Brilliant Shadows, blue on the snow in the bright light. It is quiet and mild (unlike last night when the light snow continued apace). The weather rumors say that we are up for a big snow tonight through Tuesday, so we will see. We have plenty of coffee and milk, so we can hole in for a few days.
Just got off the phone with my little glimmer of light, Kitty. She is in fine form thrilled with everything, her social life, her studies and the new add to her whirl, contra dancing. She is charmed (and I am sure charming). We went through the people, places and things…and things have changed a bit to make her happier as there is more fun in her life. As I am her mom, I want the best for her and from her…and I hope she is keeping pointed in the right directions and stays on center for her work, her studies, her self discovery.
We had overnight guests which was fun. I made some quiche and we hung out and talked. Rob and group went to Ithaca for the Chili cook off—and have gracefully left me to write, layout my new cover for 3x3, and get more branding work done for our client (all due 4/6).
I am a bit panic’ed so….
Need to get rolling.
Its 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.
I love it that Elvis gave his band members his favorite insider initials: TCB (taking care of business) belt buckles and all sorts of other stuff with those initials on it. Today is a TCB day. We were up early to get Alex to the bus for a track meet. Then it was getting to the desk (for me) to kick it into gear for this new small client, fast job. I am a bit paniced (like I normally am with someone I do not know)… but what is coming off the wacom is good… solid… not high risk, but easily something to show to a client pretty immediately.
As an interesting aside, this client was googling Alexander Girard and found me in that search online. Remember the Girard jag for a short time last summer. I guess these sidebar jags are not a waste of time as sometimes they are beckons for new work. I love the way this cyber info world works.
Another something to better understand is Dribbble (three bs please). You know that I am a fan of Behance as it is a visual arts networking site where one can post portfolios, projects etc and get direct feedback. Behance has gotten me in front of all sorts of people who might not run across my work. It has gotten me noticed and recognition has come my way from that. Dribbble is another site I think that has promise. Dribbble says this about themselves” “Dribbble is show and tell for creatives. Designers, developers and other creatives shareshots—small screenshots of the designs and applications they are working on.” You are nominated to be a player on Dribbble by either other players or by one’s involvement with the site. I like it that its simple onesie screen shots…and a way to share. Cool. I hope I can become a player (for real)….Take a look. Your thinking?
My valentines showed up from the wonderful Pioneer Printing (Lodi). I have a gold foil stamped smooth card (one side) with a kraft envelope with teensy bodoni centered on the square flap. Rob wanted to know what I thought of my card, curious as this one is a bit sweeter than I usually do. I will be curious to know from those of you on my list, as to whether it is too sweet or not… I am pleased with the stamping, but this job points up the need to do much simpler work, or even smaller on the page as the foil really is quite commanding. I stuffed some of them last night with more tonight, and then labelling during the Superior Bowl. I guess I will not be cooking but ordering a pizza for the boys to keep pup with the stuff that needs to be done.
Tonight is the Snowball at the High School. Alex and date are going to dinner (we pick up and deliver)..and then the dance. Tomorrow Alex has skiing. Rob has work. I have more design work…dig in…and get in front of it for the next week.
More later, I hope.
This is a line drawing from my notebook. It is inspired by the Madhubani artist, Ganga Devi, her work, her use of line, and her strong design use of black and white. This was drawn in verithin blue line, then inked in with a sharpie pen on the large format Moleskine book. Then, it is scanned into the computer (600 dpi) and manipulated in photoshop with chunks of reversed out art slid into replacing the positive spaces with dark/reversed shapes.
I do not know where these pictures are coming from. Automatic writing these days. Yes, the trigger was fusing Laylah Ali with the work and spirit of Ganga Devi and this wigged stuff is just emerging. The mean little teeth, the skeptical bigger figure, and the fawning little figures. Looks to me that I need more medication and counseling. What is this all about? I like the pattern, the big shapes, and the grouping of the the heads. So, as my hand keeps moving and I keep making these automatic drawings, we will see what happens. I must admit, once the drawings are done, I do splice pieces of a reversed image of the drawing into the line drawing (in Photoshop) to give the image more weight and interest. I have posted both the plain image and the enhanced here>> So, keep posted. There is more.
Just finished posting work to the 3x3 Professional Show (due March). We will see what happens. I sent a collection of Advent images, Home Sweet Home, a collection of Bees, and some singletons. Now, I need to finalize the article/images etc. for the 3x3 article. I should enter the next Creative Quarterly. I have gotten out of the habit of applying…and its such a beautiful book.
Things are heating up on a big project for my client. We have deadlines within sight..and its getting scary and exciting all at the same time.
