OKAY, I’m probably through with Captain Sketchee. Partially, well, mostly because Trish is sick of seeing illustrations of creepy old men. I guess it’s bad enough living with one.
OKAY, I’m probably through with Captain Sketchee. Partially, well, mostly because Trish is sick of seeing illustrations of creepy old men. I guess it’s bad enough living with one.
“Avant,” Mr. Sketchee told me, evidently including me with the ‘Surf Fashion lemmings’ and ‘Thrift store dumpster divers,’ “is French, and thereby, mas’ sophisticato, for ‘before.'”
“Mas’ sophisticato?” I asked, knowing, that as another figment of my imagination, Captain Sketchee got his start in fashion at the Port Angeles Goodwill (just down Lincoln from the North by Northwest surf shop) when he found some faux (more French) Admiral’s nautical coat; unfortunately not in the proper size.
“It’s creepy,” Trish said when I showed her this drawing; “Why would you want to draw… him?”
“T shirts,” I said. “I’m going to add some waves, some lettering… and, besides, he was Mr. Creepee, originally; but, um, he’s, uh, evolved. And, anyway, what about the drawing? Clean, tight; medium lines?”
“The drawing’s fine, but… nobody wants that on a t shirt. I mean, do you?”
I kind of do. I mean, with the lettering and… quality t shirt, and… in my size.
…adding more lines. I try for simple; really; but, if no one stops me, I just keep going until…
I’m trying to get some illustrations together for (this is kind of a secret and has always been something I’ve been interested in) some t-shirts. I have, actually, done some designs for others, but, as always, I just keep going, adding lines, adding some pointillism (fancier name for dots), some more shading.
Doing some drawings for use in coloring books has helped, but… So, for the above drawing I avoided the ‘extra fine’ pens. Fine lines, I know, through my experience in serigraphy (snotty name for silk screening), don’t always work. They get lost in the process.
The process. My process is I just keep trying. So, here’s the best I could do with my scanner (because I’m impatient and can’t get to the printer for a couple of days) on a drawing based on a photo I took of a secret and scary and fickle and dangerous and, if I didn’t mention it, secret spot somewhere out on the Strait. The photo very briefly appeared on this site before fear of landmark recognition by desperate and/or frustrated surfers (and having this pointed out to me by several friends) lead to its removal.
Maybe, in your mind, you can connect the two drawings. I am pretty happy with the rocks in the foreground. Lots of lines; lots and lots of lines.
…maybe that should be a question. When there are waves, or even the possibility, even (more) the probability of surf, tensions rise. Every surfer wants a chance at dealing with quality waves. Some do, and are elated; others, for various reasons, miss out on opportunities and are frustrated. Tempers can flare.
Shit happens. Work, family responsibilities, broken equipment or vehicles, power outages, not taking a chance on iffy conditions, other shit. Shit!
And it’s not just that you (or I) aren’t committed, or committed enough to the lifestyle/sport. We rearrange our schedules the best we can, but, sometimes, we just hear about classic conditions after the fact. Sometimes we witness classic conditions but can’t, for any combination of the above or other reasons, participate.
That happens. I haven’t really gotten over, or, at least, I still remember, painting a house on the bluff above Stone Steps, late in the afternoon, with the waves glassing-off, lining-up, and only a few surfers out. Yeah, I kept painting; felt I had to finish the project.
Still, those waves… they may not have been as great if I’d surfed them, but, in my memory, they were sooooo good.
WAIT. I’m adding this, just in, photo of Hydrosexual Stephen Davis (I was going to drop the hydrosexual part because of spam from sex-related, um, spammers, but Steve kind of likes the description/title) doing something besides surfing, work as part of the crew on a catamaran off the Big Island. OH, and he did the artwork for the t-shirt.
Anyway, I am trying to do a bit of a pivot in my career, and I’ve actually started drawing things not surf-related. Here are some examples:
What unites us as surfers is not our performance level; it’s more that we have suffered the frustration of getting caught inside, of missing or wiping-out early on a great wave, of watching someone else wail on a wave we could have been on, of hearing about or seeing wonderful surf we can’t get into, of driving a long way to get skunked. It’s sad and just wrong to get frustrated enough to unload verbally or physically on another surfer; particularly when, if there were no waves, this would be someone you’d be chatting with; a friend.
