Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dark Emotions

I'm not sure of the meaning of this, but over the last week or so, I've been experiencing a kind of despair. I'm in the middle of moving...somewhere....because...in Orlando, over the last few months, I have neither made much money nor worked on serious art, so I decided to leave (as I've noted in previous posts). Generally, I'm headed to Key West. I have my van and my sailboat, but I may sell the van and then later buy a car in the Keys, or maybe I'll buy a big sailboat, a real liveaboard... and get a wife and raise some kids... yeah, right.

But I have another opportunity, if I wish. I've discovered an atelier in Miami. I could live on my boat, sell some art by the side of the road, and study traditional, serious art at the atelier over the next few years. ...Or something like that...

I have competing desires and possibilities, and this leaves me with despair. And I'm having nightmares again, and regrets.

Nightmares and the associated "waking visual and auditory hallucinations" are a big part of my life which have almost completely wrecked me at times, but I never mention them. It's a deep horror for me, and I simply don't tell anyone... so maybe it's time I did, here, briefly. In a real way, this aspect of my soul has destroyed any kind of normal life. From a young boy onwards, I've been terrorized by all this. As the years have passed, I have, indeed, calmed somewhat. But stressful times renew the demons. And dreadful nights, followed by haunted days, ensue.

So I go to the sea, where I seem to sleep well. I don't know why.

I go to the sea... this week.


Sunday, August 02, 2009

Kruger No Longer Doing Caricatures?

I've mentioned this before, but today I found this on www.sebastiankruger.org:

"Krüger considers himself a portrait painter. Although many of his early commission jobs were for cartoons and caricature type images, Krüger’s free time was dedicated to his greatest love, portrait painting. In 2005 Krüger made the decision to discontinue painting cartoon or caricature-like genre commissions. Nowadays Krüger mostly paints for himself or creates commissioned pieces for private collectors."

...Hmm... I bet he still plays around with caricaturing when he's doodling... It's simply too much fun...

Saturday, August 01, 2009

My Philosophy

(This is an article from the 1970's, but it captures my philosophy quite well. Perhaps it will help explain my decisions and my longing... In my upcoming move, I'm planning a lot more than just "moving to Key West." I have ideas beyond simply making money from tourists: I want to live a certain lifestyle which combines my previous experiences with sailing, camping, travel, simplicity, sleeping under the stars, becoming fit naturally, meeting new people, learning new languages... I long to live an extraordinary life... The canoe mentioned in the article is just one type of vessel which is possible for such a life. My open sailing dinghy, which I'm converting into a small trimaran, is another. The point is, the vessel is cheap and very seaworthy.... Yes, I think this article explains ME better than I do.... My desire to live modestly and fully, to live my days reading and drawing, learning, and seeing the world. I dare you to read the whole article! --Tim)

From Mother Earth News. Link:


The Endless Vacation or How to Live Very Well on Practically Nothing
Ida Little

It's that time of the year again. The time when early winter's crispness and the novelty of those first downy snowfalls rapidly begins to turn into the monotonous, gray, icy sludge and slush of late January, February and early March.

Wouldn't it be great to trade this whole mess in on kind of carefree, come-and-go-as-you-please, beachcombing life in the tropics? Wouldn't that be great!? Impossible, of course, here in the late 1970's, but, nonetheless, great!

"Yes, it is great," say Ida and Barry Little, "but not at all impossible. Because that's exactly the way we've lived for the past three years, and we've done it all on far less money than you'll probably believe possible!"

My husband, Barry, and I enjoy independent and isolated nomadic living. So we really thought we had it made 11 years ago when we kicked over the traces, bought a 40-foot ketch, and began island hopping up and down the West Indies and along the northern coast of South America.

Eight years later, however, we'd both had our fill of that way of life. The ketch was a constant expense and every safe anchorage for a boat of that size, we'd found, was too populated by curious natives and/or other ships and yachts for our tastes.

"There must be a better way," we told ourselves. "There must be a way for us to enjoy an endless round of sailing, swimming, fishing, shelling, contact with wildlife, and — most important of all — solitude and privacy. And there must be a way for us to do all this on little more than pennies a day."


And that's exactly what we've done for the past three years. We've come and gone as we pleased throughout the Caribbean with summer side-trips that have taken us as far north as Ontario's Wilderness Lakes region. We've sailed and swum and snorkled and fished and shelled and beachcombed and otherwise luxuriated in the wonders of some of the earth's most beautiful places. And we've done all this for day after wonderful day after glorious day. In blissful solitude and privacy. And on the very thinnest of thin shoestrings.

Our secret? We've combined the advantages of land camping with the mobility of sail, and come up with a way of life that, for us, has none of the irritations or drawbacks of either.


We made the major breakthrough into our new life of low-cost and far-ranging abundance when we sold our 40-foot ketch (which was a constant financial drain and which would never slip into the really isolated bays, inlets, and shoals we like to explore anyway), and bought a 17-foot canoe instead.

