Fixating on “Swamis”

While simplifying my manuscript for “Swamis” has actually become more complicated, I have also spent some time complicating illustrations; adding more color than necessary, going full psychedelic. Maybe that’s all right and even acceptable; the story does take place in Southern California, 1969.

You’re most likely too young to have any memories, or, if you were there, it may be more flashback than memory. A former cliché that may, through disuse, may have reached the statute of limitations on repeating is this: “If you can remember anything about the 60s, you really weren’t there.”

Okay, I googled it. The quote has been attributed to: Paul Kantner, Robin Williams, Paul Krassner, Pete Townshend, Grace Slick, Timothy Leary, and others. If you know who all of those people are… whoa! Look at you!

So, here are my latest workings:

overdone positive, line bending negative.

ANYWAY, I’m still getting my stuff together for the ZOOM event with the Port Townsend Library, Thursday, August 20, 7pm. There’s supposed to be a slide show of some of my stuff so people who tune in don’t have to look at me. Here’s a link: https://ptpubliclibrary.org/library/page/art-and-writing-erwin-dence OKAY, so how do I make that all blue so you don’t have to type it all out.

Oh, some of these and others are available at Tyler Meeks’ DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE. Stop in when you’re cruising out to the Peninsula, Thur-Sunday, 10am to 6pm.

More Swamis, More Coming

I am discovering more about the art and science of printing, particularly about how yellow seems to overwhelm other colors. Here is a version of my latest “Swamis” illustration:

inspired by 1960s Ron Stoner photograph

SO, I wanted to wait to see how the scanned drawing, now pixels on a screen, compares to the illustration I stuck in the scanner. Ummm, pretty close if I tilt the screen until it shows maximum color. This is taken from the color image, reduced to fit on eight and a half by eleven, which, because the yellow was too pervasive and some of the other colors were washed out, I attacked the drawing with colored pencils.

Okay, yeah; now if I could only get the drawings straight. They are, I swear, properly placed in the scanner. ANYWAY, I’m dropping a couple of framed pieces off at TYLER MEEKS’ DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE this afternoon, very limited edition prints with color added. Yeah, like on the actual drawings. I know there is no surf, but drop in on your way by. He’s open Thursday-Sunday, 10am to 6pm.

MEANWHILE, I am trying to get farther along on my latest edit (possibly not the last- but maybe the last full manuscript/big change version) of “Swamis” the novel. MORE INFORMATION is forthcoming on the upcoming ZOOM discussion/reading, with, if I can get it together, a slide show of my artsy works. Keith Darrock is setting it up with the PORT TOWNSEND PUBLIC LIBRARY. Thursday, August 20, and, yes, I will be putting more information out there. Here. Out here.

Stay safe, wear your fucking mask when appropriate; see if you can convince your friends and acquaintances who are obviously obstinate if not completely stupid refusers and deniers. to, at least, put on the fucking mask when they can’t fucking stay the fuck away. Yes, I am using profanity; not that that is unusual; but seeing people who think they’re making a statement by pushing into a store without a mask, expression saying, ‘yeah, say something,’ and I’m trying to buy a newspaper and a quart of chocolate milk; not risking getting whatever you’re spreading.

And wait, for all else I think I am; I make my living painting houses; and I do want to give a little praise to the other blue collar working folks who take a step back, grab their masks, and put them on when being able to socially distance isn’t possible. AND, YES, I know I do surf tiny waves on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, but, really, two feet isn’t six feet, not even here.

All real surfers have experienced those moments when we think we’re at the surface, suck in some air, only to find it’s foam; unbreathable. There are few things scarier than the inability to catch one’s breath. That’s what this virus brings; along with searing headaches, high fevers, delirium. It’s real, it’s around, and it’s more luck than any sort of inner strength or goodness that has kept us from getting it so far. So far. Through preaching.

I have a version of this headed for Disco Bay; hand colored

Stoner Photo made Fictional

It was almost coincidental that I found a photo from Ron Stoner of Swamis in about 1966, a year or so after I started surfing. Here it is:

Okay, the one on the right. The left photo is of the Malibu Invitational, in, I believe, 1965. My dad took my sister, Suellen; I declined to go. Too far away. Note the pre-drone angle.

So, here’s my version:

I believe I showed more than my usual amount of discipline.

Usually I can’t keep well enough alone. I did several modifications to another possible illustration for “Swamis,” the novel I’m now over halfway through my latest rewrite/edit (definitely making the manuscript easier to follow if less, um, colorful- Still too wordy, too much dialogue). This drawing is based on another Stoner Swamis photo. Before and after, with another after in the neverland file.

