable slide presentation that Jim Reidy prepared for the event. We had tons of people and it was tremendous fun. I met all sorts of Trumansburg and Ithaca celebrities who are all personalities with opinions, interests and ideas. To put it mildly, lots to talk about with lots of very cool people. Our friends brought dishes to share from a turkey (! perfection), to salad, lots of beautiful bread and oil, cheese and spreads, and some gorgeous desserts. And my hotdogs (which is a great dish to pass…note to remember). The band, Boots and Shorts were great…and not too loud so the music suited the house. Our final guests left at 2:30 a.m. with my getting up at 7 to get Alex to the ski bus for another Sunday of ski club.

I got home and had a nice chat with one of our guests (whose family spent the night here) about food and all things culinary as he is a remarkable chef. At 12:30, I got to work on my rush project which fell into line unlike last weekend. We are all looking at another long week maybe a little less nuts because at least the big party is not on the horizon for this week.

I am very tired, so an early night night is in order.

Divine Devi

Ganga Devi, Museum of New Delhi, 1989, muralCow work yesterday. We had a mini SooperBowl party with all sorts of junky food, teenaged boys jumping up and shaking their fists at the tv screen, great ads and fun. Everyone stayed until around 10:30 when it was time to turn off the tube and quiet down for the night.
It was cows yesterday and the other project Saturday….Did a little somethin’ sompthin’ to the Squint blog yesterday to tie the headers more closely to the new website to be launched in April. Need to get work done today along with finalizing the panels for the Library exhibit.

Ganga Devi drawingDon’t you love this picture from my new Ganga Devi book to the left? (Ganga Devi, Tradition and Expression in Mithila Painting by Jyotindra Jain). This image is a detail of wall paintings of kohbar-ghar  (marriage ritual in Madhubari). Look at the color, the floral/lotus trim, the curlydoodles on the edge of her veil? And then to remind us that its a Mithila/Madhubani painting, there are fish and birds (parrots) even in the brilliant yellow fabric of her sari. And what about the image on the right with the fish, turtles, crab, frog and snail…with the swirly water… Another poem to nature from that wonderful Ms. Devi.


Wednesday with a pearly sky

After Ganga Devi, Q. Cassetti, 2011, sharpiesWorking away on finalizing the Hangar work—with a portrait of two guys (“Oscar and Felix” as its been positioned to me). New watch words for freebies out there coined by Robbie, “Art not Assignments”. Turns out that despite the words that are put to me about my being able to contribute independently without art directing by the recievers of this work—they cannot hold themselves back. So, lots of direction. Lots of rework…from gift of work to gift of worked work…with no positive flowback to me. So, no more work that is an assignment. If you want a gift of illustration, it will be a gift (the way gifts can be suggested but not mandated), and not an assignment that the nonpaying clients do all but move my hand… Not fun and very time consuming. I only have so much free time, so if the free work isn’t fun, then it isn’t being done. Punto.

So, now that I am done with the griping. Forgive me. Just needed to get it off my mind.

We have a few publications on the boards that we are driving towards completion. The Toots illustration for the museum has changed from a vector illustration to line art…more evocative and less direct where we can focus on the line work of her hair…reflecting the linear, pulled canes that her work is centered around.We were trying to use the Milton Glaser portrait of Dylan as a starting point for this, but our curator thought it wasnt right as a model.

Am puzzling over the new brand we are going to be involved in…thinking about the rabbit holes that have been created for “creative” people to keep the work “creative”. Downside is that the creatives are kind of the inmates we need to protect our client from along with those who make magic with Microsoft Word and Powerpoint (those two “intuitive” layout tools). I think there will be a lot of redo on our parts…of work…peeling apart pdf files in adobe illustrator etc. Hmmm.

Its a cold day today…mild compared to Monday. Shady had a nice romp in the back forty with Elsa (her wonderful border collie friend) and now is conked out under my desk, cuddling with the radiator. The boys are busy finishing the new rooms with Jamie, the electrician, neatly running some new lines for lighting and electrical plug ins.


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

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

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

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


Works by Ganga Devi (1928 – 1991), found in the book Ganga Devi: Traditions and Expressions in Mithila Painting by Jyotindra Jain.