Yes, canoe. Barry and I have traveled in and lived out of a canoe now for almost every day of the last three years. And we wouldn't trade our new life for anything. There are canoes and there are canoes, however, and if you want to duplicate our success, we think you'd do well to heed our advice when you go shopping for this vital piece of your wayfarer's equipment.

The most common and least expensive canoes available are made of aluminum. Forget such models for extended cruising. They're cold to the flesh, noisy on the water, too fragile for use around coral, and difficult to repair in the field. Fiberglass is warmer and quieter, but still too prone to coral punctures and sand abrasion. And wood, while quite good, needs more regular maintenance than we're willing to give it.

What you want is a canoe made of ABS plastic. Ours is a 17-foot Chippewa model (that we've fondly named Manatee, or "sea cow") made up for us by Mr. Deane Gray of the Old Town Canoe Company in Old Town, Maine. It weighs only 70 pounds, is warm to sit on and is tough.

At one time or another during the past three years, we've used a crane to pick the canoe up by the ends when it was fully loaded with 1,000 pounds of gear, left it out all night (again, fully loaded) banging against sharp coral reefs, and otherwise "put Manatee through the mill." Yet the little craft still shows only minor dents and scratches and has, to date, required absolutely no maintenance.

What's more, our ABS canoe wouldn't sink even if we could somehow manage the impossible and break her into little pieces (this particular variety of plastic always floats). And if we ever do find a way to make a major dent or puncture in Manatee's hull, we'll simply repair it — quickly, easily and right in the field — with a little kit of supplies that Old Town included when we bought the boat.

Our 17-foot Chippewa is also versatile. It has the highest bow (25") and the most center freeboard (15") of any commercially available canoe. We ordered Manatee with a full deck cover of rubberized dacron and a 55-square-foot lateen sail. If we have to, we can take the ole girl out on days when wind and waves occasionally bring a moderate amount of water over the bow, and, in calmer weather, we've used the sail to move us hundreds upon hundreds of miles without spending a nickel on an engine or fuel and without once dipping an oar into the water. And when we get to where we're going, the two of us — with no additional help — can lift the tiny boat and slide or roll it onto a beach.

In short, we owe most of our newfound freedom to our little 17-foot ABS canoe. Thanks to the craft, we can come and go as we please while "the sea supports the load, and the wind moves it along." Manatee allows us (unlike land-based backpackers) to indulge in unlimited nomadic travel without once suffering back strain. Without, in fact, even having to "paddle our own canoe," except for the few times when we've foolishly let dying trade winds leave us stranded some distance offshore.

And the price is certainly right! We never spend a penny for an engine or fuel, and Manatee only cost us S1,000 (as opposed to the $15,000 we were set back by the purchase of our 55-year-old 40-foot ketch). Surely this canoe is the best investment we've ever made.

We spent the first couple of months that we owned Manatee just practicing the art of sailing her. And we quickly learned that, although the little canoe carried only 55 square feet of sail, she responded with a great deal more sensitivity than our former ketch (with its 1,000 square feet of sail) had ever done. It was a struggle, in fact, to keep from capsizing our new boat in the beginning!

A little practice, though, soon taught us the fingertip control we needed, and it wasn't long before we were both maneuvering Manatee in and out of impossibly tight situations with a deft touch.


Once we had a boat — which told us how much we could carry — we began to think about choosing our main cruising grounds, which would tell us what to carry.

That choosing wasn't really too difficult. Barry and I both loved the long white beaches, clear water and abundance of sea life among the bright coral reefs of the Bahama Islands. A few afternoons in the library, spent, in large part, poring over Harry Kline's Yachtman's Guide to the Bahamas and other references to the geography and climate of these islands — was all we needed to help us make up our minds.

Contrary to what most outsiders think, the 700 or so islands in the Bahamas are mostly dry, barren, and deserted. Most of the people who live there have migrated to the cities of Nassau and Freeport and to a few small settlements on what are popularly referred to as the "Out Islands". This was just fine with us since it meant that we'd find plenty of solitude as we cruised the Bahamas.

We also knew we'd be able to do that cruising in comfort since, as we learned to our joy, the temperature of the Bahamas averages 77 degrees (just right for stripping down to birthday suits!) during the winter months.

And we figured we could cruise the Bahamas in safety, since most of the islands lie so close together that, as it's turned out, we can hop right down the whole string of beaches with only a couple of "dangerous" 30-mile-long passages to negotiate. Most of the time, we do our sailing while hugging one shore or another and darting in as we desire for a closer look at interesting items on the beach. (If you've ever been forced to stand a half mile off a coast while cruising in a deep-draft boat, you'll understand, and probably envy—the freedom our little canoe gives us.) The Bahamas are ideal for this kind of small craft island hopping.


As soon as we decided that we'd be spending most of our time canoeing up and down the Bahamas, we began assembling the equipment we'd need to make ourselves as self-sufficient as possible under the conditions we'd find in those islands.

Although any tent is better than none, I suppose, we've found that only the lightest, tightest and roomiest is good enough for our nomadic way of life. Spend what you have to, but get the best you can buy.

