IF: Resolutions

The Cholmondeley Ladies ( cats), Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, the second sketchbook projectI am resolved to be true to myself. Whatever I see in the mirror, the reflection in a dark window, the glance in a glass, is true and something I should be happy with. I will embrace my wicked side along with the one that suffers to be good. There is something in parallels that disturb and challenge. This is my resolution, to better understand that paradigm.

Looking over the horizon

More from the Madhubani women artistsIsn’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.

Musical Cows

Cowherd, Painting from the Madhubani region of IndiaNow, who could resist this? right? Our old pal Shiva with his cows, by the river with an audience of attentive fish. The tree is magnificent. The Shakers WISHED they drew this tree. And all the patterning?! Don’t you love the cows laying down? I do…with their funny legs bent and their sweet demeanor as they take in the charming flute music presented to them. We saw some pretty divine Highland Cows on the way from Mecklenburg to Odessa this morning in the bright sun, blue shadows and their golden coats shining off the snow. The drive was noteworthy for the winter color—and the brilliant sky we have not seen in a week or so (and its back to grey now). But exciting as I went to pick up the check and paperwork to get my new wheels this p.m.

Peter D. stopped by yesterday to visit which was great. We had a nice dinner with tutti Cassetti and a little quieter time later. I have been churning away on thumbnails for the Hangar (no live work until direction is approved). I am using my iPad to do the basic sketching even before I get to the tracing paper. Do not forget the power of tracing paper. It is remarkable think paper and really can get you methodically finishing ideas and moving to another in quite a chop chop way. This is real illustration. Not the musing and blah blah fantasy talk I am engaged in, but the real—put down an idea and refine the crap out of it…and move on to the next. So, good to work on this skill too.

Gotta go. Rob awaits me for something.

Day after Advent 2: What a wonderful world

Madhubani Painting by Bharti DayalSo, Today is our thirtieth wedding anniversary. We are having FB requests to post a few pics which I might do just for fun…I am thrilled to be housebound with snow and cold and noplace to go so I can jump on the work for the Hangar. Got a bunch of stuff to close on the car…and move forward.

I got a curious email from an Indian fashion designer and fine artist  who saw my work (on LinkedIn via the Behance Portfolios I have streamed there). Lesson here is, whenever you can have twitter feeds or rss feeds do the heavy lifting to get your work sent to different networking sites, do it. You never know who will see this work. She said that my work reminded her of Madhubani art (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithila_Painting). And so, I took a look!. Love this stuff! Wiki tells us that this painting technique was practiced by women and passed down to each generation from woman to woman. Wiki also says:

“Madhubani paintings mostly depict nature and Hindu religious motifs, and the themes generally revolve around Hindu deities like Krishna, Ram, Shiva, Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. Natural objects like the sun, the moon, and religious plants like tulsi are also widely painted, along with scenes from the royal court and social events like weddings. Generally no space is left empty; the gaps are filled by paintings of flowers, animals, birds, and even geometric designs. Objects depicted in the walls of kohabar ghar (where newly wed couple see each other in the first night) are symbols of sexual pleasure and procreation.”

No room to move, eh? I can do that.

Look at this jewel:

or t his one with the flower faces, the baby elephant and the sky fishes?

There is much much more. Just when things started to slow down…a little internet shove ! Cheers

Day after Advent #1: Phew.

Swanheart, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpie, from the second sketch book project

Phew! Another year done! Wrapping and boxing, list making and shopping, cooking and sorting. All done. Phew.

The amazing “feast in a box” (icebox) is the total way to go. I had the stock, gravy, stuffing mix (not the cornbread part), the cake layers, the bread all done. Turkey went in around 9 a.m. I iced the cake, tossed the stuffing and threw a salad and a veggie together so the holiday went without a hitch and the nightmare of carving and creating a mediocre gravy didn’t happen. Yay for me! Yay for kitchen schmarts. Yay for a freezer (if you dont have one, get one..but be clever about how you use it). A freezer is a not forever thing, but a hold until next week, next month thing. And you can have plates and plates of different food that you made yourself (just not concurrently). So, dinner went without a hitch. The glorious pure turkey (freerange, no antibiotics, organobird) did all the things it did to my delight at Thanksgiving. All the food happened at one time as was hot. And, we seated everyone for dinner around 4:45 p.m. to make it an early evening for all of us. It was a nice party. Quiet, but nice.

Then, after the dishes were swept away, I got right into the great boneyard roasting with leeks and onions, celery and onions (with the skins). So, this morning that whole pile of vegetables and brownness got popped into the cauldron on top of the stove to cook away all day into the next round of turkey stock. I just need to click into processing the rest of the food (soups, stews, pies) so we have a weeks worth of dinners on hand (a real vacation). Kitty is ice skating with her friends on their pond. Alex is off making music or trouble with his new friends….

