Stuck in the Suck… One Rib Too Far

It’s not, really, that the waves were all that dangerous or scary; it’s just that they were breaking too close to the beach.

Beach break.  Shore break.

I can’t say I’m not spoiled by reef and point breaks, waves that seem a bit more, um, polite, reasonable, more consistent.  On the Olympic Peninsula, the prevailing condition being flat or flat with winds blowing so frequently (and often briskly, gales from south to east to north to west, sometimes in one day) against any swell direction that might bring some sign of swell to the Strait, and even with buoy readings that suggest, almost guarantee rideable waves, the prevailing condition can win.

SKUNKED.

What is worse, figuring I’d figured it correctly, that I just might score, seeing even the super weak wavelets coming out of the dark and (despite the forecast) wind-torn deeper water, die among (as opposed to lined-up bombs sliding over) the rocks of a reef; a dark squall bringing a downpour; I discovered I might have been almost the only one dumb enough to believe the odds and the gods favored surf.

WAITING. Maybe it’s the tide; maybe it’s just…. a 47 (or so) minute nap, the downpour now the heaviest sort of drizzle, the windows now as fogged inside as they are wet outside; wet; that kind of wetness where they’re just covered in vertical rows of tiny drops, hanging there; one drop in each row gaining enough weight to fall down onto the next; but, and I would have awakened, no one else has even pulled in to see if there are waves.

So then one, meaning me, feels dumb for even trying.

BRIEF INTERMISSION- Here’s the negative, black light ready, version of the Soul Rebel illustration:

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OKAY.  There might be some options.  This is how I ended up hiking to a spot that offered three foot plus waves, still not clean, not friendly, ribs in the swell caused by sidewinds; breaking along (more like on) a steep beach where, eight feet from shore, the water’s eight feet deep.  Overhead.

SO, yeah; look for a corner, take off, drive hard, pull out before it all crashes.  There’s no channel to ease into.  There are sections, sort of separated by those sideways ribs.  A bigger wave should break farther off the shelf that is the shore.  Two successful-if-short rides are followed by one on which I went a rib too far.  Oops.

Stuck in the Suck, I was down in the trench, my board skittering up the beach with each wave, each wave rag-dolling me as I attempted to crawl up and onto the shelf.

OKAY, now I’m determined.  Drop, turn, burn, pullout. Repeat.  Not super thrilling.  BUT THEN, again, going for another section, an extra little chunk of water… Suck, stuck, rag-doll, crawl, try again.  After somewhere around fifteen waves, having ridden one three ribs and a ways down the beach, I got out without suffering a third knockdown. Enough.

FUN.  So, here’s my takeaway, based, largely on something I learned in Psychology 101, Palomar Junior College, 1969:  All passion (read froth or stoke or lust or hunger) seeks to eliminate itself; to diminish that desire that so often overrides logic and morals and common sense.  This lust/froth/stoke/hunger, extended by the ‘one more wave’ syndrome, can be more quickly diminished in sketchy, ‘one section too far’ conditions.

THEN, as passion does, passion returns.  NEXT TIME…

 

 

 

Soul Rebel Underground Art

I’m working on this drawing based on a photo of Keith Darrock at a way-too-identifiable spot on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  I am thinking of making it a label for some fictitious rub on, locally sourced, marijuana-based, artisan snake oil.  Maybe.

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The other drawing is one that I did to make up for doing the lettering for my friend Stephen Davis’s new restaurant, named “Cellar Door,” not “Underground,” though it, mostly, is.

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Meanwhile, because one of my clients, heading for Hawaii, texted me something that included, “hang loose,” I got to thinking.  Yeah, yeah.  In the cold waters of the northwest, we don’t tend to hang loose, we hand tight.  More thinking.  If there is a wetsuit company that needs a new tagline, how about some variation on “Polar Bare Wetsuits- maximum stretch, minimum shrink.”

Meanwhile, Clint Thompson, pretty much a surf fixture on the Olympic Peninsula for a while, has sold his house in PA, most of his 50 or so board collection, and is headed back to Florida.  His going away party was last night, possibly still going.

 

Trisha’s Birthday and Light; bending slightly

FIRST tomorrow is my wife’s birthday, the 51st since I attended the party for her 16th (I had been 17 for 2 1/2 months).  It didn’t go all that well, the party and my attempts to woo her.  No, nobody under 50 actually said things like ‘woo’ in 1968, but, before I gave up in the jockeying for Trisha’s attention against one very pushy asshole (not really subjective; there’s proof), before I went home; I did ask her if she wanted to go to the beach the next morning.

