Cold Days and Dark Waves

Here’s a photo of a spot you or I will, most likely, never surf, and a painting (in progress) of a spot that exists, possibly only, in the artist’s mind:

peterspoint

stevedarkwaves

What they have in common is the atmosphere.  It can be bright and sunny on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, but the darkness, the variations in gray; shining silver to near-black; this is more common.  With the orientation, north shore, low sun over high mountains, it can seem like dawn in the daylight hours; 7:30 or so to 4:30, right about now; and almost a month until the solstice.

The painting is by Stephen Davis.  My critique, shared with him: Love the sky, love the waves; not sure about the green foreground.  Steve’s response: “I’ll be going back in; I’m trying different techniques; want to get the cobbles just right.”  Stay tuned.

Oh, and about the photograph. It’s not where I thought it was, and I had many more clues than I’m willing to share with you*.

Oh, oh; I am taking some advantage of the short days, working on my novel, “Swamis;” and, editing the shit out of what I’ve already written first, second, third drafts of, without getting to the exciting climax, the famous December ’69 swell, I have gotten to the point where I’m a bit afraid to share too much.  I am (possibly delusion-ally) envisioning it as a limited series.  Netflix, Prime; yeah, they could use a surf-centric/murder mystery/coming of age story/fake memoir with way too much dialogue (and not enough surfing for a real surfer) set in a world of hyper change: Home grown marijuana, revolution, war, love, and magic; North County, San Diego, 1969.

See? In 90,000 (or so) words less than the novel, I may have just said too much.  Happy Thanksgiving.

*If we talk in person, I do have some session stories I could tell.  (crowds, skunking’s, scores, entanglements, wind, rain… all the usual northwest stuff).   See you out on Surf Route 101.

WAIT, WAIT; I’m adding another painting; entirely because I made some reference to ‘the ninth wave’ in an email to Drew Kampion, and, well, I felt compelled to look up slash Google the term, one that I’ve heard, casually, as in “So, you’re probably going for the ninth wave, huh?”  No, I probably tend to go for the first or second wave; and I have tried to explain to people that waves rarely show up in nine wave sets.  Doesn’t matter.

So, evidently there is a book, “The Ninth Wave,” with some references to surfing in the nineteen thirties and forties, written by Eugene Burdick.  I haven’t read it.  Burdick died of a heart attack at age 46, in 1965 (the year I started board surfing, not that that is in any way ironic).

AND there’s a famous painting, “The ninth wave,” or, possibly, “After the ninth wave,” which I have seen, not in person, but on TV; described as probably the best marine painting of all time by, if I remember correctly, Rick Steves.  The work is by Russian painter, Ivan Aivazovsky, and, possibly coincidentally, it goes with the theme of this piece.  Since I already downloaded it, I figured I might as well display it here.

HERE:The-Ninth-Wave

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.

 

It’s Quid pro Joe, Chris

I would like to do what I can to help Chris Bauer, Port Angeles surfboard shaper, sander, glasser, ace repair specialist, and old school surf shop owner (which I will explain); and, in return, I would appreciate any help he might be able to provide to aid my career goals (ie; sell some shirts, art).  It’s a classic quid pro quo.

Chris has a stripped-down (other than a great mural by northwest surf artist Tod Fischer in the showroom) surf shop in a commercial building on 101 west of Port Angeles (just before- if you’re headed out searching surf- the gas station run by the Lower Elwha folks). There’s a big roll up garage door, usually closed, and a surfboard hanging over the mandoor, the possibly-sharpie-written sign reading, “Last Stop Surf Shop.”  Hope I got that right.

If, upon entering, you notice it smells like resin; yeah; it’s because there’s a glassing room in the back, and, on my second visit, I discovered there’s a separate shaping room behind a wall hidden by surfboards, new, used, and under repair.

chrisbauer

Chris Bauer, left, dressed in a first edition of the first Original Erwin t-shirt, holding a classic, early 60s style board he shaped, glassed… everything necessary to create a beautiful board- perfectly-wrapped rails, extra layer of glass on the nose, tail, with, on the other side, a deck patch.  The glassed-on fin, incidentally, is the old school, squarish, pre-Greenough skeg, which, I told Chris, surfers of the era were very stoked to be moving on from, on to the more rakish, turn-allowing fins.

