Midsummer's day.

Some people celebrate midsummer with parties and bonfires, interesting food and family gathering. We celebrate midsummer with a four day long fest, the Grassroots Festival at our fairgrounds. We celebrate community--with pre-Roots events (a wonderful concert with gumbo at the Rongo this year!), discussions, projects and the close review of the schedule of events by the regulars to pencil in their auditory path of the four days. The tribe comes into town, lining the roads with cars--from Wednesday before the festival through Sunday...and even stragglers until mid week the week following the fest. The non approved vendors set up by the grocery store to sell wide brimmed straw hats, tie dyed anything, and iced cream. Parking becomes a way that the locals, the high school and other non-profits can make a little money to offset the eighth grade trip or personal projects. The gigantic stack outs, the "wall of beer" is found at any grocery store or gas station near the fairgrounds. The air throbs with sound all night and day. Rob and Alex are heavily partaking of the festival, while I work on projects, read and savor the midsummery time. Here we are...the top of the year and often the hottest week of the year--with longer, and colder days happening from this week on. It is the week of raspberries and onions, spinach and the promise of tomatoes and corn.

Alex is home for the festival and is actively delighting in everything from his work, his friends, his new sense of what he can do, what he can accomplish, what he is able to change and affect. He is ready to be in his final year of school. He is at the right level of "baking". Rob has been full bore at the festival from the prebuild of the new bathroom building to the music and full days of friends, visiting and dancing. I delight that he enjoys this so much.

I have a new PT, Ms. Jessie who is, with her gentle, long hands...is whaling on this new ankle...and though I am crippled after her kind ministrations, am getting more mobility, more bending, more ability and interestingly, less pain, after her hard work. Jim has gone on to Duke/UNC for a fellowship and post-graduate work in physical therapy. So, though Gentleman Jim has moved on, I have a treasure in Jessie. Twice a week, no  less.

Happy Birthday #1 Q. Cassetti, 2015 Adobe Illustrator

Happy Birthday #1
Q. Cassetti, 2015
Adobe Illustrator

I am starting a body of work called "Happy Birthday". I found that I was creating some pictures around Happy Birthday, so I figured I would "let it out" a bit...to see where this could go with the little machines and various forms of transportation that seems to be popping up just in my work. So, you will see more of these just to spice up the summer..and to get the gears going for me. It has been a long spell of staleness--and I have to begin to move the needle as I am bereft of not having a topic to think and stew over. There are cakes, and candy, and international traditions here. if anything, I can learn something, and we can see if a card or two evolve. If anything, the pursuit of greasy noses, colorful heads, Brazilian lollypops, pinatas,  or candles burning all day long, sugar roses and "party hats"might yield some fun images. Plus the idea that time is moving is interesting too.

"Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!"   Dr. Seuss

I have been inking a ton of apples these days--inspired by midcentury modern. Apples, pears, slices, seed stars, textures...and they have been applied to a logotype for the Finger Lakes Cider Alliance. There have been some cute offerings emphasizing Alliance, emphasizing cider, emphasizing Finger Lakes. Let's see what they go for....I am hoping no Finger Lakes Wiggly worms...as it has no currency outside of the area...but hey. Additionally, I have posted some of  my logotypes to this page and will add as I go (there are a ton more, but this gets you going). I think a page of labels might be great too. Now now, but soon.


Advent Day Twelve, 2011

Advent Day Twelve, Q. Cassetti 2011, pen and inkJust back from taking Jacob back to the amazing, truly amazing CCFL (Community College of the Finger Lakes). Finger Lakes is in Canandaigua—and is in construction —with new, great big buildings—a new performance space and a series of apartment buildings for the students. From talking with Jacob, they seem to be missing a bit with the social piece for the students. The classes and the level of instruction Jacob is getting sounds amazing. He is studying music, private jazz guitar classes, a writing/music class, a comedy analysis class, and bio and chemistry.  He is looking forward to moving to Genesseo. I am glad to have put my eyes on CCFL as its an impressive facility. I wonder if they have illustration? Any reason to drive on scenic route 20, to take in the fields, the farms, the livestock and the stacked piles of cabbages is worth considering. I just adore Rt. 20.  A treat.

