A Brush with Books & Reading

November 3, 2011

Do you share my delight in artwork that captures the enjoyment of reading? I discovered the work of these three artists in recent weeks and knew I had to share their masterpieces with you. I hope you think they are as fun as I do! As usual, clicking on the images will link you to more information.

John Gannam (1907 – 1965) This talented illustrator’s watercolours were a prominent presence in the world of mid-twentieth century advertising. The  images above appeared in ads for Pacific Sheets company. Comparisons are frequently drawn between his work and that of his peers Norman Rockwell, Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper. Gannam, however, seemed content with commercial pursuits and didn’t cross over into the world of fine art with the same gusto. His reclusive personality may have factored into his decision. This cute little anecdote below gives us a glimpse.

“Some years ago I chaired the Society’s lecture series. I had Johnny scheduled one evening and he hated it. He claimed he had nothing to say. His only courage was a tumbler of straight whiskey kept just out of sight in the wings offstage. Frequently he politely excused himself, to supposedly clear his throat. His naturally quiet voice was difficult to hear in the rear; it became totally inaudible when he strayed. I finally forced him to hold onto the stand of the microphone even when he walked around. He began to lean on it, and since it was telescopic, it slowly began to get shorter with Johnny following it down, still talking. He ended up bent way down with his head about on the level with his knees and the student audience howling with glee. What his pearly words were at that time remain known only to his knees.” 
-Kenneth W. Thompson

Janet Hill –  These alluring vignettes are scrumptious (Insert a deep sigh here) and evoke a vintage feel with nostalgic and sometimes sassy sentiments. I have encountered this Canadian artist’s work in several different settings recently and have been thoroughly charmed each time. In an interview in Matchbook magazine’s October 2011 issue, Janet comes across as your favourite bright and quirky chum. Turn to page 61, “Free Spirit” and chuckle over her first date story while learning more about her approach to living creatively. Her work is fun, affordable, and easily accessible on her Etsy website. I’ve been trolling the site with Christmas gifts in mind. (And nooo, not just for myself!)

Paul Beliveau – Another Canadian treasure, Paul Beliveau paints with incredible realism. His collection of serigraphs features cleverly combined book spines as colourful cultural statements. This multiple award winner’s art is featured in a wide variety of significant personal and corporate collections. Superbe!

And don’t forget earlier “artistic” posts: Jane Mount   and Sophie Blackall  and Alanna Cavanagh.  

2 Responses to “A Brush with Books & Reading”

  1. Michelle Says:

    I really liked the first one by Gannam and the last by Janet Hill. Thanks for sharing these lovely images 🙂 I love reading and art – so I appreciate when they work together so beautifully!

  2. […] On November 3rd I introduced you to the scrumptious artwork of Janet Hill. You will remember the beautiful colours and charming subject matter, often featuring readers with their books. I jotted a quick note to Janet and let her know I was a fan and, as such, had featured her here on Bedside Table Books. She kindly replied, confessing her own love of books, and mused that because they were all around her they seemed to find their way into her paintings. […]

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