Uncle Kreepee Unveils New Changing-Out Robe

I’ve suddenly gotten really busy with work; but I’ve been thinking (way too much) about the current political and social state of things. I wanted to do a (more complete) drawing, or series, on creepy old guys (hoping I don’t fit comfortably in the uncomfortable category).

Maybe I thought of this because, after surfing the last time I did, wanting to surf some more, and knowing I was expected to go back to someone’s house to continue painting; and the surf not working at the second spot; then checking a third spot that also wasn’t breaking; I had a dilemma. I might look like a pervert if I tried changing out of my wetsuit there, very close to dark and no other surfers (or surf) to kind of explain what I was doing.

So, I chose to go to a park close to the house I was working at. Okay, so, it’s almost dark and… oops, a sign on the bathroom says, “Sorry, Closed for the winter.” Now I’m thinking about changing outside my car at a landlocked park. Not a good choice. Then two parents (not together), each with a young child, show up. I mean, who takes their tyke to a park when it’s (as I mentioned) almost dark.

Now, I could have gone to the clients’ house; but then, what? It’s, like, new construction. Possible. Or, “Um, uh, you know I went surfing, and…” People aren’t really fond of sand and whatever else comes out of a full wetsuit in their shower. Or their living room.

No. So, about this time, Trish calls. “What’cha doing?” She was almost done shopping, heading home. “No, I don’t think I’m going to go back to painting. Tomorrow.”

So, I decided to drive home in my wetsuit. Fine. I’ve done this before; but there always seems to be some problem: The time I went home from Trestles to Encinitas in just a towel- flat tire on I-5. The time I stopped at the Jack-in-the-Box in Sequim in my wetsuit- screwed-up order, couldn’t back up, had to get out. “Hey,” the guy behind me in line said, “Did you find some waves?”

Image (37)Okay, so I get home. Trish isn’t home yet. SO, since I have no neighbors close by (best part of having acreage- at least a good part), I strip out of my wetsuit on the (frozen) front lawn, grab a handful of clothing, keys, and head for the house and a warm shower.

Kind of glad we don’t have outside cameras. Creeeee-py.

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The Thin Line Between Respect…

…and pity. It was, and I’m trying to remember, not my first wipeout of the day, and, I’m pretty sure, not my first tumble underwater. After three or four waves where I was pitched on the takeoff, one where I just couldn’t pull the nose up enough to make the drop, five or six times where I got knocked off my board; this was a wave I tried to back out of.

I should mention that I also got six or seven ‘corner shots,’ quick drops and out to the non-shoulder; one wave where, the lip about to blast me, I hung on, sideslipped quite a ways, sort of recovered; and I got a couple of air drops and a couple of waves I was pretty happy with; and I got two I was really stoked on. Screamers.

And it wasn’t like I was the only one getting worked. Everyone got a share. There were up to six surfers vying for position in a lineup that’s essentially ten feet left to right and five feet inside to outside. Every surfer had a certain success/wipeout ratio, with, I’m guessing, each one happy with this drop or that tube.

And, maybe there’s some connection with my hitting the bottom with this: After the last time I visited this spot, the tide still not high enough to make it, um, slightly less sketchy (didn’t go out- no room for a big board), Trish, viewing the photos on my phone, asked, “Do you have a helmet?”

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That’s exactly what I was thinking when I hit the rocks. That, Trish and her warning about the big rocks throughout the lineup, and hoping I didn’t hit hard enough to get knocked out or something.

So, I was actually ready to go in. After an earlier working, separated from my board, Chris, himself washed to the inside, asked if I was all right. “Yeah,” I said, yelling over the noise, “I’m just trying to stay out long enough to save (I probably meant keep) face.” “What?” I caught a couple more quick in-and-outs, missed an outside wave Aaron was yelling for me to go on, caught a decent wave and then…

Yes, I’m going on a bit too much for a common wipeout, but, really, I can’t remember the last time I tried to back out of a wave, then went over the falls. I’m sure it was the second tumble that put me in contact with the gravel, and the smaller rocks. When I came up, I still couldn’t stand up. Too much current pushing around the inside bar; flopping around like a twice-whacked fish on the deck.

