Friday, June 08, 2007

The Book of Joe

When I was still running a bricks and mortar bookshop, I had the great pleasure of meeting many erudite and artistic customers. Stratford is home to many visual artists, writers, and musicians which makes the city a lively and diverse community. Especially in the summer months. One of my customers was Virgil Burnett, an accomplished renaissance man: artist, illustrator, author, professor, sculptor, and publisher--if he raises rare orchids I wouldn't be surprised. Virgil asked me if I would like to carry a few copies of one of his latest publications, The Book of Joe: Joseph Plaskett and the Art of Painting which he published under his imprint Pasdeloup Press and co-edited with Bruce Barber. I said I would be delighted.

It is a handsome book, with cream coloured paper covers and is finely illustrated throughout with the art work of the acclaimed Canadian artist
Joseph Plaskett whose friends and colleagues have contributed reminiscences, poems and stories about their compatriot in the arts. It also includes a brief essay on art by Plaskett and an interview with the artist by the well-known Canadian broadcaster Eleanor Wachtel. The stories and anecdotes about the artist are wonderfully entertaining and informative, and the last reminiscence in the book is worth the cover price alone.

It is a book to have nearby. A book to dip into occasionally and re-read for the insights and the humour, and to enjoy the beauty of the
artist's work.

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