Friday, February 17, 2017

2017 Starting the New Year in Art ...

(Sketching while waiting to enter Monrovia High School)

February is full of memorable occasions for me
The wave started to build last month.

 Jan. 4th...
The Brown Bookshelf contacted me to inquire if I would be interested in writing a blog for their annual '28 Days Later' campaign celebrating Black History Month."...yes..."

 Jan. 28th... 
I was born and raised in Monrovia, CA and went to high school with Joannie Yuille (pronounced Yule).
 Joannie donated copies of Steamboat School to all  the libraries of the five elementary schools in Monrovia. She presented the books at the school board meeting. Board member Terrence Williams invited me me to be present that night.  Thinking I was going to just observe, I was called on to say a few words. No surprise what a few words of encouragement can accomplish. Terrence later reported to me the effect of what I said reverberated through the crowd and the school board. My words lad the groundwork for what would come a few days later.

 Joannie wears many hats one of them being Chairperson of the Monrovia/Duarte Black Alumni Association (MDBAA). She invited me through the MDBAA to a number of events.
All this activity contributed to my busy month of February:-)

February 2nd...
Steamboat School was highlighted on the second day of The Brown Bookshelf '28 Days Later' month long recognition to "...push awareness of the myriad of Black voices writing for young readers...".

Feb. 5th...
I was contacted by Toni Guinyard journalist for NBC4 news requesting an interview for the channels Black History Month special.
Of course I said "yes":-).

Feb. 8th... 
I celebrated my birthday by filling out paperwork (2 hrs.) for a job as adjunct professor teaching a class titled Drawing Fundamentals at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut CA.

Feb. 9th...
Not everyday I get to see a news van in the neighborhood and it stopped in front of my home.

Out steps the occupants...


The Emmy award winning journalist Toni Guinyard and camera person Bobbie Eng.

Bobbie sets up for a shoot in the gallery...

My point of view......

 What Bobbie's camera saw...

B-roll in my studio...

Bobbie back to the gallery to do some creative camera work (below).

Toni is a little wilted after the interview passed the three hour mark...time for a Cake Break:-).

 My day old birthday cake and ice cream hit the spot for Bobbie who skipped her hash browns to fill in for a camera person who called in sick and Toni who's day started at 3am this morning and was a bit famished.

Cake Break...

 Packing up the van to leave my next door neighbor Gloria got into the act. Bobbie supplied Toni with a 'prop' microphone for a sidewalk interview:-)

 My interview will air Saturday February 18th on NBC4 at 7pm (pst) as part of NBC's celebration of Black History Month.

February 10th...
Monrovia High my alma has been literally decades since I walked the halls of MHS ,1968 to be exact.
I had a great time talking to, answering questions and encouraging the students.

(Talking to the students with NBC cameraman  capturing the interaction on film)

(MHS student who was brave enough to ask for her picture to be drawn)

My old art classroom...
I paid a visit to the classroom I took art classes in.
This room brought back memories.
Within these walls Ms Dorothy Clemmons encouraged me to "always carry a sketchbook".
 I took her advice.
It was also in this classroom Ms Clemmons kicked me out of class...I deserved it:-) and never spoke to me again.

 This publicity photo (below) of Ms Clemmons, principal Leonard Morris and myself was taken for the local newspaper the Daily News Post. I had won a regional competition sponsored by Bullocks department store for a pen and ink drawing. The piece went on to New York for a national judging and I was awarded a plaque which came to the school.
The drawing was entered in competition before I was 'booted' out of class and the award came after my departure from class.
Ms Clemmons was silent through the shoot being true to not speaking to me.
Like I said "I deserve it".

(The award winning artwork was still on display in NY, this piece of mine was used for the photo)
(Sketching for MHS art students in my old classroom)

(I presented art instructor Tiffany Sands with a signed copy proof of Steamboat School)
I met with old friend Glen Keane. After lunch we got rejuvenated and inspired with a trip to the Norton Simon Museum.
(Glen and me at the entrance of the Norton Simon Museum)

February 18th...
I am scheduled to read Steamboat School, sign autographs and Q & A at the Monrovia Library. I will be there from 1-2pm.

February 25th...
Joannie asked me to say a few words at the MDBAA sponsored Black History Month Soul Food scholarship Luncheon...Monrovia Community Center 12-3pm

February 27th...
First day of teaching class at Mount San Antonio College...
(That's me 'STAFF')

February 28th...
I will speak at an assembly at  Clifton Middle school in Monrovia.
Yearbooks from my time spent there (below).


That's my busy month...until next time...


  1. This is awesome Ron! Congratulations!

  2. You were a fantastic keynote speaker tonight for 2017 graduation.
    Thank you so much for a perfect speech.

  3. I appreciate your kind words and being in an enthusiastic audience that made my speech an enjoyable occasion for me.