Nevertheless, a beautiful board.

Oh, part of the thing about being old-school is that his shop isn’t about fashion over performance.  Yes, but if he had some Original Erwins…

Okay, shameless self promotion aside (other than mentioning that there are Original Erwins available at Tyler Meeks’ DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE), here’s what Chris and I have in common: Joe Roper.

joeroperroperfirstshop

The top photo shows Joe at his very modern shop somewhere east of Pacific Beach where, in 1971, age 20; and Joe was a 14 or so year old ‘pier rat,’ surfing Crystal Pier like it was Pipeline.  Yeah, I have written about this previously.

The lower photo shows Joe’s first repair shop, kind of stuck to the side of the old Gordon and Smith shop in Mission Beach (note the twinfin with glassed-on fins on the trashcan- olllld school).

Chris started his career as a ‘hand sander’ for Joe Roper, the only kid whose name I knew in my time in P.B. (I’ve since discovered another Crystal pier rat, Roper contemporary, Olympic Peninsula surfer ‘Big’ Dave Ring).  “Well,” Chris said, “I had to start somewhere.”

And how was Joe, who I once observed kicking his board at and into (full body hit) another surfer because (and I asked him) the guy was from Clairmont, which, incidentally, is less than five miles from the ocean, and probably five miles closer than Joe’s current shop in Kearney Mesa; how was Joe to work for?

“He was gnarly.”  “Gnarly?” “In a good way.”  “Oh, yeah; of course.”

Joe knows his shit.  Chris learned, moved up, and, eventually, up here.  If you’re heading out, starry eyed, looking for surf; or, heading back, disappointed; you could stop in; maybe hang out.  I think there’s a couch in the main room.

For more on Joe Roper, search Joe roped surfed crystal pier like it was pipeline

INCIDENTALLY; I did catch some very small waves on this trip; me and Helmet Girl- just to explain the lack of shoes.

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.

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.

EvpervertSteve

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

The Stupid Car Fire Incident

I wrote the following piece for the Quilcene Community Center Newsletter, e-mailed (not by me) to selected people; so, to increase any possible audience, I’m publishing it here.  Thanks for reading.

BUT FIRST:  OOPS! My silkscreeners had a bit of a problem with my latest Original Erwin t-shirts. It seems 16 of the twenty shirts were printed with the logo on the front upside down.  SO, there are four available at Tyler Meeks’ Disco Bay Outdoor Exchange, and, I’m figuring the rest will be more valuable… eventually.

 

Next week there will be quite a few Disco Bay t-shirts ready, logo (hopefully right side up) on the front, two different versions on the back.

 

     I’ll let you know when they’re available.  Pretty excited.

What Could (Possibly) Go Wrong?

It was dark; so dark, and stormy; and my car was parked just off the fog line, on the shoulder of highway 101.  The hood was up and there was a fire in the engine compartment.

Fire!

Yeah, fire; and I had no extinguisher, no water; and, again, my car was on fire!

Okay. “Sure,” you say, “How did… I mean, fire… how could this happen?”

STUPIDITY.

WELL.  My 1985 Toyota Camry wagon, my surf rig, did have a bit of an oil leak.  Slight, and somewhat mitigated/slowed, if not stopped by the addition of some sort of treatment.  BUT I had made a couple of surf trips (140 miles, round trip, to my favorite spot), and wasn’t at all sure when I’d last checked the oil level.

Not at all sure.  This is the thing.  It wasn’t just the oil.  I had purchased two items at Tootsies Drive Through in Sequim; a swiss cheese mushroom burger (on sour dough- this will come up later) for me; and a Wild West burger, with a sweet barbecue sauce and lots of onions (on a regular-type bun), for Trish.  Her burger comes with onion rings (weird), but Trish prefers those on the side (and Tootsies agreed), and no mayonnaise (“No problem,” the Tootsies ‘order here’ voice said). 

One sandwich/burger was to bring home, one was for me; and I was hungry.  I had already made the rounds in Sequim: Home Depot for, among other things, various dimensions of eight foot lumber, pushed over the passenger seat, and onto the dashboard, Costco for multiple packs and/or mega-sized this and that, Office Depot for artsy stuff, Michaels for some t-shirts for my Original Erwin line of, obviously, Original Erwin t-shirts, WalMart for cheaper prices (not arguing cheaper than where) on some grocery items.

