06 July 2018

Farewell, Evelyn

Tomorrow is the going-away party and last day at work for my friend and colleague, Evelyn. She has been in her current position in the administration office at the library for about seven years, I believe; before that, she worked as a clerk in the audio visual department, and before that I'm not sure, but it seems like Evelyn has always been at Burbank Public Library! I'm not sure she's quite ready to retire, but she's bravely walking out the door, and I know that she will find so many things to do out there, just as she has at the library.

It will be hard not to have her up in the admin office—most of us at the library think of her as our person to go to when we want to share something good, when we want a pick-me-up from something bad, or when we have insider information to give or get. Evelyn is always at her desk, happy to see you, greet you, amd make you feel at home, and she always has chocolate.

I feel like in some ways Evelyn is the heart of the library. While she is not a librarian, she enthusiastically supports and facilitates everything we do, always with a cheery word, a sympathetic ear, and a generous impulse to help. Evelyn is the one who runs the monthly birthday parties, who orders all the decorations and gifts for the retirements, baby showers, and weddings, who picks out good books for the book clubs, who knows just the right thing to say when your cat or your parent dies, and she is most generous of all when doling out praise for the things you do in your job that maybe nobody else notices.

She has been a one-woman cheering section for everything I have done in my job as teen librarian, and has consistently praised the direction in which I have taken the program since I started. I don't know what I would have done without that; although I am a relatively self-actualized person and don't do what I do for either the money (fortunately) or the admiration, everyone knows it helps to get some positive feedback occasionally. And it's never been empty praise, either; Evelyn has always been intensely interested in all the philosophy, reasons behind, and details of what I wanted to do, and has been a great listener with good advice and insight.

As I write this, I think that even I didn't realize how much she has done for me, and how much I am going to miss her. I'm hoping we'll remain friends and, now that she's a lady of leisure, maybe even lunch buddies from time to time.

I decided she needed something special for a going-away card, so I sat down and made one tonight. I hope she likes it, and her gifts, and enjoys her retirement thoroughly. Although we don't want to let her go, she deserves some leisure and some fun. Maybe there are people out there who need her as much as we do at the library, and she will get to pass on more of her warmth and generosity.

03 July 2018

World Watercolor Month begins

Yes, it's another challenge! A little less specific than the last, in that you can paint anything you want and use any tools or styles, but Charlie at Doodlewash does offer a daily prompt list in case you get stuck.

Yesterday's prompt was "delicious food," and although my tendency is to go for sweets, sometimes they don't make such wonderful paintings. So instead, i went for the ingredients of my favorite breakfast frittata.

Today's prompt was "primary colors," and people mostly did bunches of flowers so they could put the three colors together with ease, but I wasn't in the mood for still life. So I looked through a bunch of old reference photos from my trip to France in 2013, and came across a picture of a restaurant on a street in Parthenay. I looked the restaurant up, just for fun, and they had a better photo, this time with the restaurant open and its proprietor standing, hands on hips and belly thrust out, in the doorway, so I used that photo instead and painted this. 

The restaurant's name is Aut'Fouée, and the subtitle is a "medieval restaurant." They seem to feature a particular kind of bread, sort of like pita pockets, and then provide you with all sorts of fancy choices with which to stuff them. When I was there, we were touring quickly and going back to our base to eat, so I didn't experience a meal there—this is from various websites.

The interior lights and flowers are yellow; the façade is definitely red; and I made the proprietor's apron a bright Jackson Blue instead of the dull navy/black that it actually was in the photo, for that touch of my third primary.

This wasn't so easy to paint, proportionally. I did put in a few pencil lines, but tried to paint most of it more loosely without drawing first, like I have been doing for the Direct Watercolor challenge. That was a mistake when it came to the lettering, however, and I almost wish I'd just left it out—it pops out of the red and looks flat. Also, I just noticed that I'm missing a third window above the storefront; I somehow omitted the window and the other shutter. Oh well, daily practice, nothing for which I am trying to be perfect. I did seek out and use a flat brush for the cobblestones, which worked okay, but I had trouble with the angle.

Another day, another practice painting.

02 July 2018

June Direct Watercolor

Alas, an incredibly busy week at work meant I did no more paintings for the Direct Watercolor 30x30 challenge after June 24th, and now it's over. But I did manage to do more than half (by a squeak—I did 16 paintings), which is more than I have accomplished in the past, so bravo for me. Some were surprisingly good, some were truly awful, but all were painted without guides or lines or drawing of any kind. Here they are, all in a group:

I learned a lot, and will keep practicing. Now, on to July, which is World Watercolor Month. I hope to paint at least 16!