I was pretty sure she’d said yes as I, alone in kitchen in the house where I was raised,   contemplated love and life and feint hearts and such while eating a peanut butter and butter sandwich; slicing a hunk of cheese off a giant round (like 10 pounds or more) in the refrigerator (from Story’s Dairy, a knife kept on the top- one would re-wrap after slicing);  washing down my teenage angst with milk from a ‘cow-tainer’ (probably two gallons, plastic in a box, plastic spigot moved to new box when emptied).

On Sundays I would, frequently drive my father to his part-time job (he had several of these, and a full time job- 7 children will do that to a person) as a mechanic in Oceanside, drop him off and go surfing.  Frequently because whichever car my father had allowed me to drive, usually purchased on a mechanic’s lien, would frequently break down.

“Do you like her?” my father asked before we showed up at Trisha’s parent’s rented house (her father was in Vietnam) at 7:30 or so.  Her mom came to the door. Trish wasn’t ready, but, from somewhere behind her mother, Trish said, “Just a minute.”

“I do,” I said.  “Well, then…”

Yeah; pretty romantic.  Trish got to watch me surf at one spot, then got to hang out on the bluff at Grandview while I surfed some more.  She now says a couple of surfers tried to hit on her, asked what she was doing there.  She made some possibly vague reference to being there with (pointing) that guy.

We do count November 10 as the day we started ‘going together’ (probably an antiquated term itself), the deal cemented when, back at her parents’ place, lingering in the driveway, I asked if we should, maybe, kiss or something.

Logistics.  These things had to be worked out.  Bobbing and weaving, who goes in, which way do I turn my head (hey, I wasn’t a total novice to this)?  It finally came down to “One, two, three…”  Kiss.

A while later, Trisha’s mom broke it up.

This year, Trish will be hanging out at a ghost conference in Kingston, Washington, with our daughter Dru, ex-daughter-in-law, Karrie, grandson Nate; the folks who chase (they would say investigate) hauntings and such, and, of course, the ghosts.

If I think about the most frequent thing Trish and I say to each other; on my end, live and on the cell phone (while working, going to or from surfing, moving from the fruit to the meat section while shopping), it would probably be (yeah, even in the bread aisle, even with others listening) “Love you, bye.”  For Trish it would have to be, in an endless variety of situations, “Just a minute.”

“One, two, three… love you.”

Trish, 1969

Trish, circa 1968. Note, one, she’s wearing a wetsuit; two, those tires on my Morris Minor look pretty darn bald; three, check out the fin on that, probably homemade board.

Sorry; I got waylaid here a bit.  I have some tags put together for my t-shirts, available now at Tyler Meeks’ DISCOVERY BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE.

AND, here’s my latest drawing:

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“Light, bending slightly.”  As always, I asked Trish what she thinks about it.  “You just can’t get away from that psychedelic stuff.”

Probably not.

Dominating vs. Ripping & Tags vs. Price

THE DISCUSSION went back and forth for a while. Probably too long.  Stephen Davis had seen a YouTube video in which Wardo, Somebody-or-other Ward (I will remember, just not this minute) boosted a big air, landed it, and was then burned by someone (Steve made it sound like it might have been a woman) blindly taking off in front of him; and so, of course, Wardo flipped the clueless kook off.

HEY, if you go by a nickname, people are supposed to know your name.  Miki? Dewey? Alex? Kelly?  Anyway, Steve read through the many comments on the incident.  Some folks defended Wardo, others thought, maybe, he could have been a bit nicer about the whole thing.

STEVE’S comment, to me, was, “DO YOU REALLY THINK Wardo got world class good without ever burning someone?” He answered himself with, “OF COURSE NOT.”

And I agreed.  This took up most of the first hour of the back and forth.  Maybe if I had a radio in my car that worked; maybe if it wasn’t so far to the coast.  Maybe…

SIDETRACK- I would be severely criticized if I publish anything (else) even mentioning surfing (or the existence of waves) on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  I have been criticized for not writing more often about surfing and the many joys associated with surfing.  I check the buoys and forecasts the way football commentators study even seemingly-obscure stats, and I have finally allowed the truth to work its way to this:  The ocean doesn’t give a shit about sending waves forty, fifty miles and more so surfers can ride them.  There are, however, waves pretty much every day on the coast.  CONCLUSION- If it’s about the same time investment for you, coast or Strait… nevermind that; how about this: Waves are a gift.

