Friday, October 31, 2008

In the gallery -- November 2008

Though October exhibits were removed the day before Halloween, you have nothing to fear from November's exhibitors! They are neither ghosts nor goblins just artists whose earth warming exhibits await your visit to the Library's Mary Bishop Art Gallery. Escape the bare tree boredom of outside November for just a moment and experience artistry that will warm your heart and feed your soul. The gallery walls are filled to the brim with acrylic, spiritual and hand-made paper images created by artist Rhonda Laurent for the exhibit she has titled BRUSHED WITH COLOR.

November 2008 gallery at CDPL
Beginning her artistic journey early in life, Rhonda Laurent was inspired by the beauty in nature, the color spectrum, historical artwork and most importantly by the Spirit. This Michigan born middle child of five, moved several times with her family during the 1960s, finally settling in Indiana in 1973. She graduated from Scecina Memorial High School and began her college education at IUPUI pursuing a degree in nursing. But fate was to have a hand in changing all that. In 1984, a life-altering experience unexpectedly changed her direction. She bravely re-focused her life resurrecting her artistic talents. She began drawing colored wildlife sketches, mostly birds. After completing enough pieces for a small portfolio, she applied for admittance to the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis and was delighted to be accepted into their program. November 2008 gallery at CDPL This educational experience was instrumental in encouraging her to investigate other mediums for expressing her emotions artistically. Sculpture and drawing reached the top of her list. Her biggest thrill came when she began sculpting with hand made paper. Expressions created in this fiber medium were so successful she was offered an opportunity to display her work in two separate one-person exhibits at the Artistic Designs Gallery of Brownsburg, Indiana. As time passed, Rhonda itched to experiment with mediums that allowed her to make greater use of scintillating color. With acrylic paints she could express her emotion and sensitivity in just an instant. November 2008 gallery at CDPL No time was wasted waiting for paper to dry. With the acrylic medium she could freely work in her basement studio or sitting on the beach in Florida. Sometimes this acrylic freedom would translate into a serene and finished piece and other times the process would require more time and thought back in her studio. Either way she enjoyed the spontaneity. Rhonda is pleased to display a variety of work encompassing several years of conceptual, landscape and "just plain fun" abstract pieces that she hopes others will enjoy seeing as much as she enjoyed creating them. Rhonda Laurent's BRUSHED WITH COLOR exhibit speaks for itself.

Our three Display Cases are overflowing with the hand-made WOOD CARVINGS EXTRAORDINAIRE by artist, Dave Harvey. Crawfordsville's own, artist David Harvey, started carving wood as a hobby in 1990. November 2008 gallery at CDPL He now uses every free moment he has to indulge his wood carving passion. Never having had any formal classes, David is basically self taught. He learned about and perfected his craft by reading books, listening to videos, watching others carve, and most importantly through trial and error. The woods he most enjoys using are cottonwood bark, driftwood, basswood and any other wood his wife will let him drag home. Today he mainly focuses on carving Santa faces, wood sprites, mountain men and Indians in relief. He carves caricature (cartoon) characters of Santa, hillbillies, old and military men, Vikings, Indians, cowboys, and farmers in the round. He also carves spoons and hand hewn bowls. His smallest caricature was one inch tall, his largest three feet tall. Dave belongs to the Montgomery County Woodcarvers. They gather twice a month to help one another learn and to promote the art of wood carving. In 2003, Dave began participating and competing in carving shows. He has shown and demonstrated at Crawfordsville's Strawberry Festival, and has had the opportunity to teach at the Montgomery County Woodcarvers Club and person to person in his studio. In November's loveliness the Library's Gallery beckons you to visit and enjoy what Dave has accomplished and perhaps spark an interest in taking a few lessons from Crawfordsville's own WOOD CARVINGS EXTRAORDINAIRE expert! Wouldn't it be fun to learn a new hobby and practice it in the hibernation of a Crawfordsville winter?

