Sidenote at the Art Exhibition

My brother-in-law, Jerome Lynch, texted this to me. My youngest sister, of four, Melissa, died two years ago.  She was an artist with skills I seem to be able to only aspire to achieve.  She could do portraits, live, a sketch in her mind a finished piece of art in anyone else’s.  If a rendering can capture a soul or a spirit, she was the eye and hand and heart and mind capable of accomplishing that deed.  That feat.  That goal.

Magic.

When I told Melissa that, with my limited time for things artistic, I could either turn out some quick drawings, or considerably fewer quality works.  “Oh, go for the quality,” she said, “Definitely.”  Jerome told me Melissa would go back into works he thought were perfect, editing, fussing, making subtle changes.  Jerome knew his wife couldn’t be satisfied with something that didn’t live up to the vision in her mind.

He knew, as I know, as Melissa knew the fear of touching a work that you’re pretty happy with, knowing you are as apt to make a mistake that will ruin it as you are to add something that will make it… better.

Better.  We always want our little stop-motion illustrations, our attempts at capturing a specific moment or mood or memory, or magic, a bit better.

“Oh,” Jerome said, “she’d put more time into piece, and then I’d have to go, ‘oh, so that’s what she was going for.'”  Yes. Always.

JEROME sent me a text saying some of Melissa’s art works were part of an exhibition at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  Their son, Fergus, had written this note to go along with his mother’s paintings:

                                                MELISSA LYNCH

 I CAN ONLY SPEAK FOR MY MOM’S CREATIVE JOURNEY AS I SAW IT.                                                           She had begun a new chapter and desired to diverge from the business of perfecting the craft,               Of honing technical skills.                                                                                                                                         She was striving to communicate, not only in a visual medium,                                                                             But in a more fundamental language.                                                                                                                    She was seeking to speak in a way only truthful art can.                                                                                   Her struggles with mortality cleared a passageway for this expression                                                         And freed a voice within which spoke of wounds, fear, anxiety,                                                                      But, also, of the glory of our imperfect lives.

 In some of these works you can find tool marks,                                                                                              Damage control,                                                                                                                                                             And the tragic scars borne from deep wounds stitched together in an unsterilized environment.     Melissa sought to free her expression through honesty and vulnerability.                                                   This work helped her to experience true healing;                                                                                                 To rise out of the existential fear                                                                                                                                 And into the light of peaceful acceptance                                                                                                           And the joys of creation.                                                                                                                                               Her trials have ended                                                                                                                                                     But the experience is human                                                                                                                                      And one we all should be lucky to share.

by Fergus Lynch 

TEXT-Thanks. Great words from Fergus. I try very hard to channel Melissa in my work.

TEXT- Yeah, there was some poetry in the exhibition and I thought this artist statement outdid the other work. 

Indeed. 

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by way of explanation: TOP- Melissa did the drawing, one of her friends supplied the horses (I started out drawing surfing, Melissa horses). Composite: Top left- Melissa and me at Seaside; top right- Jerome and Fergus taking photos where locals don’t like photos taken (unless they’re ripping, and then not for circulation); Three portions of larger illustration (when I was showing a client some of my works, she zoned in on this drawing); Lower right- A drawing Melissa did for a short story I wrote.  I told her the skeleton might be a bit of overkill.  In retrospect… I have to think about it.  Check out the skilled rendering of the feet and hands, the perspective, the… magic.

MEANWHILE- It’s stormy, doesn’t necessarily translate to awesome surf.

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Logo me This

This is partially for Tyler Meeks, owner/operator of DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE.  We’re teaming up on some t-shirts; and have been working on the logo design for a while.  We have some accumulated shirts, mostly dark, in a variety of colors and sizes, plus black.

I have some dark and black shirts ready for my next LIMITED EDITION of custom ORIGINAL ERWIN shirts, and a new design (again, based on one of my favorite illustrations), but wanted to rework my logo.

SO, here’s the Disco Bay Logo (and I’ll probably redo the lettering) necessary for printing white on darker shirts:  And here’s my current logo and my next graphic, logo on the front, image on the back:

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It is a bit of a brain tease, but you/we/I have to imagine everything that is black on the illustration being white on the t-shirt.  Hoping to go to the screenprinters tomorrow.  Shirts available soon.  Gotta go.

Original Erwins in the Works

AFTER a lot of discussion, TYLER MEEKS, owner of the DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE, and I are finally almost ready to combo up on some new t shirts.  ALMOST.

