Friday, January 31, 2014

Looking and Finding

A couple of weeks ago I realized that the file in which I keep images that I come across and like--and which I use to populate the father-daughter site I do daily with my dad, Silas & Eppie, among other things--had become quite stale and moribund. I'd somehow stopped finding much new that I liked, and so the contents of the image folder had dwindled down to dregs of stuff that I really just wasn't excited about. So, in a bold step I've never tried before, I just archived the whole thing and started over from zero. Something about having a completely empty folder was so liberating. Almost right away I started finding artworks I liked again to fill up that nice uninhabited receptacle. As of right now it's up to twenty images, every one of which I'm really into. But I'm saving those for other purposes. Today I want to show you the nine most recent images I've posted over on S&E (as it's known to its (very few) friends). Because not only do I dig each one of these pieces individually, I also really enjoy them as a group. So here you go--happy Friday!

Above, Grady McFerrin

Belhoula Amir


Mister Finch

 Becca Stadtlander

Andrew Patterson-Tutschka

Hsiao Ron Cheng

Kyle Scully

Tara Andris

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Here's the Next Poem in the Ever-Ongoing Poem Series About the Spring of 2006

March 17, 2006
On my way

to and from lunch
I was looking for people wearing green
and there were quite a lot of them

Mostly women wearing green shirts or green sweaters
one ridiculous looking man sporting an emerald satin bow tie
but then plenty of people not wearing the hue as well

You really can’t win on this one
you inevitably run the risk
of looking either
like a dork
or like a party pooper

I went the dork route this year
as I generally tend to do on holidays
I find I resist a little at first
but almost always eventually
let myself be sucked into whatever
goofy festivities are going on

image source is here

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Flora and the Caldecott

Wow! Flora and the Flamingo, a lovely children's book published by fine employer has won a Caldecott Honor. This is a very big deal, and first for Chronicle Books. We'll be toasting with pink champagne this afternoon. Yippe!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Monochromes Sans Titre

The other day I stumbled upon, and have since been feeling profoundly inspired by, Yves Klein's  Monochrome series of paintings. For much much more about Yves Klein (biographical info, exhibitions, articles, and loads and loads of artwork) you might also want to check out the page about him on Artsy.

Monday, January 27, 2014

No Hands!

Mabel is learning how to walk down the street without holding hands (pausing only, of course, to grab hands at the corners before crossing). It is quite a triumph for her unhindered little soul.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Hockney's Green

I don't consider myself a big David Hockney fan. Indeed, I've been inclined to agree with the words of a smart man I know, who's said that Hockney "found a romantic luminosity in Southern California...that I found both inaccurate and unappealing. Chirpy and sanitized his vision seemed..." So I didn't have terribly high expectations for his blockbuster exhibition at the De Young. But here's the thing--in his maturity Hockney went back to his native England and painted its countryside. And this new subject matter makes it a whole new ballgame. The main thing that struck me about all the work in this show (and there was a lot of it, and a lot of it was very big--which was good because that meant you could see it over the heads of the thronging crowds), what struck me most of all was his use of the color green. Man oh man. Here is a guy who gets green. His greens glow like the Emerald City, like kryptonite. They sear themselves into your brain and haunt your dreams. And this is a painer who seems to have been working mostly in blues and yellows for most of his career. Huh. The amazing green carried over some interesting video pieces as well (but decent still images of those are not to be had). It even carried over into the backgrounds of portraits (see bottom image).

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Next Installment in the Ongoing Poem Series About the Spring of 2006

March 16, 2006
The other day I found out something interesting

The woman I sometimes see on the way to work
with the short bleached hair
square red backpack
and small child in tow
lives a couple blocks down from us

I saw her getting something
(her red backpack, perhaps?)
from her car
and then go back into her building
through the funny little door
that’s usually to the left of the main door
on most of the buildings in our neighborhood

I don’t know why this should be surprising really
since I see her walking down said street pretty regularly
But it just feels funny and interesting
to mine a new nugget of information about a stranger

That same morning I also saw
the French woman with the dog
looking as usual ridiculously chic

and the guy who walks with no shoes on
except now that its winter and raining he does wear shoes
but he looks grudging about it
and he still walks with a strange toe-first gait
that makes you wonder if
in inclement weather
he practices walking barefoot at home

image source is here

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Yes I Am The Art Book Editor at Chronicle Books and Yes I Want to Hear From You

Hello. Nice to meet you.

I get surprised when people ask me if it's ok for them to put their artist or photographer friend in touch with me in my work capacity at Chronicle Books. Or if it's ok for them to send me their own body of work for consideration. Dude! Of course it's ok! That's the whole point!

But it's a good reminder that, weird as it seems to dorky awkward old twelve-years-old-on-the-inside me, perhaps to the outside world the job title Art Book Editor might be a bit intimidating. So, in the name of total frankness and clarity, here is what I do:

I edit books (and sometimes non-book things like notecards or blank notebooks) that feature: fine art, illustration, photography, and design (graphic design, fashion design, industrial design, occasionally a bit of architecture).

I welcome book proposals and the chance to see bodies of work from: artists, illustrators, photographers, designers, writers, and creative thinkers.

