Places & Spaces My Library

sara midda

March 1, 2012

Over 20 years ago, while browsing in the beautiful and charming shop that is primrose hill books, i came across an english author and artist/illustrator called sara midda 

Jessica, who runs the bookshop with her lovely husband, had signed copies as sara was a local artist. I bought in and out of the garden and was instantly smitten. It evoked the english gardens of sara’s childhood and had the most glorious delicate illustrations and hand painted text. Dozens of illustrations would keep me fixated to every page while reading the subtle descriptions of time spent in the garden.

A couple of years later, when sara midda’s sketchbook from southern france was published, i thought i had found heaven. At that time i spent many weekends and holidays in the south of france so it had even more meaning for me. The sketchbook is a personal journey of sara midda, filled with illustrations and observations from her travels in the south of france. It is utterly exquisite with the finest of watercolours. There is no real order except that the chapters are organised by months.

As you can see I was hooked. My next purchase was the delightful and playful growing up and other vices. A true representation of the mystery of childhood and a little tongue and cheek on the imperfections of adulthood. A subject close to my heart. The delicate watercolour drawings lend themselves perfectly to this kind of story telling. A really inspirational book. To accompany the book there were some limited edition prints of the drawings featured in the book. I am lucky i bought one.

And finally maybe even my favourite, although they all are. Sara midda baby book, a practical but magical album filled with unexpected touches. The binding itself is worth the price. The book comes in it’s on cover with yellow plastic screws. Just delightfull.

I must have bought this baby book for over 10 girlfriends when they had their first born. No one ever used it except my friend nathalie, remember my post on miss lecroc? Well, in true fashion she has made use of my gift. Here are some of her adorable illustrations. All the following illustrations are copyright of nathalie lecroc.

Gorgeous, no? And to top it all off, a few days ago i received an envelope. When i opened it i saw the following:

Nathalie had sent me a stamped watercolour card for for me to sign and send back. I thought surely this is a mistake. Yesterday i got a card from her explaining the situation. It seems this is a present for me as a thank you for blogging about her, which resulted in getting some commissions for bag paintings.

So, my friends, after 13 years i will have yet another painting of the delectable nathalie of yet another bag and its content. It feels like going through another life stage. The best part, I’ll be the only person in the book with having got her bags painted twice. Both as presents! Mind you, this could spur a whole new angle to the project. Volume 2, the before and after! I have not formally thanked nathalie for her generosity so i thought it would be nice to read about it here. Merci beaucoup. Je t’embrasse et à bientôt.

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36 Comments

  • Reply Theresa March 1, 2012 at 6:43 am

    Oh, really, really wonderful post, Tina. I love all the beautiful books and watercolor illustrations. I especially loved the end where you reveal Nathalie’s gift to you. What a beautiful gesture, and friendship you two have.

    • Reply tina March 1, 2012 at 8:33 am

      Thanks hon. I was really surprised. In fact, I thought she had addressed the envelope to me by mistake. On second thought Nathalie always decorates envelopes with special stamps, stickers and exquisite writing. I didn’t know what to think. I tried to call her but she was away painting bags of elderly inhabitants of a tiny island. I spoke to her husband, who had no clue what I was on about.

      Eventually he wrote me an email saying this envelope was meant for me… then I got a card sent explaining.. I was really touched.

      Btw, you know the TED talk I recommended to Jennifer was also BB. I’ve listened to it so many times. I will now listen to Ben Silberman’s alt summitt one. Thanks for that:)

  • Reply Heather @ Canal Notes March 1, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Love the baby book and the way Nathalie used it to include her own illustrations! How clever and creative, and what fun it will be for her child to look back on as a grownup 🙂 Can’t wait to see your next bag illustration too!

    • Reply tina March 1, 2012 at 10:13 am

      I know. Just think how wonderful to grow up and find your mum kept your first years memories…. to actually see some of your early history.

      Already planning which bag to have painted:) exciting stuff.

  • Reply Holly March 1, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Wow! How do you always find such great stuff?! I’m amazed at these little books – the illustrations are marvellous and the content promises to be very interesting 🙂 Thanks for sharing Xx.

    • Reply tina March 1, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      Thanks love. Glad you liked them. I think Sara is very talented and her work always cheers me up.

      Years ago she was approached by a Japanese Department Store and her illustrations can be found on bed linen, mugs and other home wares. Jessica and I don’t know where she lives now but the last I heard was that she had some problems with her hands. That must be difficult. Xx

  • Reply annie March 1, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Gosh what beautiful illustrations, I love the colours.
    Must check out that bookshop. I’m never in PH before 6pm though!
    How lovely that you’re having another bag done, you must be so excited!

