Illustrations for “Swamis,” the Novel

The manuscript for “Swamis” is up to somewhere over one hundred thousand words.  It’s a lot of words considering that, when I was told a novel should be over sixty thousand, I didn’t think I could get there.

Not that I did anything that I would call padding, I am now at the exciting conclusion, and need another five thousand or so to wrap it all up.

I had been considering the last line possibilities for quite some time.  Originally it was going to be, “They say I might be getting out of here sometime soon.”  Then it was… well, I think it will still be a different line, but, now, I’m thinking about adding one more line.  Here it is: “I didn’t ask if he was killed with a twenty-two or a forty-five.”

Yeah.  There must be lots of exciting stuff going on before this.

Since “Swamis” is, supposedly, a memoir written by Joseph DeFreines, Junior, and, just to make sure no one confuses him with me, I have put Erwin, someone of about the same age; another surfing inland cowboy from Fallbrook, North San Diego County, in the book as a character.

That Erwin is doing some illustrations for the eventual book.  Here are three drawings toward that goal:  One references a character very early on, Sid, whose last name neither I or my character can remember.  Sid was a team rider for Surfboards Hawaii at the time the story takes place, 1969, was featured hanging ten in an earlier black and white ad in “Surfer” magazine, and, as revealed by in the used board room at the Surfboards Hawaii shop in Encinitas, he was known to thrash his boards.

The second illustration is meant to represent the portion of the old stairs at Swamis, about two thirds of the way up, where a bigger deck offered a perfect view of the waves. This is where I was, on one of those days that starts out mediocre and becomes great, and from where I witnessed, in 1968 or so, a flawless cutback-to off-the-foam to bottom-turn to top-turn by Billy Hamilton.  This is where “Old men stop here” was dug into the railing, and it is where Gingerbread Fred’s body ends up.  In the novel.

The third illustration became, because of the way it turned out (compared to how it was intended) as a representation of one of the main characters, Chulo; whose death by immolation (love that word) next to the Self Realization Fellowship wall is critical to the story.  Chulo is described as looking like a limping (he has an actual limp) Jesus.  I scanned the drawing before adding a beard.  Just in case.

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I have put some of the early “Swamis” chapters on this site, but, one, you’d have to scroll a long ways down to find them, and, two, my propensity for changing and editing makes them different.  At least.  I’m not saying it all might be different in the future.  It might.

I’m just hoping Joseph DeFreines, Junior doesn’t fire me as illustrator.

On Edge

I’m not sure if I should credit the reference photos for my drawings.  They aren’t tracings or blowups from the originals, but attempts to catch the feel and the flow.  If I did try, and, oh, I do, to render… wait, let me look that up.  Does one render?  There’s ‘Render unto Caesar,’ often misinterpreted, according to the various references on my search engine, as some justification for following ridiculous leaders.  Then there’s…

Oh.  Yes, there’s render as extracting by a melting-down process, as in rendering metals or, um, fat; and, in the surprisingly varied definitions of the word, there is also ‘rendition,’ as in ‘extraordinary rendition,’ a phrase created and designed to, if not outright justify it, make sending some prisoner to some harsh place to be ‘interrogated’ seem kind of all right and/or legal.

There’s also a noun, render being the first coat of plaster applied to a brick or stone surface.  I hadn’t heard this, and, so, looked it up.  Scratch coat,  brown coat, white (or finish) coat, according (giving references) to Bob Vila.com.

So, apologizing for taking this side road; but, all right; referencing a photograph of Jock Sutherland cranking one off the bottom switch-foot at Sunset Beach (or is he switch-foot at Pipeline), here is my, hmm, hmm, rendering; scratched on a piece of paper.  Card stock to be more precise.

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I have done a color version, way too much color, but have to get it reduced to fit on my scanner.  Rendered scanner-ready, perhaps.  I won’t get into it.

Meanwhile, hope you’re getting some mountain snow activity in.  Evidently there are few if any secret established ski spots in the Cascades, and one must purchase a lift ticket well before arriving.  Too many skiers and snowboarders.  Evidently.

Meanwhile, before I get back to trying to finish (as in get to ‘the end’) of “Swamis,” the novel, I should mention some of my illustrations that Oceanna and Stephen have been so kind to allow me to display (hopefully sell) at THE CELLAR DOOR, downtown Port Townsend:

 

The Cellar Door Mystery/Investigation

Here’s a bad scan of the illustration recently stolen from the Cellar Door in Port Townsend.  Bad because, even on the third attempt to properly crop and square the drawing on my printer/scanner, I couldn’t get it quite right.