We had Jacob for the weekend with a big friend night Friday (musicians) and big friend night Saturday (3 Alex(c)s, 1 Jacob and 1 Joseph) with food for many, breakfast for a crowd and endless dishes. We hung out with the youngers, did some cooking and prepping. Alex had the ACT on Saturday…brutal might be the right word to capture how it was. Food and sleep helped that a bit.

Jacob joins us this Friday as part of the here, not here and back here winter break. Kitty will be here Monday/Tuesday next week. Her play is done, and I am sure she is busy wrapping up the semester, her projects and work. It really moves too quickly this time of year.

Both boys are out this evening with practices and meetings so I can catch up with work, with wrapping, with addressing. Tons to do and the time closes in.


Green Man 19, Q. Cassetti 2011, pen and inkKitty got the pleasure of travelling to NYC with Rob today. They will have 2 days and an overnight which is very exciting for both of them. She was all decked in her new look complete with her new “vintage” Dooney and Burke black and brown bag, her new oxfords and black pants, and stripes to complement the whole thing.

I got Alex to his running this a.m. and then back for Jacob. I managed to send the cooked down tomatoes through the food mill and am allowing it to set up and settle before I put it in plastic bags for the freeze. The chicken for Saturday is thawing so I can marinate in advance. Tonight blueberry cakes to be baked. Tomorrow a.m.—flower picking and great bowls of cherry tomatoes for a salad to be made for the crew. I need to buy corn from Rick up the hill as well as cantaloupe and other melons.  Thank goodness for the bounty of the wonderful produce we have right now. Makes the entertaining so much more pleasant.

So the prep begins. Alex and I are going to buy nuts and chips, dips and dots, cream cheese and butter, vinegar and dishwashing powder.  Bagels will need to be purchased closer to Sunday. I can do a mess of cutting and prepping in advance.

It was a big light show last night waking me up before the thunderboomers rolled down the lake. Weather.com projected the storm to hit Sheldrake at exactly 3:24 a.m. and dang, it did. A bit torrential at times, but leaving us with a damp day. It’s a bit drizzly, so poor Alex may be running in the rain. He was so thoughtful about running in the rain, talking about how he settles into getting used to it and finding pleasure as you warm up in the cool rain. I love how Alex thinks—in a poetic, kind and very centered way. He and I had a nice chat together—and I must admit, I am looking forward to being a pair again with Kitty going back to school. I like us together when he doesn’t have to compete with the high jinx we gals get up to.

Today, I need to wrap up a few sketch projects, do a bit of image research and send some emails. The little Greek Owl to the left is some of the reference I am going to for my little Philomathic owl poster. I have always loved these little guys—their vacant look and all the tremendous detail in the wings and head. Yesterday’s image was the beginning of this little process—so you should see a few of these images before I settle on one. At least 8 of em just to get the look nailed…and giving me the lovely time of drawing with ink on my gorgeous new watercolor book.

I need to get going on making my virtual roladex to share at Sagamore and some writing (I was asked to help write as the requestor likes my “voice”). I cannot imagine anyone liking this shrill voice…but surprisingly, I am getting a handle on what I want to say—so it might not be as hard as I thought initially.

Fall on the Horizon

GreenMan in Nature, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and inkWe have had guitars and drums early in the morning today that I had to squelch as my poor clients cannot operate with the crash bang noise in our background while we attempt to communicate with them. Then darn it, but Time Warner pulls the plug—so while I am midstream with a client on a topic…and there is silence with all the lights on the phone…on. So, I phoned on my cell and apologized for this tech wiggle. Must be in the air. But thankfully, Baka has the Tower of Power….so maybe that will be good/great by the end of the week. There is hope.

Its wool undershirt weather. It is chilly to say the least. Sweaters are in order and the green in the trees have changed to olive. Fall is on the horizon just as the big sculptural clouds we have on the horizon each night. I think it should be a pleasant weekend for our CMU guests though swimming might not be in the cards. I have got to get some things made and readied for the dinner on Saturday. Feels like we will have around 20 (plus or minus)—so I need to get the right amount of nice chicken out of the freeze to marinate in Cornell Chicken sauce. Two blueberry cakes. A salad, Rick’s Corn, and maybe some tabouli with feta. I have got to figure out what we are offering for breakfast (sounds like bagels with…cheese, cream cheese, freezer jam, and maybe some salmon?). I see a trip to Ithaca in the offing.

All the summer workers are migrating back to school. Lunch is no longer a competitive activity.

I have pubs to do. Portraits to do. Work to do. I was saddened that the two dual portraits (of a farmer and cow, boy and chicken) will not be used in packaging. That project was deep sixed. And that was really hard work (only 3 colors of grey and black to give a complete grey range that is believable). Tough going.

I am working on the Sagamore hour. I woke up this morning with a better grip on what I am going to do…show how good planning and great resources can create a leadership image for pennies using the farming work I have done for Wide Awake and Farmer Ground. I think I will talk about image programs and templates (designed well and easliy implementable by the client). I will give them my virtual rolladex (a backslash on my site) for all my great resources (to do soon). I am feeling like there is traction here. I love waking up with solutions left on my mental table, all figured out cleanly and focused. What a miracle our little chemical machine of a brain is….presenting us with gifts when we least expect it. I am so lucky!

Recycled soup awaits.


Greenman 8, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and inkIts been a quiet weekend rolling into a very busy and productive week. We had some folks for dinner (Alex and Jacob’s friends and our friend, Bruce). We did a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I slept, read terribly trashy books and chilled. I am surprised how tired I had been, so I got a little spring in my step along with some general laundry doing and little cooking. I had the hope of blueberry picking and maybe raspberries too, but the pillow beckoned and other planes of fun filled with steam punkery won.

Love the Steam Punk thing. Love the fusion of old technology with advanced biology. The fusion of the world of Dinotopia (James Gurney) along with that of Charles Dickens and all the fingers and threads that draw them together. Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve is a wonderful example of this sort of book. The next, Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeldl, pits the Darwinists against the Klinks (those mechanically driven) and fuse it with the socio-political environment of Europe prior to World War 1. Trashy. Yes. Brain absorbing. Yes. A mental vacation. Absolutely.

Kitty worked.  Alex chilled until Sunday when he went over to Geneva to stay and visit with a dear friend and his family (who he adores).

Tonight, I need to leave ON TIME as we are going to the Finger Lakes Community College’s outdoor concert space (CMAC) to see Wiz Khalifa and Girl Talk. I love Greg Gillis, Pittsburgher and Girl Talk( from the CMAC website):

Celebrating 10-plus years of sample-obsessed production and relentless touring, Gregg Gillis returns with All Day, his fifth album as Girl Talk, and his most epic, densely layered, and meticulously composed musical statement to date. Continuing the saga from the previously acclaimed albums, Night Ripper and Feed The Animals, Gillis lays down a more diverse range of samples to unfold a larger dynamic between slower transitions and extreme cut-ups. With the grand intent of creating the most insane and complex “pop collage” album ever heard, large catalogs of both blatantly appropriated melodies and blasts of unrecognizable fragments were assembled for the ultimate Girl Talk record (clocking in at 71 minutes and 372 samples). 

Since the release of Feed The Animals, things have flourished for Girl Talk. He’s played almost 300 shows and hardly taken a full week off from hitting the road. He’s playing even larger venues and making even more of a spectacle—he’s employed a small crew of toilet paper launching stage hands, who also propel confetti, balloons, and inflate oddly chosen props into the audience. For the New Year’s Eve show to ring in 2010, a team was hired to build a life-size house, with attention to fine details, on the stage at Chicago’s Congress Theatre. Described as the craziest house party ever, Girl Talk continues to please live audiences as the mass of sweaty bodies at his shows continually grows. Touring highlights from the last couple of years include the Vancouver Olympics, large festivals such as Coachella, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, V-Fest, Sasquatch, Rothbury, Monolith, Planeta Terra, and trips to Australia, Japan, South America, Europe, and Mexico. 

Earlier this year, Girl Talk finally took a break from touring, festival dates, and college shows, in order to create an album that is being released immediately after its completion. While posting the album as a free download on the Illegal Art label’s site allows All Day to reach his fanbase quickly and with minimal cost, Gillis spent more time on this album than any previous release and considers it the most fully realized and evolved manifestation of the Girl Talk aesthetic

More later.

The Green Man 3, Q. Cassetti, Pen and ink manipulated in Adobe Photoshop CS5It turns out to be cool and breezy today. As we have easily 7-10 for lunch this summer, I am worrying about food more than I normally do. The pork butts at the store beckoned, so I have pulled pork in process (crock pot) for the tribe…and I am busy thinking volume, volume, volume. Pasta and big vats of some sort of soup or starch. The eating tribe includes 6 men, and 3 women… So t he trips to the grocery stor are ceaseless.

As you can see, I am on a Green Man jag. Its an interesting process to generate a foliage inspired face. More on that front.

The day is getting away from me. Gottago.

Summer dreams

StarGazing, Q. Cassetti, 2010, vectorHere we are in Sheldrake with the day lilies brilliant by the side of the road. It is the time of ebullient sweet peas in masses, curling and twisting themselves in the greenery and down by the shore. It is breezy and definitely summery— that sweet spot I remember on dark and snowy February days and whisper to myself that  the time would be coming for breezes and the tonic of lake water and blue skies. And, we have sunsets dwindling at 10 p.m. with the sketching of pink reminding us of the slow burn of the sun.

New things on the local front. First and foremost, celeriac. Yup. celeriac! Our Sweet Land Farm often has a tub of it to pick from, so last week to amuse Kitty who adores the mandrake quality of alll the rootiness of this root, I grabbed two, determined to make something, I have discovered that if my friends are at the market, then we have a chance that someone is a champ with daikon, celeriac or kale (not part odd my local mis en place). So after quizzing a few moms who are good cooks, I dove into making a cold soup of celeriac, cucumber, potato and onion. Remarkable and very complex and herb ally  delicious. I fed it to the corporate lunch table to good results. More this week. Bring on the kale and Swiss chard!

 Also, I have been honored to be asked to on the Tburg farmers market board. It should be interesting as it is in it’s infancy and is ready for the next steps of programming and public awareness. The Wednesday market is wonderful and embraced by many with our Tburg musicians, chefs and farmers there to make Wednesday evenings more jolly. I have been charmed to see groups of scouts congregating there for ceremonies. We could have community dish to passes or bring back the summer movie fun of a few years ago. Our new bandstand is perfect for a summer wedding…with tables under the roofs for the reception. Maybe a permanent puppet theatre / child  mini farmers market too? Something new to ideate about. I can see a posters or something illustrative!

Part of this momentary peace comes from drawing and reading. I had to stop drawing a few weeks for a project, however, I am in the warm up phase, looking for my topic again. I have jet downloaded some fiction along with listening to the newest from the author of The Devil and The White City. A miasma of sleep, books, and my imaginary world with my ink pens. Dreamy!

1 hr. portrait v.2

Liz, from the I hr. portrait series 2011,Q. Cassetti, 2011, Adobe Illustrator CS5I am becoming a disciple of the Vonster and his work methods in Vector Basic Training. He is such an organized illustrative designer, that his work is accurate, well planned and thought out, and drawn within an inch of its life. I toted the book with me on our chores yesterday and dipped into the chapters waiting for hair to be cut, rides to be coordinated.

As you can see from the left, I am working away at one hour portraits really taking 1 hour. Nix the shading, nix the complexity. Paths, blob brush and eraser are the Adobe Illustrator modes in play here. Liz truly took less than an hour. Yes, some of the curves could be a bit nicer, and more tone could have found their way into the image…but the clock was key here. More vixens and others to come. Chops building.

Alex is packing for two weeks of Ithaca College Summer Music Academy while playing the piano and the unamped bass. Kitty is off in the world of fashionable thifting. Rob is working on village things so I have a moment to say hi. After we drop Alex off, our hope is to hear Eilen Jewel play at the Sheldrake Point Winery. Eilen Jewel is a great talent that we all love—and to have her in our back yard is an extra YEAH!