    • Reply tina March 1, 2012 at 8:31 pm

      @annie The bookshop is really great. Jessica has such great taste and they are very helpful with ordering. I don’t go enough myself. In fact Jessica and I bumped into each other a few months ago. We were in the ladies of a theatre to see a play with Kristin Scott Thomas. She’s absolutely lovely! Oh, you can always go Saturdays…

      @jennifer I am really glad you like them. I am going to admit something, I have two copies of the baby book as I loved it so much and worried it would go out of print. I would have a baby just so I can fill one out. That’s why I was so happy when Nathalie one day emailed me her illustrations. I cherish them.

      • Reply sara midda May 30, 2013 at 8:03 pm

        just found your whatever, about a year laer.

        Yes, a wonderful bookshop is Primrose Hill books, nothing like that down here, and sorely missed.

        Sara Midda

      • Reply Terence Griffin March 26, 2014 at 10:55 am

        There is a Japanese art director in Paris who has a project she would like to offer Sara Midda but she has no contact details for her. She asked me to try and get a number, address, e-mail etc. I hope you can help
        Many thanks
        T
        Normandy, France
        Telephone: 02 33 25 71 18

  • Reply Jennifer March 1, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Tina – I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed your post. I really LOVE beautiful illustrators and treasure their work and their books. I’ll be online in few minutes searching for her gorgeous books. And that baby book – I can’t imagine having such a gorgeous record of a child’s early life. Even though I can’t draw worth anything, it has still inspired me to get creative with the records I keep for my daughter. Thank you for the introduction to a such a great talent!

    • Reply tina March 26, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      I hope you found some of her books. I know they have them on amazon.com.

      Your daughter will thank you when she grows up:)

  • Reply Chi @ Carousel March 1, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    Oh my, Tina! I’m reeling from the abundance of gorgeousness laid out before me!! I love how your wonderful stories and experiences come full circle – what a brilliant surprise from Nathalie.

    I especially love the way that she chose to document the first years of her son’s life, using your thoughtful gift.

    I have a sketch of L that I was only able to accomplish because she was a lot younger (and a lot less mobile!) so I treasure it immensely.

    I can’t wait to see your next painting and to see you in print, so to speak! 😀

    Oh, and thank you for introducing me to Sarah Midda’s sumptuous books (such a shame about her hands!)- I’m awed and inspired in equal measure.

    • Reply tina March 1, 2012 at 11:28 pm

      Thanks Chi…. yes, I was really surprised and touched. Had email from Nathalie tonight saying her phone was out of order but she saw the post and liked it very much:)

      I am sure your sketch of L is adorable and needs to be cherished!

      Hope you get a chance to purchase some of her books. You will not be sorry:)

  • Reply Toni March 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I had baby books for both of my children and like Natalie wrote lots of notes! How I would have treassured a book like this!

    • Reply tina March 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm

      You and me both. How wonderful for your kids to have those records. Tell me, do they appreciate it?

      Enjoy the sunny weather.

  • Reply Erin March 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Adorable watercolors and illustrations. So darling! I especially loved Nathalie’s painting of her son’s toy that when you flip it over it “Moos.” I had one of those too growing up and absolutely loved it! Adorable that the French for “moo” is “meuh.” Thanks for turning me on to Sarah Midda’s work, now all I can do is hope that they’re available here. And congrats on getting another watercolor from Miss Leroc! That was very sweet of her. You should frame them both and display them next to each other on your wall!

    • Reply tina March 3, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      I love how you notice detail. Her drawings are incredible. Hopefully you can get some of her books over there:)

      Have a good weekend.

  • Reply ursula (room to bloom) March 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    LOVE illustrated books like this – Tina – I must come and inspect your book shelves some time girl, I think I could spend an afternoon (tea would be very nice thank you ; )
    The baby book would be a great gift for my expecting clients, I’ll look into it. My mum’s mother (my gran) kept a diary about the first year of her life, and when I was a little girl I loved reading about the time that my mum was a baby!

    • Reply tina March 8, 2012 at 10:59 pm

      You can come anytime for tea my love:)

      Seriously, the baby book is gorgeous. When you come for tea you can inspect it.
      How nice that you were able to read your mum as a baby stories… it’s such a shame more mothers don’t do this. I’m sure it’s extra work when you have the new experience of looking after a baby, but I imagine it to be such a precious thing to do. Lovely!!!

