I recently discovered the art of Rick Beerhost, a printmaker, painter and sculptor from Grand Rapids, Michigan, who creates, among other things, many paintings of young women reading books. Often the women have their eyes obscured—hummingbirds are favored; the influence of Magritte is clear—but always they are compelling, deliciously weird images that make me want to know what exactly is being read. Beerhost is not just a fan of the iconography of books, but of reading itself—on his blog, he wrote,
The experience of reading a book is a slow infusion of the story into our soul over a period of time, usually interrupted by other life experiences that occur between the time we put the book down, and when we pick it up again to resume reading. This slow-drip into our soul’s vein gives us time to assimilate the story in a deeper way perhaps than the dump-truck drop-off of a 90 minute film.
True enough. And because my mother always told me that sharing is caring, not to mention good for the soul-veins, please enjoy some of my favorites from Beerhost’s enormous oeuvre, and then go ahead and get back to your book.