TYLER’S SHOP is conveniently located on Surf Route 101 in Discovery Bay.  Selling new and consignment and used equipment and gear (assuming these might be different things) for hikers and bikers and kayakers and climbers-and-droppers, surfers (includes novices, kooks, aficionados/enthusiasts, dominators, rippers, Hobuckers, Hodads, surf power couples, real-and/or in-denial Hipsters, possibly a few posers) make up about 20-25% of Disco Bay’s customer base, and, accordingly, Tyler and I are working on some shirts that might appeal to a wider cast of characters.

DISCOVERY BAY is really close to the crossroad with Highway 20 (leading to and from Port Townsend, and, with ferry service, Whidbey Island and environs north and east), and Highway 104 (to and from the Hood Canal Bridge, and through ferries and bridges, Seattle/Tacoma/Fremont/Fife/Chicago).

SURF ROUTE 101, I should add, connects the NORTH OLYMPIC PENINSULA with areas to the south.  It’s not uncommon to see surfers from, say, WESTPORT or SEASIDE or, I’ve heard, California, heading north hoping for a swell direction they think might be favorable to waves on the STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA.  As such, they are, no doubt, passing surfers from here headed south.

ANYWAY, we’re actually planning on getting some shirts to the silkscreeners with the Disco Bay logo on the front, medium-sized (if that makes some sense), and some others with the logo smaller, to one side (over the heart is the norm), and an ORIGINAL ERWIN illustration on the back.

 

The image on the right was used for a limited run (and they are all, and will be, limited runs) of shirts a while back.  I sold some to friends, Tyler sold some.  They’re all gone. GONE.  If you have one, you might not want to screw it up as I have with several of the shirts I saved for myself.

ANYWAY, here’s, reworked from one of my favorites of my illustrations (and I’m getting more and more critical of my own work- almost as critical as I am of other people’s) a design for the back of some upcoming shirts:

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Here is the based-on illustration and my own logo (still working on tightening it up):

 

When drawing something for t-shirts, the finer lines might not show up. I’m not fond of big areas of color/ink- they feel weird on the back, and, no, not going for that.  AND, adding color costs more to produce, adding to the ask from the customer.  AS DOES, of course, having a logo on the front and art on the back.  STILL, going for it.  SOON.

MEANWHILE, I do want to write something about the difference between dominating and ripping.  I’ll be thinking about it while I’m driving, out on SURF ROUTE 101.

Time- Warped, Wasted, Spent

To quote; or, possibly, mis-quote Miki Dora; “Life’s pretty much a waste of time. Surfing’s as good as any way to waste it.”  I’d spend some time trying to look it up if I felt like I had the time.

TIME.  So, recently, headed back along the Strait of Juan de Fuca (SoJdF) and into the zone between the Northwest’s Pacific Coast where cell phone reception becomes merely spotty (Joyce for most of us), I gave Adam Wipeout a call (one of the few surfers on my short list of people- and I’ve explained this to death already- I share session reports with).  WHAT? It turns out he had tried to sneak in an (another) stealth surf at an undisclosed location and was forced to now make up for all the things he was supposed to do.

“I feel like I was in some sort of time warp,” he said.  “I can’t believe it’s one o’clock.”

“Well, it is.”  It was, and it wasn’t even raining.  I should have been painting.  Adam should have been… something, something with his family or for HAMAHAMA SEAFOOD; something else; not sliding and barrel-dodging and getting praised by onlookers for better-than-proficient rides.  That was Adam’s recap. He hadn’t invited me, probably wouldn’t have told me about this until days later.

AND, I was elsewhere, allegedly (someone willing to pay roaming rates called someone he knows, he called another surfer from my short list, and that guy called me and left a voice mail I couldn’t listen to until I reached Joyce, and, as happens, restarted my phone) catching more (somewhere between slightly and considerably more) than my allotment of waves.

Well.  I hate to waste time.  Not an excuse.

OKAY; that’s out of the way. I’ve been working on a series of NORTHWEST SPIRIT ANIMALS. My latest was the eagle.  Now, the national bird has been done from so many angles.  I wanted to go for a new one.  I spent some time on the first version of this; but it just didn’t work.  I must have some fear of using large patches of black, but… not an excuse.

