Why does it always happen that some of the more miserable things to happen during the year always, and I mean always happen within 7 days of Christmas? I should just plan on being bludgeoned and steel myself for it. This year it is not entirely last minute work from clients, but the pile on of junk from the wine front, from the graduate studies front, and from the work front...ie clients. The axiom to never burn your bridges really holds true on the latter. A client,who represented well over half of my billable work at one time has come back-- wanting to work together. I am tres flattered, but given my life at the moment, the graduate work and the concept of "really nasty hard work" has given me the permission to reconsider work that 2 years ago would have been outrageous to not accept. Nice to know we move and change with the wearing down we get with time and adversity. Rumor has it that Syracuse will be stopping the ISDP program for illustration and graphic design after 2008 graduates. I am waiting for confirmation, but somehow am not surprised by this news...albeit, it is a small death, and I am mourning it none the less. I know it isn't my problem, but somehow 28 years of talent and success to die in such a pathetic, flophousie kind of way is even more tragic. As R. says, it doesnt matter where I got the degree, it is the kick to get the work done and finished beyond the sketchbook is what matters. But for me, the more is the sidebar meetings and talking that is the frantic extra education that you really pay for. But, there are other programs and programs that care and are changing for the needs of the current ISDP students. SU could care less.

wiping a tear away.

What a guy!

I know what you are thinking. Red suit. Fur Trim. Eight reindeer with a sleigh filled with gigantic bags of wrapped (!!) toys and presents. I know you are thinking about the parades of this guy from Thanksgiving until 12/25. And then he falls off the radar screen until the next Thanksgiving. The real St. Nicholas was far, far better. And, think of the holidays that could spin around his attributes.

Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, children, and students in Greece, Russia and Serbia. He is also the patron saint of Barranquilla (Colombia), Bari (Italy) Amsterdam (Netherlands), and of Beit Jala in the West Bank of Palestine.

A Few insights into St. Nicholas' fabulousity:

Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors and is often called upon by sailors who are in danger of drowning or being shipwrecked. According to one legend, as a young man Nicholas went to study in Alexandria and on one of his (sea) voyages from Myra to Alexandria he is said to have saved the life of a sailor who fell from the ship's rigging in a storm. In a colourful version of this legend, Nicholas saved the man on his voyage back from Alexandria to Myra and upon his arrival took the sailor to the church. The image above is Bicci di Lorenzo's image of Saint Nicholas calming the storm.

Another legend tells how a terrible famine struck the island and a malicious butcher lured three little children into his house, only to kill and slaughter them and put their remains in a barrel to cure, planning to sell them off as ham. Saint Nicholas, visiting the region to care for the hungry, not only saw through the butcher's horrific crime but also managed to resurrect the three boys from the barrel. Another version of this story, possibly formed around the eleventh century, claims that they were instead three clerks who wished to stay the night. The man murdered them, and was advised by his wife to dispose of them by turning them into meat pies. The Saint saw through this and brought the men back to life. The image above is Bicci di Lorenzo's (1433-35)St. Nicholas Resuscitating Three Youthsfrom the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. NY. What is not to love here?

Finally, in his most famous exploit however, a poor man had three daughters but could not afford a proper dowry for them. This meant that they would remain unmarried and probably, in absence of any other possible employment would have to become prostitutes. Hearing of the poor man's plight, Nicholas decided to help him but being too modest (or too shy) to help the man in public, he went to his house under the cover of night and threw three purses filled with gold coins through the window opening onto the man's floor. One version has him throwing one purse for three consecutive nights. Another has him throw the purses over a period of three years, each time the night before one of the daughters comes "of age". Invariably the third time the father lies in waiting, trying to discover their benefactor. In one version the father confronts the saint, only to have Saint Nicholas say it is not him he should thank, but God alone. In another version, Nicholas learns of the poor man's plan and drops the third bag down the chimney instead. For his help to the poor, Nicholas is the patron saint of pawnbrokers; the three gold balls traditionally hung outside a pawnshop symbolize the three sacks of gold. People then began to suspect that he was behind a large number of other anonymous gifts to the poor, using the inheritance from his wealthy parents. After he died, people in the region continued to give to the poor anonymously, and such gifts were still often attributed to St. Nicholas. Above, Bicci di Lorenzo, St. Nicholas Providing Dowries. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

According to the Golden Legend's account of this death, there sprang out from under Nicholas' tomb a fountain of oil which was able to cure the sick. The man on crutches on the right may possibly represent those who came to be cured.