Oh, here’s something else. Sticker Guy, is an amazing resource I found in Los Angeles (reading the stickers on dumpsters, no kidding)—as they have really great inexpensive black and white/ or black white and red stickers that the extreme guys use (surf companies, skateboard companies etc) to make a zillion simple stickers to tag the world with. I got their recent offerings and pricing and was blown off my chair. Here it is if you need/want that sort of thing>>
Alex and Rob are home. The whitestuff didn’t drop the way we expected though there is ice and not nice roads. So, we will have a crowd for lunch today.
I picked up Alex at Cornell last night after his run at Barton Hall, the huge indoor track facility with hundreds of running, jumping, vaulting, throwing teenagers actively competing for placement and teams. Facebook told me that Tburg did well for both girls and boys for schools their size (first, I think). The winding dark drive up through the campus and then scooting around to get to route 96 was interesting…but Alex and I got home when Rob did, so we could all go to have dinner at the Rongo. We were delighted to run into a mess of people we knew along with a former classmate of Kitty’s, Josh Head on microphone with a band.
This morning it was quiet. Snow is gently coming down which is pleasant because unlike everyone on the east coast, we have not been socked by the white stuff, so we are still charmed. Its really missing the snow that is more pressing for all of us. All the animals are on their hot spots, immobile and waiting (probably for the tinkling of kibble hitting their bowls). I made three desserts (two to take to an event) and one (a key lime pie) exclusively for my big eating son. It was nice to make these confections with the making almost being rote….after the week of doing and talking.
I am busy looking at QR codes. I havent gotten obsessive about it…but now that they have a name and use, and I have a reader on my phone, I am actively looking for them. If the QR code is not the next wave of sending/relating information bridging print with electronic media, then something like it is on the way. Imagine a QR exhibit with QR codes at every object with either a video, a voice/podcast, or a related object/photograph to broaden the reach and experience at the show. Or, imagine a menu with QR codes for each object which you could access the chef talking about each dish or a list of ingredients for the guest to read. What about a QR code for your resume…It takes the click out of the equation and instead of remembering long strings of urls, it becomes a point and shoot. The Rongo had a “Google Favorite Places” QR code by the door> More of this on the horizon.
Tomorrow Alex has skiing. Rob and I have study hall.
Working 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.
Isn’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.
Here is a collection of Madhubani illustration to cut through the grey day and burn some color into the back of our brains. Don’t you love the line work to the left with the flat hits of red in the background and the smattering of yellow in the detail. The black and tones of grey pulled out of the line work is so lacy and beautiful and can really stand up to the solid hit of red in the background. Totally inspiring. Now, the snakeman to the right, second image! With the floaty happy bubbleheads, the inverted lotus/loti and the waves to suggest either the wind blowing or the water flowing. And the white wiggly pattern juxtaposed against the black and white heavy dot patter that is either a snake or a boat or a mat that the god and goddess are sitting on. Again, more crazy fish and turtles just for fun. These artists should have been paid by the line as they would become very rich. In my search, I disovered a wonderful blog, A Journey Around My Skull with an entry authored by Will Schofield “Riding the Roller Coaster with Ganga Devi” (February 22, 2010). Schofield shows us and speaks to work from a remarkable Madhubani painter, Ganga Devi (1928-1991) with her interpretations of the Madhubani tradition which then stretched to be interpreting the world as Devi saw it. She painted rollercoasters, ticket booths and national flags. Take a look. Her work is extrordinary technically and as an eastern vision of our crazy western life. Another nod to Will Schofield who links to an amazing posting of Folk Art Books from india….I am crazy with jealousy over the works he was sent by Tara Books….
Take a look.
Alex is off to sing this evening. Rob is in..but the next few nights will be out with Museum business. I think tonight I will make dinner and some cupcakes for the work team. They have had modest lunches (leftovers) for the past few days and I havent done anything for them that is nice. So cupcakes and some new soup would be good.
There is a ton of publication work to do here. I am catching up slowly. Had a nice chat with Joe Sepi at Pioneer who (angel) is going to test my valentine with a series of foils (I wanted copper…he suggested others) so I can get it done. He said we would see it early next week. I need to get the photo stuff moving for the 3x3 article. I need more stuff added to the website to enliven that work too. Seems stale and old.
Its cold here. The cats have all found their hot spots on the floors and have not moved. Shady is odd as she wants to protect me in my office, but hates the plastic surround that is there to keep the dust from moving in the new space. She tentatively steps through the airlocks, painfully looking back at me as if to chide me for forcing her to pursue this uncomfortable and odd labyrith. The new bathroom and room have been defined by uprights today…and there is no abstraction to the new spaces. All seems pretty real and realized. This one is a big change with relatively small moves.
I am feel a whisker better. I couldnt really breathe yesterday…and was choking and coughing like a nut. But I slept a little bit better and took some over the counter pharmaceuticals which seemed to open my head up a bit. Alex is home feeling bad as is Rob. Its in the water…or at least the air.