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AND YET, another copy of the original, a gift to Cellar Door owners, Stephen and Oceanna (last names on next post down), was deemed worthy of theft.

ALTHOUGH I told Steve I could get them another copy, he told me that Oceanna is very  determined to get that one, with date, authentication signature, and some sort of personalized ‘good luck’ message on the back, back.

SO, when Trish told me I’m sort of a sensation on Facebook, I was surprised that people are liking and commenting and doing whatever it is when one person spreads it to other groups- not quite viral, and not actually tracking all the subsequent hits back to realsurfers.net, but it is impressive that Oceanna is so concerned.

I decided to look through some of my scans, just to see if I had any other pieces that might fit in the underground location, theft-worthy or not.

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Excuse me; but is this the window to the CELLAR DOOR? So tantalizing and intriguing!

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Door frame, again, not crooked in the original.

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Meanwhile, here’s an update I did on the “Keep on Trucking” drawing, submitted to and rejected by the “New Yorker,” used with permission (and so stoked about that) of R. Crumb; who wrote that the “New Yorker” wouldn’t use it.  You might notice there’s some client’s phone number or something at the top.  Cropping.

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Since every drawing comes with a story; here’s the story on this one: Also not scanned until today; and then I had to up the resolution or whatever to 300 and use the ‘grayscale’ feature.  It was drawn as a submission to the “New Yorker” (or is it “The New Yorker”?). I spilled something on it (not unusual, my originals often have coffee cup rings, little dots of coffee shot from my mustache in bouts of mouth breathing, and such things- look closely).  My late sister, Melissa Lynch, way more talented an artist than I even dream of being, loved it.  I didn’t like the roughness/incompleteness of the door, and redrew it.  “No,” she said, “I want the other one’ the good one.”  The original caption was: “It was the suit, wasn’t it?”  It could just as well be, “This is the Cellar Door, I presume.”

Here’s three more of mine, just to be a little naughty.  They are from silkscreens done in the 1980s, found in my attic.  They do include windows if not doors.  The Cellar Door is more a nightclub than a restaurant, and has already featured live bands, karaoke nights, private functions, and Vaudeville (not sure what all that includes, but it sounds just a little naughty).

I should include a couple of paintings by Stephen R. Davis himself.  If the Cellar Door is going to be known as a place to see and/or steal artsy stuff, Steve’s stuff should be included.  They have their own stories.  If Oceanna gets the Cellar Door drawing back; yeah, another story; and a mystery, possibly, solved.

The Sincerest Form of Flattery- Theft

Someone stole my illustration for the Cellar Door from the Cellar Door.  It’s officially gone, stolen, no longer where it is legally supposed to be.  So, first; WHAT?  Second; Well, it was a copy of the original, which I still have, and hey; doesn’t this kind of mean someone thought it was worthy of stealing, like; there wasn’t an original Picasso or Manet or Monet, so why not grab an Original Erwin?

Okay, while I’m considering the ranks of artists I’m suddenly a part of… wait; I did have one of my Original Erwin t-shirts taken, on trust and a promise, and not only not paid for (only instance of this- all others were eventually paid for), but the person who picked it up denied having possession of it (hope it is being enjoyed)… first let me make sure I have a copy of the purloined illustration.

Oops; never scanned it.  Give me a second.  No; I’m a little depressed at the SEAHAWKS losing, at my missing some epic surf somewhere, that it’s supposed to snow and freeze in the immediate future (like the next week), and that a copy of the drawing I don’t want to scan right now was stolen; I’ll scan it in the morning, post something with just it.

The story of the artwork is as follows: When my friend, radical pig-dogger and/or casual surfboard slider (sometimes both on the same wave) Stephen R. Davis (R for Rad), told me he and girlfriend Oceanna Van Lelyveld, were opening a restaurant under the streets of Port Townsend, I instantly started on a drawing.

Oops, it’s not the UNDERGROUND?  So what do I do with the lettering I did for the UNDERGROUND?  Change it, add something.  Okay.

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Oh, it’s The Cellar Door? I started on a new illustration, suitable for advertising or menus or, evidently, stealing.

As far as waves go; I have been working or desperately trying to winterize (ie; get generator started, cover some exposed waterlines, but I did hear stories.  As local surfer/boat designer and legend Tim Nolan told me about the big ass North Pacific storm before the more current big a as North Pacific storm; “The waves have to hit somewhere.”

Indeed.  Next time.

Maybe in the morning.  The scan; talking about the scan.

If You Can’t Hibernate Peacefully…

…HOLIDAY JOYFULLY!

