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!

 

 

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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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Another Negative Image

FIRST, it’s not surf season along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. One must go coastal. Some friends of mine recently did; sharing an adventure that anyone who doesn’t live in the Pacific Northwest would consider the classic Pacific Northwest surf trip: Hiking with backpacks and surfboards, dropping down ropes (and climbing back up again) to possibly-never-surfed spots… exhausting.

OR, one could go to Westport, look for a parking spot, look for an empty wave.

OR, one could work. It is painting season, yes; but my wetsuit is dr-yyyy-yyy; and, yes, I’m thinking coastal.  Coastal.

MEANWHILE, I did complete a new drawing; meant to be reversed, black-for-white.  I don’t really know how this is going to work until I get to a print shop.  SO, last night, sort of hoping to run into the guy (Jay) at the Sequim Office Depot, who has a handle on such things, I, instead, ran into a person who asked another employee how to do the reversal. She wasn’t sure, either; and the first two attempts saw the image reversed but the black staying black.

“No, I kind of meant…”

ON the next attempt, what had been black was now red.  “Whoa! Didn’t know you could do that.”  “I guess we can.”

On the next attempt, we (with my input and the other Depot person’s advice) got it right.

“OH, but, um, can you do other colors?”  They looked it up.  “Red, yellow, magenta, blue, some other color.”  “One of each, please; full-sized; then a couple of eight and a half by elevens.  Please.”

NOW, suddenly, I’m a little irritated with myself that I didn’t get some smaller, as in scannable on my printer, versions of the ones in color.  Here’s the black-for-white version:

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I did lose some detail here; I’m blaming my scanner.  Now, imagine everything that is black as red, or blue, or…  and now imagine you are, quite exhausted from the hiking, out of a beach with silvery-shiny-glassy-empty-near-perfect waves.  And now imagine… whatever you want.

No, not being stuck in traffic.

Pay-back and Pay-for at the Hama-Hama Oyster-Rama

Abigale said she would buy one of my t-shirts if I promised not to ever drop in on her again.  “Wait. Me?” “Uh huh; you.” “No.” “Yes.” “Is this a [spot name redacted] thing?”  ‘Uh huh.” “Well, I must have thought you weren’t going to make the section,”  “Oh,” raising her voice noticeably,  “I was totally going to make the wave.”

“Oh.”

So, I’ve decided, here is how life goes: We have to pay back favors given, and pay for mistakes made.

So, yeah; I gave Abigale a discount on a shirt, five bucks off, and promised not to drop in on her ever again.  “Well,” she said, obviously thrilled with her new, limited-edition, Original Erwin shirt, “I did pull your leash.” “Oh? Um, did that stop me, or did I keep on surfing?”  “It stopped you.”

Oh. So, a little background: Abigale, who I actually met a couple of years ago when she was involved in running the SURFRIDER FOUNDATION Cleanwater event in Westport (I think it was the year I was given an opportunity to judge some heats, irritated the shit out of the head judge [mostly, my opinion] because I talked way too much- wasn’t invited back into the booth); was in the booth at behind and kitti-cornered to mine, doing some promotion for the upcoming (May 4th, I believe) WARM CURRENTS event.

I will insert photo of REGGIE and me when I figure out how to get it from hotmail.

REGGIE SMART was displaying some of his art along with my stuff, and is involved because he’s working on some surfboards CHRIS BAUER, Port Angeles shaper plans on having at the event.  I walked over to the WARM CURRENTS booth with Reggie to see if there might be an opportunity to push some of my stuff when I was confronted with my nefarious past.

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SO, that was the ‘pay-for’ portion of the day. The ‘pay back’ was giving a discount to a woman who works at the HAMA-HAMA store down SURF ROUTE 101, and was very helpful to me when I painted the interior a couple of years ago; and actually remembered me, out of my usual painting outfit, when Trish and I stopped in more recently.

AND, I guess I should add, in one of these two categories, that I did (and, begrudgingly, will) discount the remaining baby-poop-colored shirts.  Hey; I liked the color.  All of this is a learning experience.

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That’s Reggie’s art on the, um, ground, out of the salty puddles, but, yes, on the oysters.

Having a booth at the HAMA-HAMA OYSTER-RAMA was also a learning experience.  I’ve always felt a bit sorry for folks sitting in booths at events where people were there for some other purpose than buying some awesome drawings.

Most of the day, not knowing whether (or exactly how) to engage the passers-by, I felt sorry for myself.

Not so much.

SURF-SHELLFISH CELEBRITY ADAM ‘WIPEOUT’ JAMES is my contact, His sister, LISSA MONBERG, was running the event.  I saw Lissa once, Adam several times, though he was usually a blur passing quickly, schmoozing the paying attendees. Fist bump, hug, medium five; Adam, the most gregarious person I have ever met, has skills.