I love developing ideas and collaborating with folks on projects. A handy little cheat-sheet of what I'm looking for in book proposals can be found here

My email address is:
bridget[underscore symbol]watsonpayne[at]chroniclebooks[dot]com

Go nuts.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

MLK Weekend Away

Truly, is there anything more inspiring than a long weekend away in the country? Especially with a three-year-old who gets so whole-heatedly thrilled about everything. And especially when you spy an elephant seal close-up on the beach.


Looking at this photo, is it any wonder that I find myself constantly and simultaneously marveling and this child's bigness and her smallness?

Friday, January 17, 2014


The other day when I got home from work, Mabel and I decided to make collages before dinner. It was super fun. You'll forgive the greenish photography, I'm sure, it still being that time of year when one is not in one's home at all during daylight hours during the work week.

Mabel's first piece was made from the patterned duct tape she got for Christmas, with which she is obsessed. 

Next she cut out images and glued them on with a glue stick. 

I made mine with a glue stick too. Quite astonishingly satisfying.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Continuing Poem Saga About the Spring of 2006 Presents Another Installment

March 15, 2006
I had an experience last night

I’d had a rough day at work
with a new crisis du jour
and I didn’t want to just
go home and be sad

So I called Bill and
he was taking the ferry back from Oakland
so I went down to the ferry building to meet him

But I was early so first I walked around inside
and calmed down by gazing at the cupcakes and flowers
the fruit and olives and ceramics

Then I went outside where it was prematurely getting dark
due to all these great big towering rain clouds
in various shades of light gray and dark gray
but it wasn’t dark yet

The sky was a phenomenon
with about a million shades and shapes
and little black silhouettes of birds and airplanes going across it

It wasn’t raining but the pavement was shiny with rain
and all the buildings were wet and dark-colored
their lights just coming on in all shades of orange
And the bay was a mossy grayish green

I sat down on a bench with a view of the bridge to wait
and suddenly realized I could see it raining in Oakland
that big gauzy streaky curtain in the distance
as if a cloud was reaching all the way down to the ground

And as I watched the rain moved sideways
from south to north
revealing downtown buildings on its right edge
and obscuring cranes in the port with its left edge

And then I saw that the traffic on top of the bridge
moving slowly sideways in the opposite direction

And one huge faded red and black tanker ship
heaved into view also headed south to north

Little blue lights came on
around the dock where the ferry would land
and were reflected in the water

After a while I saw the boat coming
more or less straight at me
I watched it until it was quite close
then walked down
to the end of the gangway to meet Bill
feeling immeasurably healed

image source is here

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Yes! The moment has arrived. The exciting day when I get to show you all my Spring 2014 advances, all lined up in a row. I love this day. So, without further ado, the titles above which I edited for Chronicle Books for the upcoming season are (top to bottom, left to right):

The Complete Artist's Manual
104 Things to Photograph
Hello New York
Artists, Writers, Thinkers, Dreamers
New York Jackie (this one I authored! woo!)
Lincoln Memorial
Succulent Garden Notecards
Pantone: 35 Inspirational Color Palettes for the Home
Tiny Tokyo
If I Were A Book
Draw to Learn: Espanol!
Draw to Learn: Francais!
The Underwater Museum
Whatever You Are Be a Good One
Design School Wisdom

Damn. That's a lot of books (and a flippy fan deck, and a notecard box). I am proud as can be and pleased as punch with the results.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Marimekko Dress

Today is the day of Launch. I've talked about this publishing ritual--where all the editors at Chronicle Books get up in front of the sales and marketing folks and give them the scoop on our upcoming books--several times before. This time all I have to say about it is that, oh-so-fittingly, and oh-so-happy-making-ly, today I get to wear my brand new Marimekko dress. Which makes me feel inspired indeed.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pumpkin Carving

Will your own child's ever-increasing independent abilities ever cease to amaze you? Probably not.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Wendy McNaughton

You know whose work I really like (as does, I think, with just about everyone else in San Francisco)? Wendy McNaughton's. (Full disclosure: she has a book coming from Chronicle Books, the fine publisher for which I work, this spring, but I did not edit it. (It's a very cool book. (Just saying.))).

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Poem Series About the Spring of 2006 Continues to Unfurl in 2014

March 14, 2006
I saw a little girl

in a catholic school uniform
walking with her father
First she meticulously adjusted her shoes
and then she began to skip
Her dad carrying her pink backpack clung over his shoulder
bumped along gamely but awkwardly beside her
Perhaps fatherhood turns men
who would otherwise be businesslike or even grave
into frolicsome goofballs

Had lunch at the Chinese restaurant that Bill and I refer to as
Red Line Blue Line Green Line
a brick building with a cavernous dining space and little in the way of décor
There are three lines you can get into for your food
hence the name
although they are actually marked in red, yellow, and green not blue
and I always get in the yellow line which leads to the cafeteria-style steam table
There you always say the same things to the ladies in the little red smocks
what kind of rice you want
and if it’s for here or to go
and they pull the top plate
off the stack of big heavy cream-colored ceramic plates
and scoop the food out of the big silver bins with their big silver ladles
fried rice, broccoli, and two diminutive pot-stickers
and the woman at the register the end of the counter
tells you your total before you can get the words
and a diet coke
in edgewise

image source is here