Even the best, longest ride is short compared to real life. What we really save is the memories. I’m sure we’d all rather have pleasant ones.
And, no; all this peace talk isn’t because someone took offense with my wavehog ways. I mean, people have, not recently; it really relates to friends going off on other friends. Friends. It’s sad. It’s fixable.
I am continuing to do a series of landscape drawings, anxious to expand my scope. I currently have some illustrations at Helen Gunn’s gallery uptown Port Townsend, some at Tyler Meek’s Disco Bay Outdoor Exchange in Discovery Bay, and, once Adam “Wipeout” James sees my HamaHama drawing… I mean, my friend Adam James… and, yeah, working on it. Committed. See you.
OKAY, here are the first of my Olympic Peninsula landscapes:
I have some new illustrations, freshly reduced, ready to add color.
I had already done the color on the larger version of the (above) drawing, but didn’t like the blend on the lower part. So, once it was reduced, I added some more lines (and a little more color).
I’ll add some color to other drawings, but, for some reason, I get less excited about the color part than I do the original drawing. When I get going on a drawing, and I’m pretty happy with my progress, what I seem to think about is how I can screw it up. And color is another opportunity. So… less might be better.
Meanwhile, waves seem to be missing the Strait. Now, the coast… it’s another story.
NOTES: The word Patagonia refers to a land of giants.
-Sasquatch sightings in the wild Olympic Peninsula in Western Washington are a bit higher in the HamaHama region along Hood Canal. -The extended family of Adam “Wipeout” James has been logging, farming, and maintaining shellfish beds for generations. -Whether surfing, working the tide flats, or representing HamaHama Seafoods all around the country, Adam’s life is more aligned with the cycle and pattern of tides than that of night and day.
THIS is fiction, as in, ‘could be true;’ and, really, it should be titled:
WHY I’LL NEVER GET THAT PROMISED PATAGONIA FLEECE PULLOVER
MORE NOTES/EXPOSITION: Adam is, quite possibly, the most gregarious person I’ve ever met. Eternally outgoing, willing to talk to just about anyone; I sort of wrote his behavior off as trying to fit in with the surf crowd, something in keeping with my impression that he believes there is some sort of unofficial Surf Community. -Yeah, maybe; or maybe it’s the same more salt-water-connected than blood-related tribe I’ve been around for the last 52 years (or so). -Adam remembers other surfer’s names, gets some background on others in the water and on the beach; and, I don’t know, it’s kind of catchy. Or I’m kind of competitive. Knowing Adam has made me, maybe, a bit friendlier. More on the beach than in the water. -Adam has established some sort of relationship with Patagonia. They wanted, possibly, to make some inroads into the work clothing market, take some market share from Carhartt. -SO, Adam scored some clothing, got some photos taken, set up mutual surf friend (and contractor in the boat building/repair world), Clint, with a modeling opportunity. -AND, maybe because I wear my HamaHama hoodie out in the world, representing, Adam scored a xxxl Patagonia pullover for me. “Double xl is big enough,” I told him on the phone, both of us trying to figure out when and where to go surfing based on the latest forecasts, buoy readings, tide reports, and anecdotal/historic bullshit.
“I was just trying it on,” Adam told me, after the INCIDENT; “It fit over the rest of my gear.” “Because it’s a triple xl, Adam.” “Yeah; right.” So, finally, here’s my piece on Adam’s story:
Since it was a warmer night than expected, Adam left his (my) Patagonia pullover, a jug of water, and a burrito left over from dinner in a pile, just where the narrow path leading down from his house hit the beach. This was his own small section of tideflats. A moon, a few days past full, was rising above the trees and scattered lights on the Kitsap Peninsula, a mile or so across the ancient (ice age old) fjord. English explorers named this the Hood Canal, another finger (and not a canal) reaching from the various bodies that make up Puget Sound.
