First Reno jumped ship - and without her weight holding the structure tight onto the 55 gallon drum, the frame rose skyward out of the water and remained there, releasing one drum to drift silently away. That left 3 of us trying to balance on the remaining drums. Then Penny saw her chance to escape being trampled or drowned. She jumped as we circled again toward the bank where Reno was running and barking!
Weight shift repeated. Out came the next drum, leaving Dick and me stumbling over each other and our sapling poles, trying to remain upright on two remaining barrels while the deck began to separate and disintegrate beneath our feet.
Finally we both fell off laughing and splashing as the raft broke apart with no barrels to support the frame. We learned the meaning of "flotsam" as we watched our creation float away in pieces.
We were wet, muddy, and smelled like something between fishy stagnant water and the inside of an out-house. Our boat building took probably 7 hours; our voyage had lasted less than 15 minutes.
As we walked homeward, bluejeans sticking to our legs while drying in the setting sun, our dogs danced ahead, happy to be on firm ground. We began devising a story that we agreed would convince our parents what caused our miserable condition. It had to be believable, in order to assure we weren't sent to bed without supper.
I watched Becker's Barn burn down one summer evening. When cleanup began, farmers nearby joined in to haul most debris down to the fence line adjoining Sugar Creek. We were 10 years old and that trash pile would beome our secret treasure for the remainder of the summer in 1949.
Dick was the first to concoct the plan to build a raft. Drawing his plan in the mud, we laid charred framing timbers on the ground. With baling twine we lashed together 2 frames that would hold 4 empty 55 gallon barrels. On top we lashed a deck of short planks to carry crew and cargo; namely Dick with his dog Penny, me with my dog Reno.
Ready for sea-trials we pushed the contraption into the swirling waters, then boarded her along with our dogs, and each of us armed with a fresh cut sapling to control direction.
It did float! Off we went - but mostly in circles because my sapling was longer than Dick's. We never decided who should be captain. While Dick and I argued who should push when and how, the dogs became agitated.
Reno became the first to abandon ship., not without consequences.
"Growing up" in rural small-town Ohio provided children a vast amount of freedom to create from imagination. One example of this freedom was a day-long summertime project of creating a raft cobbled together by me and my buddy, using trash from a burned-down barn dumped beside a creek.
Dick and I named our creation Super-Structure Raft. So memorable was our little adventure that it became an example when offering a drawing class encouraging my also-aging students to illustrate a personal story in cartoon fashion.
Let me present on my website this 3-part illustrated story of our adventure: Dick with his dog Penny; and me with my dog Reno.
(P.S. I recently heard from Dick's adult daughter, still living in Ohio. She had probably heard this story from her father, well before his death from ALS.
I dedicate these February post series as a personal remembrance of our private celebration - "Ursa Major Day".
........................ To be continued .............
Surprised, and grateful for so many responses to my "early sketch" of a Pot, I thought I should followup with my EARLIEST Artistic WORK ever recorded (and salvaged), on the back of the envelope containing my 2nd grade report card, circa' 1946.
Imagine me sitting one Sunday in church between Mom and Pop, bored, swinging my legs and fidgeting; my 5 year old sister, positioned on the other side of Mom to keep her safe from my poking her and stirring up an commotion.
I imagine Mom retrieved from her bottomless purse my report card which she intended to return Monday, signed to prove she had reviewed my grades. To avoid meltdown she shoved the envelope and pencil into my lap praying I might entertain myself through the sermon.
80 years later, I find my very first artistic rendering .. maybe titled Portrait of a Preacher in a Pulpit or View from the Pew ... complete with all the background detail I perceived then from that little church in Akron Ohio.
PS ... I was a straight "B" student in the 2nd grade. 'Teacher's comment said nothing about my artistic potential....
