Bird Week: Put a Bird On It!

The Seattle Public Library is partnering with the Seward Park Audubon Center for Bird Week, April 23-30, in celebration of the center’s 10th anniversary and the National Audubon Society’s 2018 Year of the Bird.

Long before Portlandia made it a meme, artists and craftspeople have been adorning their work with birds. One of the earliest known artworks is a 30,000 year-old sculpture of a water bird carved from a mammoth tusk. By the time John James Audubon began painting his famous Birds of America in the early 19th century, birds had been the subject of paintings, sculptures, weavings, jewelry and many other art forms for millennia.

You too can join this hallowed artistic tradition and celebrate Bird Week by creating your very own bird-centric art pieces Continue reading “Bird Week: Put a Bird On It!”

Here’s Looking at You!: Documentary Films about Artists

An artist’s life can be as compelling as the work they produce. A documentary, at best, strives to render a portrait of the artist as honestly as possible. This, of course, is as close as any of us will get to being in the same room with a person whose life and work draws us in.  What will you find that you do not, already, know?  Will this new view enhance the experience of the art or detract from it?

Continue reading “Here’s Looking at You!: Documentary Films about Artists”

#BookBingoNW2017: Art and Artists

What is art, anyway? Merriam-Webster defines it as “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects.” With such a broad definition, there are many different directions readers can go with this particular Book Bingo square. Here are a few strategies for filling this square:

Fiction

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A few authors, such as Tracy Chevalier, Susan Vreeland and Irving Stone, have made a name for themselves writing historical fiction about art & artists. Titles like Girl With a Pearl Earring, Girl in Hyacinth Blue and The Agony and the Ecstasy are some of the more famous titles in this genre. However there are hundreds of great fiction titles about art and artists – some well-reviewed recent titles include A Piece of the World, The Goldfinch, The Blazing World and The Blue Guitar. Find more fiction about art and artists in the Library’s collection by using the subject headings “Art—Fiction” and “Artists–Fiction

Biography/Memoir

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Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2017: Art and Artists”

Ralph Steadman: Evocative Frenzy

I am unceasingly inspired by the artistic wizardry of Ralph Steadman, particularly his knack for evocative frenzy. Though clearly an expert draughtsman, he’s made a career out of twisting conventional imagery with a demented cartoon sensibility. What appears at first in his work to be frayed and chaotic ends up revealing character with a greater degree of expression impossible with straight realism.

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Bathing in his splatters and scribbles is a great recipe for creator’s block, and luckily the Seattle Public Library recognizes the necessity of such work. Here are a few essential Steadman volumes in the collection: Continue reading “Ralph Steadman: Evocative Frenzy”

Art Books in Nature

West Seattle’s Camp Long will be hosting another fabulous event Aug 20-21. Visit the park to walk in the woods, witness musical performances across diverse genres, or participate in art activities, writing workshops and open mics, juggling, costumed hikes through the forest, and naturalist events. The festival also features the “Museum of Sound” where artists will occupy Camp Long’s eight rustic cabins with installations of sound, music and art. For two whole days Camp Long will be a hotbed of creative energy sure to inspire artists and nonartists alike. Continue reading “Art Books in Nature”