ORINDA -- It's been over a year since Leslie Swartz showed her artwork to the public, and the 63-year-old nanny and substitute teacher is a little nervous about her upcoming exhibit.
"This is going to be my re-emerging," Swartz said, before letting out a tense laugh. Last year, her husband died and she dropped out of galleries and the local art scene. "He was totally my support, my inspiration for art," she said.
Now, she's busy finishing up an intricate rendering of seashells -- collected near her daughter's house in Hawaii -- in time for the show.
The exhibit is the monthly occurrence at the Orinda Library, curated by the Orinda Arts Council. Margaret "Maggie" Boscoe, a volunteer with the council, chooses which artists show their work each month and she said that over the years the popularity of the library's exhibit has really grown.
"I schedule everything," Boscoe said, "And we're booked up through the summer of 2017."
Along with Swartz, well-known local photographer Wenda Pyman and about 20 ceramists from the Clay Arts Guild in Walnut Creek will display their work during August.
The Clay Arts Guild is part of Walnut Creek's Civic Arts Education program and is comprised of more than 125 members. There are a number of benefits to being in the guild -- work space, equipment, instruction and the opportunity to sell work at venues like Orinda's library exhibit. And, according to guild president Rob Savre, the only bar to showing ones work is confidence.
"I wanted to make sure there was diversity," Savre said of the artists chosen for the exhibit. "It's just such an enriching thing to see your pieces sell."
There's a good chance that will happen. According to the curator, pieces displayed at the library are regularly sold.
"We get a lot of compliments on the shows," Boscoe said. "Lots of people who live around here say they go every month just to see it."
At the opening reception, Swartz said she expects to have 14 pieces on display -- assuming she wraps a last drawing up in time.
"I've got a half of an inch to go," she said of the detailed, time-consuming work. "I've been working on it since November," she added. "But, I never counted up the hours, normally the time just goes really fast."
Jennifer Baires covers Lamorinda. Contact her at 925-943-8378. Follow her at twitter.com/jenniferbaires.
What: Art exhibit
When: Aug. 1-31 during regular library hours; reception 2:30-4:30 p.m. Aug. 3
Where: Orinda Library, 26 Orinda Way