However, got a bunch of stuff off my desk so I could do the same today to get ready for the onslaught. I got a nice email from the new team of folks at the Baker Institute for Animal Health to talk projects/process etc. which is nice as you never know when the people change and whether the work I have done has any lasting value than the last administration. Good news. We will see.
Did a bit of research on Madhubani art. Interesting note here:
“The origins of Madhubani painting or Mithila painting are shrouded in antiquity, and a tradition states that this style of painting originated at the time of the Ramayana, when King Janak commissioned artists to do paintings at the time of marriage of his daughter, Sita, to Hindu god Lord Ram. Madhubani painting has been done traditionally by the women of villages around the present town of Madhubani (the literal meaning of which is forests of honey) and other areas of Mithila. The painting was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud wall of huts, but now it is also done on cloth, hand-made paper and canvas.”
Note the honey is part of this program too! I think this interesting image to the left, the amazing tight crop, the happy eye floating amongst polka dots, flowers and stripes with a total abandon and happiness. Look at the wiggily eye, the solids and line…no shading, no mystery added.
Gloria has left us after a few weeks here in TBurg—back to Southern California, her horse and friends. Seemed like a quick visit, but good for her to connect back up with friends and family and parents. The team is nudging a new tub into Kitty’s soon to be finished bathroom (Yay!). It is amazing that the house is beginning to be a bit more wrapped up than ever…with projects finshing, the exterior touched in every spot…without any reference to the slummy aspects of the house. The new projects are moving the needle significantly—but in the tuning of the life in this historical house versus function or no function. More later. I leave youwith pattern!
Long day yesterday. In the car most of it… We got Kitty tricked out with food and drugstore stuff with productive trips to Target and Whole Foods. Wow. If only we had one here in Itown (Whole Foods that is). Sure is the Museum of the Organic Lifestyle. Pricey but inspired buying, inspired display, and a complete grasp of what their customer is looking for. I was intrigued by the packaging we saw in the babyfood aisle—foil packets and these flat packages with sealable spouts (which really makes trash to go in the landfill…so environmentally, maybe not the message they are trying to get across. Yes, there is less, but it doesnt reduce to zero).
Kitty and Alex schlepped the whole contents of the back of the wonderbus to her room (skiis and more) and got her settled. We took back far less than we delivered so that the May pickup will be a crunch. Kitty seemed so happy to be back in her new digs, new friends, new opportunities, new things to share and try. Rob and I were comparing our first semester of freshman year to that of Kitty’s and yes, thank you, she is doing just fine. We forget how time is the big ingredient for change.
Rob had to work on a presentation in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express until 1:30 when we picked him up to take Kitty back and say good bye. And then, we were off with sandwiches from Whole Foods and my lovely teabags from Harneys. I have been driving Rob crazy by carrying a shortie steel thermos with me when I travel. However, this trip, he saw how good it was. Everytime we stop for a bio break, I get hot water from the venue of choice (free) and then plop an elegant Harney teabag into it…and we have tea to sip between stops. For those of us coughing, sneezing and throaty, it has been a lifesaver. And, if you dont know about Harney Tea, you should>> I recommend the Hot Cinnamon Spice (reg and decaf), their bulk Earl Grey Supreme, the Holiday Tea (drank a box of the sachets in less than a week with Kitty) which are the basics around here. And the perfume of these teas are rich and amazing which goes right into the flavor of the tea. It makes the Liptons/Red Rose stuff seem like sawdust. More expensive but a transcendent experience.
First workday of the new year. Need to make it count.
Isn’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.
Merry Christmas to everyone.
I have been thinking about Christmas, the things that symbolize it and trigger that Christmassy thing from mulled cider and spices, to soaring accapella voices to the smell of pine and the quiet of the snow. But to me as a mother, I reflect on these carols with lyrics that include “Oh Come Let Us Adore Him” and I think about Mary.
Poor girl. Pregnant, married to some older dude foisted on her due to her condition which was very mythological as she concieved as a virgin (Think streams of gold coming down from the heavens as the Sienese painters portray it). There she was, stuck with a husband she had to deal with, the uncomfortable ride and walk to do something for the government (taxes and census stuff, but in today’s parlance, it could be a DMV violation for having a headlamp out), a big drag for someone who was pregnant without wanting to be so. Sure, the angel visited and brought her a lily, and announced in scroll talk that she was going to bear a child, a son etc…a heavenly trip to the OB/GYN without the blood tests…and I am soooo sure she was comforted by that unnatural occurance. It is scary enough to be pregnant and not fully knowing what the end game with the birth might be, but alone in foreign country with an old coot as a husband and no one else to help should she need it. Terrifying might capture the tone. Did the angelic host help with the birth? No. They were busy helping the shepherds and the kings to follow the star…So, friendless and sheltered in a barn, Mary bore her son. I am sure it was not simple, it hurt and she was pretty much on her own. We forget the toil to have this baby. We forget her youth i and inexperience to have this child. Forget the god stuff. Her son.