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It might be considered ironic, to some, that I’m up early, working on a post that includes a drawing of a bear in a barn; an illustration that will, most probably, be our holiday card for this year; completed (as in color added) only last night; only to wake up this morning, and, in searching for the cell phone (and it’s still dark) I would swear I brought inside last night (but hadn’t), discovering an actual bear had decided to rip off and/or break boards on one wall (more like a fence) of the trash can enclosure I had built to keep him out; and had helped himself to whatever goodies (cat food containers that hadn’t been licked clean, for example) he found in the trash cans kept within the obviously-not bear proof yard.

And it’s not like bears clean up after themselves.

Bears don’t pack out what they… wait a second.  Rethink.  I’m kind of stuck on how much I will hate picking up scattered trash that had been neatly bagged, reinforcing the enclosure, hoping it’s enough.    Bears are… well, they are the true locals out here in the wilds of the Olympic Peninsula, out on Surf Route 101; sure, but this local (and he is well known, showing up on the “I’ve heard of Quilcene” Facebook page as he cruises up and down the various streams in a fairly wide area he, no doubt, considers his domain), but, really, he doesn’t have to get so, so surly.

I mean; really; can’t we just get along?

And besides; shouldn’t any self-respecting, non trash-can-raiding bear, at this time of year, be hibernating?

Shouldn’t we?  That or looking for winter surf.  If I don’t get this card printed and sent to you, do HOLIDAY JOYFULLY!

 

T Shirt Ready… Or Not?

That is the question I ask every time I finish an illustration.  And, here’s my technique, mostly based on what I’ve learned, and what I’ve yet to learn about attempting to draw something as a negative image so it will transfer onto a dark shirt: Now, even if I’m drawing the black lines meant to be black, I get a negative print of that, go in and refine the image.  It’s kind of like erasing.  Then, back to black being black.

Oh, and I’m also not using really fine pens, just in case I get lucky and the result is worth spending the money to get some shirts printed.  I should say ‘investing’ the money; but, as much as I love the whole thing of going to D & L Logos (slight pimping here), the investment is all in one chunk, the return is spread out.

And, again, it’s a learning process; and I have learned a few things.  A few.

Mostly I’m trying to improve at the artsy part while, definitely, getting a bit pickier, a bit more selective as to what’s good, what’s not quite good enough.  As a painter for over fifty years, I have learned that the client has every right to be picky, and, if you’re going to be the one asking to be paid, you have to make sure you’re not apologizing for something that isn’t quite right.

And, again, again, I love the whole process from seeing an image I can get excited about, trying to represent what I was excited about, and then the print shop, screen shop part, and then, the sales part.  Parts of the sales part.

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So, let’s discuss. The problem with fully wetsuited surfers is everything is so dark.  Trish thinks the surfer looks scary.  “Yeah, well…” I did add some white lines in the negative-to-positive process, but, maybe, he may be a tad scary.  Probably not a t-shirt; and, if it was, it would be dark on light.  Or, wait, maybe… not black on not white.  Hmmmm.

And again again again, I never really think anything is done.  A little touchup on the face and…

Okay, there’s the story on this one, taken from (with every attempt to do justice to) a photo of Keith Darrock at a far-too-easily recognized spot on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Keith told me once, while we were bobbing around waiting for any sign of a rideable wave, that often, when he’s surfing, the Bob Marley song, “Soul Rebel” is playing in his head.  Now, Keith is known for charging, with style, close to the pocket, and he may have been more inspired on the occasion of the original photo, he the only one out, ‘gorging’ (his word), his wife and daughter looking on.

When I compare the representation to the original, Keith’s board was, perhaps, flatter, his arch, um, archier.

Scan_20191202 (2)What happened here is, when I got back home with the prints, Trish said she ‘really’ liked the negative version.  “Yeah, I do, too.”  Unfortunately, I only got it in full size (11″ by 17″), and can’t show you.  Later.  I may or may not add color to the drawing, but, at the counter, ready to pay, I asked if they could, ‘real quick’, turn the image the other way, put it on one side of the page, thus making a version of a holiday card Keith might use to… “No, not today. That would require scanning, and centering and…”

“Yeah, okay; another time.”  I might be less thrilled with print places than I once was.

Incidentally, there are a couple of dots on this image that are not on the actual drawing.  They’re on the glass on my quite inadequate scanner.  Jeez, if I worked at a print shop, I’d…

Learning.  Process.

MEANWHILE, I do have some prints and some t-shirts available at Tyler Meeks’ DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE.  I was just in there the other day, hanging out.  It should be a required stop on the way home from one’s latest Strait surf adventure.  “Keith and (Cougar) Keith stopped in here the other evening.  They were… (gestures to indicate exhaustion)”  Hmmm. “Wonder where they surfed.”  “They didn’t say.”