We started out with a two-person tent but, since we live in such a shelter year-round, soon determined that we needed something bigger, something with enough room for a "library" and "playroom"! We finally settled on a four-person, insect-proof model that weighs only five pounds and packs into a roll which measures just six inches in diameter and 12 inches long. It was manufactured by our friends, the Stephenson family (22 Hook Road, Gilford, New Hampshire 03249), and we recommend it highly. .

A stainless steel grill, a small stove (for those woodless and rainy climes), a set of nesting aluminum pots, a large frying pan, four 5-gallon water containers (salvaged from alleyways behind hospital laboratories), a plastic water bed for additional storage (remember, it's dry in the Bahamas!), and miscellaneous knives, forks, spoons, cups, plates, etc., make up our kitchen gear. This, plus a small typewriter, a camera, film, paper, books, charts of the islands and our copy of Kline's Guide, cost us about $500 altogether and is all kept stored in a big ice chest.

Our initial stock of dried soup, powdered juices, milk, sugar, flour, yeast, rice, oatmeal, grits, cooking oil, coffee, spices, Wagner's tea, rum and other foodstuffs ate up another S150 of our original grubstake and was stowed — their replacements still are — in two duffel bags. (And don't make the mistake of limiting yourself to some sort of self-imposed Spartan diet that you don't really enjoy if you do take up our type of nomadic life. You're out to have fun, remember, not to "rough it" or "prove" anything.)

And then there's our diving equipment: snorkels, masks, fins, spears, Hawaiian slings (which propel the spears like arrows) and wet suits. All of which cost us another $250.

We already had most of the clothes we wear (nothing fancy, since we live so casually), bedrolls and other miscellaneous items that we use from day to day. We probably spent only an additional $100 or so stocking up on such gear when we embarked upon our new life.

Everything considered — canoe, tent, cooking accoutrements, food, diving equipment, books, typewriter, clothes, etc. — we didn't tie up any more than about $2,000 in "fresh" money when we took up our cruising existence.


Although I've stressed the nomadic elements of our life, Barry and I don't really cruise all the time. As the mood strikes us, we like to settle down on one or another of the many tiny, remote cays (pronounced "keys") in our islands for three or four months at a stretch. We may, of course, use our canoe for short excursions almost every day during one of these periods, but we really aren't going anywhere important and we know that we'll be back to spend the night at our semi-permanent home.

The only fresh water we have during one of these sojourns is the supply we collect in little potholes (which we dig) from passing rain squalls. And, despite the fact that there's never much loose soil on our tiny Bahama atolls, I like to scrape up what I can and put it into a five-foot by three-foot by ten-inch-deep plastic box for a garden. I mix dead leaves and pine needles into the sandy dirt to raise its acidity and plant carrots, tomatoes, squash, green peppers and lettuce (none of which are ever worth the effort) and either Chinese or Jersey Wakefield cabbages (which, if watered daily and shaded from the mid-day sun, mature in two months, but never head). Someday I'm going to learn how the natives grow such nice pineapples, sweet potatoes, cassava, guava, sugar cane, sours (local oranges), peppers and other fruits and vegetables down here.

Then again, maybe it's better if I just let the folks who know about farming take care of the fruits and vegetables while Barry and I concentrate on spearfishing. Many of the people we meet while cruising are afraid of the water and only too glad to accept a few of our fish and lobsters in trade for sweet potatoes that melt in the mouth, tomatoes which are a meal in themselves, and other homegrown taste delights. Barter wins again!


Barter or no, there are times when we find ourselves in need of a little ready cash, and we have two main ways to scratch that itch.

First, we freelance articles and photographs (just like the article and photos you're now looking at) about the free and easy life we enjoy. And, second, we've become skilled enough at diving for spiny lobsters to work with local Bahamian divers for $5.00 an hour. Neither of these pastimes earns us an overwhelming amount of money, but then we live modestly and there aren't many 7-11 stores to tempt us into spending our few shekels out on the cays.


Our main dietary staple is fish and, cruising or stopped, we dive and spearfish two hours every day. (When cruising, we always make camp around 2:00 p.m. so we'll have plenty of time to go out and hunt up our supper from the nearest reef. We just roll Manatee up on a beach with the help of a couple of boat bumpers — inflatable cylinders 20" long by 6" in diameter — and unload all our gear except for the diving equipment. Then we sail to a likely looking reef — it's easy to see the orange coral, purple sea fans and yellow fish through the clear water — and get on with our fishing.)

Diving twenty or thirty feet to search the intricate coral for fish and crawfish always rewards us with enough food for both supper and the next day's lunch. So we return to camp, pull Manatee up above the high-tide line, and park the canoe under a coconut or casuarina pine tree. Then either I fillet and cook the evening meal while Barry pitches the tent, or vice versa. (We take turns so that each of us will always appreciate what the other is doing.)

About that time, we might take a break to play a game of "Go" or write letters or take a walk along the beach to watch an osprey do its afternoon hunting. By the time the sun goes down, we're relaxing in our hammock and enjoying a ritual round of rum-lime cocktails and peanuts.

