John Clapp
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  God

Jacket art for "The Hidden Face of God" by Richard Elliot Friedman

Client: Harper Collins
Art Director: Laura Beers
Designer: Eric Handel / LMNOP

Watercolor on paper

Problem:
Harper wanted to show Adam and Eve in The Garden of Eden in the presence of God. At the same time they wanted to avoid the many cliches such an image suggests: no apple, no Tree of Life, no fig leaves and tightly rendered foliage, no old bearded guy, etc.

Solution:
Eric and Laura gave me the leeway to follow my nose and I ended up with my favorite painting of the year, a misty, lush, suggestive illuminated landscape.

These paintings are nerve wracking to do as they can go wrong in a split-second at any stage; you literally "float"raw pigment on top of very heavy washes. You can't predict it, you just have to wait for something wonderful and then try to dry it as quickly as possible.

I love to work on jobs like this where my clients trust me to make an image, not an "executed sketch".

So many "paintings" like this one die at the sketch stage, what makes them special just isn't visible until that last moment. I treasure the jobs (and the art directors) that allow me this kind of trust.

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