21. Picture Book

Edition of 12 copies
5.25″ x 4″ (13.3c x 10.16c)

Picture Book contains seven watercolor paintings, one for each day of the week, each mood or each redecoration, in different colors and genres of painting. It stands freely on a table or may be attached to the wall, depending on one’s own decorating needs. Picture Book is perfect for those who want wall art-people may never know it’s a book.

A parte gli scherzi (jokes aside), Picture Book is a work about “easy art”-practical art, easy to use, that attempts to satisfy consumers with its ability to resolve living room décor in spite of the art’s inherent meaning. It contains a double-text: facing each picture are actual and somewhat dreary quotes in gray text, commenting on the pictures beside them. Hidden behind each picture is the text of the artist, not usually present to describe or discuss their work. It is a rose-colored text, as artists are optimists when they create work and hope their personal language and symbolism will be understood in their absence. Or even in their presence. The artist’s text explains this collection of seven small subjects in Bologna, including herself, in a poem about the passage of objects, man-made or natural, through time and place. The poem is concealed from view by irregular folded pages, seemingly in wait of a penknife to cut them open and reveal half the printed text. Even the clasp communicates the theme of appearances, or form without content. The buckle mimics a picture hook from the outside, yet hides Velcro underneath like a sofa cover. Picture Book is a work discussing the phenomenon of art when only its exterior qualities are considered, and genuine structure and meaning are largely ignored. Practical art should be easy to use-with a tear of the Velcro strip, the book is opened and the painting may be changed to fit the moment.

Picture Book is covered with hand-painted silk, which was lined with Japanese paper before binding the covers. The stencil used to paint the silk is an original design cut by hand. The frame is covered with acrylic gesso and gold acrylic paint whose color is derived from titanium coated mica flakes. All the windows for the cover, watercolors and pages were cut by hand. The paintings depict original subjects for each of the twelve copies-each cherry, peanut, and tortellino is different. The buttons were collected from the street in different countries. The landscapes come from a Russian photo-key chain with 12 views from the 1950s purchased at Porta Portese in Rome from a Russian immigrant. The text was printed at Stamperia Valdonega in Verona, Italy in Garamond. The book contains archival papers from Italy, Germany, and Japan. A sheet of acetate stored behind the colophon may be placed in the first page to protect the first painting.


come from Bologna.

I like this one,
but I don’t think
I could look at it
every day of the

Little American nuts
are imported.

This painting is
perfect, but could you
make it a little bigger
to cover the
crack above my couch?

grow wild.

I’d like this,
but I’ll have to
bring in a swatch
of the curtains.

fall in summer.

Ooh, Pop Art!

are lost and found
year round.

Do you think you
could paint a few
people into this

may obtain eternal status
when their portraits are
adopted by tobacco or
chocolate companies.

I love this painting,
but you’ll have to do
it in pink for me.

once visited may be
forgotten, especially if
one can’t read Russian.

Do you ever
paint boat scenes?


Picture Book

is for Carmen Z. Simpkins, painter, who has collected little comments and little paintings for many years in her Florida gallery. Each of the seven paintings in each of the twelve copies are similar but unique, as are
days, months and tortellini.

Printed in Verona
at Stamperia Valdonega.









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