Rearranging pictures hanging in my studio, I came across my sketch of a pot at the end of a driveway in Fernandina Beach. Dated March 2008, I recall sitting alone in my car in a driveway with sketch pad leaning against the steering wheel, waiting for a shower to pass.
At the time, I was taking an "Introduction to Drawing" class at KSU and found myself awakened by my newly discovered talent - suddenly seeing things, everything, with a different sensitivity - a new sensibility. With the sound of rain on the roof, and my pencil in hand, I did not realize I was creating my first "plain air" drawing. (only later did I learn the proper way to spell and pronounce this new term) I also, encountered a mild form of intoxication, relaxation induced by my focus upon capturing the calming scene on a piece of paper. Little did I know where this little exercise would take my "life after retirement".
Thought it worth sharing some "pot" this wintery morn.
Another year, and a time to take stock of what has been accomplished and what to plan next.
This year-end, it's obvious I didn't keep my promise to add regularly to my website. Not that I didn't have lots to add. I simply find little joy sitting in front of a computer screen. So, publishing new posts became an ever diminishing priority for me ... Until one day, out of the blue, an inquiry drops into my inbox from someone from South Africa who stumbled across what I had once written or drawn, and I find my website has potential to enlighten or inspire after all!
In 2023, we traveled (South America and Japan), engaged people representing diverse history and priorities, joined loved ones to confront health and life issues, have been touched by scenes witnessed and some sketched, and have been reminded of my debt to the spiritual core around which my life (sometimes as on solid rock and sometimes as on jello) has been built.
So, sharing this visual metaphor, let us dive into a new year with a Christmas gift to my brother-in-law who served aboard the USS Remey. Here I'm practicing a drawing technique from a Japanese master Hokusai who specialized in "the wave". I wish you all a Happy 2024!
We approached the Cape through turbulent seas and rain. Then the morning skies opened up to this scene of sunbeams shining down through the remaining storm clouds. Most people on deck had settled in for breakfast. I was joined by only a few who were mesmerized by the glorious panorama unfolding above us.
I tried to capture subtle color shifts with numerous media and finally settled on this combination of pastel sky, and graphite sea. My first ever work in pastel! ... not my last!
Somebody in our government gets a fabulous salary to dream up "national this or that" days to satisfy someone else's whimsey. "Earthday" has, to me, always seemed to be a stupid named-day or weekend to celebrate - until recently when it is becoming obvious sea levels are rising to dangerous levels, storms are stronger and more destructive, seasonal changes in heat and cold are becoming more unbearable for man, animals and plants.
Some ancient cultures seem to always have been attuned to these conditions beyond our control. Asian cultures use the abundance of quick growing straight and strong bamboo as a building material for everything from houses and boats to chopsticks.
This scene was inspired while hiking in Bhutan, by a people with simple needs or desires but filled with happiness and smiles.
Just sayin' Happy Earth Day.
It was once a church, then a mosque, then a museum, and today a mosque and a museum. Hagia Sophia is located in a city overlooking the Bosporous Strait once called Byzantium, Turkey. The town was later was renamed Constantinople after its founder and ruler, and today is known as Istanbul.
This building was originally commissioned by the son of Constantine and built in the 360 AD after which it underwent various revisions until 537 AD when the structure took on it's current dimensions - a 100 foot wide dome rising 180 feet above the floor, supported by 104 columns from the temple of Artemis in Emphasis, and from Egypt. Impressive does not approach an adequate description of the experience of being there.
I was allowed to sketch this tranquil and moving scene during afternoon Islam prayers. The scope of the height and depth is impossible to capture on a piece of paper. The sense of something larger, sacred and enduring, for Christians and Moslems, is palpable.
God is great, indeed.
I'm honored to have been chosen as this year's artist to promote the 2023 Concerts on Marietta Square. I was approached because my art is a departure from the traditionally colorful illustrations. Hopefully my own sensory experience from previous concerts captures the delightful mood of music merging with and floating as a breeze into the trees and around the fountain on the square.