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Everything Is Its Own Reward

Everything Is Its Own Reward Everything Is Its Own Reward

Everything Is Its Own Reward back

Paul Madonna


Page 45 Review by Stephen

"In hard times, beauty can seem frivolous - but take it away, and all you're left with is hard times."

Too true.

"I'm quite aware," she said, "of how oblivious I am."

I was blissfully ignorant until then.

"There's the flaw in hindsight's lens: the view changes depending on where you're looking from."

It's all a question of perspective, isn't it? Here are two hundred or so more set in and around San Francisco with the odd trip to France in a second luxurious ALL OVER COFFEE book to make you swoon, smile or give you some pause for thought. The crisp, thick, off-white paper frames the watercolour textures as well as Paul's antler grey washes to perfection. There's so much more space now that he's sticking to Sundays in the San Francisco Chronicle with some striking vertical shots in between predominantly horizontal portraits of buildings, streets, parks and bridges, landscapes he loves and good grief but he either lives in or has access to flats with very fine views of The Bay! This for me is architectural heaven. There are even some extended sequences this time round evidently carried over from one week to the next, like the wooden steps climbing into the wooded darkness with all the allure of the unknown. I'd never be able to resist following them up then round the corner and as it transpires I couldn't: I'm positive I know where they are. Fortunately Paul satisfies your curiosity on the subsequent Sundays as the path opens out at the summit.

Each page also tells a story, some longer than other, though you will find none of their participants in the pictures. That third quotation, for example, wasn't just left there to hang; it was part of a longer meditation on life's journey and time. Paul is both philosopher and, at times, philosophical.

"I walked a few blocks, then, realising I'd forgotten something, turned around, and ran into you. It has been a while, but definitely not long enough. Surprised, suspicious and awkward, all we could do was laugh, then move on."

On other occasions he's simply on hand to entertain, though it's often the seemingly throwaway exchanges that then make you think most.

"What what? I didn't say anything."
"You didn't have to… you're saying it in my head."

There's also a real wit in the artwork itself, like deep blue sky framed, looking up, by an arrangement of white wooden walls whose windows' reflections make the houses look hollow. Lastly, I suppose, because it's no use describing what you should see for yourselves, there's a surprise addition tucked away in a pocket wallet at the back, and I love hidden extras, don't you?
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