Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Fantasy Cover


What artist, living or dead, would you want to do your cover design?
By Rebecca Cantrell



I was walking through a little gallery in Kona the other day. Usually the paintings they carry have tropical themes—whales, flowers, waves, cottages in the moonlight—and often I come across something truly beautiful. This day they had a series of koi in clear water across multiple canvasses that my mother quite liked. Every year she seems to have a different configuration of favorite colors and this year it is a bamboo green, a deeper forest green, and a bright orange. It sounds hideous but actually looked gorgeous on the fish paintings.

After admiring them I turned a corner and saw the kind of painting one rarely sees in a small Hawaiian town, although I later learned that the artist lives in Honolulu. The painting was called “Night Street” and the artist is John Pitre. He says it represents “A collage of my memories from New York, London, Tokyo, and Honolulu. The essence of the moods and the action on the street of any big city at night.”

At the time I knew none of that. I stopped and stared at it. The colors are wonderful, the textures are mesmerizing, and the woman in front is haunting. She faces us so seriously. To me, she looks like she’s stepped out of the late 1920s decadence of Berlin. She wears long gloves, her hair is covered as if by a cloche hat. Behind her some of the women are unclothed. It’s definitely not a staid beer garden in the background. She reminded me so strongly of Hannah Vogel, my heroine that I stopped and stared so long the gallery owner brought the painting to a private room with clever lighting.

This tiny rendition of it doesn't do it justice, of course. Here's a version on the author's web site that doesn't do it justice either but is better: http://www.johnpitre.com/JP/nightfull.htm

It would make the perfect cover for “A Trace of Smoke.” I looked John Pitre up and found him described as “the most bankable living American surrealist,” which put the painting right out of my price range. But they still have it, it’s still lovely, and I still stop by every so often to gaze at Hannah and wonder what she’s up to there, in her world on the other side of the canvas.

What do you think? Do you think I could make a convincing case to Tor Forge to put it on a limited edition run?

13 comments:

Gary Corby said...

You're right, the painting is outstanding.

I viewed the high res version on my portrait orientation monitor at full zoom, and it really lives. I can totally see her as Hannah.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Isn't it amazing? It's a completely different direction artistically for the book, and I do need to throw in the fact that I adore my current covers.

How about you? What painting would grace the cover of PERICLES?

Meredith Cole said...

Very beautiful! I think you should try to make an argument for it. Perhaps he's just itching to go into book covers...

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Thanks, Meredith! Maybe he'd love to see his painting distributed to tons of dedicated readers in a small size....I don't think he's ever done a book cover (wikipedia doesn't mention it). He's a fascinating guy too. He invented some kind of exercise equipment that's quite well known. Maybe book covers ARE his next frontier. It could happen.

Lynn Sheene said...

The painting IS gorgeous. And so haunting!

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Thanks,Lynn! It could work for "Last Time I Saw Paris," too, I think.

Joshua Corin said...

That is just about THE perfect cover for A TRACE OF SMOKE. It captures the mood and tone and atmosphere of Hannah's story brilliantly.

I agree with Meredith - argue your case! If you want, I can send your publisher an anonymous email *demanding* they use this painting as a cover if they know what's best for them...

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Josh, Tor knows who you are, remember?

But thank you! It think it's perfect too. I think I'd have to have perfect covers for ALL the books to convince them. It was a damn surreal time, so there's got to be more that apply. Long Knives? Probably do-able. A GAME OF LIES? A CITY OF BROKEN GLASS? I could keep Pitre busy for months. :)

Kelli Stanley said...

Becks, that is one hell of a wonderful painting, and totally perfect for the Hannah series!!

Why don't you send Pitre a letter and a copy of your book--he may ASK to do your covers! (and why not, it would be an honor!!) :)

xoxo

Gabi said...

Everything is better in Hawaii.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Kelli, what a delightfully extroverted idea! But, as usual, also a brilliant one.

Gabi, you have to come visit during Ironman week...

Sarah G said...

I can't have Rosetti, Alma-Tadema, OR Dave Cockrum. Wonder if Hannah Shapiro is still doing book covers?

Sarah G said...

Pardon me, Hannah Shapero.

http://www.pyracantha.com/gallery/