Rockingham artist works with old friend to create unique book about Paris


Robin Bower and Christine Vandenbergh.
Robin Bower and Christine Vandenbergh.

WRITER Robin Bower and Rockingham artist Christine Vandenbergh are two old friends who decided to take a trip to Paris on a whim.

What resulted is a unique book – Senses of Paris – which is written and illustrated through the five senses of human perception.

Bower said the seed for the book was sown when her friend had a yearning to return to Paris for a holiday.

“It was Chris’s birthday and she wanted to go to Paris because she hadn’t been there for 25 years,” she said.

“I was interested in going and said to her ‘why don’t we do a book while we’re there?’ and she agreed.”

Bower said they wanted to create something different, a ‘living’ document of their experience.

“We recorded all the different experiences that we felt with our senses – taste, smell, touch, sight and sound,” she said.

“They are very personal reflections…instant reflections of where we were at the time.

“It could have been a snapshot from a snippet of a stranger’s conversation through to sitting arm to arm in a crowded Parisian café.

“It was about those visceral responses we have.”

“It was a great challenge that forced you to be creative with your interpretation of your senses.”

Vandenbergh said her artistic influence was Monet.

“We rented an apartment in Monte Martre for three weeks. It has a very diverse cultural representation there,” she said.

“There is a lot of African culture there now.

“It was our base from where we went to Monet’s home village.

“It’s just a beautiful place; Giverny. I have loved Monet all my life.

“I teach Monet. He was the drawcard for me.”

The book utilises a mixture of mediums that best suited the moment it was depicting.

It includes pen and ink drawings, watercolours, pastels, Gouache, oils, photography and text.

Bower said the book was intended as a gift that could be re-interpreted by those who receive it.

“It touches on all aspects of Paris; the romantic side through to the dark side of the recent terror attacks,” she said.

“We hope people will take it with them on their travels to Paris and record their perceptions.

“There are notes sections throughout for people to do that.”

For a sneak peek into their works visit www.robinbower.com/senses-of-paris.

The book is only available as a hard copy.