The painted miniature books (1)

My series of miniature Agatha Christie books was such a long and involved project that I figured it would make more sense to break the thing down into a series of posts to explain how it all came together.

The first four: half of the Hastings novels.

The first four: half of the Hastings novels. You will notice a dropped word in the quote of the first book, which was later remedied. This happened from time to time!

I’ve been painting miniatures for years; in my younger years I used to paint things like album covers and portraits onto guitar picks. (Nowadays you can get all kinds of printed picks, so it seems less chic somehow.)  In February of this year, I thought I’d make use of a few wooden miniature books sitting around my art room and paint them up to look like Christie’s Poirot novels. The complete series of Agatha Christie’s Poirot had been a Christmas gift and I’d been through them all, so with all the episodes at my fingertips, I could collect stills and paint them onto corresponding book covers. A representative quote from the book would be painted on the back. “What fun,” I thought. “I’ll just do a few of my favorite books, then.” Ha!

The first book: The A.B.C. Murders.

The first book: The A.B.C. Murders.

The Hastings novels seemed a splendid place to start. I’d already determined to put Poirot on each cover (Christie, incidentally, never wanted Poirot on her covers!) and I liked the idea of having Hastings on the covers of his novels as well. The first four are some of my favorite Christie books. The Big Four and Curtain both posed difficulties at once, however; I could not seem to get a screen shot of Poirot and Hastings together that met my criteria for a book cover. Each cover had to contain an image that could be cropped into a rectangle of the proper proportions, and needed to be satisfactorily representative of the content of the book. In the end, for Curtain I did a little montage, a portrait of each heavy on the chiaroscuro, and for The Big Four I was obliged to add a shadowy, mystery figure into the back of the shot, which could be construed as either Number Four or Hastings.

Curtain. This was the third book, and I began to photograph the books with a ruler for scale.

Curtain. This was the third book, and I began to photograph the books with a ruler for scale.

That might have been the end of it. But it nagged me to only have half the Hastings novels done. Crikey, surely I could finish them. Then there would be a neat little collection of eight books…

(To be continued.)

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