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Rather than tear up the whole thing, I doubled-down (I know, you’re thinking Trump backing up ridiculous claims with more ridiculousness) and added the checkerboard stuff.  Ewww. Well, maybe, in color…

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Not thrilled.  Not my favorite.  Next time…

MEANWHILE; and for quite a while, TYLER MEEKS, the owner, and I have been discussing using the logo I came up with for the DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE on t-shirts.  There are some very small decals available, but the problem is, and has been, that the design isn’t ‘tight’ enough to be instantly recognizable from a distance.  And I agree.

SO, I spent some time drawing, and several trips to various printers, trying to get it tight enough to print as white-on-colored (or black) t-shirts, possibly with ORIGINAL ERWIN designs on the back.

NOW this presents an additional problem/mind game, at least for me.  The design was drawn to be black on white (or light), and too much thinking is required to make the switch.  OKAY, here’s how it goes:

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This is the black-on version.  The black outside the drawing (including the points of light) would be cut out.  White mountains and clouds.

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Here’s the white-on version (there are some outside-the-image things to be eliminated). SO, everything black on this would become white on the shirts Tyler and I have gathered (various colors and sizes), but I have some amount of trouble making the switch from what I see (black clouds and mountains) to what will show up.

ANYWAY, the plan is to have some shirts available soon at a reasonable price.  I’ll let you know.  OR, maybe one of your friends will call someone else with the news; something like, “Got skunked, but, whoa; they have some awesomely cool new t-shirts at Disco Bay, Bro.” Then that person might call you.

Meanwhile; I have been working on my novel, “Swamis,” making it te-ight!

 

 

Came from Surf City, 1951…

…oh, yeah; I try to deny it, but that’s where I’m from.

To the tune of, of course, the Beach Boys song about, evidently, going to the southern coast of North Carolina.

NOW, I do not deny that I was born (in a car, during a hurricane) in Surf City, and that my father, in the Marines and stationed at Camp LeJuene, actually owned a house on the beach.  ALL this adds to my credentials (more in my mind than in reality).

BUT, raised in Southern California, I bought into and probably went along with the prevalent (“Surfer” magazine wasn’t really helpful- a few tidbits here and there), if, perhaps, imagined prejudice toward the east coast surf scene.  ADD in the fact that North Carolina is actually in the south and…

…yeah, prejudice.  Sorry.  I’ve changed.

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Not so much, perhaps. That’s me on the left of the photo, with my cousins John and Ronald, and my sister, Suellen.  “Same stomach,” Trish said, after finding the photo on Suellen’s Facebook page; add a mustache; it’s you. Yeah, same attitude, too; more hair.

I discussed the East Coast/West Coast thing with hydrosexual (loves all things water/snow connected) and non-kook Stephen Davis, born in Seattle, raised in Colorado (which I always, he says, pronounce with a valley-girl accent).  It seems we know quite a number of transplants from that side of the country.

We didn’t discuss the south-to-north transplants.  Refugees.  Yeah, those folks.  Please, try to keep an open mind.

Y’all.

Trust and Sarcasm and Irony and Such

With Whom do You (Dare to) Share… stories of surf trips, where you went and when you started (better trips start pre-dawn, the best end well after sunset), who you went with, why you went (forecasts, buoy reports, some vague longing), road conditions (traffic holdups, police pull-overs, pit stops), perfect (or not) conditions, perfect (or not) waves; waves ridden (estimated number and exaggerated size), selected awesome rides, memorable wipeouts; interesting (or irritating) people encountered, car problems (or not); where you stopped (coming and going), what you ate; and, most importantly, where you’d rank this trip in the banked memories of however trips you’ve taken?

I have actually been thinking about this a while.  For most of us, who we share our adventures with (and don’t even claim to have never even wanted to share something about that surprise barrel you got on an inside section of what you had thought was going to be a closeout), comes down to who you trust not to share this exciting info with someone who will blab it around, or worse, someone undeserving.

If you’ve learned, over years of skunkings and scorings, under which conditions this spot or that spot has worked in the past; accumulated anecdotal information, what you have is, actually, data.  DATA. 

BLABBERS and the UNDESERVING: Why the fuck would you want to give this DATA to some person who hasn’t put in the miles and the hours in the search?  Why would you tell someone you’ve just met at some beach where the waves aren’t happening that they just might be breaking at…?

Because surfers ask.  Because they want to know.  The same surfers who ask what you know might just show up at the beach you mentioned, paddle up just inside of you in the lineup, and say, “MY WAVE!”

That’s the fear.  It has happened. 

swamis

“Erwin…waikiki-crowds told me it’d be good.” “Yeah, that’s where I heard it.”  “My wave!”

