Spring Green

Inspired by Dutch Tulips, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator 5Warm and humid. Wet underfoot. The lilacs are popping and the green carpet stretches on and on. It is that spring green…not fall green(more olive) or summer green (more blue) but that brilliant yellow cast green that tells us that young and new is the time of the year.The birds are busy chittering and singing. The tiny red pinecones to be are clustered at the end of their branches with little tassels of green new growth. The peepers cheep and  the squirrels leap from branch to branch. I saw a little fox in Taughannock park last week, trotting happily across the street—rusty red against all the brilliant green. I love treats like that.

Tonight is the Trumansburg Farmers Market meeting. One month and a few days until we open. I have the print materials done (including a bookmark that is going to the library and used book store in town to show support to the library’s local food lecture series this year). I have the tote bags ordered (and should see next week). Banners are next along with programming in tandem with events in the village. Goodness where has the time gone? In a wink and a blink it will be time to start wrapping the Christmas presents.

I mowed down two publications yesterday and have a bunch of redo projects today. Redo meaning—revisions. It will be nice to finally have them finalized so as to be able to do something new. 

Our Kitty turns 20 in a few days. Where has that time gone? And, even better, she will be back with us soon for a few weeks before the adventure she will have this summer begins. No, its not Europe, but its another country for most, NYC. Classes and a job…with a berth in that fun city. She should really be able to expand her horizons and learn so much. We are hoping she will be with us for GrassRoots which would be a highlight for all of us.

anyway. My nine a.m. was postponed to nine twenty…so I should say goodbye.


Onion love, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5Brilliant cool spring day today. We are back to semi-normalacy as the weather is acting like it should this time of the year. I am looking over at the back forty, blown away by the sheer green of everything. Both Alex and I are feeling that Spring surge of getting our creative mojo back—and we are both relishing it. What is it about the change in season that always flicks a switch and away you go (creatively). I always respond to the change in light…the longer days, the brighter time…but maybe its just that its the change. I find myself doing the same thing when its longer nights and darker days just as instead of opening up, the delight is the hunkering down.

I must admit, that this fruit and veggie thing is still going…and I am loving the response I am getting to this much more graphic work than I normally do. I am thnking more colorfields, simpler, more graphic… As you can see from this work, there is very little shading/ tiger toothing— but more solid shapes intersecting solid shapes, and it still comes off as believeable. Plus, this work is distinctly my own. I don’t  have reference around me from Alexander Girard, the Provensens, Matisse, Milton Avery to goad me into being true to the graphic aspect of this work…it just is flowing. And, I am drawing these things on paper—not using blue line to make the original drawing something that becomes central to the illustratration, but parker pen on bond paper. I am designing these things prior to picking up the wacom pen to see what can happen. And, though they are designed, they always evolve, like magic when I am working them out in illustrator.  So, I cannot wait to get the pen moving to see how the image will resolve itself during the rendering process. I know it’s simple,  but it delights me to no end to see how the head and hand unconsiously resolves these things, and the bodily me just moves the hand and eyes…and drinks in the image.

New thing I am delighted in: Craftsy.

Thanks to Laura Nelkin, local knitter, beader, teacher, world celebrity, and really on the cusp of internet cool, I discovered Craftsy as Laura is doing a class on knitting with beads. What is Craftsy? It is s site you can sign up for online classes and workshops from knitting to giftwrapping, to even illustration and tailoring. The classes are longer than the workshops, but there are videos, access to the professionals, and patterns to learn a technique (like the fancy knitting I want to learn like Entrelac) to soapmaking to sugar flowers. It is very much in the mode of Lynda.com (for those of us obsessed with our computer applications) but friendlier, shorter and more can do. What a great idea—craft classes you can take at home on your own time. One could plan a crafts vacation for a day or so and go wild making lip gloss and crocheted baby hats (take a look at this one…the crocodile stitch floral baby hat>>). Not that any of us have a ton of free time, but a rainy Sunday afternoon and Craftsy could be trouble (if you get my meaning!).

Gotta go. The day awaits as does Yearbook.


