28 September 2016

BBW Shelf-talkers

Here are the last of the Banned Book Week shelf-talkers that I'm going to have time to make. But I'm enjoying making these, and am going to focus on doing one or two every week to put up in my Young Adult Fiction section for regular books that I like and want to recommend. They're pretty fast and easy, and fun!

27 September 2016

Another small one, more shelf-talkers

I'm still doing small 4x6-inch art pieces for the Secret Art fundraiser. Here's my latest--a couple of chickens at roost on a fence:

And I'm still disliking working this small! But needs must. I drew this one with a sepia-tone Micron pen instead of the usual black, since the chickens are mostly brown.

Tonight, I had a program at the library, but since someone from the outside was actually running the program (an SAT Essay Writing seminar), all I had to do, after checking in all the participants and doing a couple of announcements, is sit at the back of the room and make sure everything ran smoothly. Not wanting to be bored, I brought myself some busywork--some shelf-talker forms, some micron pens, and my Altoids mini watercolor kit--and made half a dozen shelf-talkers. The only problem I had was, I had only a hazy idea or memory of some of the books for which I wanted to make shelf-talkers, so I made headlines and artwork for a bunch, but only completed two. I'll finish the rest tomorrow, when I have access to the books (or to a computer) for a summary, and then I'll share those too. I really enjoy making these shelf-talkers!

18 September 2016

Two more small sketches

Here are two more 4x6-inch pix for the auction.

"Motel," a sign along Olive Avenue in Burbank, California

and "Coffee," with an obvious model.

This last idea I can't claim as original--Carol Carter, one of the excellent artists whose Facebook page I follow, did a much more translucent and spontaneous-looking rendition of this a few days back, entitled "taking a break," and I thought it would make a good subject for the small art that people might like to buy for the fund-raiser. I'm hoping Carol doesn't mind--it IS a fairly universal image, and I can't imagine no one before her has painted it, but I did appropriate it directly from her inspiration.

11 September 2016

The secret is...

...that the deadline has been extended! I went to turn in my five tiny paintings to Burbank Arts for All on Friday and discovered that, because the date of the Secret Art Show event has been pushed back to November 5, the deadline for paintings has also been pushed back, to October 21! So I'm going to do a few more.

I'm also trying to encourage artistic staff members and some of my teenagers to enter. Cesar, the upstairs children's page (pages are the people who put the books back on the shelves after you return them) is a gifted artist, and I also have a couple of teens, former book club members, who are quite accomplished. I grabbed a few extra packets from BAFA when I turned in my five pieces, and am handing them out this week.

Here's a little memento of a trip to the farmers' market. The photo was a bigger scene (two other veg in the display), but I'm having such trouble working small to this 4x6-inch format that only three kinds of squash made it into this pic. I didn't remember to leave white reflections on the squash, so it's all a little flatter than it should be, but I do like the effect of light coming through the tiny holes and slats in the market baskets that have been turned on their sides to serve as display cases for the beautiful squash.

This is a photo I took during the winter months--this time of year the picture should really be of tomatoes, eggplant, and stone fruit--but since the event is in November, maybe by that time people will be thinking of winter root vegetables instead!

05 September 2016

More secret art

Going for a variety of subjects, I made three more "secret art" pieces today to donate to Burbank Arts For All "Secret Art Show":

Some peaches from the Farmers' Market...

 A quick and sketchy sketch of wisteria on a building in France...

And a rather cartoon-y version of an old red truck, because let's face it, who doesn't love an old red truck? (or the barn that goes with it)

I think that will be it for my entries, unless I get inspired enough later in the week to do some evening art. So my Labor Day was mostly taken up with labors of love, rather than labors of housework. I will leave that thought with something I painted for an Every Day in July exercise last year; the prompt was "Yuck! something you dislike." My opinion has not changed.

04 September 2016

Plein air and secret art

My friend Carey has moved to Monrovia--both her household and her job (she used to be the head of the Reference Department at my library, and now she is the library director for the Monrovia Public Library, la di dah), and we miss lunching together a few times a week and talking librarian. So we decided to meet up halfway for breakfast yesterday. There are lots of places we could pick, between Monrovia and Van Nuys, but I suggested Montrose. I took an art workshop there once, and remembered it as a cute little town, eminently drawable, and with lots of restaurants, and I figured we could have breakfast and then I could stay to sketch, if the weather didn't turn too hot. So that's what we did.