As the twilight darkens, we move into the tent, bringing with us the fried grouper steaks from the grill. Dinner by candlelight then follows as a sea gull outside the shelter delights in her feast of fresh fish carcass. Finally, a few pages of a Conrad adventure sets the mood for pleasant dreams.

"But don't you ever get bored?" we're often asked.

No, we don't. We both entertain ourselves easily alone and together. We both sail Manatee, dive, cook, read, write, play "Go" and chess, take pictures and watch and sometimes tame the mockingbirds that live on the cays we visit.

Our little boat takes us off the beaten path to uninhabited and ill-charted islands that no one else ever visits. And, once Manatee is securely beached and our tent is pitched in the shade of an Australian pine, we're free to explore untrod beaches to our hearts' content, free to take all the time we want delighting in the shells, birds and other little treasures we find. If anything, the days are a little too short.


If the days are never quite long enough, though, we love 'em just the same. Perhaps because we're living exactly the way we please, with as much solitude, privacy and sea-washed sand as we can possibly enjoy.

And, whenever we do get lonesome for other humans or want to replenish our stock of bartered or store-bought food, we're never more than a short, refreshing sail from a small and friendly settlement. It's no trick at all to pick up the latest news, a little gossip and all the provisions we want, and be back on our own private little cay that same day. Ain't life wonderful!

Perhaps you'd like to carve out such a free and easy existence for yourself too. And I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to do exactly that, if you can come up with the necessary original (and quite reasonable) grubstake, you can learn to handle a sailing canoe like ours, and you're physically up to our camping/fishing/swimming/diving/beachcombing way of life. Practice until you're as adept on the water as we are, figure out a way to supply yourself with at least as much money as the minute income we get by on, and give our "endless vacation" a try.

Come on in! The (Bahama) water's fine!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

An Explanation

You know... I have completely explained myself in previous posts. I've explained that I've NEVER BEEN HAPPIER than when I sailed away in my sailboat. That is a powerful statement, don't you think? Why should anyone deny me that life? I've never been a better person than then. For the first time in my life, I was succeeding. I've tried to explain the beauty of that life, short as it was, and I've tried to explain how horrified I was to be "sucked back into" my old life. (It's more complicated than that, but I won't go into details.)

I never should have looked back.... I should have kept going, sailing south, nursing my broken sailboat to the Keys, and sold my art to the tourists... as was my plan.

But my plan had had so many difficulties... Man... And one of the main ones was that I was under the impression that I wouldn't be allowed to sell my art in Key West at the place I'd intended to do so, at the daily art festival in Mallory Square. Difficulties...

I had a weak moment, and the next thing I knew I was in Orlando, a landlubber again.

And then, LAST WEEK happened to me. Back here in Orlando, languishing with little work and little pay at the height of the tourist season, the IRS came after me. They levied my pay, and without a little help from my sister Diane, and a small pay advance from my friend Barbie, I'd be living on the street right now. Or in my van, specifically. ...In the end, the IRS backed-off, and all is well for the moment. But the whole episode gave me pause. At one point last week, as I was driving home from one of the IRS meetings, my van blew-out another tire... right there on Interstate 4 in downtown Orlando during evening rush hour. Wow. I sat there in my van, knowing I didn't have a spare tire, and I thought, "Something must change. This life isn't working."

The kicker is, since I've been back to Orlando and rejoined the legions of caricature artists in this town, I have found myself virtually unable to do any serious art. I've been working on one particular oil portrait for FIVE MONTHS, messing with it here and there, but too distracted by this city life to really "get into it." Back on the boat, art was my total life.

Let me say that again. Back on the boat, art was my total life. That is, unless I was sailing. Man, what a life. Hard, to be sure, but I've never been better at anything than I was at that life, in a sense, in my mind, and that's what counts. I had no TV, no computer, but I was active and getting resourceful and independent, and I was getting quite thin and tanned and strong, and I spent my hours reading and painting and watching the dolphins, and planning the next voyage. ...Then I made a bad decision and ended-up stuck up a Tampa Bay canal for the winter, unable to make money, not in the Keys, hating myself... And I limped back to Orlando in February, relieved at first, but quickly falling into the dissatisfaction and distraction I remembered.

And now, back in Orlando, I've nearly completed my return to chubbiness, pale skin and weak knees, so to speak.

And so... After last week, as I reviewed everything, I contacted again the folks down in Key West, and I learned that while caricature artists are not accepted at their daily art festival (too many apply already), other artists are encouraged to come and sell their work. I had totally misunderstood the deal last year.

So... Enough is enough. My best life awaits me. Next week is my last week in Orlando.

...And that is my attempt at an explanation.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Another AK Day

Finished that one from last night, just for fun:

Cute kid:

Missed the guy's head shape. I blame the blinding glare I suffer with there. LOL.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Still Some Disney Money to be Made...

OK, so next week is my last week, and I'm hoping to make some money. Yesterday (Sunday) was a good start, working a double and grossing nearly a thousand bucks, of which I get about $300. And tonight I had an easy shift at a hotel, and I just relaxed, feeling happy, feeling confident and content in my decisions. Haven't felt that way in a LONG time.

