For a while, I've been documenting people's bookshelves as a form of portraiture; you can actually learn a lot about folks by their books' covers. Now, I'm working on a series of "ideal" bookshelves: sets of favorites—mine or someone else's—amalgamated in a picture, even if they don't usually live on shelves anywhere near each other.
Deliberately grouping the books—instead of painting them as they are serendipitously found—makes me focus much more on the physical books themselves, and in particular, the design of the spines. It's such a small place for a lot of information, with very little room for distinct characteristics, even though it's exactly what you use to identify books. As someone who does a lot of design work, I love the process of turning graphic design into art. And I love that a book is something created very personally and then mass-produced in order to affect many other people very personally. I group and paint them to turn them back into something very personal and intimate.
This set happens to be a grouping of my favorite children's books; I’ve been more influenced by books I read as a kid than books from any other time in my life.