Visit the St. Nicholas timeline for more!>

There is so much more. What is not to love about this modest saint (who is said to be a short man, just barely five feet tall)--who rescues girls from a possible life of prostitution. Or saves the boys from the ham incident or calming storms to rescue sailors. Sure beats the guy who shops at Toys R Us.

IF: Help

Lincoln helped change a nation. Our nation. I wish we had as strong a leader today who would take a stand and make change positively for the world.

new favorite leftist sayings

On Al Franken's show, they have been anticipating the holiday parties and the brands that the proverbial "dumb brother-in-laws" and what they will be labelled as this season. They are either "Defeatocrats" or equally as fine, "Surrender Monkeys". Aren't these jewels? Wiki, once again, points to the reference as "cheese eating surrender monkeys".I love all the hostile name calling, albeit the state of the world is less than satisfactory.

Working (as you see) on burka ladies. Going to simplify and redo the face of the Bedouin lady this week...but up against it with work,holiday spew and work, and the end of the year understanding of the business and school events etc. My head is ready to spin off my body. Plus, we leave on the 21st to go to LA for an art filled week dictated by Juxatpoz and the Corning Museum of Glass. So the pressure is on.

No Christmas baking this year. No Christmas dog bones this year. No fancy nothing. I did make a wreath out of pine and box hedge which turned out very nicely. Ho Ho No!


Still working on this. Need to redo most of the face. Bedouin young woman. The Bedouin have the married ladies cover the lower half of their face once they have been married. Need to put my head down. Tomorrow a little chat about the Chokers.


A calm mom, me, little Kitty and the entire seventh grade modified basketball team dished out goopy cheese, handed away greasy hot dogs and sold a skidload of candybars and soda to the HS Girls JV and V Basketballl teams last night. It was wild fun, with lots of seventh grade antics (which now include cell phones as part of the amusement), lots of change making and kidding around. Lots of talk around fancy basketball shoes and the layups done by the pros and the street teams we watched during the lull. More basketball today (in scenic Lansing) and we need to get going early. But no selling required for this game.

Snow and cold here. Winter has arrived. I need to get the radiators in my office in front of R as only 1/4 of it heats up...and yesterday it was coats almost...I am good with vests and sweaters and hats and "oliver twist" gloves...but when the whole battery of outside wear comes out, we might have a slight heating problem.

Another Burka on the almost finished pile (yesterday's entry). A young bedouin girl (unmarried) is on the deck now. Scary stuff. Trying to see more into this thing. We will see. Illustrator is behaving.

However, Photoshop is not. Spend the better part of an afternoon watching the candy spin. Erich thinks he has a remedy. We will see.

IF: Mask

I am learning about Islamic women and the concept of hajib. Wikipedia says:

"Detailed scholarly attention has been focused on prescribing female dress. Most scholars agree that the basic requirements are that when in the presence of someone of the opposite sex (other than a close family member - mahram), a woman should cover her body, and walk and dress in a way which does not draw sexual attention to her. Some scholars go so far as to specify exactly which areas of the body must be covered. In many cases, this is everything save the face and hands but others require everything save the eyes to be covered."

"The burqa is the most extreme example of this belief: not even a woman's eyes are visible. Originating in Pakistan, it is more commonly associated with Afghanistan. Typically, a burqa is composed of many yards of light material pleated around a cap that fits over the top of the head. There is an embroidered openwork grille where the burqa passes over the eyes. Under the Taliban, the burqa was obligatory. Under the current government, it may or may not be worn."

