I dreamed of the stunning art which is the cover, front and back, of Pursuing A Masterpiece, several years ago.
At that time, I’d had the pleasure of viewing the inspiring work of photographer Yelena Strokin, in a gallery showing. Her photos absorb the viewer in the world of the esteemed Dutch Masters: painters who lived and worked in the 16th and 17th centuries. Her photographs are remarkable in their composition, tone, and quality, and I could not believe I wasn’t in the presence of paintings of that era. It was at that first encounter I hoped I’d commission Yelena to design a photo image for my story.
The painting described in the book is commanded by Henry VIII and executed by the masterful Hans Holbein the Younger in the 1530’s. Yelena and I talked about how we might create an image which would evoke that part of the story. She had the brilliant idea to set the stage to simulate the great master’s studio, as he would be hard at work producing the painting King Henry had directed. The brushes, easel and the drape used to hide the unfinished painting are evident. The icons included in the painting… keys, wooden bowl which is the holy grail, ancient texts, all are situated along with the food, drink and pipe which sustained Holbein through long hours of work. And on the back cover is depicted the final moments spent at the task– as the candle is ready to wink out, there remains a single vial of the most coveted pigment known in its day–ultramarine blue. I couldn’t be more thrilled with this artwork created by Yelena to accompany my writing. She is a true talent. You can read more about her and unending creative ability at her website.
Once the photography was complete, I turned to an equally skilled designer for the cover and interior styling and layout. Domini Dragoone excels in taking a concept and turning it into magic. Her abilities in photography and art intermingle with her intuitive expression to present a result which is simply stunning. The colors she chose, the fonts, and the way the photograph is positioned to include the text on the front and the back brought to life the vision I had and the result I’d hoped for. Her beautiful work can be seen on her webpage.
I’m so grateful to both Yelena and Domini, two incredibly creative women, for working with me to make my vision for Pursuing A Masterpiece a reality.