SO, HERE I AM, with my (desperately) tiny little website, started as a platform on which to write about surf adventures years and miles away (before I became aware that I have another surf life here and now), and I’m restricted from recounting all the shit from the first paragraph because of the then-listed reasons.  Mistrust and a certain desire to not add to the folks in the lineup the next time I go.

SO (I’m trying to go through this with some sort or sense of logic), my not blabbing is the result of PEER PRESSURE and a certain amount of GREEDINESS. 

BUT, I sort of learned what not to say, what not to show, over time.  Yeah, at first, I did write about where I went, what I found.  I named spots and conditions.  NO. NOPE.  In fact, I wrote, years ago, about my first session at a very fickle spot.  It was published in the local newspaper.  Every surfer who was out that day, and many who weren’t had something to say next time we met up (at another beach or, yes, at a grocery store or pumping gas).  Mostly it was, “You can’t put that out there,” and, “Hey, did you see that one ride?”

NOW, MAYBE, it’s clear that I’m not going to even say there are even (ever) waves on the Strait of Juan de Fuca (from hereon referred to as SoJdF, you’ll see why), I suddenly have been made aware (suddenly because, evidently, despite having a mouth for sarcasm, I don’t have an ear for it) that, maybe it’s not okay to mention that there are ever, EVER, any good waves at (in this case) WESTPORT and/or (by extension) SEASIDE, and/or (by further extension) ANYWHERE.  NO WAVES.  NOWHERE.  NOHOW. 

Oh, maybe somewhere over the rainbow.  OZ.  No, not that OZ.  No waves. Never.  And, I hear, it’s always crowded.

HERE’S THE COMMENT I misinterpreted, from PWA (not his or her real name, I am assuming) in response to my piece, “Sometimes Westport is an Option”: “I was wondering if you had any pictures you could share of those epic empty spots that line Washington’s northern coast. Just asking.”

I wrote back: “Wait.  Checking.  Checking.”

Then, after I’d posted “Cougar- Northwest Spirit Animal, plus…”, PWA wrote, and this is his punctuation: “Be honest im sure you had plenty time to consider the personal ramifications of publishing photos of the epic surf spots of lining SOJDF (see, told you, SoJdF is how I’ll now, forever, present it).  That was a very nice day at WP and you know the internet these days.  So put 2 and 2 together and just because its not your locale try keep on things the DL (Trish told me this means ‘downlow’) a little more thats all I ask.”

SO PWA, OKAY.  AND, UM, THANKS.  I guess I thought Westport wasn’t a secret spot; that it was fair game for mentioning by name.  AND, in my defense, I thought I suggested, at least, that it’s usually not anywhere near epic.  I hope no one went to Westport with unrealistic expectations because of something I wrote.  Sidenote: I get Stats from WordPress; and, to date, nothing on realsurfers.net has ever gone viral.  Oh, there was a cough, once, but it may have been a mistake.

MEANWHILE, up until 1979, and a few times after, there were waves at places like Swamis, Sunset Cliffs, P.B. Point, Crystal Pier, Windansea, Pipes, Grandview, Ocean Beach, Oceanside (pier and harbor, and in-between), Swamis (upper, lower, middles, church), San Onofre, Cardiff Reef, Blacks…

ALSO, I do have a story I’m dying to tell, conflict and conquest and waves and all.  I’ve already passed it on to a few of the people I trust.  Good story.  OKAY, the takeaway is this: None of us own waves; we’re blessed to ride a few.  OH, and don’t ever call my friend (name withheld) a kook.  KOOK.

IN CONCLUSION: Surfers love to tell stories. If you meet me at some beach or grocery store or gas station, and you convince me you can be trusted, I might tell you about that super secret spot that doesn’t ever, EVER have waves.  IF you believe you can trust me, tell me about any spot I’ll never even attempt to go to, and… no, no reason to trust me.  Or, maybe I’ll tell you about the last time I checked out Westport.

It was crowded AND shitty.     

Cougar- Northwest Spirit Animal, plus…

…a potential t-shirt design.

I may have over-amped the color on the cougar drawing.  When I showed the original to Trish, she said she couldn’t concentrate on the cougar, it was just too skitzy on the page. That was fine, I intended to have the cougar sort of, um, non-obvious.

Anyway, here are the two versions:

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Yeah, yeah; looks different in person.  Not necessarily better.  Oranger.  I have more copies; I’ll see what I can do.

