While You’re Praying for Surf, how about…

…adding World Peace?

image-98Yeah, sure; but, I mean… okay, world peace… and some uncrowded and perfect waves.

MEANWHILE, I’m working on a commissioned (not, like, for a lot of money) poster for Franco Bertucci’s band, Locust Street Taxi.  Here’s kind of the progression:image-97image-99image-96Actually, I had to add a lot of copy in the blank space; and then add color. I’m getting the final poster copied today; I’ll post it tomorrow. Or tonight.

MEANWHILE, Archie continues to recover from his recent stroke; supposedly is using computer. I’ll write him, see what happens. MEANWHILE, continuing to get November weather in October here on the northwest corner; always praying for some alignment of the swell and wind direction… oh, and world peace.image-100


It was hot, Saturday, I couldn’t surf, didn’t want…

…to work… not that I need an excuse to draw, or even to post two drawings today (and I am going to do some real work today) in two days. Wait, three drawings; finished one yesterday morning (please check out Rico’s essay), started two, finished one, finished (finished is when I just can’t figure out where to put more lines) the other this morning.

Image (87)Image (88)Okay, so, so now I’m thinking, imagining what I want to see next. But, meanwhile…

“Awkward Guy” and, um, me…

…that would be Franco Bertucci, and I are getting ready for an event, Thursday, June 29, 7pm, Port Townsend Library. This is a flyer I passed on to PT Librarian Keith Darrock so he could do some publicity. First he has to add the copy. Glad it’s him; I can’t seem to keep it simple.

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I did some illustrations for Franco’s book a couple of winters ago, opting, because I have a lot of faith in Franco, and his chances for success, to take a percentage (sort of vague on that) of the profits. Because, in order to get it out there in some form, he did a Kendle book; all fine, and you can buy one, and some have; or, if you’re an Amazon Prime person, you can just download it for free; or, it seems, you can just look at it for free.


I think that’s a link. Check it out; free; if you can.

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I’ve been getting my drawings for the “Realsurfers Coloring Book” together while searching for the originals I did for “Awkward Guy” (evidently I scanned them to a computer that no longer is alive- but Franco has the color versions). The plan is to have both of these available in a paper, hold-it-in-your-hands version for the event. And this might be where I get into trouble in describing, simply, what Franco and I plan on presenting to whoever shows up. The leader of “Locust Street Taxi,” a very tight and professional group, Franco is a talented musician.

So, the deal is, since I have a lot of songs, copyrighted under the title “Love Songs for Cynics,” and though I play an acceptable harmonica, my singing stylings are, one could say, underappreciated; Franco has agreed to sing at least one of my songs, and, in return, I’ll read or recite several of his poems. And a couple of mine.

That was my idea. Franco’s was to open with Q&A and go from there.


Secret Spot, Illustration

The drawing is taken from a Rich Wilken photograph of Dru Harrison at Waddell Creek, a spot unknown to me but probably not secret; that photograph from the 40 year “Surfer” anthology “The Perfect Day,” accompanied by a piece by Drew Kampion on “The Day They Walked on the Moon,” July 20, 1969. About that, and, of course, more. In this case, the story was also about radical, for the time, surfing at a Western Surfing Association (WSA) contest at Oceanside, and some perfect (and uncrowded) waves at Lower Trestles.

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What I remember about the day, a Sunday, is that I went surfing, and the next day, I went to the accountant’s office in Oceanside to pick up my paycheck for the previous week’s work at Buddy’s Sign Service. Buddy’s real name, because almost no one, even someone in Florida whose son would end up learning sign painting in prison, would give a child the name Buddy when Lacey, Lacey Rollins, was available (Oh, maybe Buddy was a prison name).

Buddy, with his wife, Sandy, had recently moved from a trailer in the back of his first shop, in South Oceanside, which they had moved to from a shed, to one of three upstairs apartments at what had been the “Blade-Tribune” newspaper building, 1st and Tremont, home of his new shop. Big, high ceilings; quite Loft-like. The building was a block from the Greyhound  bus station, a few blocks from the pier. With the Vietnam War still in full swing, and Camp Pendleton nearby, for a kid from what I thought was the suburbs but would now qualify as rural, this was a pretty scary/exciting neighborhood, with waves just beyond the railroad tracks.

Buddy seemed to hang out at the office a bit, and, in fact, was there, slouching in a chair, when I came in.  The woman who was making out my check, I noticed, while I was waiting at her desk, had been practicing a signature on some scratch paper. Sheila Rollins (or some other first name I’ve forgotten).

Since I, freshly graduated from Fallbrook High, considered Buddy, at 32, old; and, in fact, thought Sandy, at 21, was a little oldish, and kind of (I’m being honest here) cheap; and definitely thought Buddy was pretty white trashish. He was good at lettering- a skill, practiced and learned; rather than in any way artistic (which is the reason I went after a job as a sign painting apprentice- high(er) art). I was a bit stunned that the woman might consider Buddy- I don’t know, desirable- maybe.

“Where were you… um… yesterday,” she asked. “Surfing,” I said, and probably went into some details of where and how good she, knowing I had seen the signatures and was probably judging her (I was), didn’t actually care to hear. “You know, you’ll always remember where you were when man first walked on the moon.”

Buddy nodded at me and smiled at Sheila, then sat up straighter when Sandy entered the office.