WHAT the participation (I punked-out last year) forced me to do is to organize my artwork, cull a percentage, push myself toward a more polished and professional approach.  My daughter, DRUCILLA (or Dru), recently moved back to the northwest from Chicago.  She went to Loyola University, 21 years ago, graduated, worked in new business acquisition for a major advertising firm.  More recently she worked for (and is continuing with some freelance work for) THE ONION.

She’s settling into a house in the historical district of PORT GAMBLE, and is working on making my website better (I have no skills) as well as the business end (even less skills) of trying to make some money from art.

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Here’s Dru in the booth.

I must also thank Dru’s pretty-much lifelong friend, MOLLIE ORBEA, for her tremendous help in this endeavor.  Mollie has a sign company, ORBEA SIGNS, is most of the reason Dru lives in Port Gamble, and lives two doors down from Dru.  Mollie supplied the tent, a table, the banners, the table runner, the easel, the table easels that kept falling over, and the beach chairs that, once seated in one, one would naturally assume the posture of a booth person who really doesn’t give a shit if you buy or not.

I, of course, was half-expecting complete failure.  I participated in a STARVING ARTIST sale once, in 1972, next to the Green Stamps Redemption Store in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego where we lived (LOCALS!) at the time. I think I paid ten bucks to participate, got sunburned, sold one original drawing for fifteen bucks.  SO, YEA! SUCCESS!

I was also quarter-expecting (so, less) complete success; upper-crust Seattleites lining-up, adorning their bodies with ORIGINAL ERWIN t-shirts, adorning their walls with limited (by me) edition illustrations.

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They were lining up all right.  For ice cream.

I don’t want this to sound like I didn’t make any money.  I did sell some stuff, did learn a lot; like, next time… Original Erwin cookies.  Pay For and Pay Back.

 

 

Original Erwin T-Shirt Design #4

All right, I tried to find the fax and scan feature on our new and hyper-confusing new computer. I have proof that I scanned a drawing before on this thing, but couldn’t seem to find out how to repeat the process on my latest illustration meant to become limited edition Original Erwin T-shirt Number 4.

NO, I had to download a free (thankfully) app from the overlords at Microsoft.

WE’LL see how this works, and worry that, one, I can find the scan in the files, and, two, if that’s successful, that I can do it again next time.

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OKAY on the first point. SO, I had to work in Bremerton, had the original drawing, the negative image of this (sort of), and a fresh-from-Fed-Ex-Kinkos white-on-black version, and showed them to the sales crew at Miller (Kelly-Moore) Paint Company in Silverdale.  Kevin, the manager, and, this might ordinarily matter, a non-surfer, said that if I can get him three shirts, xxl, with long sleeves… So, YES, pre-sale.

ORDINARILY a non-surfer wearing a surf-themed t-shirt might even solicit a question from me, such as, “Do you actually surf?”  NOW, because most of my paint shirts come from Goodwill, I have been known to wear a Harley-Davidson shirt- haven’t ridden a motorcycle in 50 years, and then it was a stripped-down dirt bike.

This might prove slightly embarrassing if, say, one was gassing-up at the Sequim Costco and a real Harley-Davidson Dude, leather and tattoos and pony-tail and actually on one asks, “What kind’a hog you got?”

Not that this happened, not more than once.

AND, BESIDES, if Kevin is willing to risk looking like a Hodad, and he’s willing to promise a purchase; there’s some money to offset the cost of printing… this is something to put in the ‘hopeful-optimistic file,’ off-setting something four or five notches down on the ‘worry’ column.

BUT, as when reviewing anything with others, I realized I had to make some changes in the original Original Erwin. Did that during a break, went back to Kinko’s on the way home, borrowed some whiteout for some fine(er)-tuning, got another batch shot.

AGAIN, I am marketing these as originals, and, de facto (because the printing money goes out all at once and the sales dollars come back slowly) limited editions.  Between those sold (some still available) at Tyler Meek’s Disco Bay Outdoor Exchange, those I’ve sold out of the back of my surf rig, and those (few) I’ve given as presents, most of the first editions are gone.

THOUGH I am way more interested in doing the drawings, I’m working on my sales strategy.  My daughter, Dru, is returning to the northwest from too long in Chicago (most recently working at the “Onion,” quite status-y; and I’m hoping we can do something, something bigger.  I hear this Internet thing is catching on.

No, not blogs.

MEANWHILE I continue to get the occasional (small) wave and the occasional skunking, the northwest continues to be dominated by cold, offshore conditions, I’m past the 40,000 word mark on “Swamis,” the novel, and, as always, I have to go to work work.