Mary wasn’t thinking of people who “come let us adore him”—but of the tender bud, the little child, that radiant baby that was the beginning of her new life as a mother and a wife to Joseph. She was exhausted, but pleased that she could finally breathe again and sleep in a way that was not gymnastics in order to get comfortable. With the singing angels, yes, the religion teaches us its about the promise of Jesus…his birth to then live, die and promise us rebirth in heaven. But to me, its about a mom…learning to be a mom, to help her son be the man he is going to be—teaching him right from wrong, providing food and learning his favorites. Its the shepherding of this new family that gave this son the confidence and support that he could grow up to be the person he was predestined to be.
So the promise in what Jesus represents, this small newborn that is supposed to do big things….the promise in this day is also that we can be supporting roles in our own children’s lives. Shaping them to do great things…maybe not Messianic things, but important regular things just like Mary and Joseph. And we can remember their births, their birthdays as milestones around which a family has grown and been built.
Happy day. Happy Birthday.
This illustration is inspired by this children’s book I grew up with. Unfortunately, I do not remember the title or even the story, but it was in black and white and was supposed to get little people’s juices going about the tantalizing cookies, cupcakes and candy were supposed to trigger. I was fascinated by these memorable illustrations, not drooling but oddly creeped out…and so this is a bow to that image. No, the cookies do not look luscious and amazing. They just look as odd as they do. The neat thing about this image is that it was constructed in two parts. The wreath was drawn (in half) and I had an odd side border which frankly stunk. So the next page in the book I drew the border which was a cinch with the wreath on the page before. The Moleskine Volant pages are so thin and easy to see through, so they fit pretty perfectly.
Today its buying the turkey and the pesto (Ludgates and Regional). Kitty is home. Alex is in school doing penance. Rob is busy organizing and making sense of the house, the closets, the stuff with Mandy.
We are wrapping some stuff off. I am giving E. some time off (tomorrow/Monday) as running the clock all the way to Christmas seemed a bit inhumane…I will work a bit as a bit needs to be done…but he should have holiday time.
Holiday countdown. Rob is in a removeable cast for a broken toe and pretty nasty sprain. Alex is anxious to be done with school. Kitty is in the college student veg out process. I think she may be doing some work for me today.
The Behance exposure continues today. My web traffic has boosted and this line art is really getting some traction. I am surprised, but for all those things that I have stored in the back of my conceptual closet, when I dust them off and roll them in front of this new receptive audience, I am surprised that they are not “bad” and that people actually like them. The Russians are sending me lots of electronic backslaps for the matryoshka dolls that I am having some fun with. I am also interested in the frames incorporated into some of these drawings and plan to develop that idea…maybe even tinting them back or reversing them out and then tinting them back as options. The idea of the “Radiant Baby” is also very appealing and have a new one in the sketchbook as the glowing Christ Child, his mystery, his potential, his almost Eastern quality intrigues.
Need to get going on a bunch of design work. There will be some pick up and deliveries in the next few days along with the peanutbutter dog biscuits (tonight?) that could be fun. Will catch up later, I hope.
Funny how things happen. I posted a collection of these “pretty and creepy” drawings to Behance, the social networking site for artists/illustrators/photographers/ graphic designers just to see what the reaction would be. Turns out, I was notified that this little set was featured today (meaning, it is culled out of the mix and highlighted which has happened twice before for me). What happens is a lot of traffic is generated, nice comments (particularly in the Russian artists noticing that some of these illos feature the Russian Nesting Doll idea) and thats that. More traffic and more response than I ever got for my $700 on the iSpot. And candidly, more actionable response (two jobs already). Interestingly, I got an email this a.m. from an art director in Dubai interested in my quoting on a job from them (from the Behance exposure)….So, hip hip hurray! and if you are an illustrator and not on Behance, I highly recommend it. It’s free and you never know who or what will strike people’s fancy.
I guess this line stuff has some legs too. Didnt think it would…as it isn’t as bold/strong as the other line work with the tiger teeth….but it seems to strike a chord with some. We will see what happens.
Got the holiday cards in the mail this a.m. I have a meeting with the Hangar Team this a.m. and then back to see what we can do about this car and the financing.
Kitty is free, so I plan on her doing a little office work for me (to make some mooohla). Mandy, David B and John, Rob are all here. So I need to add some water to the soup pot and see what kind of left overs I can dump in the crock pot for lunch for the team.
Rob is off to have his foot xrayed. I hope that they can make him feel a bit better. He is hobbling around and it doesnt look very comfortable. More later.