Creative Quarterly Winner (CQ31)

Frankenstein, Q. Cassetti 2012 Adobe Illustrator.Mr. Minty, (the piece that is the winner, CQ31) from 2012 Advent Calendar series, Q. Cassetti, 2012, adobe illustratorNice! One of the halloween illos got into Creative Quarterly 31 in the print and digital issues of the publication. Need to go through the inspiration images from my pix. Who knows? I was lucky last year!


The Cestello Annunciation Sandro Botticelli 1489-90, tempera on panel, 150 x 156 cm, Galleria degli Uffizi, FlorencTurbo Junior (one of the grey cats) is perched next to me, a grey gumdrop, surveying the front yard for something to chase and catch. He is so vigilant that I hope a little something comes out from under the house to give him a little thrill. Shady is curled up, a comma, on the floor taking in the breezes while we spend a little time between the drop off and return to Taughannock for Alex to preseason with the team. We are waiting to give the others a little more time to sleep before I shuffle them off to Trumansburg for the day. It is such a beautiful, cool morning—that I am grabbing as much of this as I can before I go to the command central to start directing and doing.

The hostas are in bloom, so Turbo and I are revelling in the cloud of pure scent that is coming our way. I imagine this high lily fragrance is one that might have accompanied the angels in annunciation scenes as a similar flower was presented to the young and naive Mary. Always with a beautiful palette, lots of gold and splash and the winsome, asexual angel—having to deliver the news (might not be the best to an unmarried, young woman) that yes indeedy, Miss Mary was going to have a baby. The lily was kind of the peace offering, the sweetener, the holy FTD arrangement to soften the blow. I hope it did the trick. I know I would not have been charmed. Confused and furious…more like it. I love thinking about an alternative Renaissance Annunication image (maybe in the Botticelli style as it is so stylish and the color so very pretty) of the announcement to Mary and what the real emotions and response was versus little Miss Placid just taking the news. I love the idea of the “what the f*ck!” fury that is more the reality. Mary shaking her fist at the heavens? Mary crying her heart out? Mary rushing the horrified angel—grabbing his arms and shaking him fiercely? No little antiseptic, prissy litttle ” thank you very much” but a full bore Italian response. Declarations of how this is not to be her fate! Calling down pain and injury to the messenger? Hurling herself to the floor to beat it with her fists—raging and fuming? Whoa. Talk about the Renaissance graphic novel. Its this sort of situation that makes me wish I was more comfortable painting than using graphic tools.

I have been honored to be asked to sit on the Trumansburg Farmers’ Market board. I had my first meeting last night which I throughly enjoyed as the women are all very bright, very articulate and represent different facets of local food so the conversation was interesting, educational and much of it actionable. The Market is a young one—but developed and managed by an exceptional manager, Deirdre Cunningham who is stepping down from her position after the season ends so we will need to find a new manager to take this nascent project to the next step. We have a lot to be thankful for. Deirdre (and the Board and Village Board) have really moved the needle on this amazing addition to the community. I mean, within the two years—the community built a market structure and then a charming bandstand in the middle of it. It has gone from a quiet little event to a place that people go to eat, to shop, to meet. There is local music every week and sometimes a performer who juggles and plays the banjo for the littles. All of this change and positive growth needs to be brokered, managed, promoted and organized. This is no small task that I would hope we do not take for granted….but we do as it just magically happens without understanding the sheer brawn and brains it takes to make it seem so seamless. What an amazing place this has become. I hope I can be helpful to maintain and move it forward.

So today I will put up a Farmers Market page on Facebook and create a flier for the new position and get rolling in the doing. I think there is a lot to do, to say, to design, to direct as a member of the board that I can be helpful with—and with the new time that is mine from the Hangar— this should not be an imposition. Should be fun getting to know these new and smart people too.

More soup in the pot for today’s lunch fest. Carrot. The recycled soup from yesterday was devoured with many of the team going back for seconds and thirds. I added some frozen veggies and the whole thing was looking good—so I added a small bag of frozen shrimp to take it to another level. If only I had a bit more fresh corn. Ah well. Cheaper than lunchmeat and chips. So much better. I do not think the carrot soup will delight as much. I can only hope. Bean soup for tomorrow as I have white beans soaking in the pot part of my wonderful pressure cooker as we speak. And I will get a ham hock when I pick up cat food for the cat empire this p.m.

Loving the Green Men pictures. Not ready to give them up. I have got a little mojo going—and so I will ride it out. I want to clip a few leaf clusters from “Professor Wells”, our English Oak here at the Luckystone for reference. I should get some other oak leaves too as acorns are on my mind—and want to see where this could go. This tree is so named as it was planted by the family to recognize the Luckystone’s former owner and it was penned in on a landscape map that came with the house. This curious little diagram drawn in pencil and filled in with watercolor all of the trees, plantings, former gardens and beds that the Fitchen and Wells family contributed to the environment here. We really should take it out of the frame and point out which trees died, which came down in the big storm and how we have reconfigured things to our liking (very little change).

That’s it for now. Things are to our liking with very little change (or at least today). Time to go forth and be productive.

(did I mention that I am loving my Kensington iPad keyboard? I am!)

"No sweat....chillin'"

Detail of front gate at the Luckystone Lodge, Q. Cassetti 2011I wrote (or is it “texted”? ) that to our girl while we were texting and it dawned on me that yes, there was sweat and no, I was not chillin’, but melting. However, the true meaning was that it wasnt a big deal to wait and I was content to wait. Plenty to talk about, think about and do. The experience at the Brattleboro Dawn Dance was beyond her hopes—having a great time, making new friends, figuring out that maybe she is as fabulous as we tell her she is…and buoyed by the confidence that travelling by yourself brings. Our dancing princess is swinging on top of the world. And she is home to folky central.