Works by Ganga Devi (1928 – 1991), found in the book Ganga Devi: Traditions and Expressions in Mithila Painting by Jyotindra Jain.
From Wikipedia: “Madhubani painting or Mithila Painting is a style of Indian painting, practiced in the Mithila region of Bihar … and Janakpur in Nepal.”
Jain explains Devi’s non-traditional subject matter:
While she was deeply rooted in the tradition [of Mithila painting], which was a source of inspiration in her work and of courage in her tormented personal life, she was one of the few Mithila artists to respond spontaneously and vigorously to the possibilities offered by the availability of paper in the region [starting in the early 60s]… With the availability of paper, Ganga Devi no longer confined herself to painting the ritual kohbar-ghar and aripan, with their limited vocabulary of symbols and images, but started to investigate the unlimited potential offered by line drawing….
Devi’s position as a preeminent traditional Mithila painter brought her opportunities to travel to Russia, the United States, and Japan…. Moscow Hotel, Festival of American Folk Life, and Ride in a Roller Coaster are examples of how an Indian village artist attempts to mythologize the great contemporary urban symbols of our time. In these paintings Ganga Devi transforms the ordinary commonplace images of hotel facades, motor cars, national flags, ticket-booths, roller-coasters, and people carrying shopping bags into imaginary and ‘fantastic’ objects.


Ganga Devi, Stories of Rama (II), 1977, detail, Hanuman jumping across the oceanIsn’t this work remarkable, modern and clean. Devi can design like no one’s business.The minimal color, the line work, the use of white space and wild detail is considered, planned and so natural. The work just flows. Look at the lovely Monkey God, Haruman, at peace, running complete with a snake in his hand, and the greenery moving out of his way as she speeds by. And in the Madhubani tradition, there are the fish…always the fish confirming fertility.

I found this book on Alibris (affordable!) and have it coming. There are more images that I know we will share in the future from this exceptional artist. It was interesting that chatting with Marc V. today about folk art traditions, I was musing that we really do not have an American folk art tradition and he cleverly pointed out that we are a new culture (200 yrs) and this sort of tradition takes time. Come to think of it, isn’t graffiti a folk tradition? And there are the odd offshoots like Grandma Moses, the PA Germans, Watts Tower, Hobo art….but like our culture, there isnt a single thread….but a multiplicity of them. How many centuries old do we need to be as a culture before we have a national folk style?

Speaking of folk art, and folk style….check out this amazing Czech book posted by the amazing A Journey Around My Skull ( A Forest Story with illustrations by Rudolph Mate (1929)— Very Successionist inspired with wonderful pattern on pattern with basic color as suggested by the simple printing presses. Inspiring. I should google Mates and see what else he has done. This work is gorgeous. I want to see more.

Must go. The phone is ringing. Things need to get done and changed.


New Week

Indian Heads, Q. Cassetti,2011, pen and inkIcy cold today. Ice on the windshield—such that it was hard to see the road. A bit scary as Alex cajoled me while I drove with my head out of the window trying to triangulate on what I could see, pretend I could see and not see at all. Like driving with a shower door between you and the road.

Got a bunch of work done on some pubs today. And got a lovely opportunity for tomorrow to design some bus graphics! First a tractor trailer for the Museum. Then a container for the Museum. Then an airplane for Corning and my other client. And now a promotional bus!

It was dust lockdown central here. The boys were whaling away on a wall (new bathroom and reconfigured storage) in the new princess office area. All sorts of air breaks with tarps and tape, tarps/tape and tacks. It had it’s moments re noise, but it wasn’t anything the mute button on the phone could muffle. I think tomorrow is the end of the dust raising. Then, its rebuilding time.

I put some images up on the Directory of Illustration site (as I bought a page in the book last year and hadn’t taken advantage of the portfolio pages they make available (along with streaming blog and tweets). I think its a pretty robust offering (more expensive but more reach than the iSpot). We will see if it produces.

Tuesday with a great date 1.11.11

Madhubani Garden, Q, Cassetti, 2010, sharpieToday was a big day of showing off. I took the posters down to the Hangar group and showed them the progress we have had in the imagery. I am going to recolor the Ragtime poster( which I am good with) and there was some agitation and sensitivity around the Rocky Horror graphic (a bit too over the top from some)…which I mean, it is Ithaca where people are a bit sensitive about this sort of thing. So, I am good with the input and will work towards making some changes.

