Finish line time.

From the early encyclopedia, Liber Floridus, around 1121, Ghent University LibraryIts all coming up. Coming to fruition. The potatoes are peeled. The presents wrapped. The stream of young men and women coming to gather (we had a crew until 2 a.m. of around 10) with roaring laughter, shouting stories and great hilarity in general —so the stream of snacks and dinners keep coming. Once again, thank goodness for the big hunks of pork I cooked down to make barbeque a few days ago. Breakfast this morning for the troops had Kitty and Laura cooking up banana pancakes and pillsbury cinnamon rolls that were devoured within seconds of being pulled out the the oven.

All the prep is almost done. I baked and iced a carrot cake. Lovely. The fishes are purchased (salmon, oysters and crabmeat) which will be: a broiled salmon with parsley and white wine, oysters are baked with breadcrumbs and garlic (will make two ways), and a crabmeat casserole that is my sister’s recipe. There is a torta (potato leek tart). There will be green beans and another green. No one wants a fancy breakfast, so I have some stock thawing to make a nice soup for lunch. Celeriac soup?

We are soooo lucky that it is cold out now so I can use the garage as my prep space for tomorrow. The cake is setting up, and I plan on making a few more things that just will need to be baked off tomorrow a.m./ early p.m. There is something to feasting in the cold weather months with the add of the back porch and garage storage. Makes everything so much easier. Maybe Santa could put a walk in freezer in my stocking?

Lou Jacobs, Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey CircusMy friend Amy Brill stopped by unexpectedly last night and we had such a nice visit—catching up on her world of family, fashion and friends.  Her fashion site is here>> Her fun blog is here>> She is doing very well with her clothing lines and is in a ton of stores with an online presence at Artful Home. Amy is always full of energy and enthusiasm—inspiring me to pickup my morose self and try to see the good out there and be grateful. She has had some big life challenges in the last few years and she has been a model for how to hit the tough spots with grace and energy. Now, with all that behind her, she seems poised to launch into 2012 with so much to look forward to.  We talked about present things, about past things, about local things, and about world things. All provocative and very entertaining. And beyond the gift of her time, Amy brought me amazing presents…so sensitive and thoughtful of her. She brought me three totally rocking vintage circus posters (you have heard me rave ) from her collection. Two were amazing type and the last was a prized clown poster accompanied by a photo of the famous clown, Lou Jacobs, who Amy worked along with in her past. If that wasnt enough, she brought this totally hilarious little book of line art with very curious and funny captions. I plan on scanning and sharing with you soon as it will, I am sure, delight you as much as it did me! I am so lucky to have  had such a nice visit with such a remarkable woman. I have a lot to learn from her which she gives so generously. She made my day!

It is nice to have a moment of reflection. A year has passed. Kitty and Alex keep growing and changing. I love what is happening with them, their lives, their friends and the problems that pop up and how they solve them.They are such nice people and I am blessed to have them as part of my life.  Rob is wonderful and keeps doing remarkable things that change people’s way of thinking, living and learning. He has been so additive in his job at the museum, his role on the village board and the various small projects he is engaging in in Trumansburg. It keeps getting better for him. My life would be an empty shell without him.

Jacob K. joined us this summer and now this winter. We now have another member of the tribe along with E. his friend and another team member.

Gloria has moved along with Justin and they seem to be not just liking it, but loving it here. Ron and Mary are healthy and still are able to do what they have to do. I am the same though I must admit, I find myself a bit stale with my work and the sluggish content my illustration has been taking. Lesson from this year’s advent calendar, is that I cannot just work on a style independant of content…if the content of my pictures is nominal, they really don’t  sing visually nor spiritually for me. I missed the toothiness of Christmas by pursuing a cut paper tradition and trying to be more responsible to that style. Onward to the kitchen to keep plugging away at “it”. If I have a chance, maybe a bit of drawing too? Styling exercises need content too…as does the illustrator need time away from her desk to have her brain relax to get into this sort of thing. I need more me time…in the next year.