Wait; It’s that close to Christmas? Ow!

Hey, it’s December tenth. This is when, traditionally, I seem to run out of painting work. Not always a joyous thing.

I got laid off from a temporary position with the Civil Service on December tenth. It was a reduction-in-force in Civilservicespeak. RIF. I had reluctantly gone back to work painting for the feds after a two year separation due to my desire to hit the big time as a contractor; a career move with a shaky start (and why I gave up on big-time commercial projects- not a shark, stay out of the shark tank) that cost me dearly (five months working for free, loss of retirement drawn out, first time dealing with real depression, blah, blah); though I did lose a lot of weight.

Yeah, but that was twenty-five years ago or so. I’ve gained all the weight back. And, yes, then some; but I was really pissed-off because they, supposedly, kept employees with special skills. I was pretty much the only classically-trained and the most skilled sign painter, but never did learn the most important Civil Service skill.

I’d tell you what it is, but you might think I’m KISSING UP.

Another December 10th it was announced by one of the main general contractors that I worked for that he wasn’t receiving all the money from a project he had asked and planned for, and he was going to share that misfortune with his subcontractors. Joy.

There are other examples, and, maybe, like saying the surf has always been good on Thanksgiving, I’m using the date as a sort of marker of all the DOWNSIDES OF THE SEASON; the reason people celebrate the various holidays in the darkest days of the year. Yea, we’re alive!

ALL THIS, really, just got rolling out of my fingers as I wanted to write something about how I don’t have HOLIDAY GREETING CARDS ready to sell at TYLER MEEKS’ DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE.

I’ve been busy. But, here are a couple of examples of cards. If I get my job finished early enough I might have some time to get to the printers. I’ll let you know.

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Available soon. Shit, I have to get going so I can finish up another job. MEANWHILE, best to you, including some waves. I hear they’re, traditionally, good this time of year.

A Few New Tees A Few Good Waves

I picked up some tee shirts at DL LOGOS in Port Townsend yesterday. The outfit is run by Dwane and Loren (oh, that’s why it’s DL), and they have what I (having worked in several sign shops), a fan of such places, consider a pretty cool shop.

Rather than the smell of heavy and toxic chemicals (lacquer thinner, paint, methyl ethyl ketone), it is one, warm, due to the fact that the inks need the heat to dry, and, two, has more of a plastic-y smell. It’s similar to the smell of a toy, from some years ago, that enabled kids to melt plastic around all kinds of shapes.

One of the guys, D or L, and I went through the boxes of leftover or extra tee shirts a week or so ago, got a selection of sizes and colors. From the first batch of shirts I learned that not everyone wants a L, XL, or XXL; so I got some smalls and a few more mediums.

SO, after I kept a couple for gifts, one for myself, sold some shirts to friends, one to a woman on the job I was working on, there are now less available at TYLER MEEKS’ DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE.

AND, rather oddly enough, as the first potential buyers were going through the selection, I realized I was a little reluctant to let the shirts in the coolest colors go; mostly because the next potential customers couldn’t see how cool they were. Mine, in, yes, the XXL, is on a sort of forest green, and, yeah, it’s fine, but in maroon…

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Whoa!

I am working on some seasonal, surf-related cards, and, with the knowledge I’m getting from actually producing and trying to market art and products (and throwing in that I enjoy the hell out of the whole process), I will be doing more shirts soon.

Here’s are the first shirts, a black and white version of one of two new designs for tags I’m working on, and an illustration that probably won’t make it to ORIGINAL ERWIN shirts.

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The tag is the one on the bottom. I’ll add the color version soon.

If it’s not chiaroscuro, maybe it’s…

…possible the illustration could be described by some other word that is, itself, defined as an image with an almost equal amount of black and white.

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I discovered this ‘equalness’* when I took the original drawing, the negative of this image, to a printer to be reversed. I didn’t have that version reduced, so I can’t show it here, but, probably because I just can’t leave space, black or white, bare; the amounts of toner necessary to print either version, according to the guy behind the counter, were pretty much the same.

*I wanted to use the word ‘equanimity’, but, when I looked it up, it referred to a state of calmness despite whatever existential craziness is going on.

You’re right; I didn’t have to use the word ‘existential.’

SO, this one probably won’t become a t-shirt. Like everything; art, writing, paint contracting, marketing of art and writing; I’m still working on it.

AND trying to maintain some level of equanimity-ness.

MEANWHILE… Evidently some t-shirts are being sold at Tyler Meek’s DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE, located on SURF ROUTE 101, the main route to the ‘still wild’ Olympic Peninsula.

Original Erwin Illustrations

A few samples: