Friday, August 29, 2008

If Quiet City were a real city, there would be a parade today.

This morning was my husband's turn to get out of bed first when our son woke up, and I slept for another two hours. Accidentally I assure you, as it was 11 a.m. by the time I got out of bed. I got up and joined my family in the living room, where our son was happy to see his mom was finally awake. Mr. Quiet City said to me, "There's something waiting for you in the kitchen." My face lit up. I knew what it was.

This box holds the beginning to my Quiet City future.

It holds more boxes, and in these boxes are postcards. Printed professionally and perfectly.


Isn't it all so beautiful?

So you know what this means. My Etsy shop will be opening soon, and these postcards will be available for purchase. Then I will create more things- more stationery, plus things for your walls and things for your Christmas trees, and more more more.

PLEASE STAY TUNED HERE for my Etsy shop grand opening contest(s?) and tell all your friends. Big things are coming our ways.

xoxo Courtney

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"Don't get caught out with the temperature going down."

Ok, I lied a little, but I promise I did not know I was lying at the time.

First, I said I'd do ten to fifteen matt pond PA postcards. Then I am pretty sure I said fifteen. Well I decided on ten. I want to start working on some other projects, and since I feel really good about where I am at with my designs, I am going to stop now.

Which means I have ten cards! I finished my tenth tonight. Or rather, this morning, since it's nearly 1:30 a.m. now. But that it neither here nor there.

My other lie was that this card was going to be my "Brooklyn Stars" design. I swear I had every intention of doing that but I sat down yesterday at my desk- my apartment was empty, as my son was with my parents and my husband was sleeping- and nothing was coming to me. Nothing, at least, that made me continue to be excited about it, from my own artistic standpoint. I had to change songs.

So then I'm all bombarded with the thought that this is my last postcard and suddenly every single word that Matthew ever wrote seems postcard-able and I spent a lot of time trying to narrow everything down and focus on actual possibilties. There are so many. I don't think I can be fully done with making art inspired by his music, so maybe he'll be cool with some wall art in the future?

After much deliberation I chose the song "Grave's Disease." It's another one of my favorites (when I told this to Mr. Quiet City he said to me, "Seriously though Courtney? Are any of those songs not your favorite?") and I mean it. It lies near the end of the Emblems album and its full of winter imagery."This cold here is one of the properties of the elements. This cold here is one of those I wish not to defend." It's followed up by the hint of spring and promises of summer. "Off come the sweaters and who are you to stop it?" The music swoops and words are whispered, and how could I not make a postcard out of it?

It may be blasphemous to spoil the end August with a scene of snow but here in Maine the temperatures have been dipping at night (uncharacteristically early), calling for double comforters and snuggling in bed. Autumn isn't too far off, and we all know what comes after that.

"I want the worth of every day there is to fill." Words by Matthew Pond, copyright matt pond PA 2004. Artwork (paper and ink collage) by Courtney, copyright Quiet City 2008.

I'm going to explain, since the photograph did not translate the image very well onto the computer: that's a girl making a snow angel in piles and piles of snow.

If it makes any of you summer lovers feel better about the nearing end of your favorite season, it's still wicked hot in the daylight hours. My shoulders even managed to darken a bit, as much as an Irish girl can without burning, today in the sun.

There's big news to come in a few days. Please stay tuned. Ooh, the suspense!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

future stars

My husband helped me decide on which matt pond PA song lyrics to use next, as I only have six more postcards to go to complete my goal for this project. He chose the one from "Brooklyn Stars" (Several Arrows Later, 2005) because "it has stars in it."

We were just talking yesterday about how his first word as a baby was star and that the first time we talked, I (mostly-jokingly) asked him to marry me when he told me that.

I am hoping to get some work done on the design tomorrow but seeing as how we were driven away from the Balloon Festival today because of the rain, we'll probably spend some time there tomorrow.