We met at a neighborhood favorite called The Black Cow Café, and it is deservedly a hot spot--the food was great, the service was great, and even though they had a pretty full house, there was no hurrying us out the door so they could turn over the table--they let us sit and tell each other stories for two hours. Afterwards, Carey headed out with a to-go order of cheese-and-jalapeño biscuits (she had them with gravy for breakfast and pronounced them irresistible), while I moved directly across the street to a shady bench, to set up and paint the café. It wasn't what I had planned on painting, but I wanted to commemorate our morning. I think we have found "our" place to meet for future breakfast dates! (I wonder if Carey's boyfriend got a single one of those biscuits...)

It's challenging to mix all the colors I need from my portable palette, which is my Altoids tin with just five colors in it that I made last summer with the teens at the library. But I managed pretty well.

I just got involved at work with an organization called Burbank Arts for All (BAFA, inevitably), which is a group that helps fund the arts in the Burbank Unified School District. I thought it might be a good networking and partnership opportunity, and also, I am personally interested in the arts and do a lot of arts programming at the library, so it seemed like a good idea.

Later this fall, they are having a fund-raiser called the Secret Art Show. It's a one-night pop-up art gallery, at which they exhibit 4x6-inch pieces of art made by all different kinds of people from the Burbank community--students, amateur artists, professionals who work at the studios, whoever wants to contribute. They serve wine and cheese, and the "secret" part is that you have to pony up $40 for a piece of artwork before you learn who painted it. It's a little scary for we artists, who wonder, "Will anyone want my little 4x6 scribble badly enough to spend that kind of money?" But it's all about funding the non-profit to make sure kids get to make art too, so everybody seems to play along.

I have finished two pieces so far--a miniature of the Burbank City Hall (I thought it might appeal to some bureaucrat in attendance), and a small study of a girl whose image I intend to use as part of a larger piece of art. I hope to finish three or four more by Friday, when all the art is due.

I actually drew this one in pencil and painted it, and then decided it needed a little more definition to convey the depth of field from the front of the fountain to the tower in the background. I think the pen-work improved it.

This one frustrated me a bit--the subject is a child, but in the painting she looks years older than she did in the picture. Also, in the picture she was looking right out at the viewer, and even though I painstakingly placed the reflections in her eyes in the identical position, she somehow ended up looking sideways instead. I'm afraid portraiture is not (yet) my strong suit.

Stay tuned for more secret art...and if you live in Burbank and plan to come to the show, don't "out" me by giving away the identity of the artist!

28 August 2016

Musical Interlude

I ended up working on Saturday this week, because we had a double program, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and Anarda is on vacation (she works Tuesday-Saturday, so she takes the Saturday ones and I take the Monday ones).

Bay area jazz band Charged Particles came to our library to do a workshop for teens in the morning and a concert for everyone in the afternoon, so I hung out in the auditorium for most of the day, "running" the programs, which is to say, I did announcements, I welcomed people, I seated latecomers, and I sat myself for a couple of hours in the morning and a couple more in the afternoon while the performers did their thing. Not a bad way to spend a day, although being the introvert that I am, all that face time with actual people tired me out by the end!

The workshop for the teens was both a success and not a success: Jon, the band member who coordinated these programs with me, had the brilliant idea of getting in touch with all the music teachers at the Burbank middle and high schools and asking each of them to invite a couple of teens who were outstanding musicians to come specially to the program to "sit in" with the band. The music teachers all came through...but somehow, I'm afraid the idea was conveyed that the program was only for these students, when in reality it was for everyone with an interest in music! (The flyer was addressed to a general audience, but...maybe not clear to the teachers?)

So we had 10 exceptional young men (don't know where all the girl musicians were) who came, played, tried things out, learned some stuff about playing jazz, and had a great time, and other than that we had a couple more non-playing teens, and the proud families of the participating musicians, and that was it. I'm so sorry that more of our teens didn't come...but I'm also so happy for the ones who did, because they got a lot out of it. Live and learn--next time we will make sure the promotion is crystal clear!

If you'd like to see an album of photos, it's up on our Facebook page. But one way I kept myself entertained while everyone else was playing music and having fun was to do a few quick sketches.

This is Aaron, the bass player/guitarist, and Jon, the drummer. They sit so spread out that I miscalculated and couldn't get Murray, the keyboardist, into the picture (my sketchbook is square). I'll have to do another one of them from a photo so Murray isn't excluded.

And these are three of the young musicians who came to play--two alto saxophones and a trombone! I must say I'm partial to saxophone and can't imagine a jazz band without one...

These were all quick and rough, and you can tell that I have absolutely no knowledge of how these instruments are actually constructed and supposed to look! But it kept me entertained.