Last week I had the pleasure to meet with local artist, Trevor Smithson, to talk about the possibility of him painting the cover for my new novel, “Beneath the Oak Tree.” The moment was surreal, to say the least. The meeting had been arranged by a fellow Agile Writer, who had showed me his paintings a few months back.
Trevor does impressive oil-on-canvas work, and he does not lie when he says, “I don’t paint small”. His work (which at times can be wall-sized) includes a painting of a landscape of downtown Richmond, VA and its reflection over the James River. My impression when I saw that painting for the first time was, “Is that hell?” The way Trevor mixes his colors will force you to look at his work once, and again, and every time you will find yourself saying, “I swear that wasn’t there when I looked a second ago.”
Back to our meeting. We shook hands, said our hellos, and started to talk. But I had a problem. What do you say to someone who’s work you admire? I mean, the guy could’ve been a serial killer for all I knew, but his work had me thinking I was out of my league. Not that I will ever draw anything more complicated that stick figures (bad ones at that) or that I would go on a killing spree, but you know what I mean. Finding out that his daytime job crosses with my line of work helped me find common ground.
Then we started talking business.
I explained a few details of my book, trying to paint a picture in his head, so he could paint a picture on paper (easier said than done). However, I could see the wheels turning inside his noggin as I spoke. I had some documents inside a manila folder in front me.
“Can I use that,” he said.
“Sure, go ahead,” I said.
He took the manila folder and grabbed a pen. I continued talking, as he started to draw lines on the folder. Not gentle contours, mind you. He was jabbing furious lines, as if he was mad a the paper. His drawing didn’t make for an outline that I could comprehend (and the whole thing being upside down didn’t make things easier) so I just decided to wait for him to finish.
A few people (one of them who knew Trevor) came to our table and made their introductions, and of course, being the gentleman he is, he had to indulge, and make small talk with them, to boot.
Which increased my anxiety level by a thousand fold. I started cracking my knuckles.
So, ten agonizing minutes later, he sits back down, looks at his work in progress, and makes a face. I was about to loose it, but before I could bestow the curses of a thousand devils on the people that interrupted him, he picked up a magazine (which I brought as a visual aid) and found the idea he needed.
Count your lucky stars, people. Count them well.
Not only did Trevor Smithson agreed to work on the cover of my new novel. He blew my socks away with the rudimentary sketch he furiously jotted on the manila folder, and which I placed at the end of this post, for your enjoyment. During the next several weeks he’ll work on turning an Idea into a reality. I will post updates on the project, so stay tuned for more, as we turn this sketch into the cover of, “Beneath the Oak Tree.”