Halloween Mask: Frankenstein, Q. Cassetti, 2011, Adobe Illustrator CS5Funny what happens! Kitty called yesterday around noon. Hampshire had evacuated campus due to the electricity being knocked out—and she was trying to figure out what to do. Twenty four hours later, we have Kitty, and two friends here, eating, watching t.v. and hopefully carving the pumpkins and making Halloween for tonight’s activities. They all have had snuggly beds, hot tubs, cups of tea and soup and slices of quick bread. So, yesterday’s proposed afternoon of cooking became significantly bigger with a vegetarian Pizza Rustica, two cranberry recipes (one sauce made with mulled cider and lemon juice and a cold one), the gravy for bird day. Lots of prepping and cooking.

New week, new work. Trying to close down some projects as so many are opening up. Can you imagine, its almost November 1? What happened?

New masks in process. A pretty wierd witch. Then, I think Uncle Sam…

More later

golden trees

Vector Pic of the day, Q. Casseti, 2011, Adobe Illustrator CS5I got a brand new project with the Thomas Cole Historic Site I have been asked to create a portrait of Thomas Cole . Thomas Cole (1801—1848) was an English born American artist who is regarded as the founder of the Hudson River School. Such a wonderful romantic….and he has a very compelling visage (though his hairdo is my favorite!). And, how can you not love a guy in a cape?  more about Mr. Cole here>> Should be fun!

Am in process of finishing up the Distillery brand/look on my desk. Additionally, the Hanford Mills Ice Harvest signature is finishing up. The holiday card for my old friend client is in review. There is a ton of thises and thats on the desk, but some new fresh projects waiting to be started. Some good ones in the lineup.

It is a brilliant fall day. No rain as predicted. The leaves have fallen a bit, so the golden and light green leaves really twinkle in the trees. The grass is really remarkable and lush, the fall carpet that reduces my rain resentment. Just glorious.

We went to see Alex run in Bingamton at the Ely Golf Course which is on the top of a large hill, thrusting out and over the valley which was gorgeous and inspiring. The running course was relentless with all sorts of severe uphills, and downhills, with switchbacks and tight curves. A. did quite well as did the team with the parents and peanut gallery chasing the runners—skittling from here to there and then over and up. Shady Grove was as happy as could be, dewclaws deep in the mud.

Then we stopped on the way home at Chenango Bridge (love the name) for spiedies at the reknowned (to Rob) Spiedies and Rib Pit. Spiedies are a local (Bingampton) specialty. They are tidbits of marinated meat (vinegar based) that are cooked or grilled, and served either with stuff, on a skewer or in bread. Speidies are chicken, beef or lamb. The Spiedie and Rib Pit is stand up only…with everyone rushing with their paper sacks to their cars to devour these hot sandwiches as quickly as they can chew. We were all in heaven after all that fresh air and gadding about. We got home and the boys crashed. I did a bit of cooking and reading. Sunday was working with Alex on college stuff and assisting Rob in the solving the freezer issues. Amanda stopped by to say hi. It was great seeing her.

I am making a bunch of quicky vector pix. Its been fun, fast and pretty.

The week is short as we are taking Alex on the road to see some colleges this week. Lots to pack into 3 days. I need to call the exterminator as the groundhog hillock under our big front porch has been opened up…and we need to get rid of em. All. I was left with a have a heart trap with the notation from our contractor to just put a bunch of lettuce into the trap and wait for the groundhogs to come. Big question is then what? My contractor shot the one that was eating his garden and then out of guilt, skinned the groundhog and prepped him for the roasting pan that evening….which he then ate. I am not that responsible. I want my groundhogs decapitated with the heads displayed on the corners of our property to warn off the deer and other varmints to stay away. But that is brave talk. I need to call our exterminator, Pat the Bugman, to have his focus his tractor beam of brilliance on capturing these rascals. Maybe Pat can wrangle them while we are away.

Gotta go.

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!


Audrey, Q. Cassetti, 2011, Adobe Illustrator CS5The lightning and thunder shook the early morning. Now we have a green lit morning, damp and promising more rain. Summer is here.

Kitty is working with me on a mailing. Alex is done with his tests…and had an interview yesterday for a job. I think I will need to press them into action versus lounging and making dirty dishes all day. Teenagehood is trying…though I love them.