Worked on some of the standards for my big client. Interesting to be reviewing from the outside with the lense of someone who will be using these standards. There is good progress. Erich tweaked the grammer and punctuation…and I did the design sweep. It is interesting to anticipate how these standards will be modified, mangled and misunderstood. And, the optimistic side says, think of how wonderful the world will be if one or two of the plethora of agencies out there, if they “get it” and consistency is achieved.

My new furniture (three flat files from Martha Stewart) came late yesterday. Six enormous, heavy boxes are sitting in the hallway. There might be a bit of construction here in the evening.

Need to get Peggy’s valentine done and taxes paid. An evening of parts and pieces to anticipate along with maybe a bit of the snow they are predicting.

Looking over the horizon

More from the Madhubani women artistsIsn’t this the nuts? I mooshed three illustations together just to get it to you. I am dying…this is line times a zillion. What white space? Noodlers unite!

Today is the last day in the office this week, I hope. Rob moved my office yesterday to the old princess bedroom in the wing over the kitchen. It is a quiet haven overlooking the backyard. So I am sitting here with the light streaming in the windows. I have a view of the snow  out back—all golden, purple and blue. It is great not being perched by the front door where the dog yaps yips and barks…constantly jumping up to to the fed ex guy, and all the antics at the door while trying to continue to work. New year, new office and maybe new name (not legal name/ but working name). The new gallery needs to be named too. So they might be linked, or might be more related to the geographic/location.

I made a few quiches last night along with trying out another King Arthur recipe (their Cream Cheese Pound Cake that I “added in” coconut) which used up more stuff from the fridge. The teen eaters devour this stuff (the chocolate cake from Thanksgiving was 90% devoured by the end of day Sunday. Whoa. So, the flour is flowing.

Saturday, we take Kitty back to her other family at Hampshire…healthy, bouncing and well shod (I gave her two pairs of shoes for Xmas)…along with skiis, presents, coats etc. We need to get new phones before too. My old phone spun out with a new iteration of iTunes and couldnt reboot. Sunday we come back. Not much lazing around the woodfired stove for us.

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 ( 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

Sagamore: Day One

We had a great visit with Kitty over the weekend. Saturday, we met her on campus and went to pick up some of the computer stuff we are having repaired in Amherst (great resources at a great prices that we do not have in Ithaca). Then we took her and a friend to the Korean Restaurant to have dinner and catch up.

She is in fine feather—all is right with the world. We are delighted as she has settled and is herself again. Not fretful and finicky (the pronouncement day one that she will need to change dorms) has dissolved and she is loving every minute of work and play that is being handed her way. Surprisingly, her favorite course is the Indian Epic course (The Ramayana) with the Penguin book translator (abridged) as her professor. She cannot get enough of it…and she is reading and recounting, talking about mythology and culture…alll those things that makes me crazy with glee. I love the stories but even more, I love the nutty pictures that depict all this Indian Superhero on steroids type of content. It will be interesting when Kitty gets around to thinking across topics from Indian Epics to animation. This is when the real fire will engage. She was quite pointed about ideas and points of view she has developed over the years on the topic of art which really lights her fire…and she will take no prisoners when it comes to that. So our girl with no opinions might have a few of her own. It is wonderful to see our girl blooming in this new culture of growth, learning, talking, trying. I know its premature, but it feels like great things might happen out of this experience. You all know that I certainly hope it does…but it really has energy behind it.

Yesterday, before our trip, we had breakfast with Kit at Atkins Farms, the wonderful grocery store just across the cornfield from Hampshire College.  They have a great breakfast, plus we get a chance to poke around the store and buy great stuff we cannot get at home…so a gigantic bottle of maple syrup on special, some bee capsules (magic feelgood energy etc…I believe!), some gourmet pancake mix for competitive discussion on a project, and a brine for pork and/or turkeys that came in a really nice, basic foil pillow pouch (two color label on matte silver).  It was nice sitting outside and watching Kitty talk and update us on the wheres and whatfors of her friends and life while watching something go on that we do not have in Central NY (and seems to be a waaaay easy way to fundraise).