Seeing someone on the beach, I motioned to the top of my head. Seeing a guy holding a kid, who I mistakenly thought was Mike Squintz (as opposed to Mike-E, who prefers not to be nick-named ‘Smoker Mike’, though he still smokes), and, when I staggered closer to the steep beach, I (I’m blaming the head wound) yelled, “Fuck, yeah I hit my head!” Sorry kid.

So, I pulled back my hood. “Am I bleeding?” “Not bad,” Keith said. By this point there were only two surfers in the water; then just Short Board Aaron. This isn’t a spot you can surf on an outgoing tide. Then Derrick showed up, fresh, evidently, from some kite surfing. “Are we going to have to take Erwin to the hospital?” “No, I’m all right. Contributed a little skin.”

Okay, so this is where age comes in. I don’t (or, more like, don’t allow myself to admit that I) seek respect from my peers, but I definitely don’t seek pity.  “Hey, everyone got worked. Huh?” “Sure. How old are you, again?” “Yeah. Old… old-er.”

No, wait, maybe I thought I’d get a bit of pity from Trish. Not really. There’s no shame in getting wiped out in the tube. Getting sucked over the falls when you’re trying to back out of a wave. Thinking. Thinking what I’d think if it was someone else.

Not Always According to Plan

It’s a bit of a, I don’t know, irritating thing, to me, that, despite planning out an illustration, thinking it through, actually picturing it in my mind; once I check out reference material, once I start drawing… it comes out…pause… different.

Here are two drawings (please, just because of the fragility of my ego, don’t call them sketches) I finished today. I’ll let you in on what I hoped for after this:

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Simpler. I was thinking of the way photos, back in the early 70s, mostly, late 60s, were broken into three shades (dark, mid-range, and light). Psychedelic? Maybe; depends on the colors selected.  Next time. I’m kind of at the ‘still wild’ phase (“Still Wild period- not sure); and, based on advice from some guys who purchased some of my work (thanks Dave and Joey), I am kind of making my name a bit larger. I’m thinking of going with “Original Erwin.” Branding.

Ego. And, yes, Doctor; maybe doing an Orca is some pathetic reaction to Stephen Davis selling his whale painting (check’s in the mail); AND having some (quite a few) commissions for more original Stephen paintings.

Maybe a little. I have wanted to do a drawing of an Orca for a while. I also wanted to write something about a recent suicide slab session I observed, rather than participated in. I did give kudos to those brave souls who risked it, each one paying dearly for a (precious) few quality rides.  Not really wanting to be the observer, on this occasion, not participating may have been the right decision.

Meanwhile, I’m still thinking…

OH, this is the day following the above post. My new stuff goes to twitter and Facebook, and, evidently, C.L. Flint is a follower (wait, maybe he’s a Friend; and, yeah, I do know him in real life) and commented that I should finish the killer whale, as in add the rest of the Orca (he called it a fish. No). So, I did. Now, I do think it’s sort of clever to have part of the drawing outside the frame (it’s my ‘outside the frame’ period). In this case, maybe C.L. is right. Here’s a side by side:

Coincidental/Possibly Fated Interactions With Alternative/Parallel Universes

FIRST: When you miss out on a great/epic/all time session; it isn’t that we don’t know what we missed; it’s that we do.

SECOND: Let’s say you plan out your future. A to B to C. Sorry, doesn’t really work; there are these little surprises that change the path, each one changing the future. Cause/effect; if, for example, Howard had fired me as Buddy told him he should, I wouldn’t have been a sign painter apprentice long enough to get a job as a painter, and… and on and on… to now.  So it is with these overlapping stories of Hydrosexual (because he loves all things water) Stephen Davis.

STORY ONE- THE WHALE PAINTING

Steve called me the day after he sold the painting for $3,000.00 USD. He said he kind of picked up that I had some sort of (“why him and not me”) resentment from our phone conversation from the day before. “Yeah, but I’m still 95% stoked and happy for you.”