I need to download “Pencil” as my Christmas present from Kitty was a tutorial in this software to make simple little animations. I had a beginner this afternoon around lunchtime, so I need to show good faith and give it a try before she gets home. I recieved some great books on soupmaking and breadmaking, a piece of glass enamelled by Emilio Santini’s wife (a spur by my hubby to get to enameling on glass), some cocktail napkins with my name on them(!), and books on illustrative topics. It was a good Christmas. Not over the top or anything. Pretty simple, but satisfying to all, I hope.

Interior of the Shadyside Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, PA froToday I can also be retrospective. Tomorrow, December 27, Rob and I celebrate our 30th anniversary! Who would have guessed! In my case, I am proud of this accomplishment and cannot imagine having a better partnership with anyone other than his wonderful man. We have grown up together. We have gone over quite a few speed bumps in our journey, but bounced along problem solving and pushing each other to be the best we have the ability to be. These are things that when standing in the gold tessellated nave of my church, I could not have imagined…I just knew this was right and good and it has been. Marriage is a toss up, and really for me, it is a test of faith in that gut knowledge that the journey will be enriched and bettered by the other person on the trail with you. It is faith in yourself, your partner and trust that you will continue to have faith, trust and abide by the contract that marriage puts on your relationship. For me, the contract is the piece many do not value. If the contract is broken (the stuff about love and obey, as translated by the partners..)then the whole of the marriage cannot survive completely. Also, I believe that this contract is truly between the partners and the Greater One and if broken, then difficult to get back to a place of trust, of faith, of love. I have been blessed by so much and one of the greatest is my marriage to Rob.

On that note, I am sounding a bit preachy and I apologize. I need to go and get the pencil..and make some lines wiggle for Kitty. More later>>

Advent Calendar Day 25: The Radiant Baby

Double Radlance, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies from t he Second Advent Calendar ProjectMerry 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.

IF: Winter [Baking]

Gingerbread Wreath, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, from the Second Advent Calendar project A Merry Christmas to all. May your holidays be filled with family, friends, pets and of course, gingerbread! For the complete (to date) Advent Calendar for this year, please go here>>

Advent Calendar Day 22: Closing in

Gingerbread Wreath, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, from the Second Advent Calendar ProjectThis 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.

Compliment returned: Etnodizajn Festival

Adwent, czyli przejście, przybycie, nadejście. Dla starożytnych Rzymian słowoadventus oznaczało oficjalny przyjazd Cezara. W kościele katolickim to okres oczekiwania na narodziny Jezusa. To czas związany z przygotowaniami i odliczaniem kolejnych grudniowych dni.
Amerykańska projektantka Q. Cassettiv połączyła z tym okresem własną pracę. Każdego dnia tworzy jedną ilustrację, która nawiązuje do ikonografii, a poprzez współczesną kreskę i zabawę motywami, stanowi jednocześnie komentarz do rzeczywistości. Q. Cassettiv to ilustratorka z blisko dwudziestopięcioletnim doświadczeniem w branży graficznej. Na co dzień współpracuje z amerykańskimi magazynami i galeriami, głównie w Nowym Jorku i Los Angeles. Jej prace były wystawiane także w Londynie.
Ilustracje składające się na adwentowy kalendarz można oglądać na stronie autorki:www.qcassetti.squarespace.com
How nice! Right! To go to this page>>

Advent Calendar Day 21: Notarians of the Universe

The Strength of Lions, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, from the Second Advent Calendar ProjectGoing to trot off to the notary this morning to get a bunch of papers notarized. I found out that one can have a business account at the Corning Credit Union, so I am opening one as we speak. I had to find all sorts of papers and numbers and stuff to get this stuff done, but I think this will be a good go to for loans etc should I need them as they are familiar with the familial stuff. Check off the list.

It sounds like insane squirrels are loose upstairs with the tipping and tapping going on to get Kitty’s soon to be bathroom ready. I wonder what the lunch bunch will be today…on the large size is my guess.

We are correcting and finalizing all sorts of design stuff from a brochure for Ithaca College to some approvals, edits and design for the big client, to finalizing a calendar for the Museum of Glass, to noodling in changes to two books for Cornell’s Vet School. Plenty to keep us busy. My hope over this quiet time is to get the Hangar work done and resolved by January 11th as there are steep deadlines that are needed to be met. I hope things dont get too prickly. I am thinking of taking a few long weekends for the break…Friday and Monday of this week…and maybe Thursday and Friday of the next. We will need to make plans to get Kitty back to school as well. So, plenty of calls to make.