Preview Shelf -- Librarian finishes her degree

Congratulations to Crawfordsville District Public Library staff member Katie Myers for completing an eight-year project. She has received her B.A. degree cum laude from St. Mary's-of-the-Woods College, in Terre Haute. Her major was humanities, the perfect background for the many subjects that arise in our downtown's cultural center. Katie works in the circulation department. She's an avid reader, currently enjoying Dean Koontz' "Forever Odd" in the "Odd" series, and "Orpheus Lost" by Janette Turner Hospital. Katie says, "This has been a life-long goal and my family's glad I'm finished." Here are novels requested by patrons. "Being Elizabeth" by Barbara Bradford finds a young woman executive having to make choices as a scandal threatens to usurp her reputation. Sandra Brown's "Smoke Screen" covers the search for information about a fire that destroyed the Charleston police headquarters. Anne Siddons' "Off Season" takes the reader to coastal Maine where a widow reviews her marriage to find elements of that life she'd never acknowledged before. There's one more request. "The Monster of Florence" by Douglas Preston is a true story about searching for the identity of an evildoer who murdered 14 young lovers, but was never caught. Other new novels begin with "America America" by Ethan Canin set in a small town during the Nixon era, when a young boy begins yard work on the grand estate of a powerful family, through whom he becomes a private boarding school student and then an aide to a candidate for President of the United States. This involves him in politics, and moral dilemmas. Jeff Shaara's "The Steel Wave" is a novel of World War II told through the viewpoint of some colorful and dynamic characters describing D-Day, the Allies' invasion of France. "People Who Walk in Darkness" by Stuart Kaminsky shows "one of the last honest civil servants in a very dishonest post-Soviet Russia", a caring policeman commanded to go from Moscow to Siberia to investigate a diamond mine murder. "Findings" by Mary Anna Evans follows an archaeologist on a treasure hunt connected to Marie Antoinette and the history of the Confederacy while his goal is restoring a family plantation. "A Thousand Bones" by P.J. Parrish shows a rookie rural Michigan girl cop in the dead of winter facing a predator who has chosen her to be a worthy opponent or else his next victim."The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein is narrated by a canine called Enzo, to teach readers about being human. Elizabeth Peters' "The Laughter of Dead Kings" brings her investigator-character Vicky Bliss back to solve heinous offenses in Egypt. Elmore Leonard's "Ten Rules of Writing" is a simple guide for every reader and writer. "Street Magic" contains Paul Zenon's group tricks, sleight of hand, and illusion using coins, paper, and cards. "Puzzles in Wood" offers E. M. Wyatt's simple patterns for creating 45 classics. Three attractive art books are "Willard Metcalf (1858-1925): Yankee Impressionist", "Charles Warren Eaton" 1857-1937): An American Tonalist Rediscovered", and "The Spirit of America: American Art from 1829 to 1970". China is explained in "The Empire of Lies: The Truth about China in the Twenty-First Century" by Guy Sorman. "The Last Days of old Beijing" by Michael Meyer is a disclosure of the city's latest changes through the lens of its oldest neighborhood.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Preview Shelf -- Halloween Means Scary Books

