I know I’m behind on every sort of post possible (for instance: a 3d printer lives in my office now!), but here I am with a new phone and lots of enthusiasm.

I had an iPhone 8 for about a year, and while it worked perfectly well, I’d been growing increasingly unhappy with the camera as compared to newer phones on the market. The obvious Cho was the new iPhone Xs, but according to every review I’ve seen, the Google Pixel 3 has a better camera.

I haven’t tried the iPhone XS, but I’m SUPER satisfied with this brand spankin’ new Pixel 3 I got today. Palmer was nice enough to pose for a couple photos while I still had both phones:

Im definitely a fan of the Pixel photo on the right. Palmer says he looks washed out on the iPhone. The dog photos taken in portrait mode do a better job of showing off the Pixel camera’s superiority.

Of course, there is also food. This first one is from lunch at Habanero’s a local restaurant:

And this second one is from my barely successful attempt at peeling and cubing a kobucha squash (don’t do it!):

So far, I’m super happy with this phone. My last Android experience was far from ideal, so we’ll see.

Yes, this counts. Sharpie markers on plastic cut to kite dimensions. One of my favorite things about my job is that I get to go to programs like this. This one was at Broadmoor, a branch I rarely visit. There’s a kite enthusiast conference of sorts in town this weekend, and really nice man from Pennsylvania volunteered to lead this program at the library. Other volunteers led programs at other branches.

Everyone I talked to had an awesome time. People of all ages made kites to fly. Here are some photos I took while I was there:

I’m so glad this organization presented these programs. I hope they spark the imaginations of patrons of all ages across the parish. I certainly had a good experience.

One of my favorite parts of my job is that I get to paint on the clock. Today, I went on a little voyage to do it, to a town called Mooringsport in the northwest tip of Caddo Parish, about 30 miles from Shreveport. I’d seen the exterior of this library, but I’d never been in. It looks and smells like an old schoolhouse.

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I went up there because a local artist, Eric Francis, is doing a series of painting programs for the library based on Jesmyn Ward’s novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing, this year’s One Book One Parish selection. Today, we painted the crow on the front cover. Unlike my painting programs, Eric starts with a very helpful pencil sketch, which is way less intimidating for first-time painters than an entirely blank canvas is.

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The turnout was amazing and far more than I was expecting. Everyone was enthusiastic and proud of their work. Some people made amaaaaaazing paintings.

I was super impressed by the whole program. Since the turnout was so high, I’m planning on bringing my art and tech programs for kids and teens. Too bad the branch is closed on Saturdays, or I’d schedule a Paint Studio program there.

Good times at the library!

I have an impending out-of-any-sort-of-studio Arting to do on the 29th, so I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how to do it. It’s a library outreach program, so it would be ideal to showcase one of my monthly painting classes, but acrylics dry too fast for plein air. Watercolor our gouache would be fine, but they require a flat surface, which doesn’t show off what I’m doing well, so oil seems the best medium to use in this case.

Enter this semi-homemade pochade box. I got an art storage box at Michaels for $30 with a coupon, and Palmer added a wooden board with a tripod screw hole and little hardware bits (plus some foam) to hold the panel or canvas in.

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It had two levels of divided areas, so I removed the dividers from the top portion and masking taped in an 8×10 palette (aka the glass from an 8×10 picture frame).

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This work should result in a pretty ideal setup for up to 8×10 plein air oil paintings, and I definitely prefer this smaller format.

What I really want is one of these pochade boxes by Art Essentials, preferably the classic. Since they’re upward of $200, I’ll give this homemade version a good round to see if I’d use it enough to justify the price.

I should also note that I had to get a new fancy tripod for this setup. I ordered this Manfrotto Compact Advanced tripod, which should arrive at my house on Tuesday. It’ll be nice to have a good quality tripod for this and for photos, as my old cheap one is busted.

It’ll have to because I’m exhausted again. I did more Pirate Storytime this morning and another round of Jack o’Lantern Paper Circuit this afternoon. Both programs went really well.

Kids are even more into the paper circuits than I thought they would be, which is good because I still have 4 more programs to do.

For now, though,I’m going to enjoy my first weekend off in too long.

…because I’m exhausted. This was my day, which, granted, could have been so much worse:

That was Pirate Storytime. There are several more to go. (Also: Baby Shark will probably be stuck in my head for the next several weeks. Please be patient with me.)

Yesterday, I started a series of 6 paper circuit programs:

I’ve had a great time, but I need a break, as this will be my first free weekend after four working.

Here’s another work project (so many excuses to paint!): my own version of Van Gogh’s Starry Night for a series of children’s programs I’ll be doing in February! The idea came from a lesson plan by Misty Poe. The sky is painted with acrylics. The mountains, town, and willow tree are all construction paper painted with nupastels. I used spray sealant on the construction paper, then modpodged the whole shebang together.

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It turned out super cute! Of course I couldn’t help myself and made mine more complicated than Poe’s example. I might end up making a much simpler one before the actual program.

It sucks that due to the cheap construction paper I used, this one probably won’t last very long, though until then I think I’ll frame it and hang it in my office.