Fee: $15. to get a pair of used pants, old shirt and all the hay you can stuff into it. There were hats (fromWilliamsburg Snack Shack, Q. Cassetti, 2010 Oriental Trading Company or the like) for the scarecrow’s head. No huge skills out there for the making and stuffing of these hay beings. And little and big around here cannot get enough of this entertainment. The local fire departments (as posted at the Williamsburg Snack Shack) even get into this holiday offering fun. Lunch was good at the Snack shack. So, this sort of selling seasonal fun hasnt crept into Central New York. People were tying corn sheaves onto their roofracks yesterday along with the odd carrying of these haymen under calm daddies’ arms…limply wiggling, deadweight figures that were a bit eerie in  their likeness….but well worth considering to do in our Tburg Farmers’ Market space.

We visited The National Yiddish Book Center at Hampshire. The Book Center is remarkable from the moment you park in front of the asian inspired facility, framed by beautiful gardens with meaning with comfortable places to park yourself with in the sunshine or in the soft pine woods with adirondack green chairs in a circle around a generous table. There is a pond and an orchard with a garden devoted to Yiddish literature and writers. There are performance spaces that we saw peering in through the windows. Combined with the Eric Carle Museum, the book world, illustration, imagery, photography, storytelling all hugs our little Hampshire giving the students an amazing source for their own work, their own stories, their own images and illustrations.

Sagamore Rooftops from our room, Q. Cassetti, 2010We drove across Massachusetts and up 87(?) to poke into the Adirondacks at Exit 23. It was a beautiful blue green drive with golden light and trees beginning to turn. There were ski gondolas as lawn ornaments the minute we turned off. The drive was inspired into and up the mountains to arrive at Sagamore just in time for dinner, a gathering of all the interesting people on the Museumwise board and then cold, cold sleep.

Today has given us blue skies and a cool day. I am surrounded by historians, curators, conservators, preservationists, organizers and planners. It is a most wonderful group of active minds, passionate about their topics, their work, their learning, this group. There is such vibrancy that there are glimmers of the travel with Hartford and Syracuse. I have needed some time to think and reflect. As much as I have brought project work to do, which I will do, it is nice to have an expanse of time to think, to do, to draw. Tonight there is a “meet up” at the Adirondack Museum (which I love)—and more ideas and interesting people.

One more thing>> take a look at this>> the Eye Fi>> too cool for school.

Back at the Headquarters

Back from Danville. Nice drive through the changing countryside with trees beginning to turn, and fog in the valleys. Little peeks of the sky, with sculpted clouds and turkeys in the field. There are some really cute little towns like Dushore with a big pond in the middle of town and a cluster of old buildings, agriculturally inspired real estate. Meetings were good yesterday--and am happy to back at the headquarters today. Farmer's Market here in Tburg--so maybe a little trip is in order later this afternoon.

Been sporadically reading bits and pieces of "Indian Painting from Cave Temples to the Colonial Period" by Joan Cummins, MFA Publications,©2006, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Its great--addressing this stylish art with the author getting into the various aspects of the Indian style, how it changes according to geographic area, the use of Hindu reference and symbols, and the sheer way the picture frame is used and described. The imagery of trees and flowers, fish and birds, beasts and gods (and snakes!) is a great reference for this Garden of Eden work. I love the palette and the use of white space. Sometimes its wall to wall decoration, others, its a figure in a color field with a top bar or a border. The figures are as styled as the Egyptians, with a treatment in profile, three quarters view and heads on, with a really great way of handling hands and feet. If you actually tried to stand as these Indian figures do, you might just fall down. Its important to be a paperdoll to be in this mode. Its a nice counterpoint to read how Cummins interprets the images and understand how she breaks the picture and style apart. It is a prompt for me to think about these ideas to impose on my emerging body of work. The indian work and the byzantine styles are beginning to fold into themselves in my head with shifts and changes in content, palette, line treatment. Keeping going for Vin. Color comp due Monday. I am going to take it until Monday to see what emerges.

Lunch is here. Its a Christmas afternoon.