CHRIS WARD. I looked it up.

THERE WERE SEVERAL OVERRIDING ISSUES in Steve’s longform rant (if you will- he thinks it qualified):

ONE- When waves to sneak down the throat of the Strait, it gets rather competitive.  RATHER.  The surf spots are, of course, fickle, and either difficult to access (cliffs, fences, cops being called), or instantly crowded with even the rumor of breaking waves.

TWO- The points or reefs can feature a very pleasant surfing experience for three or four, but, adding in that most of the consistent (or diehard, if you prefer) locals (or semi-locals) know or sort-of know each other (and are very competitive), when it gets crowded, feelings can get hurt (and can stay hurt a while).  RESULT- A less pleasant surfing experience, people who could be your friends holding grudges, you holding grudges against people who could be your friends.

Steve and I agree on this; though I probably enjoy (tolerate, I’d call it) the jockeying in the lineup, the back-and-forth, a bit more than he does.  “If someone wants to really be good,” Steve said, somewhere on the drive back, “You have to be somewhere where there are always waves, where you can surf every day.”  Well, um, yeah; but there’s no way I’m going back to California.

WAVE COUNT.  That’s how you get to be good, like Wardo, his joy at landing his 999th air interrupted by some kook.  MEANWHILE, the kook, perhaps, unaware, blissfully unaware even, may have had the best wave of his (or her) life.

CONCLUSION- No conclusion.

ORIGINAL ERWIN AND DISCO BAY T-SHIRTS- There are some available (in a range of sizes, Disco logo on the front, one of the other two illustrations on the back) at the Disco Bay Outdoor Exchange.  Tyler Meeks has been at this a while now, and, when I delivered my latest batch of shirts, he said he could only get $15 each ($20 for long sleeves) without tags.  TAGS?  WHAT? One, I’m not really sure what my cost per shirt is- I’ll find out today when I pick up more; and, two- I will make some tags if it means I might actually make a dollar or two on the whole thing.  WOW, it’s so hard becoming a t-shirt mogul.

“It’s just that, if someone is buying a shirt for a grandkid or something; they want to see… tags.”  “Oh, okay.”

SO, if you get in there, like, tomorrow (Thursday)… before the tags are organized… and remember, these are, by design, limited editions.

LIKE waves, they make great gifts.

Illustrations for “Swamis,” the Novel

The manuscript for “Swamis” is up to, and slightly over 70,000 words.  That doesn’t mean it’s nearly complete.  I just looked at a painting project with a client whose background is in teaching and a knowledge of writing and writers.  When I mentioned the word count, adding I never thought I’d get to 60,000, and now I probably need another 30,000; and that, every time I take the time to work on the novel, I end up tightening up rather than adding onto the story.

“Well,” she said, I tell my students writing is never done, it’s merely due.”

Without going into any particular neurosis, I have similar issues with drawing.  I’ve been concentrating on pen and ink, and only occasionally risk pencil or watercolors.  BUT, for the novel, I want some of the illustrations to convey that soft, backlit look that John Severson accomplished in the early “Surfer” magazines.

Yeah, well; this is easier said than accomplished.

Incidentally, since, in “Swamis,” ostensibly a memoir, I steal stories and experiences from myself (and others), give them to the narrator, Joseph DeFreines, Jr.; and because I want people to know Joseph is not me; I have included, along with fictionalized versions of real people from my life, a character named Erwin.

So, that Erwin is the illustrator.

I think he is, also, a bit neurotic, unable to decide on his own when something is truly complete.  SO:

 

The first illustration, above, is the pencil drawing scanned in black and white, the second was scanned in grayscale, the third, after I (I mean Erwin) went back in with ink.

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I do kind of like the underlying white lines from laying it out with a very hard pencil, as I was taught in art classes at Palomar Jr. College, back in 1969.  Maybe…

Should I add that, now that I’m getting closer to the end of the story, I’m getting a little bit paranoid, a little less willing to share the various storylines?  NO, probably not, but I could tell you that I know who killed Chulo, not sure who killed Joseph DeFreines, Sr.

Stay tuned.

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.

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.

 

 

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.