I am excited about this card though! I love the song (are you shocked?) and I used to sing it to my son when he was a wee newborn. It was one of three songs that could calm him down in those early days. One was the silly bumblebee song I made up, one was "No Rain" by Blind Melon and then "Brooklyn Stars."

Happy Full Moon Weekend, dear ones!

xoxo Courtney Quiet City

Promise the Bite

Over four years ago I had this dream about a tree up on a hill that was set against a backdrop of green and golden sky. I used to keep a dream journal (recording things that sometimes didn't even make sense but just writing down whatever I remembered), and this is how I documented the dream:

"Adam and I were in the countryside to take photographs. He woke me up so I could take a picture of the sunset- the greenish horizon, the blue above, the silhouettes of him and trees. But no! The sky became golden. I had lost time- it was actually the sunrise. I looked through the camera at everything, which was richer and more beautiful than usual. We went into the abandoned house so we could take pictures of the outdoors through the windows... I saw stars even though the sun was coming up and I wished for a house as big as the empty one we were standing in, with such a breathtaking view. I want to see all the empty houses with pretty views and put rocking chairs in all the windows facing east and west. East and west are the same. Boards creaking."

It's interesting looking back on that because when I think of that dream now, what is most vivid in my mind is the tree but when I wrote it down I was more taken by the sky.

For my latest postcard I drew inspiration more from that dream than the music. I chose the song "Promise the Bite," as it's one of my favorites (ok, I have a lot of favorites, I can't help myself), and, out of context, fits the remembered image of that dream. I made sure to include the golden sunrise and the green of the sunset all in the same landscape, and of course the old leafless tree on the hill. I often think of this dream, and that tree, and I am happy to combine it with this dreamy song.

"I've been dreaming. Surprise, surprise, surprise." From the song "Promise the Bite" from 2002's The Green Fury. Words by Matthew Pond, copyright 2002 matt pond PA. Artwork (paper and ink collage) by Courtney, copyright 2008 Quiet City.

It took a few hours to cut all those circles, and I have several extras, which I am sure will end up on another project because I like how they look when layered. I can't wait to see this postcard as a finished product, all printed and neatly trimmed and ready to arrive in someone's mailbox.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Portland Museum of Art

For those of you in or near Maine, it will be worth your time to visit the Portland Museum of Art before September 7 to see their Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit. It features photographs of and by the artist as well as some of her paintings, which you can read about further here.

Portland Museum of Art
7 Congress Square
(intersection of High, Congress and Free Streets)
Portland, Maine

Monday, August 11, 2008

Last Song

After missing matt pond PA play in Boston (when I lived in Portland, ME) and Denton (after we'd moved to the Dallas area) for whatever reasons, I got the chance to see them for the first time in Dallas in March of 2006. The first song they played at that show was "Last Song," which is one of my favorites. When I started planning this postcard project I knew I'd have to design something based on that song.

Last night I sketched out my idea for my "Last Song" postcard:

And I measured, cut, hemmed and hawed again, and assembled it today:

"My mind was set just like the sun's red but now the sun is setting." Words by Matthew Pond, copyright 2004 matt pond PA. Artwork (paper and ink collage) by Courtney, copyright 2008 Quiet City. "Last Song" is from the album Emblems.

As you can see, this card is flawed. I worked backwards-ish, from middle to bottom to top, when I should have gone from top to bottom. The wrinkles were intentional although they got out of hand. It'll look much better once it's scanned and printed, I assure you. Really.

As always I showed my husband when I had the paper down. He shrugged about it and said it was a little blah because there wasn't much going on. "I assure you there is," I told him, knowing how much I'd had going on trying to make it work.

After I wrote the lyrics on, I brought it to him again and he said he liked it better.

Me: Is it still blah, though?
Husband: Kind of- for me at least.
Me: What does it need?
Husband: I don't really know.
Me: What would make it un-blah? Like, a knife fight?

Oh, and just in case you're wondering, that black and white pattern surrounding the finished postcard- that would be my jammie pants. Because I am still wearing them. It's almost 4 p.m. Yes. Full glamour, Old Navy stay-at-home mom style.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

New Hampshire

It's done.