“Perfect.”

Happy Halloween

Greetings from Doctor Pervertius Speculus and his dear woman… well, actually I forgot Oceanna’s stage name, and I’m not actually sure of Stephen’s stage name.  Oh, and I’m also not sure if Oceanna is spelled with one n or two.

However, I do have a photograph of the couple from last weekend.

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According to Steve, a woman came up to him at one of the (at least) two events the couple participated in, first saying his teeth were disgusting (rude), and then asking him what he was supposed to be.  Rather than giving a sarcastic answer such as, “I was supposed to be a rude and judgmental elitist snob,” Stephen claims he said, “I’m a per-vert!”

I’m a little disappointed that you can’t get the full effect of this with my mere extending of the word.  Steve would have, no doubt, delivered it with a bit of salacious eye-rolling, perhaps an in-character ogling of the woman who made the comment.

Hey, I wasn’t there.

ANYWAY, Stephen and Ocean(n)a are now partners and owners of THE CELLAR DOOR, an already-established nightspot in (under, actually) Port Townsend.  Steve, with years of experience as a restaurant owner and chef, has been sorting through ideas for the menu. Oceanna has experience in the bar/restaurant trade (evidently selling liquor is kind of important, revenue-wise), and has many contacts among local entertainers.

THE CELLAR DOOR has been a top venue for live performances in the city for quite some time, and will be reopened as soon as all the liquor license paperwork gets done.  Again, important).

The effect on Steve’s surfing might not be too detrimental.  Most of the surfing in these parts is done in daylight.  WE’LL SEE.  I’ll keep you posted.

MEANWHILE, I did have a bit of an issue with my latest ORIGINAL ERWIN T-SHIRTS.  I had twenty shirts, various sizes, ready for screening.  After screening the graphics on the back, it was discovered, while doing the logo on the front, that the image was, OOPS, upside down.  ERRRRRRR!

SO, I’m holding on to a couple, handed out some more, and took the four rightside-up shirts  to TYLER MEEKS’ DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE.  I (we) have a bunch of shirts at the screen shop, and, hopefully, today or tomorrow, I can pick them up, ready for sale for the weekend.

I will get some more of this batch of ORIGINAL ERWIN shirts, and, since they are, by design, all limited editions… I don’t know; I’m hoping that means something.

The DISCO BAY shirts will have the shop logo I designed on the front, with one of two images on the back.  There are a range of sizes and colors.

 

If I get the shirts I will immediately post this on this site, right on top of Steve and Ocean(n)a.  No offense.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

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!

 

 

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.

Ravens are Indigenous, Most of Us Aren’t

Trish and I love ravens. Maybe Trish a bit more.  There’s a reason they’re honored in myth and legend in places where they are indigenous.  Without getting too deep into origin or migration stories, the Pacific Northwest is a place where they are indigenous.  Okay, let’s say locals.  They are locals, and most of the rest of us are visitors, tourists, refugees from somewhere else.

How I got myself into this whole thing is this: I wanted to have a cool title, with, maybe, some graphic lettering, to go with my drawing of a raven.  Ravenswood, ravenscraft, the words I might choose to use were taken up by video games and artisan beer companies and such commercial places.

Then, while watching the pre-season football game last night, coloring-in a larger (can’t be scanned on my printer) version of the drawing, mostly because this previously-colored version was criticized by Trish for being ‘too yellow.’  “And you put color on my raven (wait, her raven?); ravens are black;” I saw a little spot from the Muckleshoot tribe featuring a young woman, a champion middle distance runner, who was bringing attention to Native Women who have been murdered or disappeared by competing (and winning) with the image of a red hand across her mouth.

Powerful.

I didn’t catch the young woman’s name. Sorry. Here’s a related image:

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Okay, I spent another five minutes, found this image of Rosalie Fish taken by photographer Alex Flett:

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Hey, maybe I’m reaching for a connection here. Maybe there’s just too much going on about who belongs where, who’s a local, who’s a migrant/tourist/visitor.  Part of my family’s history (or legend of actual history) includes a connection to Eastern Band Cherokees (pre Trail of Tears), with other connections to Wales, England, Scandinavia – legends of settlers and invaders.  Reaching.  Fine.  Maybe we’re not all migratory, transitory; here, there, and… gone.

Maybe I’m looking for something spiritual among the mundane.

I really just wanted to show my raven illustration.

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I did tone down some of the yellowness.  When I get the later version, “Trisha’s Raven,” reduced, I’ll put out a side-by-side.

MEANWHILE, BONUS! Here’s a recent shot of Stephen Davis kiteboarding:

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