Here's something funny I was working on tonight, sitting at the stand... I'd seen a lady who looked mean and sad simultaneously, and I tried to remember her and draw her, but I ended-up drawing a lady who looks Indian to me. Interesting. Will finish and post.

And here's just a simple caricature, but it seemed to pop to me, to feel right, to be exaggerated just so slightly and perfectly, so I snapped a pic. It was a good likeness.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

It's Official, I'm Headed to The Keys

I've had a crazy, stressful week, the worst week of my life almost, but I fought back, and the week is ending with terrific news. I have an opportunity in The Keys which is the stuff of my dreams. Will elaborate later.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Jackson caricature, 4B pencil

Not really finished yet, and I made some irreversible mistakes, but it has some good qualities, I think.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Durkin Caricature

I'm really enjoying learning to use graphite. Seems like I would've learned it before, but my art education has been anything but normal. Really, however, what I've actually been learning lately is how light falls across forms, and is defined by shadows. Graphite, or anything else, is just a medium to an end. ...Fun! ...I think I've drawn Kenny (Durkin) from his photo in Keelan's book about 20 times now, over the last five years. LOL

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Selling the Mutineer

So I'm selling the 15-foot sailing dinghy that I just bought a few weeks ago. The price is $600, which is the same price I paid for it. If anyone is interested, let me know. It's on Craigslist, as well. It's Chrysler Mutineer 15, with an almost-new trailer. The boat needs a little TLC, but not much. ....With the money, I am buying a little time in Orlando. Hopefully, things will pick-up for me here, financially.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cannot Afford Orlando...

...Well, it's boiling down to this: I cannot make enough money to afford to stay in Orlando. ...

It's funny, because it's a surprise. I've been so concentrated on my art and my ever-changing tangle of thoughts, that the fact that I'm BROKE week-in and week-out, and the implications of this, has eluded me in a practical sense... in a sense. I mean, I have varying motivations which sometimes tug at me forcefully, and I express my fantasies outright, like sailing around the world in a dinghy or whatever, but when it comes down to not getting enough work, and realizing that the busy season is almost over, man, I wonder, how did this happen? It's hitting me all-of-a-sudden, in a way. I've thought about it a bit, but not on a practical level. And here's the practical level: my check tomorrow will be for $260 for a week's work during the height of the tourist season. After I pay $180 for rent, that leaves me 80 bucks for EVERYTHING else, gas, food, supplies, etc. That's the practical level.

...You know, when I paid 600 bucks for that dinghy a few weeks ago, it seemed all was fine. I was still confused by so many things (and still am, not the least of which is my own fickle soul) but money and whatnot seemed fine. But that has faded. I live by myself in a more expensive place now, and I still do not have a full-time schedule with the company through which I contract. I know they are doing their best to satisfy everyone, so I don't blame anyone but myself, really. Somehow I am not "fitting in"in Orlando anymore, not making money, surviving week to week, and I've lost the respect of some very nice people, I think. Ahh... I suck.

...Oh, well... Let's see. The practical level. Let's think about this. The busy season will end in a few weeks, and, in fact, the park hours start trending downward in two weeks from now. That's the secret signal, in my estimation... fewer guests, less money. ...Hmm... And if I'm going to live this life of an artist in Orlando, I wish to have an apartment of my own, alone. Hmm, let's think. I could get married, but that would mean I'd need to find a girlfriend first, and, man, that is HARD to do for me, so... LOL. (Of course, if I can't take care of myself NOW, how would I expect to start marriage and a family. Practical stuff here.) I have $123 in cash in my pocket, and about thirty bucks in the bank... and I owe the IRS $10,000, or so they say. (It's MY money I work for, so why do they think it's THEIRS? Bizaare.) That's the practical level.


...OK... So I'm thinking about this, all of this, and how lonely I feel in Orlando, even with "loose friendships" of a sort, and so, then, on Thursday I drive down to Apollo Beach for THE BIG DAY. The BIG DAY is the day I planned to clean-out the remaining mess of my stuff from Wind Song, my Islander 24 sailboat at dock down there, and sign over the title to my friend Radar.
So I get down there, and clean-out the boat. It takes hours. And, you know what happened: my heart was broken. Here was the only home I'd owned since leaving home when I was 18. And here I was abandoning it. ...Yet, I continued to clean. But I didn't finish before dark, so I decided to stay on the boat for the night. The next morning, I worked another 4 hours or so, hauling EVERYTHING out of the Islander and up to my van. (My van is now FULL of all that junk.) Whew! A good workout. (I will NEVER put that much stuff in a sailboat again!) And I indeed did get it all out.
....So the BIG DAY turned into TWO BIG DAYS, and somewhere in the middle of it, I told my friend Radar, "I'm sorry, but I don't think I have the ability to give you this boat yet." And he said, "Yeah, I knew that was gonna happen. No problem."
....So I still have the boat. I've had her for two years nearly, and lived in her for most of one year. She tugs at my heart. She saved me from certain death last year when we got caught in a gale. I've neglected her, and yet there she sits at the dock, eager still for me to join her. She tells me, "Come on, Tim, let's go. The world awaits us." Ah, ah, well, well... What to do?