  • Reply Bernadette March 26, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Wow! I just found your site, and this post is a lovely example of what wonderful results you get from giving and sharing! I found your blog through a google search for Sara Midda, as I was recently browsing her book about Provence. I bought that book after my first visit to France, and it inspired me to take up watercolors. (In 1995!) I’m not surprised to find others that adore it as much as I do. I must get the baby book to have on hand as a gift. Thank you.

    • Reply tina March 26, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      Hello Bernadette. Thank you so much for stopping by. I know, I also love dipping in and out of her books for inspiration.

      The baby book is great. You would love it and it makes a great present!

      I just had a look at your site. My, are your drawings fantastic. Really lovely. Will look closer in the next few days and I certainly want some bookmarks.
      I do love moo.com and although a bit more pricey, their quality is outstanding. I’m going to order some LUXE cards from them. I have printed 50 different designs in a pack and that’s so unique:)

  • Reply parisbreakfast April 23, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    I am a huge fan of Sarah Midda!
    How lucky you are to have one of her prints.
    I often wonder what she is doing these days..
    And it’s lovely to discover Nathalie and her bag paintings.
    I send people’s pets to Paris so-to-speak but this is soo fun what she’s doing.
    Delighted to have found you!
    merci carolg

    • Reply tina April 23, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      Hi Carol. Thank you for stopping by. Yes, I LOVE Sara Midda and often wonder what has happened to her. I think she had problems with her hands and her health? and is not painting anymore.
      No one seems to know. Her work was taken on by a japanese department store and they printed everything from mugs to duvet covers with her drawings. I don’t know. I preferred her original art.

      Glad you like Natalie’s work. She’s incredible. She used to live in Paris but now lives in Brittany.

      You have a nice blog and I like your ice cream drawings:)

      Merci et a bientot….

      • Reply sara midda May 30, 2013 at 7:55 pm

        Hallo.

        Yes, I did have a hand problem.I am still around, living and working in Sussex.

        Thanks for your comments

        best wishes Sara Midda

    • Reply sara midda May 30, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      I just read your whatever on , so confused at all this electronic stuff. But thank you.
      I am living and working in Sussex.

      best wishes

      Sara Midda

  • Reply Lee Kline March 8, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    I am a Sara Midda fan. Having loved her “Sketchbok from Southern France,” I recently purchased her lovely “In and Out of the Garden.” I wonder if the pages Sara made in her original were much larger than the pages in the book. I find myself often reaching for a magnifying glass to read many of the text blocks. My copy was printed in Japan in 1989, the sixth printing. If there is a larger version of her book, I would gladly buy it.
    Sorry if I sound like a grouch; I enjoy the book, but would enjoy it more if it were larger.
    Perhaps a larger edition could be contemplated in the future?

  • Reply sara midda March 13, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Thank you.
    How lovely of you
    Sara

    • Reply Wendy McMillan April 18, 2013 at 5:28 am

      I too am a huge Sara Midda fan. Her work first inspired me to begin keeping a watercolor journal and it has changed the way my 7 year old twins and I view the world! I would also love to know what size the origional work was done on. We struggle with a portable size that is still easy to draw and paint. I hope she knows what a wonderful legacy she has bequeathed in this computer -driven age!
      Warmest regards,
      Wendy McM

      • Reply tina April 19, 2013 at 10:33 am

        Hello Wendy. Thank you for stopping by!

        How wonderful when an artist manages to inspire others, right?
        Yes, it would be interesting to to know the original size. I’ll try and find out for you!

        I also hope Sara knows her legacy – truly stunning.

        Thank you for your kind comment!

      • Reply sara midda May 30, 2013 at 7:53 pm

        same size

        best

        Sara Midda

    • Reply tina April 19, 2013 at 10:35 am

      Hello Sara Midda,

      I feel so honoured you found this and came to say hello.
      I hope you know how much you’ve inspired us all and I just love your work!

      I trust this finds you well.
      Kind regards,
      Tina

  • Reply Tracy May 28, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Hi Tina i am looking to get information on how to contact Sara about her books I have a very big question for her but I can not seem to find a way to get in touch with her to ask, you are the closest I have been able to get can you please help me?
    Thank-you so much Tracy

  • Reply Davina February 19, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Love your work Sara! what kind of watercolor set do you use? do you draw with a dip pen? all the best….

  • Reply my library - A bowl of olives by sara midda colourliving February 9, 2015 at 9:20 am

    […] readers will know that I have blogged about Sara Midda before as I’m a huge fan of her work. Lucky for me, we have been in touch for a while now. […]

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