My friend Hubert, at the library, has a past as the manager of the bookstore at the Huntington Library, and is very good at both display and programming. After he moved from the children's department at our library, where he did awesome story times and decorated everything beautifully with the help of a skillfully wielded exacto knife, he became a reference librarian, and for a while he was frustrated because he had no creative outlet. But once we got new management, Hubert was allowed to cut loose and start creating adult programming for the library, and he has done it wholeheartedly and successfully.
His specialty is to find an interesting, topical nonfiction book that's just about to be published, and contact the author, the publisher, the agent, or whoever will get back to him, about doing an author event. He pursues authors whose works are particularly relevant to people in our city or region or county, and he does an amazing job of crafting and then promoting the events, with the result that we have had attendance of between 150-200 people at each of them.
Hubert had a birthday lately, and he has also been feeling down because he got transferred away from the Central Library to a branch, where he is trying to find his feet, so I decided he deserved a gift as a pick-me-up. So I checked the books from his three most successful programs out of the library, and I made him this painting of them to commemorate his successes. I hope looking at it reminds him just how great he is at this and encourages him to continue!
These were not the easiest books to paint: Rocket Girls was probably the simplest and also the most fun, because of the blending of colors; but The Last Innocents was a crazy combination of tiny black and white photos mixed with color, containing shots from the civil rights movement as well as shots of various Dodgers, and getting the illustration to look even a little like the cover, with those tiny figures in those blurry photos, was a challenge. I think Floodpath was the hardest to paint, however, because I had no idea what I was painting! I gave up on drawing it except for a very few defining lines, and just went in behind the lettering with watercolor and tried to mimic what I was seeing. There's water, and rocks, and part of a dam, I think? But it's a very dim sepia photograph with a lot going on, so I simply did the best I could to give the general idea.
I have linked the title of each book in the paragraph above to Hubert's reviews of the books on our Burbank Library Blog, as a reference if you are interested in them but also to note that in addition to being a great event planner, Hubert is an amazing, erudite, thoughtful book reviewer whose reviews lift our blog above the ordinary every time he writes one. You might want to check out the blog from time to time, if you are a nonfiction enthusiast with an historical focus.
Happy Birthday, Hubert!