Speaking of me time…time to mash some potatoes. Have a jolly Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Advent Day Twenty Two, 2011

Advent Day Twenty Two, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and ink.Kitty is back with us to our happiness. She looks great, acts great and has her wits and act together. She has had the flu, so hopefully the time during her break will get her back to full steam ahead. She is all about costume design and vacillates between talking about the historical accuracy and that of sketchbooks and the work involved to make these dreams reality.

It is curious to me as this aspect of people working really really hard, and no one (meaning teachers) giving the student praise for the work is dumbfounding to Kitty. No one praises the student for doing the work—or not doing the work— Its the end result— right? When the character is on stage, in costume, performing…one doesnt think about the hours, the budget, the planning. One thinks of the reality of the moment, the aspect of time suspended—-the believablity of the story and character. That is true with what we do. It is not the hours of study, residencies and practice that we go to the doctor for, but his excellence, his knowledge base, his expertise, his assurance. When we get a carrot from a farmer, we do not think about the hours of planning, preparing, plowing, sowing and cleaning that goes into his job. We focus on the perfection, the tastiness of the carrot assuming (if we even think about it) that all of that effort and time went into the preparing and growing of this vegetable. I think this whole shock of the value of time and effort is a good part of Kitty’s second education, the one beyond the books, tests and projects. The reality part of her education which it seems she is getting a good dose of. Hard work is only recognized by those working hard…and not those who just see the end of the process. It is the journey that is the hard part…not the final goal. That is the shining part that the world remembers while we focus on the path, the work, the time—and the continual education and skill building along that route.

Speaking of skill building, I am feeling pretty smart as I did some technical problem-solving this morning and have the things that were driving me nuts yesterday solved and moving forward. As one faux techie to another, I do not know what I would do without the web and the amazing resources there to help us solve these maddening issues with bits and bytes, electricity and usb ports. If you just peck away you can really find your answer or ten out the in the wild cyberworld.

The day is racing away. I have grabbed some wonderful details from the Liber Floridus (per my last entry) just to share with you the wonder of this book.


I was on Trend Hunter.

Fatline Experiments, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and ink, white out.I was googling myself the other day to find out that my Green Man illustrations (from Behance) was highlighted in “TrendHunter” (08/18/2011) which then spun all sorts of others doing the same…Vital Signs Report>  Rowanberry> and others. I am happy that the work got some traction, however, it would have been appropriate for the editor, Leslie Chen, who surfaced my work, to communicate to me that this was going live, and was it okay for her to post the work. Trend Hunter is a for real, legit aggregator—and thus, my expectations for more above board, more appropriate editorial behavior…but hey. What fantasyland am I pretending to live in?This gives me a bit of a boost re the Green Man imagery. So, I am entering a few of them into the Society of Illustrators NY and the same for LA. Those entries are coming due (LA yesterday, NY a month from yesterday). It is always a good thing to see what pops up out of the blurr of the web, the fuzz of pages of googling. You just never, ever know what will hit—and who will pick that up and where you will end up.

I am working with heavy lines and whiteout these days using medieval woodcuts as the reference. It is another look at the same thing…but bolder, faster, blunter, and more primitive. I do not know where this will go, but it should be fun to do a little deep dive into the medieval, it’s people, greenery, landscape, magic, alchemy. Playing Cards. Holbein. Lines and flatness.

Tomorrow is our Thank You for the Farmers Market. Just checking out what the weather looks like—-dismal and sad…cold and rainy. Yuck. We will be there with cider and pound cake, bread and cheese….and I hope we get one or two people If not, we can pack it all in….and do it again…Maybe.

Today is my Birthday. A quiet, dark, cold day. I was sent some flowers by a friend, a plant from a family member and a hug from my son. We went to the lake to see the work done on the attic. I cut chicken and prepped leeks, celery and soup. Non eventful….another day.