IF… Stephen wasn’t a trained/schooled artist with an incredible eye, none of this would have happened. BUT, if he hadn’t moved from Colorado to Port Townsend to go the the Wooden Boat School, he might not have gotten SO into surfing. IF he hadn’t had the opportunity to go to Northern California to do (originally) carpentry on a farm, he might not have had the financing to go to Baja for an extended stay. If he hadn’t met Pepe’, he might not have seen Pepe’s amazing photos of whales in the Sea of Cortez.

Circumstances kept Stephen from returning to Baja, BUT, because Oceana’s father has a tourist-centric shop on the Big Island, and it needed help during the tourist season, Stephen went to Hawaii. Besides surf, one of the perks is the use of a condo, with, evidently, space to paint. AND, Steve picked up a side job as a crewmember on a catamaran, built by Woody Brown, owned by CAP (he’ll show up later). Part of Steve’s job, evidently, and I’m sure there are some less-fun aspects, involves swimming with tourists and dolphins and whales.

A woman who works on the boat suggested they could use t-shirts as advertising. “Maybe with a picture of a whale.” FAST FORWARD- Steve did the painting, t shirts were produced. Yes I have one. Yes, I’ll get it signed next time I actually see Steve. Meanwhile, Steve sells this first whale painting to Cosmo, a friend who escaped Chicago winter, hung out in Hawaii for a month or so.

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THEN, this guy from Georgia whose daughter is opening a gallery, just happens to get on Cap’s charter boat.  Maybe it’s the t shirt. Whale painting? CAP hooks Stephen up. Steve gets to work, quite frantically, on another, larger whale painting (also based on a Pepe’ photo). He has a meeting scheduled. RIGHT HERE let me explain a little about how Steve does business. Kind of casual; as in, “I don’t know; whatever you want to pay me.” Somehow, this seems to work. Plus, Stephen has wide ranging and mad skills. He’d say, if you ask him, “I can do that. I’m pretty, um, mediocre;” but he means ‘I have mad skills at whatever you need.’

NOT THIS TIME. Steve solicited advice; even from me. “Yeah, I’m going to have a price in mind. $3,300.00. I promised Pepe’ ten percent, so, it, uh, makes sense.” “Thirty-three. Yeah. Sure. That’s a lot of… hey, um, don’t forget; if they make prints… you’ll need to get a percentage.” “Yeah. He said they’ll make prints. And, get this, his daughter is talking about opening a gallery in New York City.”

STEVE may have been kind of excited. You know how you’re planning on going surfing the next day, and it might be really great; and want to wake up at five? No, you wake up at three-thirty, can’t get back to sleep. Stephen texted the potential buyer at 11:30 or so, said he had a bit more work to do on the painting, but… “Go to sleep. See you tomorrow.”

NO, he didn’t sleep. MEANWHILE, and probably con-currently, Stephen was in contact with Cosmo. “What would you sell the painting for? I mean, how much? Uh huh. No, not asking you to sell it. But…” So, if Cosmo’s painting was worth two thousand, and the new one is much larger…

THIS was the basis for Stephen’s sales strategy.  I was driving home, about to hit the second roundabout, when I got the text. “I sold it!” Yes, I illegally called him back (texting is probably more illegal- same fine). “Whaaaaaat?”

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THE STORY isn’t over. I can picture Stephen at a New York City gallery opening, man bun in place, orange pants, prescription shades, fancy people.  Painting many many images of waves, Steve claims, helped him with this, hopefully breakthrough painting.

SINCE he does occasionally, ask me for advice, and because he says he’s forgiven me for my jealousy, I will add that I told Steve, “Nothing leads to big success like some success.” “What? Hmmm. Yeah. Thanks.”

HEY, I was thinking of how my son, James, now a professional guitar player, first got some notice for his skill in high school; inspiring him to get better. MY ALTERNATE PHILOSOPHY is that some of us are stubborn enough that, though things in life, including surfing, are more failure than success; we continue. ONCE we’ve tasted some success, possibly a near-perfect ride on a great wave, we want more.

I’m out of time. Gotta go. I’ll save the other Stephen Davis (surfing) story, “Haole Won’t Go.” Here are a couple of photos of CAP Steve sent me.