Must go. The Notarians await!

Advent Calendar Day 21: electronic backslaps

Lion Nutcracker, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies and pentel pocket brush pen, 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.

Advent Calendar Day 20: You never know

Holiday Cookie, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, from the Second Advent Calendar ProjecdFunny 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.

Advent Calendar Day 19: Progress on all fronts

Holiday makers, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, moleskine, from the Second Advent Calendar ProjectNot much of an entry yesterday. My apologies. It was just enough to begin to get the house back to living. Wonderful David is here getting all the salt off the wooden floors which we both were shaking our heads over, but better salty floors than people falling down. It was an amazing event on Friday. We had a zillion (more like 350 people) come here to sing, gather and eat the piles of cookies that crowded our dining room table. The house looked great and really showcased Rob’s and my skill at display. Way back when, before I got a full time job in New York City, I styled the Steuben Glass showroom for Christmas (I made gingerbread houses and glued them together with hot melt. We rented fireplaces and an enormous “groaning board” that we filled with glass and fruit and cookies etc. The whole thing almost prepared us for this styling except, we hired a doorman (before the doorman thing became what everyone did) and a jazz pianist who played on an enormous baby grand (black, rented from Steinway) to set the tone for our un-named theme (but the theme we made decisions against) ” Holiday open house”. Well, it was a Holiday Open House here, for real with every shape and size, old and young coming to gather, to sing to commune.

I held court in the kitchen as I tended to the hot crockpots (and keeping them full) of mulled cider. I had a lovely group of friends and we chatted the night away until “the public” left and then it was our event. I pulled out jars of french olives and cheese (from the regional). Stefan brought the fruits of his first bake which we pressed on everyone. And, there were new and old friends with everyone laughing and having a great time. I must admit, public parties that you see who shows up is really great. We should model the Pourhouse gig on this one.

Another thought is to do this when I open the gallery. Yes, I am opening a gallery here in the Camp House to showcase my work and the cards etc. I have for sale. I may buy things to go with this work and make it available (like the felt balls etc). This is where we are going. We may have shows, we may use the space for community things, for parties etc. Rob is 200 percent behind this…and as I engage in the idea, I am warming too. More on that soon.

Yesterday, we picked up and went to Ithaca to pick out tile and a tub for the next rennovation project, the new bathroom off Kitty’s room. There were decisions made—and it was fun to be the four of us all over again. We had a great lunch at Taste of Thai Express with everyone (but me ) having something duck. As there were some “fatty bits” we gathered them up and I, the mom, was supposed to carry them out of the restaurant in a lettuce leaf for Shady Grove. Well, I had an envelope in my pocketbook, so we stuffed the bits and the lettuce in the envelope and marked it Special Delivery for Shady….and took it out neatly, sealed to see what she did. Oh, she was so polite (in front of us…but lets remember her gently pulling out every piece of plastic wrap from the cookies out of the trash and leaving them on the floor for us to discover her sweet iindulgence). But, as soon as I nicked a bit of the envelope open, she was all over it. Manners indeed!

Today, I made granola, the gravy for Saturday and found the recipe for the peanutbutter dog biscuits I plan on making for friends’ dogs. We do not need the cookies, but the dogs do! I wrapped a few more presents and am planning the week of work, wrapping and cooking without rush. Much like the choral event, if much of the work is done in advance, I can enjoy it so much more and not feel bludgeoned on the day of the event. I loved how it all worked out on Thanksgiving…so a bit a bit a bit.

Kitty stamped all the holiday cards. Done. All packages in the mail. Done. Phew.

Tonight we are TJ Maxxing to buy a nutcracker for our collection. Alex actually asked if we could do that. He is a boy that loves tradition….and so, we will oblige.

I start a new moleskine with this Advent Calendar Project on Day 19—with several more days to go… and then on to the next. As I mentioned, “pretty and creepy” delighted me but I am puzzling about what is it about these images that are creepy? can you or someone out there in readership land tell me how they interpret it. I will not be insulted. I genuinely want to understand this….to either play it up or see where it can go…Creepy is what makes it distinct. There is a lot of pretty. Edward Gorey was creepy. Tattoo artists are creepy…is this where I am? Can we put some language around this?

Advent Calendar Day 18: Pretty and Creepy = Pretty Creepy?

Two Gingerbread folk, Q. Cassetti, 2010, pen and ink, from the Second Advent Calendar ProjectAm up against it timewise and will dive into this later, but in a nutshell:

• House looked Great

• Choral event went off without a hitch, a trip and fall, or the police being called

• Rob projects (and he is good with this sort of data) that we easily had 350 folk come through

• A good time was had by all (including me! even on the cider patrol).