SO, I have several copies of the newer drawing and will attempt to show some discipline and restraint in coloring them. Results forthcoming.

MEANWHILE, I am getting some drawings together in preparation for the zoom event with the PORT TOWNSEND PUBLIC LIBRARY. I was actually volunteered by PT ripper Keith Darrock; and, since I don’t really need folks being forced to watch me talking all about my writing methods and such stuff, the plan is to get a selection of my art works together and have a slide show. It’s all supposed to happen August 20, but I will certainly post reminders as the date approaches.

AS ALWAYS, stay safe, surf when you can. OH, oh, yeah; Stephen R. Davis is in Hawaii, flight delayed by a hurricane; not sure about his current status, quarantine-wise. Checking the Big Island forecast fourteen days out… hmmm.

Cleaning up Swamies… oops

All right, here’s the illustration, so far:

And here’s what went wrong. I was working on the lettering, and had it pretty much done while sort of watching another British murder series on Netflix. Just as they revealed who really done it, and just as I was about to show Trish, I realized I had spelled Swamis incorrectly. Swamies.

Great. So, white out. I’ve taken to using the tape; sort of wroks (I mean works). SO, then I make a copy with my prin ter (also sort of works- images come out a bit crooked), and go back in and fix it. WELL, not yet; I’m thinking of getting a negative image, adding a bit more white.

If the image looks familiar, it’s from a Ron Stoner photo of Billy Hamilton, 1966. Mr. Hamilton is actually in my novel, “Swamis,” and probably from the same era. After one of my most memorable Swamis sessions to that point, from the ‘old men stop here’ platform on the stairs that were there at that time, I saw him cranking the most beautiful and flowing roundhouse to off the foam to in the pocket move (move as in it was seamless) I have still ever witnessed.

OKAY, so I took out a couple of other surfers who were in the Stoner photo, didn’t do justice to Mr. Hamilton. He’s stockier in my illustration, wrong here, not leaning into the turn as much as in the original… yeah, yeah… Hey, I am giving credit to Ron Stoner. His photos were, after John Severson’s in the first issues, the very heart of “Surfer” magazine; they captured the magic and mystery of the era.

I DID do a bit of a search for the photo, not wanting to risk scanning the photo ripped from an issue of “Surfer’s Journal”; ripped out only because there was some sort of misprint ting in that issue that ended up with most of the middle of the magazine duplicated. I didn’t find the actual photo, but I did find another Stoner photo.

When I was a sophomore at Fallbrook High School, 1966/67, Donn Fransich (sp?) brought in some “Surfer” magazines for show and tell in, I think, History class. He would stick them on the tray of one of those heavy, clunky overhead projectors. The photo on the right is one that I remembered from that his presentation. Not perfect, but perfect.

I’ve always remembered the photo, always wanted to see that vantage point in person. Coming back on the bus after a wrestling match with San Dieguito High School in which I actually didn’t lose, I still swear I saw surfers above and beyond the Self Realization Fellowship compound. When I lived in Encinitas in the seventies, I would often drive down the hill; again, looking for that magical image.

That Ron Stoner disappeared mysteriously; no, that doesn’t diminish the magic, not a bit. It’s there, the magic we chase; moments and images. I have caught some moments, surfing, that I will not forget; I am still trying to scratch and erase and capture, to flow into a perfect image. Not there; might never get there.

A New One for “Swamis”

I should, first of all, apologize for the coloring of the new drawings. A little too much for the one, maybe not enough for the illustration of Ginny Cole, some lettering added.

So, that’s about it. Stay safe, surf when you can. I do. Can’t say much more.

I am working on the manuscript; and, as objectively as I can be, I do believe the advice I’ve received is helping to make it better. If I can compare it to house painting, we get it all painted, then do the “Tighten up,” going back over all the surfaces, making sure it’s tight.

Not there yet, but working on it.

Ginny Cole in Color

I probably should start with the color version of the Ginny Cole illustration for “Swamis” before I get into anything remotely political. I am making progress on the novel; with at least one new character and so much concentration on how Jody’s father, Joseph DeFreines, Sr. died that I may have to severely cut back on the drama and adventure involved in the killings of Chulo and Gingerbread Fred.

Sequel? Not yet. Trish asked me if I wanted the drawing to be sort of mystical. Yeah, definitely; reflecting the time, 1969, and, more specifically, how a young person felt about the time, the place, life, love, surf, everything.