So I sit here alone in my apartment again, back in Orlando, counting my meager funds and hopeless situation. One more bad week and I won't be able to stay in the apartment. It almost happened THIS week, in fact. I could sleep in the van again, but a closed van in July in Orlando is an impossible-to-sleep thing. I would be forced to go sleep on the boat in Apollo Beach, but that is too far to commute. I still have that dinghy I bought a few weeks ago, so I suppose I'll sell it. But that's a stopgap (assuming I CAN sell it). Without a fulltime contracting gig, I can't stay here in Orlando, and am NOT working fulltime lately. Of course, as the season ends...
So, what to do, what to do...? Hmm... I may be coming to a decision very soon...or being forced to do so.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


I know, I know, this is just a silly video about a teenage girl, yet somehow it has always had a strong effect on me. The theme of being an artist (or simply being a human) who doesn't connect with ANYONE is powerful in the context of my personal history, and I find the Linkin Park music compelling.

Linkin Park- Numb

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Bad Caricature

I went crazy on Sarah a couple of weeks ago, but, you know, while this is a crazy and creative caricature that some people said they really like, and I kinda like, it is, really, a bad caricature. It's bad because I did not exaggerate Sarah's big beautiful grin, but I exaggerated an IDEA of a big crazy grin, like an animal's growl or something. While it may be kinda cool, it has nothing to do with Sarah. Bad caricature. (CLICK TO ENLARGE.)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Mr. P

Sketch I did today while sitting at Wilderness Lodge.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Pastel Again

First pastel work since last year. Hard. A young Drew Barrymore from a bad reference photo. She has some crazy asymmetry going on. I think I was able to capture a lot of what I remember about her back then, but the photo I was using online sucked, all washed-out. I did my best to guess at the subtle shadows and features, but I don't think I quite got her.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sketching to get customers...

( A little more finished):

(Early stage):

(Small photos make for big mistakes):

Just sitting around at a caricature stand is no fun, so I recently decided to do graphite portraits of the faces in Keelan's book. People see me working on the "pencil portrait" in my lap, and say "Ah, that's beautiful, and for only twenty bucks?" And I say, "Well, no, actually, this is a portrait sketch, which is somewhat different from the cartoon sketches we do here, like this..." ...and I show 'em a caricature I've done. This usually gets business going. The problem is, I worry that someone might say, "Hey, you're trying to trick me!" But all I've gotten so far is positive result, although people will sometimes say, "But could you PLEASE draw my kids like that, in a real portrait?" I just tell 'em that it's not allowed, but also that it would take most of an hour, and that I'd have to charge $75 or more, even if it was allowed, and then I explain that, no, I can't give them my phone number or email or anything, by contract. Which sucks, of course, since I see SOOO many people everyday. But I think that's standard practice. ... Anyway, everyone seems happy. I give 'em CC's business card and write my name on back, if they persist.

The photo here is a recent example. About a half-hour of work, so it's a bit rough looking, and has errors, but, boy, the other day, people were really stopping in their tracks to see me work on it in my lap. I mean, the thing is, this sort of sketching is REALLY slow. I'm just going scratch-scratch-scratch with the pencil lead, slowly working-up toward the right values. But that's the point. Slowly observe, scratch-scratch-scratch, build-up the values, learn-learn-learn. It's an inefficient process if you want to make any kind of decent money doing portraits, I would think. Although I suppose I need the money. If anyone DOES want one of these, just let me know. 75 bucks.

....The main thing is, this is simply good practice.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Today at Animal Kingdom

Without a doubt, today was the hottest day EVER at AK for me. I don't know the actual temperature, but the rare breeze was HOT in my face. And being the gentleman I am (no snickering!) I let the two FEMALES with me use the only two fans we had. Whew! I sweated. ...I think all the guests went back to their hotel rooms, to the AC. We were VERY slow. So we got to draw each other and produce some FINE ART! (So to speak, lol..)...


And here's a sighting of the rare Monkey Boy:

Next, we have what I call (using a French accent)"Peachy and Sarah at the Beach" :

And, finally, Keelan meets his match:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Animal Kingdom

Getting my mojo back, a little... That is, getting some confidence back... Today at Animal Kingdom:

Dennis and a friend of mine:

...And I learned a trick today. If you're an artist who is shy (like me), you can just say, "Hey, let me take a quick photo of this drawing," and then take the pic, but furtively include the model as well... :

And then a typical mermaid:

The bad thing is, this was a great likeness. Wish I'd gotten a pic of the model.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Some Art, Finally

Some caricatures from today, live at Disney. I put away my pencil and did these with marker only, trying to increase my speed:

A "Bikini Babe," cute but a bad likeness, and some bad proportions (and she HAD to have her dog in it, lol):

A Face Only, not too bad a likeness, and she wanted to be making a "peace" sign:

Three sisters. The father said to not write their names, and he really loved the result.