His characteristic miner’s style headset light on his wool cap, flannel shirt, rubber boots and protective gloves, and a five gallon bucket in each hand, Adam set out across the rocks and gravel.
He had missed the ebb tide, and, forty-five minutes into the flow, was thinking about surfing, about waves; swell size and angles and periods, and winds. With just a hint of an east wind spreading texture on the always-moving water; the decision was, as always, whether, in the morning, he should go down Surf Route 101 and out to the coast or up the same highway to the Strait. Deciding which oysters to pick was, after years of low tides, second nature.
The moon was only slightly higher when, his buckets full; he looked south, well beyond his headlamp’s ability to see clearly. It was…no.
What Adam thought could be (not unheard of) a bear, smashing shells with a rock; stood up, pouring an oyster into its mouth. Standing, it was… it was very tall. And it looked at him.
“It?” I asked, just the other day, on the Strait. After four hours or so in the water, I was out and fully dressed. Adam, who arrived later than I had, having checked out several other possible locations, was sliding on a now-slightly-used canvas Patagonia jacket (probably a size large). “Have you seen, like, elk, deer, bears… out on the tideflats?” His gesture said, “Yes, all of those.” “Poachers?”
He laughed. “Yeah. That’s what I was thinking… a couple of years ago…” Adam cut himself off to say something to a group that had just pulled into the parking area; two softtops and two other boards on the roof, three guys and a woman climbing out.
“You have any more coffee?” he asked me. We had each had some after we both got out of the water the first time, before we noticed the rights seemed to be working (sporadically- I drifted back to the lefts where Big Dave was still surfing).
“Yeah; just don’t drink the last of it. Why don’t you bring a thermos?”
Half a cup in his (I’m guessing) hip canning jar mug, Adam walked over to his next (potential) friends as I tied-down my board, then put on the fleece-lined, flannel, old man coat I’d purchased for eight bucks at the Port Angeles Goodwill, shortly before I discovered I could get a new version at Costco for under twenty.
“Surgical strike, then. Great.” This is what Adam was saying to one of the four-person-group readying to attack the mostly-mediocre (I’m legally bound to never say ‘great,’ though, on this day, they weren’t) as he backed away from them and toward me, turning to say, “Surgical strike.”
I, no doubt, shrugged. “Poacher?”
“Oh, yeah; that’s where I might have screwed up. I couldn’t tell… he was kind of out of range. He was, um, thick enough, that I couldn’t really tell how tall he was. I think I said something like, ‘Hey, Buddy… Dude; you know that these tideflats are…’ I almost said, ‘mine.’ Or, maybe I did.”
I poured out the last of the coffee into my Seahawks mug. A third of a cup and almost luke-warm. “Now, Adam, I told you I wasn’t going to tell you, again, that the best wave I saw all day is the one you were too far over to make… so pretty.”
“No, the best wave was the one I took off in front of you on.”
“Yeah, maybe it was.” With Big Dave and I kind of, possibly, maybe, catching a lot of the available waves, Adam and others had moved up the reef. Not really working. Adam moved back over. On one of the larger waves, Adam took off in front of me. I surfed up next to and under him, and actually said (not yelled, but in the heat of the moment), “I hope you don’t think I care more about this board than this wave.” We both made the wave, and Adam said, “You should have gone past me.” “You should have dropped down.” “Yeah, next time. Fun, huh?”
At some point, and it was probably when he heard the growling, deep, low, but intensifying; Adam realized this wasn’t a poacher out on his tide flats. And it wasn’t a ‘Buddy’ or a ‘Dude.’
Turning toward the beach, walking slowly, at first; his lamp turned off, looking up at the yard light at his house; Adam didn’t break into an all-out run until he approached the high tide line. Still, he never thought of dropping the buckets, even when audible (and getting closer, quickly) heavy breathing, huge feet sliding and splashing across the shallows, got closer.
Closer. Adam swears, now, he could feel the creature’s breath, smell something that, when he considered it, smelled somewhere between burnt driftwood and seaweed. Not that he was considering subtleties of smell as he ran. Near the high tide mark, Adam dropped both buckets; one spilling over, the other staying upright.