It is more than a mask. The burka is a wall between that that is private and the public world. It is a decision a woman needs to make--to wear the burka or hajib or not...and a decision not lightly made. I respect those women and the hard choices they make--and hope to show that in my image.

work in progress

Second burka image in development. May save like this and continue to refine. Like the black peeking through.

tons of Lincolns

Abraham Lincoln | 30" x 24" | Private Collection
by Thomas Buechner (http://www.tombuechner.com)

There are great reference pictures of Lincoln to work with. has done some lovely portraits from those images...so in the spirit of trying, I am messing around with Lincoln to see where it can go. Here are 2 sketches from the existing pile...and probably more to come. Am using the new Dr. Martins Star Matte Black (wow) in a rapidograph (first time since forever) and am loving working on this thick thick trace I got from envelope mall (see resources). It is fun to try some new stuff. I think I need to stretch Mr.Lincoln and see where he can go. There is a lot of stuff to push with that face...skinny lips, forehead, tufty hair, brows and the nose that is blunt like a shovel. We'll see. The holiday "I need it done tomorrow" scenarios are beginning to creep into our daily lists...and in another week...YIPES.

chores galores

Lots of stuff to do today. Resolve client issues. Make travel plans for the end of the month. Call people. Respond to kind e-mail. Make sure everyone eats. See a movie. We saw the new "Shut up and sing, the Dixie Chicks" movie at Fall Creek Pictures. Wonderful. Good documentary. Makes you want to go out and buy their entire body of songs on itunes to celebrate their strength as a team, as women with opinions and as true Americans. You Go!!! Am getting the kazillion holiday cards out. Visited the Luckystone Lodge--to discover that the back door was ajar. We were busy doing this and that when Alex arrived like a dour apparition, and proclaimed directly to ME, that there was a cat sleeping in Kitty's bed. Not our cat. A Goldie Locks kind of cat. So, charged with being the adult in this situation, I went to investigate...to find a long haired olive-y tiger cat sleeping peacefully in Kitty's room and well aware that the "three bears" had come home. She/He was running to the back door like a flash...with us trying to keep the doggie girl getting excited from the opportunity of making friends, sharing deviant art addresses, and possibly exchanging a few text messages together.

More tomorrow. Sorry it is so close to home.

funniest game

We spent the better part of the morning watching the seventh grade boys battle Watkins Glen's boys in basketball. The game was great--our team using their lose until halftime and then come from behind to win strategy. It was a knuckle biter...but we came through and won. That wasn't funny...but what was-- was the gym. Watkins Glen Middle School's gym is on a the stage and the audience or fans sit down in the plushy seats as if the basketball game is a performance. Which, I guess it is. The little ponytailed, perfect clapping cheerleaders sit in folding chairs (where the orchestra normally would sit), facing the stage and do cheers with their backs to the fans...Sitting. Sitting! No springing, no perkiness, no entertainment for the slobs that are the fans. And, to make matters better (or worse) they sit in rows like they would if they were standing and cheering.Imagine!

The whole school was built in 1929 and thankfully, it has been maintained beautifully down to the stage as gym and the glorious floor model, moss green ceramic water fountain in the lobby. The lobby is also replete with bronze placards, in all caps, extolling the bravery of those who forged ahead into the wilderness to bring civilization etc..laying on generous portions of guilt and fear for those who read them. I loved it. The more guilt the better.

Then it was off to see the Christmas happenings at the Corning Museum of Glass. Lots to buy at good prices. Ladies choirs singing drippy carols. Tuba bands. Gigantic bowls of candy. Santa. A singing lady with a singing animal puppet. Breakfast and lunch with the Jolly one. The whole shooting match. (R. suggests next year there might even be live reindeer all harnessed to the sleigh). One of my most favorite purchases were basketball Christmas ornaments in glass. Another was all this great stuff from the indian exhibition marked down 75%...so I bought a zillion things made out of beads. And 2 new candlesticks from William Gudenrath at the Studio Sale (a must for anyone within a 2 hr drive from Corning).Always try to buy one candlestick per year...they are so great and celebratory--that each one has a great memory.

IF: Might


1. The power, force, or influence held by a person or group.
2. Physical strength.
3. Strength or ability to do something. See Synonyms at strength. See Regional Note at powerful.

"might." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 01 Dec. 2006.

The hammer wields it's might whether it be a nail, a board, or as a way to pry something open. The head is like a hammer in its ability to pry open ideas or nail them down. The ability to do something is an opportunity for all of us to be mighty--big or small, weak or strong, young or old. Wield your MIGHT!


