Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Sharing gorgeous art books at the Bellefonte Art Museum!

It's a TOME. There can be only ONE.
I am so excited. I spent my afternoon going through my library, which is fairly extensive (over 1,000 books), looking for art books to share with members and visitors to the Bellefonte Art Museum. Wow it was so fun remembering all the hours I've spent poring through them over the years. More than half a lifetime, and hours well spent, sometimes outside under a tree, sometimes late at night between work hours - keeping my dreams alive and keeping my eyes and hands in shape for the time I would be able to spend most of my time drawing and painting, which has been a lifetime passion and is now becoming my "second career" after retiring from 16 years with Penn State University, mostly as an instructional designer (web design of educational subject matter).

The image above is the book my wonderful husband handed me to donate to our collection. It's a textbook sort of TOME - lots of black and white photos, lots of lecture-type, nose-in-the-air carefully educated, opinionated text. The reason my little caption says "There can be only ONE," is that as the library manager reviewing and checking in books for donation or lending, I consider it my job to accept books that are stunningly GORGEOUS, filled with AWESOME illustrations, INSPIRING, and that cover a wide variety of subject matter, according to our membership talents and skills (I'm even bringing in a book on mosaic artistry, so excited because we have a very talented artist who works in that style).

We are not boring. We are here to inspire you. We are here to enhance skills you're interested in improving.

A few really inspiring anatomy books.
Many artists do not draw the human figure because it can be rather overwhelming, all those muscles (or not) and curves. We have several anatomy books that are so beautiful you can hardly resist getting out the charcoal and playing with the light and shadow that creates a recognizable human being.


Step-by-step instruction.
We have some lovely how-to books on many styles of imagery, including watercolor and pastel, oils, etc. Borrow a few and see what you can do! Book sign-out starts March 1st!

Quirkiness is something we can all relate to.
In the interest of inspiration, I'm also sharing some books on artists who have been successful in developing a reputation for quirkiness and fantasy, commentary on contemporary society, and little beautiful messages from the soul. James Christensen is one of these - our collection will include two of his lovely books. If you feel like you don't "fit in," no worries, we all fit in here precisely because we "don't fit in." We are individuals with inner vision, and our unique forms of expression hold value to our viewers and clientele.

I'll tell you a story...

This book was pivotal for me at the tender age of two years old.
Ancient, I know.
This is one of the pivotal images.
The line, the form, the color captured my imagination and my heart.
The images above come from a book my parents read to me when I was just two years old, and of course, many times in subsequent years. I fell absolutely in love with the illustrations - the line, color, form, and beauty of them. This is what sparked my heart to do this as my lifeway - to become an artist. To create beauty that others could enjoy and fall in love with. To make their hearts sing. As we roll into having evening discussions and afternoon storytelling time, I look forward to the opportunity to hear what sparked others to become artists. 

One day I had the loveliest conversation with one of our members. He had worked full career years at the University, and at retirement, he decided he wanted to have some legacy of a sort to leave to his children, so he started painting. And his paintings are beautiful. Such a great reason to lean into your creativity!

So with the setup of the library at the Bellefonte Art Museum, my main goal is to inspire others. I get to review the books donated or lent, and will be looking for this. Gorgeousness is definitely encouraged. No dump-offs, no crapola. 

Here's part of what I'm bringing to share, all cover washed and dedusted.

For the children xo
And here's what I'm bringing for our children's book collection. No Disney. Not yet anyway unless there's a big demand for it.

These are books that are beautifully illustrated by artists who have been able to build respected reputations. 

So I'll be spending a few days this week at the museum getting set up, and we'll start lending in March. Take a minute to pop into the Photography Gallery to check the bookshelves to see what's there that might inspire you to create your next masterpiece : ) And please consider sharing some of the books that have inspired you. You can lend or donate. And if your books feel like "gold," we can keep them on the premises, not available for sign-out, but for viewing in the gallery, yes.

Come check it out!

See you soon,

Your happy library manager, Jen



  1. Those illustrations in the Russian book are so beautiful, Jen. No wonder they inspired you!

  2. Those illustrations in the Russian book are so beautiful, Jen. No wonder they inspired you!