The "New Hampshire" postcard:

"In the north we hold our tongues." Words by Matthew Pond, copyright 2004 matt pond PA. Artwork (paper and ink collage) by Courtney, copyright 2008 Quiet City. "New Hampshire" is from the album Emblems. You should listen to it, every song.

Sometimes I should just keep these things to myself.

It's Saturday, and it's working day. I'm hemming and hawing over my latest postcard, which is inspired by the lovely song "New Hampshire."

I got the background but I am sitting here trying to draw a deer. I'm from Maine; deer are abundant here and my childhood was speckled in the exciting electricity of seeing deer cross streets, chew in fields, and watching their tails disappear back into the woods. They love my parents' yard, which used to be farm pasture, and we frequently saw the tall grass flattened by their sleeping or resting bodies. I've seen my share of deer. I just can't draw the freaking things.

My deer are coming out looking like antlered horses, or horse-cows, or horse-dogs. I'm getting better but this is quite a process. It's hard to draw from memory because a) drawing isn't my biggest strength, b) deer don't stay still long enough for me to really commit their details to memory for drawing later, and c) I am trying to focus too much on details even though all I need is a deer silhouette.

Right now I am taking a break from it, and I have a deer body drawn onto a piece of notebook paper in front of me. (I know, wide-ruled notebook paper is very professional.) I need to do the head next and well, have you ever tried to draw a deer head?

Here's a creepy fact about my childhood: my family lived at my grandmother's house for a little while and I shared a bedroom with my brothers right off the dining room. (That's not the creepy part yet.) My mum's stepdad had apparently been a hunter and was the kind of hunter to mount the heads of his kills on the wall. (It's coming...) Indeed, on the wall of the room where we slept. Indeed, on the wall of the room where we slept, right above my brothers' beds. That's the creepy part, in case you didn't catch that. We thought it was so cool/gross. We'd get brave sometimes and dare each other to stand on the beds and touch the stiff fur. Ewwwww. The biggest dare was touching the eyeballs, which of course weren't real but we didn't know that when we were that age.

I wish I'd repressed that memory. How am I supposed to draw the head of a deer now?

I know. I'm weird. Back to work.

This is my final sketch. It's way too big and as you can see I cut my (disproportionate) original to use as an outline for a better result. I ended up barely even using the original lines anyway. And I only need a silhouette. It's not so glamorous, being an artist.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"It's ok, your hair in my face as we both fade..."

"The Moviegoer" postcard is done.

Almost a month after I even made the sketch, I finally cut and assembled all of the collage pieces to bring it to life, and I actually somehow managed to stick pretty close to the sketch.

(You can if you squint at the sketch or click here and squint a little less.)

And the finished product:
"My eyes close and open to yours as yours open and close to mine." Words by Matthew Pond, copyright 2005 matt pond PA. Paper and ink collage by Courtney, copyright 2008 Quiet City.

It feels good. Sweet and simple.

The song "The Moviegoer" can be heard on matt pond PA's 2005 album Several Arrows Later. Visit their website here and they're on MySpace too.

perfect timing

This post serves no other purpose than to say how excited I am about this afternoon.

With my husband's work schedule I haven't been able to do very many Quiet City things like I should be (but he's working so, so hard) so I've arranged with my mum for her to come and hang out with my son this afternoon after his nap so that I can work. It's raining again- no, I don't mind- and I had a long drive in it along the river earlier today. Despite the time of day, it's dark under all these rain clouds, and I hear cars splashing by in the puddles. This is a very very good day for me to be working.

I'm one of those annoying people who likes the rain. Sorry, all you sunshine people. These clouds are mine.

I also got a pretty piece of mail today and the timing could not have been better.

Be sure to check in with me later to see the collage that will come of the sketch I posted last week. Until naptime is over I'll be (gasp!) writing some more of my story because I'm going to be an author someday too.

So many hopes. Oh, these dreams.