More later, Home Despot awaits (oh right, Depot).


Advent Calendar Day 17 (bonus): Good and Interesting News!

Run, Run, as fast as you can, you can’t catch me! I’m the Gingerbread Man!, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, from the Second Advent Calendar Project

We are in full prep, full holiday mode. Instead of ribbons and bows last night, I addresses and sealed all my holiday cards while watching junky teevee. This morning, I finished the wrapping and got two boxes in the mail, got the envelope weighed and bought the stamps for the cards. Then, down to the Regional to pick up the lovely sourdough loaves I ordered (along with some goodies from the little cantina). Then back to the house to neaten, compile, compost and recycle. Now we are into the afternoon. Kitty is decorating the tree. I am decorating wreaths and the chandeliers. Next step, the weeding and sorting of the bitsy bits in the singing room along with the great posting of paper.Two nice things happened re illustration yesterday. First off, I was noticed (via Behance) by the design blog, “OK Great”. I adore the editorial: “I love these illustrations from Q. Cassetti’s 2010 Advent Calendar. They strike a perfect balance of pretty & creepy.” PRETTY and CREEPY. Wow. I am thrilled. That is exactly the box I want to be in, and I am not even trying to be there! Yay. OKgreat seems really nice…and wide ranging. Interestingly, I have only posted these images (outside of my blog) to Behance which is nice as it confirms this simple line approach (inspired by the Lubki—and their simple lines).

The second surprise came from Charles Hively from 3x3 Magazine. He inquired if I would like to be featured in the next issue…and need to supply links to imagery, a short article and pix.  How nice! 3x3 is a gorgeous magazine—and smart…national publication.  Here’s how they describe themselves:

“3x3 is the first magazine devoted entirely to the art of contemporary illustration and the only one published in the United States. Twice a year we take an in-depth look at art and environment of three illustrators. We explore their influences. How they work with clients. How they got their first big break. Each article is written by a fellow illustrator who knows exactly what our audience wants to hear. From the U.S. to Europe, Asia, or wherever, we’ll stay tuned to what’s going on the world of illustration.

We’ll feature four or more new talents in every issue, they might be right out of school or are just now beginning to make a name for themselves or illustrators we find that have a truly unique take on the art of illustration. 

Plus we’ll showcase the recent work of as many as sixteen of the best illustrators in every issue. Selection will be by invitation only. All in all it’s eighty-plus pages of the best illustration has to offer, including guest articles by artist reps Vicki Morgan and Gail Gaynin, a feature on a living artist who has made and impact on the industry, an in-depth look at a recent advertising campaign that has successfully used illustration, a profile of a leading art director and an ongoing feature where we ask our featured artists the same twenty questions.”

I am simply thrilled. More on this as we move forward on this. Need to get going on CA…and see if there are more grants I can apply for.



Advent Calendar Day 16: Wreathed in Happiness

Holiday Wreath, Q. Cassetti,2010, sharpies, from the Second Advent Calendar ProjectSo, there are wreathes now to add to the russian dolls and nutcrackers. I am working on some new little sillies of gingerbread people> I know, I know…sappy stuff…but hey, this is how I am feeling. I am “loving the line” these days, and any opportunity to bat off something holiday is an excuse for fun. You have figured out that I am big, fat cheater, and this wreath didn’t take days to draw (it took about a half hour) as It was only a quarter. I stuck the bow in the diagonal…and there was very little cheating when I pieced it together for this. In the tradition of John Alcorn, I should print this in grey on some nice watercolor paper and see what develops. Some lovely, watery washes of soft pinks and sage green might work with some gold accents? These wreaths have a little more mileage than the holiday (imagine it stamped in a matte silver on a cream card? or a pearl on matte paper? Oooooh. Fun!

Kitty is home after a long ride. It is great to have her back. She is in good spirits albeit she is still coughing…and the three weeks of rest, food and friends is really in order. We decorated for the big sing last night (Rob put up a lovely tree) with all the mantlepieces with little holiday vignettes. One is about nutcrackers with a wreath decorated in nutcrackers and stuffed gingerbread people. Another is a pair of artificial topiaries with a green swag with lights and silver balls. I filled up some colored drinking glasses with tiny colored balls like little glass fizzy drinks. I decorated the chandeliers with mardi gras swag and ornaments. Today, I will move furniture and get the remaining packages in the mail. Holiday, what Holiday? It is WORK and has been good as we have had focus on it…

I am going to try to get out to go to the store for a few more silver balls…and fairydust.