The week ahead beckons. Lots to do so I will not be counting raindrops or measuring the grass as it grows. As an aside, one of my apple trees which I thought had died, is sprouting green stuff at the bottom, so my heart leaps as one is still good. The caged cherries flourish albeit the tops are eaten by those varmints (deer). There will be cherries to be picked for cherry pies (the Amish celebrate wedding breakfasts with sour cherry pies) for all of the new couples who will be married here in the most perfect spot in New York State. Time to start baking!

Vector Methodology

Portrait Project, Q. Cassetti, 2011 Adobe Illustrator CS5Working on a series of quick portraits. The one to the left is a work in progress (the nose needs to be quieted down) and the neck needs to just go to white and more swanny. Right now, its kind of a mess. But as this has limited time on the clock…I will amend later.  This is a good exercise as the process needs to be worked with in order to keep my eye in. I think this is it for today…and I will start another tomorrow against my friend the clock.

I am throughly enjoying Von Glitschka’s book:

 Vector Basic Training: A Systematic Creative Process for Building Precision Vector Artwork (Voices That Matter)

I generally like tech books…but this one could almost be termed as ‘Yummy!”. Glitschka is focused on good file building, using the tools, power commands, actions, and setting up your document to allow the work to flow and not to be stuck looking to click on things or pulldown. He drives the work to be more fluid, more accurate, more streamlined while recognizing the scrap that accumulates on the left and right of the final art.

AND, its not all about working on the computer. Von Glitschka is very emphatic about designers and illustrataors to keep drawing to develop designs, layouts and images.  He introduces his techniques and tools—driving the designer/illustrator to go back and thumbnail until the idea is exhausted. He uses a 2B pencil, ballpoint and mechanical pencil. I am a bit messier using verithin photoblue, ultra fine sharpie or verithin red pencil, and then ink, ink ink. But its the same layered drawing to make a final to work from.

I highly recommend this book to any student or working designer or illustrator…let alone any visual artist as his work methods are tried and true, and help you to work in an organized and efficient way. How often is methodology laid out so clearly for graphic designers and illustrators? Thanks to Von Glitschka, we have this tome to reference. I like it so much, I have it on my iPad and have a hard copy coming as I think I need both.


Red Floral, Q. Cassetti, 2011, Adobe Illustrator CS5Feeling so happy that I have crashed through my creative barrier and have gotten the first blush of my project done  to see where we stand…what we hate? what we love? where we could lean a bit more…what could go away. I am always reticent to edit grandly as there may be stuff I weed out that the client loves as taste and perception is so personal and I admit, I always like the odd stuff. Always. I am always quick to apologize for liking the “wrong” solution…but maybe that has to do that I like the wrong colors, and have a skew that is not quite the same as the rest of the world.

Vector Basic Training: A Systematic Creative Process for Building Precision Vector Artwork (Voices That Matter) by Von Glitschka is front of mind for me. I am only in the second chapter but am charmed by how Mr. Glitschka peels back the mystery of the vector down to who Mr. Bezier was and how the curve was created mathematically to the delight of all of us that despair of numbers and figures. I love the author’s fearless writing style combined with his honesty on his likes and dislike/hates of the software. I hope I can get to another chapter today as he is building my confidence to try more things which are surprisingly speedy and fun. There have been some cool plugins that Glitschka recommends: Xtreme Path and Vector Scribe. Vector Scribe is something I am going to take a peek at when I have a chance.

Illustrator/ Photoshop /Ink

New Process happening…and I am liking it.

Allow me to torture you by sharing what I am doing…as I believe in full disclosure, no secrets…and if there is anything I can share to make your work go further, better, faster…I am more than happy to collaborate.

First, I am doing ink drawings (keeping the “hand” in the work). Scanning them in at high resolution (600-1000 dpi). I retouch them/clean the drawings up in Photoshop (brush/eraser/paths) to make them a bit less wiggly and “I drew this messy thing in my sketchbook”. Nice and clean. Then, I res that image up to be at least 70 MB (in “Image Size”). I make a workpath and export to paths. Photoshop is done (for now). I open the path in Illustrator and clean that up (pathfinder and paths) and then I start working into the new vector “inked” illustration.  More real drawing…feels less mechanical and moves surprisingly a bit faster. Simple. Plain. Done.

I get drawn forms and feeling, but lay in the detail with vectors. Faster, truer and really nice. I am delighted.