It wasn’t a growl, almost a laugh as the Creature passed him. Passed him. Adam may have shrieked. May have; but then he froze. A bucket swinging from one hand, the creature (let’s call it a Patagon’, a giant) stopped at the path, turned, sniffed, looked at Adam. Maybe he studied him for a moment: Brown hair, big mustache, beard halfway-to-full. He looked at the brown hair on his own arm for another moment as he raised Adam’s leftover burrito, ate it in one bite, drank half of Adam’s remaining water (the rest pouring down his hairy chest), and, when Adam turned his headlamp back on, the Patagon’ blinked.
“Then, his head kind of turning this way and that, he sort of smiled. Big canines. Big. I did kind of a (demonstrates) fist bump kind of thing, then, maybe, like a peace sign. I, um, (demonstrates again) kind of hit my chest, said, “I’m Adam.”
“Of course you did.”
The Sasquatch licked his huge fingers, grunted something; four syllables. Adam answered with a, “You’re welcome.” The Patagon’ looked at Adam’s (could have been mine) fleecy pullover, then back at Adam. “It won’t fit you,” Adam said. “But, maybe… special order… I know people.”
Too late. The coat tucked/stuffed under one arm, the bucket of oysters hitting a few branches, Adam’s new friend glided (Sasquatch(es) supposedly glide) along the shore-hugging scrub brush, bounded up an unseen path farther south as a cloud covered the moon.
“Low tide’s about forty-five minutes later tomorrow night,” Adam said into the darkness, walking back to retrieve the other bucket of oysters, thinking (he claims) about how much I would have loved that sweatshirt.
“Hey, nice session,” I said, reaching out to exchange a fistbump. ”And… nice story.”
“Yeah. Um… so, you, uh, didn’t wear the HamaHama sweatshirt today?”
“No, but…I could explain that, but…” No, I couldn’t beat Adam’s story. It would take aliens, space aliens. “Next time. And, um, next time, you drop down and I’ll go past you.”
BONUS STEPHEN DAVIS, with explainer. Stephen, recovering from his recent Tuck-and-rollover accident on the Big Island, sent a photo of his most recent painting. Thanks, Stephen, paint some more. NOW! PAINT!
..…checking the forecast. Stubbornly believing, if I check the buoys (not just those near-shore, but those in the open ocean, west and north- the ones that matter) often enough; winds and angles and period; if I check out multiple forecasts; if I overlay an optimal tide and wind situation at several different locations; maybe I’ll be able to predict the exact moment when the swirl becomes the proper energy, properly focused.
And, of course, I hope the next window is slightly before the forecasts we all look at call for it to open. Ready to readjust my schedule to fit my idea of when and where and how far away, imagining peeling glass, properly chilled and waiting…
No, it’s me who is waiting. I’m guessing you are, too.
Meanwhile, there’s work, and, incidentally, I have quite a few drawings waiting to go to The Printery to be reduced in size so I can post them. Something else I’m anticipating.
Somewhere between waking up a little later than I had planned, trying to get up the energy and necessary excitement level to drive to a job I have to (HAVE TO) get completed before Monday, that project twenty miles out on a (relatively) wilderness peninsula; somewhat after I stepped in cat barf (easily detected with bare feet), had to deal with the same cat’s (Snickerdoodle’s) latest incredibly, unbearably stinky crap (each installment demanding instant removal from the litter box and the house), made a pot of coffee for today’s thermos full, microwaved a cup of yesterday’s leftover, turned on the light in the art/breakfast nook, found the magazine and the photo I would use as reference, then…
…oh, yeah, then I decided, after getting fresh boxers and socks for today from the laundry room, that I could actually use the Seahawks shirt I had worn, yesterday, for Blue Friday, but hadn’t worn to paint in; fresh enough; so I set the magazine and (I think) my drawing/computer eyeglasses on top of the stuff on top of the heater near the door I went out to retrieve my shirt. This particular pair of cheaters is too strong for watching TV (or for walking around), but perfect for making a lot of lines make sense. Some sense.
