From the North Bay Bohemian "Best of 2008" issue, March 19, 2008

Writer’s Picks / Kids: "Best Place to Stare at a Ceiling" by Beth Hall

Gold, aquas and magentas meld majestically in a dreamland of castles, frogs, princesses, moon-jumping cows, fiddle-playing cats and doomed eggs balanced precariously on stone walls. No, this is not a recall of college nights spent on your dorm room floor in a hallucinogenic coma. Decidedly more wholesome, a domed mural titled Celebrate the Joy of Reading has graced the ceiling of the children's section of the Rohnert Park-Cotati Library since 2003. Brilliantly hand-painted by local architectural illustrator Robert Eisenberg, the mural is the perfect umbrella for children and parents as they gather for weekly story times. "It was such a cool thing to be able to do," Eisenberg says. "Libraries are wonderful, and it's great when communities put money towards improving them." Eisenberg's Los Angeles high school library had a large mural depicting a golden sun over the countryside, complete with a hidden four-leaf clover that only the luckiest were able to find. The sun mural inspired in him respect for the art, and he was thrilled to be able to bring his mural appreciation to Sonoma County. Using the 500-year-old traditional method employed by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, Eisenberg copied small-scale models onto large pieces of paper, made tiny holes along the lines of the drawings, then tapped along the little holes with bags of charcoal dust. Voila! An old-school version of "overhead projection" is born. Eisenberg then expertly painted over with acrylic paint, the mural painter's first choice. Deciding on which images to incorporate was easy and largely based on stories Eisenberg loved as a child. "Growing up, literature was always important to me," he says. "Once I started reading, the whole world was opened up." Rohnert Park-Cotati Library, 6250 Lynne Conde Way, Rohnert Park. Wiggle Time (ages one to two), Tuesdays at 10:30am; preschool story time, (ages three to five), Wednesdays at 10:30am. Other story times and events vary by month, check for details. 707.584.9121.—B.H.