And then one just for fun, from yesterday. I saw a forlorn fellow, harried among the chaos of All-Star Sports Resort's crowds of children and weeping..., so I drew him from memory, imagining his plight:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Surprise Surprise

As Jim Nabors said... lol... Hey, so, I decided to go ahead and get a normal place for myself, ...well, kinda... But at least I have Internet access... So I guess I'll still keep bludgeoning the cosmos with this blog... Whatever...

Bye Bye

Moving-out today. No more Internet. So I don't know when I'll post again. Don't have anyplace to stay, so I'll just do the Motel 6 World Tour. (My own invention!) Or, actually, the Motel 6 Orlando/Kissimmee Tour, lol... Hopefully I can get the boat going soon, and be able to camp/cruise on it sometimes, and save money. ...See ya!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Heat Exhaustion

Wow, summer is here, and, of course, I jumped right into this past week, working on my boat a couple of days, and helping Mike move, and moving myself... So it's not surprising I got some heat exhaustion symptoms.
Here's an excellent Weather Channel video on how summer heating affects your car. Interesting:


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Inspirations... We Be Madmen

I'm beginning to think that I'm at a stage in my life in which I'm finally trying to define myself, and I'm enjoying it. "Hey Tim, you draw too slow and detailed!" Yes, I draw slowly and with detail. "Hey Tim, you're not really the 'life of the party,' are you!" No, I'm not the life of the party. "Hey Tim, loosen up or something, stop thinking so much, and quit making such bizarre life decisions." Sorry, but I have always been analytical and strange, and have moved my soul and body according to a distant siren's call. ...There is a siren calling me, I think, far away, shrouded in mist, but I hear her voice, her faint, beautiful call.

And I find like-minded souls.

(Go to www.AtomVoyages.com for more detail. The below notes are from that site.)

Alberto Torroba:

"In 1990, Alberto Torroba sailed alone across the Pacific from Panama to the Philippines. That’s remarkable enough. However, what made his voyage truly amazing is that his boat was a 15-foot open dugout canoe made from a single tree. Two years later, on a beach in a remote island of the Philippines, he built a catamaran from plywood and bamboo, married a local girl from the island, and continued his voyage to China.

"The tall, longhaired Alberto is one of the truly free spirits in this world. He is not one to follow trends or take advice. He had spent his early years working on his family’s sprawling ranch in Argentina. In his early 20’s, he turned his back on ranching to explore the world in small boats. Over a period of several years he nearly circumnavigated South America in a variety of open-decked sail-powered fishing boats and became highly skilled in handling the vulnerable little vessels in all types of seas. He went on to cross the South Pacific in a 24-foot engineless sloop, and later to round New Guinea in a 19-foot outrigger canoe. "


I've mentioned Alberto before, a couple years ago, but now I realize how similar he is to me, or at least it seems to me. He has been doing things I CRAVE to do, things I've done partially, and am now actively planning. The point is, I see that my strange inclinations have precedents. We madmen are rather rare, but we run into each other every once in a while.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Name Contest!

So my new boat needs a name. Someone suggest one. OK?

...All right, so I know that's not really a "contest," so I apologize for getting everyone excited. I would like to name her, though, so somebody help me. Thanks!

Today I got to work on "her." (See, I really need a name.) Actually, I've worked on her the last two days.

First thing, I had to bend the aluminum plate back into place at the bottom of the mast. It had been damaged into a 90 degree angle by someone towing her on her last voyage. Amazingly, I got everything to line-up, and it works fine, fitting into the "pulpit" which sits atop the foredeck:

Next, the rudder I was given does NOT fit this boat. Again, apparently on its last voyage, the skipper lost the rudder/tiller assembly overboard. I bought a 5/16th-inch threaded rod at Home Depot, and used it to connect the dissimilar parts. Looks like it might work fine:

Finally, I had to figure-out how the roller furling jib works. I've never touched one before. Jay, the co-owner of Lake Fairview Marina, helped me out greatly. And it works great!:

At the end of the day, she looked like she was coming together:

Next, I'll get the mainsail on, and get the mainsheet assembly, er, assembled. Couple of missing parts there.
...And then I'll stick her in the water and see if she floats. I already know I need to replace the centerboard gasket at the bottom of the boat, but I don't think that's necessary just yet. And the self-bailer needs to be replaced, but I think "it'll do" for now.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Brought her home...

Well, actually, I brought my Chrysler 15 Mutineer to Lake Fairview Marina, all the way from Titusville, with a quick stop at my condo:

Lovely lines:

Lots of interior space, relatively speaking, and in not too bad condition:

I've rarely used these kinds of small trailers, and they always seem fragile to my mind after so many years of driving big rigs. But this trailer is only a few years old and looks and rides like new. No problems. I dropped her at Lake Fairview Marina in Orlando, and will make necessary repairs/upgrades there, which shouldn't take too long. I'd gotten to know the folks over there a couple of years ago, and it was good to see 'em again. Good day overall. Always a nice feeling.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Incredible Video

This video hits home with me, including the lyrics. The scene is of wild dolphins and whales playing, and the lyrics are of sailing and being alone.

