Monday, October 16, 2006


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 a
Tuscan 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'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.


  1. Anonymous10:54 AM

    Have you ever seen Sara Midda's South of France watercolor book?

    I think you should do a book too!

  2. Hi Carol,

    I share your sentiments on books except for the part about cutting them up into pieces! SACRILEGE!!!

  3. Oh now I have to make room for the books you have offered! Brillant way to introduce us to your amazon, personal and real, like bookstores ought to be!! You fill us with such delights Miss PB!! My hands are full with your generosity!
    Clever clever post!!

  4. Anonymous12:32 PM

    i can definitely understand your crush on donna hay. i like her cookbook (i only know one, don't know if there are any others) so much. as far as i know she's the stylist, so the arrangements are hers, in my book the pictures are taken by petrina tinsley. but anyway: her cookbook is an inspiration, calm and beautiful.

  5. Anonymous12:45 PM

    You are truly an inspiration. Thanks for sharing what inspires you. I too, am a biblioholic and reading your blog is like reading a few pages a day of your book. Please don't stop!
    I'm with Jenny, you should do a book.

  6. Jenny Rebecca I was tempted to put Sara Midda's book on my list - I love it! And yes I would love to do a book too :)

    Anne You do some beautiful photographs yourself. Donna has done a ton of books plus a magazine. She's definitely been a huge influence in the shelter publicatons and the look of current cookbooks. Plus all those "SIMPLE" books. Still that calm and serenity is very appealing.

    Barbara This blog and the feedback it provides has inspired me in more ways than I can say. From painting in almost total isolation to having a real, supportive daily audience is one of the best things that's happened to me. Thank YOU

    r.chunn Francis Bacon ripped out 1000s of book pages and some poor conservateur had to catalogue them all when they moved his studio :)

    Hi TICA It's fun to share my favorite books MERCI :)

  7. OH MY GOSH!!! BOOKS TOO!!! YOU'VE UNCOVERED ANOTHER BOOKAHOLIC TO BE SURE!!! Now where oh where can I put yet another glorious book? LOVE the post -- and the bookstore ... I'm going browsing!

  8. Carol,

    i love the links on the books you've suggested- The book by David Dewey is a new one to me- I'm going to check that one out.

    btw, I really love the look and feel of you paintings- I've followed your blog for some time and really enjoy the depth of the postings you create. Thanks so much.


  9. Anonymous4:40 PM

    Why am I not surprised that you are a fellow bibliophile? Thanks for sharing your sweet memories of reading!

    P.S. Your books look nice:)

  10. Anonymous8:19 PM

    Mon dieu! Your blog is dangerous for my wallet and my waistline!

    But oh so wonderful for my inspiration.

  11. Thank You for allowing me a view of your
    personal collection of books.I love cookbooks with loads of colored pages!I could NEVER cut out of a book!!You're brave nah..just artistic!

  12. Hello, my name is Joy. I am a bibliohaulic, too. ;)

  13. Anonymous10:53 PM

    amazing post ... all favorites ... words, books, food, art. it is all here.

  14. WELCOME Joy and all other over-biblioholics. Let the reading, browsing, perusing begin! :)


  16. I have a big pile of books I need to read. I keep seeing and buying books that I want to read before I finish the current one.

    I'll read anything too. Cookbooks, etc.

    Cheers to a fellow bibliophile :)

  17. Anonymous10:15 AM

    Wonderful! I adore books too, If I only had $10.00 to my name I'd buy a book before food... Food for the eyes!

  18. Please help . . . what do you do when you run out of bookshelf space?

  19. "The Watercolor Book" looks great-I was looking for the perfect Christmas gift for an artistic friend and it looks to be ideal. "Color Mixing Bible" looks intriguing as well. I am a biblioholic as well, always glad to find interesting new (to me) books, so thank you for the recommendations.

  20. I was thinking how much I love your style...I am a francophile and chocoholic, so I was reading here and saw that your dogs names are also my parents' names!! Isobelle and Rudolph...often shortened to Rudy and Belle.
    So thankful that other studio picture wasn't yours!!!

  21. I bought a book through your link. At least I think I did. I'm not sure if I buy a book that wasn't the one pictured if you still get credit. Anyhow I hope so. Great site. I love your take on France. I'm a diehard bibliophile and Francophile and made my first foray into Provence in 2005. I'd love to go back to the Luberon. Too bad I cannot paint or draw worth beans. I'm jealous of your talent.
    Well, Vive la France.


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