I think we all have our favourite book covers, some for the illustration, perhaps even the typography. One artist has taken this love a step further, and paints pictures of old books. Mark S Payne sources secondhand books and paints them as they are now, including the tears, the creases and spillages. They are living things, they have been read and loved. Mark treasures his old books: “I love books. Real books, as tactile objects that you can feel the weight of in your hands, leaf through, and into which you can simply disappear. Of course, like most booklovers, the excitement of a new novel, especially of a favourite author, is always an occasion to be savoured. But I find the books I treasure most become old friends. I love to revisit them, and celebrate down the years their graceful journey as they age – so often to marvel at their maturity, and sometimes to stand back with wonder as my youthful friend has become a classic! I love the feel of these my inanimate friends, who live with me and in me so vividly. Their stories, their feel, their warmth and their comfortable familiarity, – it is all these qualities that inspire me to paint them.” To find out how Mark does it, and to see more of his work, go to his website.