artober

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!

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.

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.

I really like this one! It’s definitely my favorite Artober painting so far. It’s 5×7 gouache on watercolor paper, based on this photo from Unsplash, my favorite source of free-to-use images.

I painted this one at work, and I’ll probably hang it there. It’s an example of what I want to do with my painting classes – what I hope I’ll get to do next year. Acrylics are most approachable, but I find more watery mediums easier to work with, and gouache (especially the acrylic variety) is far less intimidating than watercolor.

img_9025In other interesting news, I got this book today. I preordered it from Our Amazonian Overlords around March when it was announced but forgot about it until I got a shipment notification the other day. I’m super excited. It weighs in at a whopping 700 pages, so it’ll take a while to read. I hope it’s better than his last novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, which I didn’t especially like.

Now, to descend into the world of kittehs and wells.

Today’s watercolor is based on a lovely photo by Robin Sealark, who has very kindly offered her collection of reference photos to her Patreon patrons. She’s an artist with a very interesting YouTube channel and is responsible for the success of my very first oil painting (and why I decided it might be my favorite medium. Srsly check her out and subscribe):

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A few oils later, and it’s still my favorite. And those were student paints! I’ve already upgraded to Gamblin.

ANYWAY, back to today’s watercolor. I got home tired after the library’s annual Staff Development Day (which was somehow fantastic! The best yet!) and wasn’t in the mood to art. I had no idea what I was going to do, and her photos popped into my mind, so I looked through them until I found something inspiring.

I know this one isn’t my best. The sky is too dark and the perspective is a little off, but I’m okay with it because I powered through. By this time last year, I’d given up on finishing a painting a day (the main difference is that I’d only started painting a month before and everything was still new and difficult), so I’m already ahead. I really like the idea of doing some sort of art every day, though after this month it might be more like working on a painting rather than finishing it. I’m currently midway through a close-up poppy oil painting that I’d like to finish, but I’m putting it off until after Artober.

But hey! Eight days down, 23 to go.

Today’s painting is based on a photo I wish I had taken of California deserty terrain. The vegetation there fascinated me because it’s entirely different from anything else I’ve experienced.

I’m not going to post the photo because I found it on Instagram. It was taken by my new favorite contemporary artist, Colie Ryan, a landscape oil painter from Fort Worth. She had some amaaaaazing palette knife landscapes at the Revel. I wish I could afford one, but her originals are way out of my price range.

I’m okay with this one. Palmer says he doesn’t see a reference for size, but I was super limited on time and just stuck some very faint electrical poles in the distance. At some point, I’d like to come back to this one and add more details.