Waiting and talking to her, I decided to really, really listen to one of her new favorite contra groups. So, I downloaded the new “Flying Tent” CD from the group, Perpetual e-Motion. Wow! Dance music, driving beat, but certainly no old time thing. Good working music. Gets the steam up. Lots of influences…but amazing just as its two guys who have a strong series of references that they meld with a danceable, callable beat…and who make a living being a contradance band.

I am being buffetted by a pair of fans to prevent the Q. puddle from occurring (like yesterday). I cannot even imagine what the top of my head looks like..but hey,that is insignificant compared to body heat.

I am wrapping some small projects up and am on the diving board for a few more. Today there is a field trip to the liquor store (!) as I have the distinct pleasure of having the opportunity to work on a related project and then there is another idea in the works that is related to the same that I am meeting with friends about. So, ideas abound.

Need to get the Luckystone First Year Award in the mail to Hartford (University of Hartford, Hartford Art School’s Low Residency MFA in Illustration). I am giving the first years the same as the past two years, large moleskine sketchbooks to commemorate their getting through the first two weeks of the program, launched into the swirl of change and growth that the program can give you. It is a cheap way to give back, and honestly, after my first two weeks of Syracuse, it would have been a confidence booster that you can get through it… Yes, for some, its a snap. But for those of us who are not overly confident (and in my case lost as it was a brave new world that I wasn’t sure I could cut)—a gentle, and friendly nudge and wink would have been welcome. The books are wrapped and beribboned. Now, all I have to do is write a little something friendly.

Its nine. Time to commence. Stay cool… I’ll be chillin’.

Summer at hand.

“A Joker and His Wife”. This 18th-century lubok is a copy of a German popular print.A cool, perfect day at the lake. I started late, but within a hour I had several small plants begging for mercy and others looking quite trim and manicured. More tomorrow. The Osage Orange, otherwise known to us as the Monkey Brain Tree, is lethal with its sharp new green thorns ready to scratch and gouge. And the arctic willow, randomly sends out hundreds of long, new wands, making the plant look quite hairy and unelegant. The trumpet vine (which really is manifested more like a tree) was sending vertical shooters into the grass…wild in its prolific desire to grow and reproduce. I brought 2 of the six tree peonies I bought from Song Sparrow up here and have been giving them sun and water and they are delighting in being here. Transplanting is soon. The first tree peony I put in has flourished and I am hoping for three as the blooms are so otherworldly, having three bushes might permit me to pick one for a vase inside. Or at least, that is my hope.

Alex has just gone to his job (dishwasher/busser at the Rongovian Embassy). Kitty and Rob are shuttling. I am back from grocerystoring…and have 4 logs of pizza dough in the fridge to bake off tonight (King Arthur Baking Companion bible recipe). Seems like we might be overrun with friends of Kitty and Alex tomorrow for dock jumping, bonfire making and the like. I think the extra packages of hot dogs and the pizza shells might come in handy tomorrow. Let me check on the drinks and tea situation. My hope is to clip some more tomorrow, and draw a bit. I am fusing Lubok and Bees with some various ideas I want to try out.

It is remarkable not having a graduate school summer this year. The long thread of sunny evenings and open time to “mess about” is so remarkable that I am a bit taken back by the luxury. No deadlines, no late nights and raw nerves from the lack of sleep and some of the idiotic high jinx of our classmates, no shows to hang, no papers to write…just a lovely unbroken summer with Grassroots in the middle and Hampshire at the very end. There is berry picking and music, friends and quiet…something I havent had since 2005. Rob has a week at Sagamore this September that I might tag along on…as my break from reality and of course, there is the hope of a few days at Art Basel Miami in December..But, we will see.

I need to go and check on a few things. I am steeling myself for a dunk in the lake later this p.m. whether I want to or not. A dunk in the lake guarantees wonderful dreams.

Al baby

Been thinking and looking at caricature work recently. You all know of my love of Pablo Lopato's work and that of Steve Brodner. However, the Aubrey Beardsley of caricature work is Al Hirschfield. His penmanship is exquisite, flowing and perfectly brief. He is calligraphic but spare in his linear decisions. His work is predominantly black and white, but when he leans into color, it adds to the illustration but with the linear bones being so strong--color becomes a detail and not a driver of the picture. I have been looking at these and other guys to see how they abstract a face and yet maintain a likeness that the viewer says "hey, that's...". Granted, many of Hirschfield's and Lopato's imagery are of pop stars and celebrities. Brodner takes on political characters in addition to the star studded icons we all know and identify with. All of these illustrators have created a series of character shorthand marks and treatments. This is my first step with Gary Kelley and CF Payne during their week of "work on your own project or work on a fictional character portrait". I want to learn the clues and start distilling and developing that same personal character shorthand to begin to attempt to develop images like these artists. I think I am closer to where Lopato is...but the fluid line works for me too. Maybe a merger of spirit?

I have been exhausted and slept all afternoon yesterday. Surprisingly, I am thinking clearer and not feeling as scrambled as I had been previously. I need to stop running myself down as much...and take the time, go to bed early and push for sleep. Sleep seems to make straight all those tangled ends, and permit day dreaming and thought that fatigue seems to surpress.

Shady is learning to be a frisbee dog. She is vigilant by the chipmunk hole--waiting, hoping and sniffing for their emergence. Alex is asleep on the porch. Kitty is off making things. Birdfeeders are full and the annuals are blooming.