Tootsies was my last stop. 

I must back-track here.  Tootsies is kind of the expensive version of Frugal Burger, a drive-through in Port Angeles.  Both offer various burgers including one with mushrooms, my favorite (not, along with avocado, Trisha’s).  So, a while back, up in PA, Trish was driving and I was hungry.  She ordered her condiment-specific burger, and I got the mushroom burger.  When we got home, it was discovered that I had, possibly due to some inherited lack of tastebuds and discretion, eaten her burger.  She was pretty upset; and, understandably, refused to eat the mushroom burger.  So, of course, I did.

This act was, Trish maintains, another one of my ‘GREEDY FAT BOY TRICKS,’ learned, practiced and perfected (possibly) because I was the second oldest of seven children, and, from an early age, made brown bag lunches for my parents and siblings.  Four cookies each… chomp, chomp… three cookies each… you get the idea.  Greedy fat boy tricks.

So, the FRUGAL INCIDENT was kind of on my mind when, not quite out of Sequim, I chomped into one of the two plain-paper-wrapped Tootsies burgers.  I actually called Trish.  Again, it was dark, the weak little overhead light in the Toyota not nearly enough to discern between a sourdough bun (mushroom burger) and a regular one (Trisha’s).  “Does it taste sweet?” “Um, uh… sweet?”

I STOPPED EATING.

BUT, on the Quilcene side of the short passing zone, a couple miles south of the 7 Cedars Casino, I thought I heard something over the noisy muffler, something different than the noisy fan motor.  Maybe it was rods knocking.  Maybe.  I could just pull over, add a little oil.

No problem; right?

Well, I turned the engine off, left the lights on, popped the hood release, grabbed a quart of oil from the back of the wagon, raised the hood, and used my cell phone to help find the place where one puts the oil (let’s call it the oil receptacle). 

EVIDENTLY, while leaning over to remove the oil receptacle cap, the bottom of the quart container melted on something hot (radiator? Manifold?), and, unaware of this, I moved the leaking quart toward the back of the engine, and enough spilled onto the still-hot manifold to, um, uh, ignite. 

FIRE! WHOA! 

NOW, by way of further over-explanation, I have had two other engine fires in my long career as a car killer; didn’t drive away from either of them. So, “NOOOO!”

I sprang into action. I knew I had a towel in the backseat, but, in the dark, in my haste, I mistakenly grabbed my sixty-dollar Hobie’s Surf Shop hooded sweatshirt, and stuffed it into the sort of valley, engine-wise (if you need an image, imagine the bottom of a hibachi), not quite fully smothering the fire. 

“LIQUID!”  What?  I grabbed the Costco three pack of one percent milk (half gallon each), ripped open the box, pulled the little plastic stopper out of the spout on the middle one, and poured about a third of it onto the sweatshirt and fire.

SIZZLE.  STEAM.  White steam. Yeah, but the fire was extinguished.

NOW WHAT?  Things had to cool down.  Would the car start?  Light; I needed light.  Oh, I had no flashlight in this vehicle, but, wait; yeah; I had just purchased a three pack of flashlights at Costco.  They were, of course, packaged in that sort of plastic and cardboard encasement that guarantees no one without scissors, pliers, and a hammer can open it. 

Unless one is desperate, in the dark, cars and trucks whizzing by.  I ripped open the package, several AAA batteries (handily included) falling out to the pavement.  To make it work, two batteries would have to go one way, two the other.  50 percent chance, and my cell phone’s battery was (all the using it as a light) down to 42 percent.

YES, the flashlight worked.  Now I could, at least, survey the damage.  The engine’s still sizzling; too hot to check the oil level.

So, I waited.  I’m not good at waiting.  Probably six minutes after the fire went out, I dropped the hood, said a little prayer (with appropriate hand gestures), and turned the key. 

Bbbbbbbrrrrrrrrrrroooooo-ooowm.  Ignition.  YES!