Sheila gave me my check for whatever balance remained, after taxes, from forty hours at $1.35/hr. I would routinely cash my check at the market on the way home, or, if it was early enough, before checking out a few surf spots, maybe surfing Tamarack or Grandview. Yeah, minimum wage was $1.65 an hour at the time. I found this out a month or so later when I found a required government poster in one of the bathrooms at the “Blade-Tribune” building; right after Buddy gave me a raise to $1.50.

“No,” I told the new bookkeeper, Sandy, “You actually have to pay me more.” Sandy looked at Buddy, lettering at a 4′ by 8′ easel, standing on one leg, like Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull (so you get an image). “I can show you the poster. I mean…” Buddy looked at Sandy, looked at me, shrugged. “Next week, then. Okay, Kid?”

I’m pretty sure I surfed at the south jetty that Monday morning, but, can’t quite remember where I surfed on the day… you know, THE day.

NOTE: My  printer is out of ink. I’ll do a color version of this later.

On Wildcard Sunday…

The actual drawing is a bit too big for my scanner. This is, however, most of it. Thinking posterization, I started the drawing on Saturday, worked on it off and on, then, up early on Sunday to maximize the pre-game preparation, I added more up to and during the Seahawks/Vikings game.

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When I decided, sometime after my wife, Trish, decided she couldn’t watch any longer, probably about the end of the third quarter, with the Seahawks behind 9-0, that I should pay more attention, give a more focused fan, um, whatever it is fans, and, in particular, fans watching on TV, might be able to contribute to a team effort, I set the drawing aside.  I went back to it before and after dinner, put my name on it some time during our delayed viewing of “Downton Abbey.” Look for a color version some time before the Seahawks take on Carolina next Sunday. I’ll be listening to most of it on the radio, cosmically cheering, as Trish and I have decided we can’t really watch close games together.   GO HAWKS!

Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to will some favorable buoy readings. Okay, I’ll focus a little more; see how that works.

It always works.


Illustration for World Mind-Surfing League

I’m going to insert this into the piece, but, since I have enough folks who get a message, psychic or over the mysterious intranet, when I post something new, I’m putting it here first. I’ve got a secret (okay, letting you in on it) plan to get this to the WSL, which I love (and was watching earlier, before the Seahawks game started. Wouldn’t it be great if they did a little skit where…

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…Hey, if you have some contacts… that’d be great. Greater. Also, I wouldn’t have finished the drawing if the surf had just cooperated and followed the forecast.

Just Chchch-Changing a Few Things

Back at Palomar Community College, taking all the art classes I could get into, I never quite fit into the scene. This was 1969-71, and it seemed more important to look like an artist than to actually turn out something original or real. Things haven’t changed that much. I really started this paragraph to say that I also took creative writing; also didn’t seem to fit in. Thing is, the artists seemed to think I was really better suited as a writer, the writers (not that I asked them, it was painful enough to act like I didn’t hate their stuff) seemed to think I was more an artsy guy.

The problem persists. It should be noted that my drawing is more influenced by Rick Griffin’s work in “Surfer” than anything I learned in class; my writing… well, nowadays I just write the way I want to write. But let me add, I so appreciate any image, verbal or visual (include music and song and, sometimes, smell) that causes me to stop for a second, or longer, just to enjoy; temporarily overwhelmed.

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I plan on adding some color to the ones that are still black and white. And I have more to work on, while, meanwhile, I’m working on a drawing that might be my Christmas (or fill in your choice of solstice celebrations) card. I’m imagining a view from the back of a wave, with the Olympics in the background. I’m having some trouble finding reference material for something from that vantage point. But, I’ll pay more attention next time I go surfing.

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“Damn Strait” and “Energy Between the Lines”

I’ve been trying to come up with a line that conveys the message that there are never any decent waves on the Strait of Juan de Fuca; or if there are, they’re rare fickle and probably not worth the effort of looking for them. Everyone who has tried a few times has been skunked on a percentage of these trips. The drawing is utter fantasy. Sometimes the waves are, too.

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I’m also always trying to come up with a slogan for realsurfers.net other than “shoulder hoppers and name droppers.”

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As with everything, working on it. Since I fired up the printer/scanner, I figure I should add at least one more so I can do a medium size; something one can look at without moving the image up and down. The waves may be going off right this minute. Somewhere, they no doubt are.

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Not that it’s all that relevant, but, after getting the drawings reduced and a couple of copies at the Fed-Ex/Kinko (unless they’ve dropped the Kinko altogether) yesterday, I made some inquiries as to what it would cost to put together a little book of illustrations. I discovered that… well, my second or third question was, “Then how does anyone make any money with books?” “Um, maybe a… printshop? Volume? Um; hey, we don’t know. That’ll be $3.66 for the copies. Oh, and you have some pens?” This morning I discovered the pens that make that in-between line I really need, the two-pack… blue. Not black. Blue. Blue like one gets from a trip to the Strait. Maybe the good kind of blue. Damn, I could have been there by now.

Sorry, I was just interrupted by Adam Wipeout. “I think it’s firing.” Bluer.

Slightly Overdrawn, Overbusy “Strait” Poster

What I was going for, of course, was that look of classic produce labels. What I have to offer, perhaps, that other artists pursuing surf-related images, is a background as a sign painter. If I’d made the lettering fatter, I might not have gotten too busy with the other images. As soon as it was done, I knew it was overdone. Damn! I considered cutting out the main lettering, chucking everything else, going with a darker, bluer background, with horizontal stripes. This would play into the ‘strait’-ness.

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Yeah, I still might do some cutting and pasting, like, with a real knife and paste. Meanwhile…