Laura Wiens, The Triplicate

Garretta Lamore illustrates children's book that tells the story of a dancer in Bali

Artist Garretta Lamore is such a fixture these days at Crescent Harbor Gallery - she seems to be at its every function - that you might think she's always been in Del Norte.

Actually, she moved here a quarter-century ago when her husband Andrew took a post-retirement job as Crescent City's director of public works. Before that his engineering work took them around the world, including Indonesia, where Lamore befriended a fellow American woman.

Eventually they collaborated on a popular children's book about a girl who loves to dance, and Lamore will be signing copies of the latest version at the Gallery of Arts and Culture during Friday's Crescent City Art Walk from 4 to 7 p.m. She'll be joined by the author, Pamela Noensie, now of Sausalito, and the woman who inspired the book's main character, Noni Gunarsa, now of Santa Cruz.

Gunarsa will even do a little dancing.

"Tari, Little Dancer of Bali," was originally self-published by Noensie in 1989. It was 110 pages long with black and white illustrations by Lamore. The 1,000 copies "sold out pretty quickly," she said.

Much more recently, a publishing company approached Noensie and asked "if she could cut it down to 32 pages in color," said Lamore. Lamore produced new illustrations for the revised book, this time in watercolor.

Thenew version of "Tari" was published in September and is sold on

"When the book first came out, it hit Amazon's top 100 best sellers for children's books," said Lamore.

Amazon describes it this way:

"Tari lives to dance. Just like her beloved grandmother, dance exists for both of them as a favorite art form. One day, Tari's grandmother gives her a special gift - but shortly after, she passes away. In a special ceremony, Tari and her family bid goodbye to her grandmother. Tari gives her grandmother the best gift she knows how to give - a perfect performance of a dance that her grandmother, too, performed when she was very young."

The book's setting on the tropical island of Bali is a reminder of the exotic travels that preceded Lamore's arrival in Del Norte. She and Andrew also lived in Saudi Arabia, Peru, Ecuador, Thailand and Vietnam.

But it was while living in Jakarta, Indonesia, for seven years, that she met Noensie, "who loved to play tennis as much as I did."

"Tari" eventually followed. Copies of the new version will be available Friday night.

Lamore has long been an accomplished painter and sketch artist, but she also excelled in two fields that were male-dominated: architecture and flying. Her abstract oils were inspired by Northern California's variegated patterns of fields and foothills that she saw from her small airplane.

Her move overseas inspired a return to realism, and she put on many one-woman shows of architectural ink sketches that were left behind for charity fundraisers.

She's illustrated several other books, and since arriving in Crescent City she has designed portraits for Roger Hogan's Stained Glass Studios that have led to life-sized religious sculptures installed in churches all over the world.

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