I love new words. Words that have happened since I "grew up" and graduated from college. I have many words that fit into that category--some I love/hate more than others...but multi-tasking is a word that works, communicates a behavior and has a tech-ie feel that works for the Info age generation. Love this goddess, Ushnishavijaya,--the eight-armed Indian goddess --one of three deities associated with longevity and the fulfillment of earthly desires. And, I might add, the poster child for multi-tasking. I wish she worked for me--She could answer the phone, brew a good cup of gimme, have a good grasp of microsoft word, Quick books--no problem...etc. Eight arms, eight tasks--and she looks good. I have a hard time brushing my hair let alone smearing on the lipstick and adjusting the headpiece. Wow. Truly, I love this Indian art. My new Taschen books are in the place of honor, top of the pile on top of the pile on top of the pile...on top of my desk. I can't look at them while I talk to my clients or I lose track of what I am saying and act silly...kind of like having my clients talk to a block of cheese.

some of the girls

Klatching gals. Love these guys. The geese are coming in for their winter holidays. Heard them (loud) and saw tons of them too!

early day tomorrow

Starting early so may not get anything your way until late...if all. Hectic here with the major client being offsite...and the design requirements ramped up to crazy levels (Wed, Fri, Sat and Sun during Tgiving with focused blocks of time for an emergency and unplanned project). You get the idea. Am up to the Baker to art direct a photograph of a horse...probably much easier than any chairman or significant executive that I normally need to entertain to get a good shot. Checked out Alibris to identify Yuko books at a good price (the Heller book can be obtained around $5. a pop--not bad).
Also found out that the Dr Martins Ph Star Matte Black is available directly --which should work as my yammering on with my pal at Steuben created some interest in this ink for the engraver's work. As an aside, I am gloating just a weensie bit as I got all but 1 present wrapped and mailed out parcel post (as nah nah, I have time!) to all the family we give presents to.

Take a look at the Ofoto/ Kodak Gallery site. There are some cool multipanel,according fold customizable cards (read illustration promotions)(check it out--as many as ten images>>) that they can do for less than $3. a piece...so one can target the selection etc. depending on the Art Director etc. you want to talk to. Check it out. Beautiful pre-designed layouts by "Martha Stewart" which really work especially as it is geared very mainstream--so not offensive to anyone--and its customizable (ie white type on a black field or vice versa). Schmarties at Kodak!! You go.

Pix are out-takes from my miserable snapshots taken while the real photographer did a wonderful job of giving us an image we can really use. I don't know whether he got he laughing horse shot at the top. Thought you might enjoy the snapshots.

Hannah Hoch

Yesterday afternoon, we visited the Johnson Museum at Cornell and saw a few wonderful shows--one on drawing (with Jennifer Bartlett's work as part of the group); one a photography show documenting a location over the course of about 5 years in all the seasons juxtaposing agri-junk, nature and the city; and the last a show on Dada work featuring the collection of a Cornell alumni. There were several new artists that were inspiring and interesting and would like to pass them on to you. The first is Hannah Hoch. From my web dive, here are some good overviews on who she was:

>>Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
>>The Adam Art Gallery, New Zealand

>>Slate Magazine's review of the 1997 show
"The Photomontages of Hannah Hoch"

And the book:
The Photomontages of Hannah Höch (Hardcover)
by Peter Boswell, Maria Makela, Carolyn Lanchner, Hannah Hoch

Wonderful work. Jarring relationships. Startling images. Check em out.

another "remember" from Y.S.

Yuko mentioned palettes. Here is a cool thing to think about. She picks an image or a style of imagery and makes up a palette that may or may not relate directly to the image she is creating--but the twist is say, "an indian palette" from a page in the Taschen Indian Bazaar book etc...combined with a layout inspired by Heros and Gods. So, say...take a Holbein palette and apply it to a layout inspired by Paul Klee....or take a palette inspired by the posters of Wes Wilson (Filmore West) and apply it to a poster inspired by Cassandre. You got the idea. Nice way to create a little twist and learn something in the meanwhile.

Went to the Johnson Museum and saw some cool stuff (for tomorrow). Also partook of a Big Red v. Wayne State ice hockey game. The Pep band was amazing...even more so than the hockey...and that wasn't too shabby either. Cornell has such heart!

More tomorrow. My eyes are closing.