Don and Jason Hair, the treemen to the stars, were here yesterday to take down the really scary dead trees (scary qualifies as “can it kill someone walking down Camp Street?”) and took the enormous piles of brush away. There was lots of talk around the busted chipper shredder which made Jason and Don load up the trailer with all the detrius to take to the dump. More fun is hoped for today (unless the rain scares them away). The Brush Hog, a wonderful tractorlike piece of equipment which is a tool of great destruction and confusion may be pressed into action. Don was itching to go for broke beyond the back forty with all the privet and honeysuckle that are springing up all over.

The portrait of Audrey is the beginning of the summer portraits. I did a summer of portraits two years ago and it was so informative and fun, that I figured I needed to get back to the one hour portrait to work on my chops and get my eye in. I like the calligraphic qualities of this illo that still allows me to have nice eyes and fun hair. We will see what happens with this. I am only burdening this project with time limits only.

Cherry Picking is next week! Baskets of Sour Cherries at 6 a.m.! I cannot wait!


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.

Eye on the details.

Portrait detail, Q. Cassetti, 2011, vector, Adobe Illustrator CS5Churning away on the deadlines. We have amendments of files, we have new work, I have a chicken and boy to illustrate. From the fire to the fire. I am so happy I took Saturday off as a day of peace. At least I am not as rattled as I have been. I am feeling guilty about going to get my haircut today, but hey….it isnt like time time is not being put in.

The image for the big publication has been approved. It was an interesting back and forth. Rob was right…give em the “big ear” (the sketch one does that says to your client “I hear you”—before coming up with options/insights you as the illustrator/designer have on this project.  The big ear won…so away we go. Put in some time until 9 p.m. when Alex was home from Community Chorus and Rob home from the Village Meeting. I am thinking of submitting the illo with a few enlargements as I look at what was approved and the detail/ it could be a bit more interesting.

I learned a bit about a new twist on fonts yesterday. I guess its not really that new, but for me, a Rip Van Winkle, it’s new. I guess the world has finally transcended the simple selection of browser fonts from Verdana and Ariel (etc.) that browsers select for websites (simply). However, there are  far more choices out there and a great resource, Typekit. This is how Typekit talks about themselves: “Typekit is the easiest way to use real fonts on the web. Built around web standards, our service gives designers and developers a subscription-based library of hosted, high-quality fonts to use on their websites. We have over 250,000 customers including some of the largest sites on the web today: The New York Times, Conde Nast, IGN, Twitter, and many others. We are also actively integrating Typekit into hosted platforms—such as WordPress, TypePad, and Posterous—so that anyone with a website can use real fonts.” Pricing is fair for the ability to ratchit up the look and feel of your page. It will allow designers to really design with type…barebones beautiful. Take a look…and know that type comes back on the list of options for websites…beyond the tedious Verdana etc. Max price is $100 a year…min $25. to go from boring to wonderful.

Farhad Manjoo details @font-face on his great article for Slate:  “Down with Verdana (07.13.2009). I think this is a good primer of where this is going>>

Work awaits.

Honor the Radish

Honor the Radish, Q. Cassetti,2011, vector, Adobe Illustrator CS5Yesterday was publications incorporated. Today is publications incorporated. I finished up a big pub yesterday and amended the mini annual report that I cranked on Sunday. Today I have a brochure to layout based on an idea from the client…but no copy yet. They want it printed by May 1….so its a speed job too.

Erich and I are going on the road for a day—to get trained on a new branding initiative which should be fun, fast and informative.  Rob will be back from the Museum gathering in Buffalo which from the short chat I had with him yesterday, seems like it was fun.

I am vectorizing and pretending I am a Provensen. I really need to crack open one of the Provensen books so I can be a stepchild or great niece once removed. Love the cookbooks they did…and Animal Fair. Or I can be the stepniece of Mary Blair? These veggies are fun. I am thinking of eggplants and tomatoes, peas and basil leaves. They become so homey and comfy—and can be relatively abbreviated  as we all know what they are. I created a “corn brush” and probably make another one with tapering kernels from the top to the bottom so I can brush a corn cob for fun. CS5 has all sorts of nice adds with the width adjuster to rules/lines, the add/subtract feature and all the wonderful ways to select, create libraries and color.

OMG: I was just looking out the window. It’s snowing.

I give up.