Saturday, January 29, 2011

9th Annual Murder Goes South… Concludes

The 9th Annual Murder Goes South… A Festival of Readers and Writers of the Southern Mystery has concluded. The two-day event was well attended. Friday night’s activities featured a catered dinner at Smyrna Community Center. The attendees enjoyed New York Times and International Bestselling Mystery Writer Erica Spindler as the keynote speaker.

Saturday’s activities featured workshops and presentations from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm. Guest writers were "Georgia Adams", Glynn Marsh Alam, Carla Damron, Mitchell Graham, Cathy Pickens and William Rawlings Jr. Guest presenters were literary agent Janet Reid, Dr. Susan Kirkpatrick Smith of Kennesaw State University and representatives from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency.

The Friends of Smyrna Library sincerely thanks Keynote Speaker Erica Spindler, our featured guest writers and presenters and our attendees for making the 9th Annual Murder Goes South… A Festival of Readers and Writers of the Southern Mystery a tremendous success.


Monday, January 3, 2011

January-February Art Gallery Exhibit Announced by Smyrna Library

Oils by Dorothy Johnson on display through February.

Dorothy Johnson's calling as an artist started by chance back in Kenya in January 2009. One day she was just lounging the afternoon away, "when a figure suddenly appeared in my mind. It was full of flair and color, beautifully decorated with beads." That stirred her heart and the next thing she knew she badly wanted to paint that image. She drew inspiration from the culture preserved by Kenya's indigenous tribes- mainly the Maasai and the Turkana. In it she saw the importance of sharing their legacy in visual imagery. She immediately bought cloth and dye, and that marked the beginning of her "Back To The Roots" story-telling painting technique.

When she came to America three months later, she transitioned from cloth to canvas, hardboard surfaces and taught herself to work in acrylics, oils and 3D. As much as she enjoys African art, she also paints scenics in spontaneous compositions, with distinctive brushwork and emotional "feelings". A friend once bought a landscape painting because it reminded her of home and she says, "that made me very happy that I was able to bring someone's home so close to her living room. That means a lot to me." The things she sees in everyday nature, their depth in textures, layer formations in rare skies, give her a desire to convey great depth and perspective and to focus chiefly in color detail and vibrancy in her landscapes and seascapes. She doesn't have a specific medium of choice but loves to experiment with them all, her happiest moments being when she uses what lies beneath her heart with passion. She loves seeing that energy transfer to someone else. "It is so fulfilling. To me a good piece of art is one that inspires."

With the help of her adoring and supportive husband Darron, Dorothy was able to exhibit her work for the first time at the 2010 Smyrna Jonquil Arts and Crafts Fall Festival. She aspires to become a professional artist, gain her entrée into the Paris art world and become affiliated with art galleries, museums and associations around the world. Her primary goal is to teach art to children and by giving back sense of who they are, make them learn to appreciate art and themselves through images, paintings, sculptures, and fine art. Currently, she lives in Smyrna, GA, and is pursuing her dream at Chattahoochee Technical College.



January-February Display Gallery Exhibit Announced by Smyrna Library

Japanese Sculpture in Wood and Iron by Toru Shimoji on display through February.

Sensei Toru Shimoji is a five time US and repeated international champion in Traditional Karate, trained by esteemed Hidetaka Nishiyama. Shaped by his Okinawan youth and the discipline of Japanese Calligraphy, Toru explores the expressive potentials of wood and iron.

"My works are abstract, interpretative and figurative, adhering to compositional form I learned in Japanese Calligraphy. My aim is to inspire an interaction between the sculpture and the viewer, who can freely interpret and explore its evocations."

Ever since I can remember, I loved art. I used to make up imaginative stories about the lives of the farmers portrayed in a small faded print my mother had hung in our house. It was Millet's The Gleaners. I remembered being captivated by this masterpiece, used to lie on the floor and stare at it for hours. Connection wasn't too hard since my mother's family were all farmers from Miyako Island, one of many in the Okinawan chain.

I was introduced to art early through the Japanese education system (K to 4). Even then, I gravitated towards sculpture, predictably making clay monsters and wooden robots. By the time our family immigrated to the U.S. in 1970, I was familiar with various mediums and their basic techniques.

In 1996, I settled in Atlanta, GA and opened a karate school. As a hobby, I made a few wooden sculptures, but in the summer of 2002 something finally exploded within me. It felt like a cosmic order-create or die! So I took a deep breath and jumped. I enrolled in the Welding Technology Program at Gwinnett Technical College and began making metal sculptures.

Seeds of inspirations are constantly germinating in my psyche. As one sprouts I like to sculpt it in my mind before making a few preliminary sketches or clay models. Sometime I skip this process altogether. Visualization is dynamic and often vague, leaving me in a mixed state of excitement and anxiety. The piece will finally materialize in the shop, after struggling with multitudes of adjustments in texture, composition and angles. It usually flows well, but the real challenge is trying to manage all the seeds at different stages, not to mention the limitation of space-time continuum.

I like my work to be abstract, interpretive and figurative, adhering to compositional form I learned in Japanese calligraphy, and influenced by past masters like Musashi (17th century Japanese swordsman/artist), Michelangelo, and Julio Gonzalez. A moment's inspiration might come from a variation in my student's karate movement or in my own examination of intricate detail in the skeletal remains of a coyote's skull, but my aim is to inspire an interaction between the sculpture and viewer, who can freely interpret and explore its evocations.

I believe in the muses. Mine are never subtle, they perpetually scream in my head.. I can always count on troubling fellowship from at least three, rarely fewer. My only solitude is in training and teaching karate, which keeps me in sanity.

As a sculptor, he is self-taught, concentrating mostly on wood and metal. He is most influenced by three masters, Michelangelo, Julio Gonzalez, and Miyamoto Musashi. He found his unique artistic "voice" when he finally figured out the link between self-expression and spatial composition.

Exhibitor's Website


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Winter Reading List & Featured Book

Winter 2011 Featured Book

The Last Town on Earth
by Thomas Mullen

Winter 2011 Reading List

2666 by Roberto Bolano
An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris
Covenant Hall by Kathryn R. Wall
Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Engine Summer by John Crowley
Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
My Last Days as Roy Rogers by Pat Devoto
Pope John Paul II by Tad Szulc
Prayer of the Dragon by Eliot Pattison
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Rosa Parks by Douglas Brinkley
Stripped to Kill by Steve Brown
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen
Voices of Protest by Alan Brinkley
Written in Bone by Simon Beckett