A new Deborah Knott mystery at the Crawfordsville District Public Library is "Death's Half Acre" by Margaret Maron in which developers' shoddy mansions change a pretty North Carolina countryside and controversy arises over a suspicious murder. "Breathing the Out Ghost" by Kirk Curnutt is a "noir" thriller about problem solvers obsessed with their quests. "The Assassin" by Stephen Coonts begins with a dangerous Al Qaeda leader's escape and his group's desire to kill the complaining political leaders he had targeted. Requested fiction "Death Angel" by Linda Howard is a cat and mouse thriller. Two new large paperbacks for Civil War buffs are "Arms and Equipment of The Union" and "Arms and Equipment of The Confederacy", both from the Time-Life Books series called Echoes of Glory. Along with authenticated stories of war experiences, the small arms, personal effects, music, flags, and artillery are pictured bringing to life the realities of the period for both sides. "American Patriot" by Robert Coram is the story of the life and wars of Colonel Bud Day, through World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, the POW who was the roommate of John McCain , and later passionate advocate for veterans' rights. John McCain's own book is "Why Courage Matters". Bernard Goldberg offers political commentary in "Crazies to the Left of me, Wimps to the Right, How One Side Lost Its Mind and the Other Lost Its Nerve". Maria Shriver's "Just Who Will You Be?" is her personal story. The Journal Review's book "Essentials of Montgomery County: Things to See and Do 2008-2009" is full of useful updated information. Books about other places include "Havana: Autobiography of a City" by Alfredo Estrada, "The Unofficial Guide to Cruises" by Kay Showker, "Rome" from Dictionaries of Civilization emphasizing its artifacts and history as well as landmarks, "The Winter Camping Handbook" by Stephen Gorman, "The Hudson" by Frances Dunwell describing its history and all the places along its shores, and Fodor's "Colorado" with detailed coverage of the National Parks and a pullout map. Books about the kitchen are varied. One that is fun to read because it looks homemade (it isn't ) is "The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without" by Mollie Katzen. "Pressure Cooker Recipes" by Vickie Smith is a big paperback explaining the method with hundreds of quick instructions. "Robin to the Rescue" is Robin Miller's collection of simple but delicious recipes. "The 4-Ingredient Diabetes Cookbook" of recipes using few ingredients is designed by Nancy Hughes. There's "The Kodak Guide to Digital Photography" by Rob Sheppard. "KISS - Keep it Short and Simple" is a short guide to better writing by Jacquie Ream. "The Braided Rug Book" shows how to make this American folk floor covering by Norma and Elizabeth Sturges. There's "The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches", a practical guide to spending less by Jeff Yeager. "The Stark Reality of Stretching" by Steven Stark is "an informed approach for all activities and every sport". "Hi, Dad!" is a story about Frank Land who founded the fraternal organization for young men aged 13 to 21 called the Order of DeMolay. "The Andy Griffith Show Book" by Ken Beck and Jim Clark includes scripts, lists of characters, special remembrances, and instructions how to join the Rerun Watchers Club headquartered in Nashville. "Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can't Get Unless You're Over 50" by Joan Heilman features bargains on tours, classes, and products.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Preview Shelf -- Fall Party in Youth Services

By popular demand, the Crawfordsville District Public Library's youth services department is sponsoring its second annual "Fall Party" October 28th at 6:45 p.m. for all ages. There will be stories, and games, and snacks. Costumes are welcome but not required. No registration is needed. The invitation shows a row of jack-o-lanterns smiling broadly, so it's sure to be fun. If you have a question, just call extension 115 at 362-2242. Newest political books are "Promises to Keep", the acclaimed memoir of the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate by Joe Biden, and "Sarah" by Kaylene Johnson telling how Sarah Palin turned the political establishment upside down. Other new books are Thomas Friedman's "Hot, Flat, and Crowded" telling why we need a green revolution - and how it can renew America. A secret White House history 2006-2008 is Bob Woodward's "The War Within". Dr. Phil (McGraw) offers "Real Life" preparing for the seven most challenging days of life."Unembedded" is the work of four independent photojournalists on the war in Iraq, issued by Chelsea Green Publishing. "Chosen Soldier" is information about unique warriors by Dick Couch, explaining that now that we are fighting guerrilla wars against insurgents hidden in remote places, we need men like the Army Special Forces - the legendary Green Berets. "Dreams and Shadows" is experienced war reporter Robin Wright's document about the future of the Middle East. "Opium Season" by Joel Hafvenstein depicts a year on the Afghan frontier in Helmand Province, the heart of this trade area where he ran an American-funded aid program to help poppy farmers make a legal living and to win people away from the former Taliban government. "The Suicide of Reason" by Lee Harris talks about radical Islam's threat to the West; he says we must change our understanding of the conflict and he offers strategies by which liberal internationalism can defend itself without becoming a mirror of the tribal forces it is trying to defeat. A savvy, streetwise primer on dozens of individual countries that adds up to a coherent theory of global politics is "The Second World" by Parag Khanna who has traveled in a hundred countries. The dark side of the new global economy and modern American slave labor is the subject of "Nobodies" by John Bowe who "exposes the outsourcing, corporate chicanery, immigration fraud, and sleights of hand that allow forced labor to continue in the United States". "2000 Years of Amazing Grace" is Paul Zahl's "Christianity Primer, the story and meaning of the Christian faith." "Fallen Founder" is the life of Aaron Burr by Nancy Isenberg. "Summers with Lincoln" is James Percoco's study of the "Abe" in the 200 monuments erected in his memory across our country; he was the most widely commemorated President. The author selects seven emblematic sculptures, including Fort Wayne's "Lincoln the Hoosier Youth" by Paul Manship, Henry Hering's sculpture in University Park, Indianapolis, and the "Lincoln" in Wabash, Indiana.The lost trail of the underground railroad called "I've Got a Home in Glory Land" by Karolyn Frost highlights Thornton Blackburn, whom Canada defended to set the tone for all future diplomatic relations with the U.S. over the thorny issue of the fugitive slave. He settled in Toronto where his home was finally excavated to show Thornton and his wife Lucie's heroism offering a haven to runaways. Andy Rathbone's "Windows Vista for Dummies" shows "how to make Vista behave and work for you".