...Somehow...somehow...it makes me think of how I probably was never destined to have a normal job or a normal life, or to be "good" at anything normal. Try as I may, I'm not that normal person, and I fail at almost everything. I'm strange, difficult, goofy, selfish, artistic, heartful... And all I want is a certain freedom and "elbow room." You know, room to operate my soul in this world. I'm always feeling cramped, in a sense. My brain feels squished, or imprisoned, without this elbow room, the SPACE to move about and search and lazily THINK. I don't know... Self-absorption is part of it, but it's more like my mind is absorbed with the reality of myself, this entity, looking out at the universe through the windows of my eyes. I am part of this universe, and I, as this entity, am the closest and most intimate element in my universe, so why not being self-obsessed? I've done so many things... I studied to be a preacher, but I lost my faith in the process. I hitch-hiked across the country, but found a boring job and a boring life in Sacramento. I skipped-about California and Colorado, working at ski resorts and being a ski bum, and working as a waiter in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but I found my way back home to Texas, only to have my mother die and thus be thrown into a wild ride of self-pity and drunkenness for years. I learned to upholster furniture, half-heartedly, from my dad, but chose to learn to drive trucks afterward, and crisscrossed the country for years. I taught myself to draw and to paint, and got a job doing that, doing caricatures at Walt Disney World in Florida, but that's a failure too, in the sense that I am NOT an entertainer/caricaturist type and I am NOT a salesman; sure, I pretend to be, and make the effort, but certainly it's not my strength. My strength seems to be ill-defined. Something unorthodox, some sort of craving or desire to move forward, to search, to see utterly new things, a kind of terrific curiosity. That's my strength, but I don't know what it means.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

New sailboat

Mark my words: I will sail this boat around the world! Well, MAYBE... I've talked about dinghy cruising before, but now I have more sailing experience and also an excellent sailboat for the purpose.

It's a 1979 15-foot Chrysler Mutineer daysailer, an open dinghy. (Chrysler once built boats.) I don't have any photos of MY exact boat, since I don't pick it up until Friday, but I collected a few from the Net. Mine looks exactly like these. And, yes, in a way, part of me wants to make a grand attempt at a life-defining event, sailing around the world in an open sailing dinghy. Now, whether I'm crazy enough to do it, we'll see later, but it's not completely insane. Properly modified, I am convinced that such a vessel is capable of a circumnavigation. Google the sailor Frank Dye and see his ocean-crossing adventures.

Here's a shot of a Chrysler Mutineer like mine:

One of the great things about a boat this size is the ability to make repairs. Instead of spending a thousand bucks to have a boat yard haul-out your big cruising boat, you can "simply" slide it up a beach and turn it over. (OK, it weighs over 400 pounds, but it's still possible.):

The most famous sailboat for dinghy sailing is the Wayfarer. As you can see, it's very similar to my Mutineer:

Another great thing about cruising in a small boat is the maneuverability. Instead of being stuck in big anchorage or an expensive marina slip, you can "slip" away into the shallow back-country or to a less-accessible anchorage, raise the boom tent, and relax in quiet solitude:

Finally, a cruising dinghy CAN go anyplace a large cruising boat can go. Frank Dye crossed the North Atlantic Ocean from Scotland to Iceland, in a Wanderer in the 1960's:

Frank's dinghy capsized a couple of times in near-hurricane conditions, but he righted her and continued. Here he is goofing-off mid-ocean:

The critical "trick" to understanding dinghy cruising is this: It is not dangerous per se, it is uncomfortable.

Of course, it actually IS dangerous, as is any activity on the ocean. But I certainly would choose a storm at sea over a driving holiday down America's highways which kill 50,000 people annually.

I suppose, in the end, I'm just lazy. Rather than have the worry and expense of a big boat which needs a motor, I choose a boat I can ROW when needed. Instead of anchoring a big boat with a big heavy anchor, I lazily toss my little anchor overboard, or I lazily sail RIGHT UP to the shallow shore, rather than going to the trouble of having to secure the big boat at a proper water depth and then get out the inflatable. Instead of working for years at difficult jobs to make enough money to go cruising in the big boat, I can go cruising, more or less, TOMORROW in my dinghy, so to speak. Instead of having a heart-attack trying to stay off a lee shore, I simply sail down to it and beach the boat and wait for better conditions. And if my boat gets damaged at sea, instead of it sinking and sending me to the lifeboat and desperate rescue attempts, I simply repair it (it's unsinkable, anyway), which may be difficult, but is completely possible, and then I sail onward.

Yes, onward.

Me and Mike's Condo

Me and Locoduck are moving-out next week, so I took some pics. He's getting a house with his girlfriend, and I'm hitting the Motel 6 circuit, I guess, unless I'm camping on the new sailboat I just bought. (More later on that.)

Here's my creepy white van in front of our building:

And if you merely turn-around, you see Taco Bell across the street (Kirkman):

And then, if you turn your head, you'll see HOOTERS through the trees. We were truly blessed! ( lol ):