Long before there were macarons, chocolate bars and gateaux in my life I gobbled up BOOKS. Here are some little stories about me and books. I may get a bit "wordy"... I always painted from the moment I got vertical, starting on my nursery walls. But books are a lifeline for me. It began when my father would tell me "Teddy and Johnny" stories, a continuous narative he made up every night. Like most kids, books were an escape, an adventure (I loved reading of African animal parks), a dreamland to enter.. Books are my family in a way and very influential in my artwork. When I fall in love with an artist, the first thing I search out is every book on them.. I'm a bookaholic and I started early. As a kid I'd bring home stacks from the library. My intent was to read every book of one author at a time. Gawd knows if I understood any of it. My father would say, rather annoyed,"What are you trying to prove with all these books? Who are you fooling?" When we'd go on a sunday outing, I'd take along a pocket dictionary!? It annoyed him no end and no wonder... But I was crazy for words and loved looking up their origins. Remember those learn-one-new-word-a-day books?
For 10 years I lived a block away from the Strand book store in the Village. Daily I'd walk my 2 Belgian Sheepdogs, through their "18 miles of books" always looking for new acquisitions and getting rid of old ones. Their artbook floor is mouth-watering. "Rudi" and "Belle" loved books too. They got to curl up with me and my books on the sofa.
I've talked about my watercolor teacher, David,who taught me everything. I met his book first and it's one of the best. Dense with information on color theory, washes, layering, you name it. I'm still yellow marking it up, there's still more to learn. I met Albany Wiseman, a terrific London watercolorist, so I was eager to go to his workshop in Provence two summers ago. As it turned out all I could think of was cups of hot chocolate and not the pink villages perchés everywhere... His books are lovely and informative. I finally got to meet Ian Sidaway, another English watercolorist, at aTuscan workshop. His color mixing bible shows you how to mix up every color under the sun using every kind of medium.
I love looking at beautiful cookbooks. Donna Hay has been a big influence on my still life painting. I love her setups, the lighting, the soft shadows, the utter simplicity. Trish Deseine does dreamy cook books too. Who cares about cooking..it's the vicarious looking that gets me.
I'm a bad girl -- I like to "re-design" my books. I move pictures around, cut things out and paste them back in. Kind of personalizing them you could say :) I copy too..I try to paint like someone I like, to see what it feels like. It's one of the best, fastest ways to learn and every artist since the Lascaux cave painters has been doing it.
Now at last I have got my own "Amazon" book store with my most favorite books in it. YAY! It's taken me months. I'm a tiny bit dyslexic. Figuring out HTML code is like drawing perspective in a landscape. I can't seem to get the patterning. A BIG THANK YOU is due R. Chunn, a brilliant painter (literally and figuratively) of Alla-Prima. He helped demystify the codes for me. Please visit my "new" bookstore. And remember any books you buy go straight into the "macaron jar/fund" so I can keep you all in the style to which I am unaccustomed :) *One word to learn today - Biblioholism, books, of books: the habitual longing to purchase, read, store, admire, and consume books in excess.