Friday, October 03, 2008

SISTER ACT TIMES TWO: Quilts & Paintings

Though twelve years apart in age and often separated by distance, sisters Nancy Payne Lyon and Linda Payne Atwater were both drawn to experiment in different artistic modalities from the time they were quite small on into their adult lives. While Nancy spent her life in Crawfordsville, marrying Bob Lyon and having two children; one of whom has two photographs in the exhibit which acted as catalysts for the sister's interpretations; Linda's life took her in many different directions, some of which were not exactly planned. Through everything, sisters are always sisters, so during October, they will again join hands for a second foray onto the walls of the Library's Mary Bishop Memorial Art Gallery. Nancy will exhibit quilted objects, Linda watercolors and mixed media. To add interest and excitement to the exhibit, the sisters challenged each other to interpret a single theme in their unique mediums. You won't want to miss the results of this collaboration/challenge.

Come see! Nancy's great grandmother, the family quilter, made her living by quilting after her husband died. She passed away before Nancy could take full advantage of her knowledge, but left her quilter's legacy to a most grateful Nancy. Nancy has gone through many different and creative phases during her adult life, but a few years ago began to settle on one in particular. She became interested in traditional quilting and joined Crawfordsville's Sugar Creek Quilt Guild as a charter member. She started quilting in the traditional modality, but soon began to blossom into new territory. Combining her traditional roots with new applique and art quilting ideas, Nancy began incorporating beads, baubles and sequins from family collections and is having way more fun! Come see what "fun" looks like!

In high school, Linda majored in Art, English and Math. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from Indiana's Ball State University. After working several years in the insurance industry, she returned to Ball State to major in Graphic Design, Art and Photography. A few years later, school beckon again and returned to school at Indianapolis' Indiana/Purdue University majoring in Computer Technology. At last, she felt really EDUCATED and ready to take on any challenge. After all that education and work experience, she became bored with Indiana and was ready to see the world. She moved to Heidelberg, Germany and began a new job working for the Federal Government. After being filled to the brim with new experiences, the United States began to nudge her back and she was ready to return. She is currently working for the Social Security Administration in Baltimore, Maryland and is married to Bill Atwater. Linda has three reasons for painting; first, she was born with ability she feels a responsibility to explore. Secondly, because she wants to appreciate the intimacy of the natural more by painting it and thirdly, she hopes to bring a sense of wonder to others through her paintings... She says, "I'm really a big kid at heart who wants to see how everything works. I want to know how it fits together, how it smells, tastes and feels"! So there you have it! Two branches, one family tree, each different, yet alike, sharing the sun and the limelight, hoping visitors too, will enjoy what they have to share. Do come and see!