Berne Library Notes for Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

John Williams at work, using a photograph as a guide. Although many Enterprise readers know Williams as the scribe for The Old Men of the Mountain, he is also an artist. His paintings are now on display at the Berne Public Library.

Hands down, the man can paint. Octogenarian John Williams is generously sharing 12 of his paintings for all to enjoy at the Friends Art Gallery located in the community room of the Berne Public Library.

Allis Chalmers, Farmall M, Case, Jack, a special lady sitting atop an MG, and a portrait of a flower-holding mother-in-law give you a hint of the June show.  

Williams has been creating art since the age of 6. Allowed freedom to dabble, he used the walls and ceilings of his room as a canvas to cover with art. Even the back of a window shade could be a medium for a scene or two. An early work in crayon of the sacred heart was one piece particularly favored by his mom.

From pastels to water colors, from oil paints to water oils, using charcoal and pencil and then deciding on stretched canvas, watercolor paper, or something completely rebelesque, much goes into the creative process.

After teaching art classes at Bethlehem for 30 years, the most important lesson Williams wanted students to learn was color. Light against dark. Cool versus warm. Shadowing in just the right places.

Favorite themes include farms, tractors, family, local people and places. After thousands of paintings, arthritis reared its aching grip. Williams had to lay down his brushes for a time.

But the call was strong and the passion to paint brought him back to the studio. Today, water oils are his favorite. Three ambulance rides, two stents and a detective M.D. steered him away from using oil paints.

But that’s a story for another time. For now, through the end of June, give your senses a treat as you view the stunning array of portraits on display.  

Story time

Speaking of stories, what’s the scoop for Tuesday’s, June 11, 10:30 a.m. story time? Are you ready? Here are seven clues: blanket, paper plates, watermelon, chips, hot dogs, potato salad and fun. Any guesses? Okay then. The theme for the June 11 story time is: Picnics. Bring your favorite picnic toy, listen to a story, move like an ant and make a craft for the 5 and under group supported by their adult fans.

Reading program

The 2019 Universe of Stories Summer reading program is in the building. June 15 is the start date to begin tracking reading minutes. Sign up packets are being prepared for all ages — wee explorers to adults. Wees through teens, reach 500 reading minutes by Aug. 7 to receive a gift and a really high 5, way to go, great genius, excellent reading prowess. Adults, get your read on and be one with the book list for prizes and a food fiesta in September.

Another creative avenue available thru the 2019 summer reading Universe of Stories program is a teen video challenge. Open  to teens in New York ages 13 to 18, entries are being accepted from June 1 to Aug. 2. Ask library director, Kathy Stempel for details — 5 winning teen/ teen teams will be in the running for a $200 cash prize plus a $50 gift certificate for the library from the Collaborative Summer Library Program.