Some nice things have been happening. My work was highlighted again in the Featured section on Behance. I am waiting to hear from the Society of Illustrators Illustration West show. Need to get the work out to Communication Arts for January. Got my work back from Picture Salon for the Society of Illustration Show this January and February. I feel like I am making some headway on the Hangar and ideas around that.

I was searching/ researching  August Wilson’s ” The Gem of the Ocean” play to seek out something to hang the illustration/graphics on. Wilson’s plays are multilayered, multigenerational thing that I feel need something symbolic as the complexity of the play cannot truly be captured in a snapshot of an illustration. So, finding that the Gem of the Ocean is really a slave ship, I started to search out graphics for that to find that the NYPL digital library has a few really evocative maps/ functional illustrations of the layouts of the slave ships and how to fit people on this ship (much like the image above… which is spurring me to think about the slave, the person entrapped/ boxed in. I am also thinking of a style that evokes African maps…That’s where I am now on this. I need to put my head on “Ragtime” too. I would love to have a sketch for Monday (my meeting with the team). I need to let my brain relax to see what pops up. I am pleased that reseach has driven this break through.

Busy day. Hope it is busy and fun for you too.

Advent Calendar Day 15

A visit from the three kings, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, from the SEcond Advent Calendar ProjectKitty comes home today on the bus. I am manning the phones to make sure the connections are made and reassurance is there. We rehearsed where to go, where the stop is, what she needs to do, the time she has between buses. So, we will see. She is not top of her game (still ill) and needs some time off to rest and get her stuff together. I might call the doctor so she can be seen on Monday.

Tonight is prep night for the party. Hopefully, we will see Mandy today/tomorrow. We have a tree to decorate, ornaments to hang. We have things to move and store in the upstairs rooms. Its going to be a rush after 4 and tomorrow afternoon.

Lots of phone calls and busyness yesterday. I snuck in a quick illo for my meeting with the Hangar next week. It was a curious approach as I was using a picture and cut out a few layers of color and used the blob brush and eraser to do the heavy lifting. I like what is happening (see here) with the image of Tim Curry which I found to be more disturbing than the clownish tranny pix that are out there. It seems a tad bit darker…which I like.

Need to crunch on finalizing some of these projects.  Hopefully more Hangar stuff next week. Would love to get the broad images done before January 3.

Advent Calendar Day 14: sampler

Santa Nutcracker, Q. Cassetti, 2010, pen and ink, from the Second Advent CalendarColder than cold. Freezing nose. Freezing toes. Shady loves it (this is her season) and the cats have all searched out all the hotspots on the floor and are perched on top of them, soaking in the heat. Rumor is talking lots of snow today/tonight…upwards to 8” for us. There is lots of buzz around that. I walked home from Yearbook class and relished the sharp sparkle of the cold and the astringent quality of just being in the moment.

I think that Mr. Mel is coming today to sweep the stovepipe on the little cricket stove (cricket on the hearth) so we can ramp up two stoves in the kitchen/ t.v. room. Additionally, we are going to see the piano tuner, Eileen, to tune the Hermon Camp piano in the hallway for the Sing. So, we will def have our stuff in gear at the end of today.

We scaled the mountain of work yesterday…to my delight as there was a ton to do..lots of think stuff which is rough on this girl. Hate thinking. Love slothfulness. Need my teenagers to help me with the office holiday cards….and need to get the final box of stuff out in the mail. I sense everyone else is as bogged down in details as I am. There is more for today along with some fun sidebars such as entering the Communication Arts show (due 1/07), get the images to the Society of Illustrators for the opening and get the paperwork together to start thinking about refinancing the house. So, plenty to do.

We are swinging into the season of the Hangar soon. We are meeting on Monday with the communications team and wonderful Peter to make plans around what needs to be done, when. I am looking forward to having some time around the holidays to get the art done for these posters….Five or six pix. Quite a bit. There is a brochure, posters, handbills. I hope we can get it organized so as not to be the insane thing it was last spring. I am pulling some of the images out of the archive…and need to do some that are big, bold and graphic…and everything does not have to be the hour upon hour of doing the vectorizing that the portrait work demands. The simpler the better. Looks so good and strong on the banners etc. I have two in the can….and am thinking that Ragtime might want to be a line drawing. Rocky Horror will be a graphic close up of a face…very Liza Minelli simple. Maybe I should give myself an hour to do that to cut to the chase? You know, that sounds like an idea.

Thinking some more about portly Mr. Penn. Noble and humble, honest and true, Mr. Penn. This could be a very silly little exercise. A colonial fantasy and fairy tale.