I looked. Couldn’t find them. Got a flashlight, dug around under the piano and the heater, retraced my steps. Gave up. The clock is ticking. Got to get to work.
This is drawn with my painting (trim-cutting mostly) glasses, a few specks on the lenses. It’s not an excuse, it’s an explanation.
MEANWHILE, I got some new earplugs. I’ve been using these orange-ish waxy plugs purchased at Walmart, but, if I wipe out enough times, I always seem to lose one. Then I rip the other one in half. Then, as happened this week, I might lose one of those. If I don’t wear earplugs I will get one ear or the other plugged up. It’s not always immediate, but this last time I lost hearing in my right ear before I made it home. This deafness is quite irritating to people (Trish mostly) who think I should hear what they’re saying.
It’s also quite irritating to me, constantly trying to clear the ear, dealing with that drop of the ocean caught between the bone growth (diagnosed when I was 20 year old) that has been narrowing my ear canals, and my ear drum. Slosh, slosh, clearness, hey… replugged. Silence. “What?” I’m constantly snapping my fingers next to my ear, checking.
AFTER googling ‘surfers’ ear’, it seems like the best solution is surgery. Drilling or chisling. NOOOOOOooo! WELL, we ordered and received some new plugs, seemingly identical (except for the strap connecting the two) to the ones endorsed by Tom Carroll, but cheaper from Ebay, possibly because of the lack of his endorsement. I’ve checked them out, can’t wait to use them.
MY HOPE is I don’t find my drawing glasses the same way I found Snicky’s barf. Cruncccccccchhh.
ADDITIONALLY, because it seems to be a deal, with attacks from the tweeter-in-chief; it seems like everyone should take a note from the Seattle area high school football team that took a knee during the national anthem. This shows no disrespect, and, in fact, probably shows more respect for what our country stands for (I won’t add ‘allegedly’, ‘historically,’ or ‘supposedly’- for the sake of not arguing), while noting that social inequality is real. Really.
These are the first pages of a… I don’t want to say comic book, not quite a graphic novel. Okay, my graphic short story of an older guy going to… hey, it needs to tell itself; and, no, I wanted the Malmsted character to be someone other than me.
…and there’s more. Coming. Soon. Will Malmsted make it back to his room before… will his desire to surf overcome his complete lack of actual experience in the actual ocean? Will he rule the lineup? Why did I draw him with a mustache AND a soul patch?
…in the glare, in the crowd; I know I’ll see you later.
It’s high season for painting houses, and quite a short season it is here in the great northwest. It might be considered fortunate that it’s off-season for surfing, even on the coast. I would love more time for writing and drawing and, yeah, I’d like to see something a bit more promising in the surf forecasts.
So, this one time… this one time I moved over from the rights as the tide flattened them out. About the time I got to my preferred lineup for the lefts a set approached. Big Dave was the only one farther out than I was. “Oh,” I said, “I’d love to take that first one.” “Well,” Dave said, “It’s your birthday.”
It wasn’t. But, recently, it was; and there was a bit of a bump, and… okay, it wasn’t classic; there were roll-throughs and closeouts and a sideshore wind, and, along with the many waves I caught during my five hours in the water, there were several pretty nasty wipeouts, cuts on both hands, a wound on my calf, sore muscles, and one ear plugged up for several days.
And now it’s back to sweating, painting some crappy apartments in Bremerton. But, I am taking a little time to finish a drawing, do some (this and other) writing, study the forecast. My thinking is: I’m not getting any younger.
UPDATE: Archie Endo has returned, at least temporarily, from Thailand. The stroke he suffered there has left him physically weaker, and he thinks it’ll be a while before he can get back to his soulful and stylish longboard surfing. Stephen Davis and Mike “Squintz” Cumiskey helped him get settled back into his house.
Hydrosexual Stephen Davis, who just left for the Big Island this morning, took Archie to the pool in Sequim, and said, when Archie got in the water, “He just lit up. You could see the energy coming back.” Archie confirmed this. Hopefully, with some proper therapy, we can see our friend parallel-stancing his way across some northwest waves.