I am slugging away on a fun project and feel like finally, just finally, I am getting some traction.

Today, I am hoeing out my stuff…wheat from chaff. Keep versus Sals. Exciting? Right? I have a book on tape to keep me amused. Kitty is working. Alex is hanging. And, best thing of all, Rob is home (our Father’s Day present). So, a bit of spring cleaning and coffee. A bit of picture making…and then our wonderful boy is back. Hurray!

Delighted with Dribbble!

Kitty picking at Sweet Land CSA 06.17.2011I was just asked/invited to be part of Dribbble- a very cool visual networking site that allows creatives to show what they are working on in a very small image to be shared by the community. You enter as a rookie unable to do anything but vote and gather a little community of followers. Hopefully, one of the followers will ask you to become more than that, A Prospect (that is where I am). Being a Prospect means you can upload images, add comments etc. to others work, create folders or buckets along a theme you like. Pretty cool. New way to get the work out there to a new community. I think there are tweet buttons and facebook buttons so once again, you can link and link and link using those filaments of ideas to thread through other online communities you participate in.

And, thanks to following Von Glitschka on Twitter, I found this (and so much more as he is an amazing illustrator and a thought influencer).

Von Glitschka (aka The Vonster) is a writer, illustrator, teacher and veritable go to guy for illustrator stuff. His website refers to him as an illustrative designer (which is another way of framing up the hybrid state I find myself in). He is generous with his knowledge from his books, to his free tutorials, and now free artwork he creates on his iPad (blog, Drawsigner Blog ). He is an inspiration insofar as his work, his reach, his engagement in the online world of living, sharing and expanding his reach. His book, Vector Basic Training, is on my list of things to study to take on better process and thinking around my own vector work. He is funny and cute in his work without any sweetness. His patterns are sublime…as are the tracings he uses underneath. His work is well designed and considered before he puts his hand to the vectorizing.

More later.

Back to Fraktur

Drawing (Variety of Birds),Decorator: Anonymous [School of Johann Adam Eyer (active c. 1790-1820)] Free Library of PhiladelphiaI had a great meeting with a new company, Topography about their image/identity. Greg Kops and Danielle Klock are actively engaged in critical thinking around communications (the broad field from print, to digital media through to products and services). They come at this information in a new way, a distinctly focused on results and data along with the linguistics, and perceptions of their clients through the lense of the web. It was fascinating to hear them talk about the things that they know and practice—and particularly, they will be helping me to better understand my engagement in digital media and communications, and how best to harness and understand the power of what I am doing. Right now, its shooting in a barrel for me. Best to know at least what is in the barrel and whether it is, what I think it is. I am now more seriously engaged in gathering data from Google Analytics…and trying to push all of my tweets and blog writings to as many places as I can aggregate this information. This should be an interesting process getting to know Greg and Danielle for their company as well as the eQ. (or is it IQ?).

Reward of Merit (Belohnung),Decorator: Anonymous Decorator: ca. 1820 - ca. 1840 , Free Library of PhiladelphiaI am back at the font of inspiration, The Free Libaray of Philadelphia’s Fraktur Collection (note image posted) for a project I am working on. I keep coming back to the birds, the leaves and the iconography that these inspired people used. I love the beautiful palette of soft color combined with the lyrical line and child like story telling that is used. They are symmetry crazed like me. Hmm. There are some ideas brewing goaded on by the remarkable Fraktur artist, and itinerant calligrapher, school teacher David Kulp (1777-1834) or the rich and pure hymnal illlustrations from the Ephrata Community.

I am struggling with stripping the detail out of my imagery…but keeping something to make it less like big graphic shapes (which I have done a bunch with)…So I have changed sketchbook size (smaller) to work closer to  the sketch size which forces me to strip out detail as there just isnt space for all of the tiger teeth etc. I just need to keep at it.

I hope Kitty will work with me today. I have a mailing she can help with. Alex is busy with tests and a tryout for Jazz chorus for next year. Tomorrow is our pick up at the great CSA. Maybe Saturday will be a strawberry picking fest to freeze a bunch for now and later. We are loving the frozen raspberries from last summer. The strawberries will be a gift too. Totally worth the effort now.