Fictional Ginny Cole on a mystical ride

I’m not actually through doing satirical political drawings. There is just too much material out there. For example, Ivanka Trump leading a public relations effort to encourage desperate and out of work folks to just ‘find something new.’ Yeah, like, um, with jobs at a premium and Republicans claiming the unemployed are just living it up on all the extra money; maybe what folks need is a new daddy. Works for her. Cake, yeah; let them eat cake; oh, and, because the owner of this outfit said nice things about her daddy; eat lots of Goya beans.

AND, I would like to do a drawing of Tucker Carlson, whose lawyers went to court recently to defend his right to tell lies; or, put in Fox-speak, Tuck-man is under no obligation to tell the truth. It’s not like he’s a real journalist. I would add, perhaps, a little sign that says, “Truth don’t matter; Ratings matter.” Yeah, it should be Truth ‘doesn’t’ matter; thanks for catching that.

Stay safe, surf when you can.

Commuter-in-Chief

This is a little soon between posts for me, and I’m only doing it, kind of stepping on one of my illustrations to put this out there; and, let me be clear, here, I really don’t want to be all political; but it pissed me off.

I waited until the fourteenth day of my allowed fifteen day response period, then sent off a check for $190 for my speeding ticket. I was guilty, didn’t want to stretch it out by asking for a court date (which I have done in the past), wasn’t hoping for some reduced sentence due to my advanced age or lack of regret or political connections. If $190.00 US currency was my debt to American society, I begrudgingly paid it.

That was last Friday, July 10, the very day Roger Stone had his prison sentence commuted. Oh, he’s still guilty on the seven felony counts, found guilty by a jury of, obviously, Americans, but no, not necessarily his peers.

Threatening a witness was one of the crimes, threatening the witness’s dog included in that one.

SO, he did the crime, doesn’t have to do the time. All he had to do is go on TV, allude to the true dirt he has on the president, convince Lindsey Graham that he’s a first time offender in his 70s (no, 67; I’m a many-times lifetime speeder, 68); and, voila, home free. No need for repentance or reformation, and the president’s twitter-blitz will insure that no Republican politician will stand up for the party’s much-pushed vision of rule of law, equal justice, all that mouth candy. Might seem a bit, uh, hypocritical.

Yeah, Mitt Romney; suddenly looking kind of cool.

ANYWAY, and with apologies for taking any kind of stand, sometime Friday night, after eating one too many chocolates too close to bed time, I woke up, did this little drawing. NOW, my friend, artist/surfer/kitesurfer/sailor/carpenter/chef, able to fix brakes and lay floors that are totally squared-up; Stephen R. Davis, soon off to Hawaii and whatever waves/confinement/big waves that might bring, said my first drawing was kind of (wait, it’s going to sound mean) “Cliche’.” Yeah, it probably is.

I haven’t shown this one to him, but I did describe it. “No, that might actually be clever.” I’ll take it. I do feel compelled to post it. SO:

Surf on, stay safe; and for godsakes, vote.

Ginny Cole at “Swamis” 1969

This is my latest attempt at the negative-to-positive technique:

Virginia (Ginny) Cole late afternoon Swamis, 1969

I’m pretty satisfied with the illustration, at least partially because it pretty much turned out as I imagined it would, hopefully, pretty; and I don’t feel the need to go back on this drawing and make changes.

Not yet, anyway. I am considering going back to the original and adding something referencing my novel, “Swamis,” Ginny Cole being a main character in the in-progress (still) manuscript.

AND, this image may end up on an ORIGINAL ERWIN t-shirt. If not, or if so, I’ll get a signed, framed, limited edition (limited, as always, by me) copy over to Tyler Meeks’ DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE soon, like, maybe today.

MEANWHILE, look for, wait for, or enjoy surf when you can, make sure you’re ready to vote in November, and STAY SAFE.

Would it Really Kill You…

…to wear a fucking mask?

It’s July fourth, and, by some weird numbers thing, the number of deaths from the Corona virus recorded in Washington State since the start of the pandemic, 1,352, is noticeably close to the number of deaths in the good old U S of A, 1,362. At least I noticed, quite possibly because I click on the statistics first thing, every day, even before I check the buoy reports.

Oh, wait, that number, 1,362, lives lost; that’s from yesterday; real people who didn’t make it to this year’s celebration of national independence. The number of lives, so far, again, real people, is 131,509. That’s, like, more than two Vietnams (if we just count American lives), and, with the reported number of deaths worldwide at 525,491, America has the distinction of having… let’s see… yeah; about a fourth of the total deaths, world-wide, are Americans.

But, wait, of the deaths yesterday, worldwide, America has the 1,362 and the world has 4,136; so… yeah, more than a fourth. Moving up.