MEANWHILE: Here’s a drawing I’ve been working on; possibly for a t-shirt design.  I wanted it to look kind of northwest-native-artsy; and, no, it really doesn’t; BUT I do want to claim some ownership of the potential phrase, “NORTHWEST SURFERS, NATURALLY COOLER.”  Again, yeah; surfers in Alaska and the Great Lakes and elsewhere might disagree.  Certainly.  It’s what people do.  Here’s the drawing:

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SPEAKING OF WHICH, if you cruise down on the site, you’ll find some commentary on several recent posts.  SO, let me give my rebuttal(s):

NO, I hold no animosity toward, nor do I think I’m cooler than P.A. ripper Scott Sullivan (just) because I wear a leash, I’m older, and I don’t grease up my mustache.  We all have our own criteria for determining coolness, and I’m really concentrating on being in some category of Hipster; mostly because no one else seems to, despite appearances, want to be identified as a Hipster, despite my use of the word being in no way derogatory.

EQUALLY, I have no problem with the Surf Shop owner, AL PURLEE, who is about my age; despite having had him tell me, probably ten years ago, that I didn’t want a shorter board. “You’re too old, too fat, and you don’t surf enough.”  AL was RIGHT.  Al was, and is cool; and not just in that automatic coolness one has by owning (or even, by extension, working at) a surf shop; which comes with the added benefit of being able to think anyone who enters your establishment is a kook unless and until proven otherwise.  We all have that privilege.

PHOTOS might prove something, but, when I was asked if I have photos of epic waves and empty lineups on the ‘northern coast of Washington State,’ I had to decline.  Self-centered?  Yes.  I do, however, have some awesome shots of frozen peelers on the Great Lakes.  NOW, those surfers are (even) cooler.  Naturally.

Sometimes Westport is an Option

I try not to go to Westport.  It’s a ways down surf route 101, with a shortcut here and Aberdeen there, and it can be crowded, super crowded, blown out, with an attitude from depression-central to carnival-like.  Sometimes, and maybe it was because Stephen Davis made his first trip there, it can be…

…good.

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If you check the photo, there’s someone bobbing around inside, and someone on the wave in the middle, soup well over his head.  Uh, yeah; this is when the crowd thins out.

The Groins are sometimes (hope this isn’t a secret) an option.  Though it certainly looks rideable, Steve, after getting a few bombs at the jetty, turned it down.

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I might have selected this, but, again, I didn’t go. To round out Steve’s Westport escapade, he made the required pilgrimage to Al Perlee’s SURF SHOP, got some of Al’s cheery/gruff repartee.  “Oh,” I asked, “he wasn’t really nice?” “Not really.” “Well, Steve; all I can say is (channeling “Chinatown”), forget about it; it’s Westport.

ART ROUNDUP- Occasionally I have to put some of my stuff on display; partially because I’m always begging my clients (and non-clients, pretty much everyone I speak with) to check out this site.  I do get more selective each time.

 

 

Another Spirit Animal- Barred Owl

No time to (over) explain this.  Here it is:

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Currently working on a cougar illustration.  I’m checking into the cost/reward numbers for doing some placemats.  I figure I need twelve drawings for a set of six.  So far, it seems a bit too expensive for each one, but, again, and still, working on it.

There are some surf stories to not report.  Okay, the coast is/was/always is experiencing wave action.  I hope you’re having some adventures.  Stay tuned; pretty close on the cougar illustration.

Black Bear and Coyote Spirit Animal Illustration

Because I worry about ruining a drawing that is going well as much as I’m thrilled that it is going well; I stopped the Coyote illustration without a background.  This is the same reason I added the lettering on the Raven after I’d done the drawing, had copies made; and colored some in. So,

But, because I was stuck at the Les Schwab in Port Townsend getting my ball joints replaced (hey, at a certain age…) for pretty much a whole day, I actually started AND finished the drawing and lettering on the Black Bear.

BUT, I didn’t color it in until I had copies made.  SO, here’s where we are right now:

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MEANWHILE (no, it’s more like a ‘So…’) if you noticed that there’s no color on the coyote itself, and not too much on the raven; it’s that Trish seems to believe that the drawings are, um, better.  We’ll see. I’m planning on doing some others.  We just had a big ass owl show up on our ring doorbell/camera.  I know owls are spirit animals in the northwest, but not sure about some of the other animals that show up; raccoons, possums, squirrels, various other birds, cats… haven’t had a cougar yet, but they are known to frequent our area.

SO (more like ‘Oh’), I am planning on doing some more illustrations.  Stay tuned.