The car and I made it home.  I guess Trish was happy about that. I had, however, again, eaten half (I thought it was more like a third) of Trisha’s burger. She, not surprisingly, refused to eat the remaining portion; repeatedly pointing out the obvious difference between a hamburger bun and whatever one calls a round piece of sourdough bread, cut in the middle to accommodate things like meat, cheese, my ‘beloved’ (her word, but accurate) mushrooms.

Oh. Uh huh.  So, greedy fat boy trick, I got both.

I checked the oil the morning after the STUPID CAR FIRE INCIDENT.  Not actually low.  Hmm.  OH, YEAH. Evidently what I misheard as engine knocking was from the vibration of the various-sized pieces of wood.  OH, and I do now have a flashlight AND a fire extinguisher, and, oh, my Hobie’s Surf Shop hoodie might not be, um, toast… does smell a little… milky.  I’m optimistic.      

 

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.

Sidenote at the Art Exhibition

My brother-in-law, Jerome Lynch, texted this to me. My youngest sister, of four, Melissa, died two years ago.  She was an artist with skills I seem to be able to only aspire to achieve.  She could do portraits, live, a sketch in her mind a finished piece of art in anyone else’s.  If a rendering can capture a soul or a spirit, she was the eye and hand and heart and mind capable of accomplishing that deed.  That feat.  That goal.

Magic.

When I told Melissa that, with my limited time for things artistic, I could either turn out some quick drawings, or considerably fewer quality works.  “Oh, go for the quality,” she said, “Definitely.”  Jerome told me Melissa would go back into works he thought were perfect, editing, fussing, making subtle changes.  Jerome knew his wife couldn’t be satisfied with something that didn’t live up to the vision in her mind.

He knew, as I know, as Melissa knew the fear of touching a work that you’re pretty happy with, knowing you are as apt to make a mistake that will ruin it as you are to add something that will make it… better.

Better.  We always want our little stop-motion illustrations, our attempts at capturing a specific moment or mood or memory, or magic, a bit better.

“Oh,” Jerome said, “she’d put more time into piece, and then I’d have to go, ‘oh, so that’s what she was going for.'”  Yes. Always.

JEROME sent me a text saying some of Melissa’s art works were part of an exhibition at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  Their son, Fergus, had written this note to go along with his mother’s paintings:

                                                MELISSA LYNCH

 I CAN ONLY SPEAK FOR MY MOM’S CREATIVE JOURNEY AS I SAW IT.                                                           She had begun a new chapter and desired to diverge from the business of perfecting the craft,               Of honing technical skills.                                                                                                                                         She was striving to communicate, not only in a visual medium,                                                                             But in a more fundamental language.                                                                                                                    She was seeking to speak in a way only truthful art can.                                                                                   Her struggles with mortality cleared a passageway for this expression                                                         And freed a voice within which spoke of wounds, fear, anxiety,                                                                      But, also, of the glory of our imperfect lives.

 In some of these works you can find tool marks,                                                                                              Damage control,                                                                                                                                                             And the tragic scars borne from deep wounds stitched together in an unsterilized environment.     Melissa sought to free her expression through honesty and vulnerability.                                                   This work helped her to experience true healing;                                                                                                 To rise out of the existential fear                                                                                                                                 And into the light of peaceful acceptance                                                                                                           And the joys of creation.                                                                                                                                               Her trials have ended                                                                                                                                                     But the experience is human                                                                                                                                      And one we all should be lucky to share.

by Fergus Lynch 

TEXT-Thanks. Great words from Fergus. I try very hard to channel Melissa in my work.

TEXT- Yeah, there was some poetry in the exhibition and I thought this artist statement outdid the other work. 

Indeed. 

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by way of explanation: TOP- Melissa did the drawing, one of her friends supplied the horses (I started out drawing surfing, Melissa horses). Composite: Top left- Melissa and me at Seaside; top right- Jerome and Fergus taking photos where locals don’t like photos taken (unless they’re ripping, and then not for circulation); Three portions of larger illustration (when I was showing a client some of my works, she zoned in on this drawing); Lower right- A drawing Melissa did for a short story I wrote.  I told her the skeleton might be a bit of overkill.  In retrospect… I have to think about it.  Check out the skilled rendering of the feet and hands, the perspective, the… magic.

MEANWHILE- It’s stormy, doesn’t necessarily translate to awesome surf.

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.