In confirmed cases for yesterday; let’s see: 219,036 for everyone else, 94,765 for us. So… bear in mind, I’m not really a numbers person… OH, SHIT, you have to multiply our number by approximately 2.3 to get the worldwide number of confirmed cases. That means, um, uh, well, it is bad.

America is first.

It doesn’t take a math genius to tell that, with many countries seeing (earning is more like it) a decline in cases, an end to the most severe part of the pandemic, we Americans just might have done something wrong. Or not quite right. I feel like I’ve been lucky; I haven’t been diligent enough, and still have managed to not get the virus.

Lucky. Add ‘not yet.’ It seems odd to me that people who believe all kinds of conspiracy theories don’t believe this is real; people who believe they are somehow protected by God or good genes or yoghurt or yoga are immune and are somehow too important or healthy or whatever to get this virus.

Common cold; ever had it?

OKAY, so I figure anyone who doesn’t believe their keeping socially distant or wearing a mask is something they’re willing to do has already stopped reading this; AND SO, here’s a drawing I did; and then felt a bit reluctant to post:

not anyone in particular

Wait, wait; maybe you don’t have to wear a mask OR maintain social distance: IF you can swear AND prove that you absolutely, positively do not have the virus, then… no, wait another second; I cannot absolutely, positively swear or prove the same thing.

So, obviously, I should, for your own safety, stay away from you. No problem; I can absolutely, positively swear I’ll keep my distance.

Meanwhile, Happy Independence Day!

Speeding Surf Route 101

It wasn’t an accident that got me a ticket the other day, one hundred and ninety dollar fine for going seventeen miles an hour over the posted speed limit. I got a fucking speeding ticket because I was fucking speeding.

I do have an explanation, but not one that would get my fine reduced in a courtroom. Ya see, Judge; I was just pissed off; corona virus, people out of work, all kinda kooks coming over to the Peninsula, leisure time MFs (if you know what I mean), big trucks hauling bigger trailers and/or boats, cabover campers, and… anyway… oh, and earlier in the day, cruising up surf route 101, three vehicles passed me… me; one on a curve- had to pull over so I didn’t get hit by any shrapnel; I mean; good citizen, huh? Oh. Okay. So, I’m busy thinking about all that, and the stock market, and how black lives matter, and about Russia, China, Hawaii; whether the beaches will open in Mexico; lots on my mind; oh, and it looked like there might be waves the next day and whether I should go to bed as soon as I got home; and, yeah; I get down to 101 at Discovery Bay, over by Fat Smitty’s with his big Trump sign and folks waiting outside; not wearing masks, and I see all this traffic coming at me; so I pull out and I gun it. Now, I know it’s a 1987 Toyota Camry, but, maybe because of a hole in the muffler or something, it sounds like a sports car… and I’m moving along, thinking about the humane society and such, and… yeah, I’m slowing down because I’m catching up with other cars; you know, highway speed; and this car in front of me pulls over, over by West Uncas, in case you’re hep to this chunk of highway; and then, whoa, he pulls back out, lights flashing.

And he’s not really buying my story. “I had you clocked at 72.” “Well; I was slowing down; I wasn’t going to, you know, hit you.” Oh, I’m trying to be nice; figuring it’s all on body cam; and hoping… long story short, shorter; I get the ticket, three options, fifteen days to respond; and I instantly start thinking about how mad Trish is going to be, one, and that the surf will undoubtedly be good the next day because there’s no f’ing way I’m going to get to go.

And, of course, Trish is, mad, and, of course, there is surf, like, maybe knee high, but… but, of course, every person who owns or can borrow a surfboard is on it, and their cousins, and their cousin’s kids, and… anyway; maybe you don’t care about surfing; but, then we’re supposed to go over to our daughter, Dru’s, place in Port Gamble for dinner and a movie… George Takamoto drove the Camry; Trish went on ahead; and, and all I see out Dru’s window, heading east, are rigs with surfboards on ’em… oh, and, yeah; the movie was “Ford vs. Ferrari;” so, of course, there are jokes. “There goes Erwin.” That kinda thing.

No, I’ll probably pay the one hundred and ninety dollars.

HERE’S SOMETHING THAT I will take credit for; though it was an accident. I did a drawing, added a bit too much shading; figured I would redraw it. Because the original was on card stock, I couldn’t just tape it to a clear drawing board and use that as a template for another, hopefully better, version. So, I stuck it in the printer, but the printer ran out of black ink. So, I printed it in color. Everything that had been black came out white. So, I added some more lines and… here it is:

I may use it for my someday-to-be-finished novel, “Swamis.” Incidentally, I did use some of the time in which I would have been driving (too fast, no doubt) to and from the Strait, ripping up waves… whatever, to work on the manuscript. It is coming along. Really.