The Drawings

By the time we reach the ripe age of ten years or so, I think  we have attained the pinnacle of our  skills in a couple  of areas that come  to mind,  namely  in swimming and in drawing.  You  could  analyze the  swimming skill of a forty year  old,  and for most people it has not advanced  past  what  they were capable  of  doing when they  were ten  years old (think “Marco Polo”).   By  the  same  token  our  ability  to  draw suffers a similar arrested development.   So as adults  we still  draw as we did as pre-pubescents.  As a

siljan with cat outline 2

case  in point, I submit  this  picture, drawn by  me at the age of fifty five years.  As my interest  in Lake  Siljan  has grown,  I quickly saw the  form of a cat in the lake, and without  too much  imagination I could see that  in fact a fish had latched onto the back of the cat.  Within a few strokes, I’d  exhausted my  drawing skills,  but  I  had managed  to document  this idea, and pass it  on to my  nephew,  Jesse,  a twenty  one year old from  Portland, Oregon.  

Much like  I  have  applied myself  to  swimming in my post-ten-year-old life, Jesse has  applied himself  to drawing.  Through  a series of emails and  phone  calls,  I conveyed  some ideas  to him about my intent to swim across a Swedish lake.  Some of the  topics that came  up were: chimeras, the words of Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin,  Nordic mythology, signets, salitter, Odin and his ravens, the Dala horse, atavism, Major Tom, and images such as these (aurora borealis,  swirling bats):



As an aside, let me say that  Jesse’s grandfather,  Verne, was a lifelong swimmer,  and  it  happens that  Verne was instrumental in providing me a glimpse  of ocean  swimming,  and the fundamental  desirability  and beauty  of  this sport.  And  thus one day, at the  age of  23, I  stubbed out  a cigarette in the sands of Laguna  Beach,  and  followed him, his  son Mark, and my  brother  Steve (Jesse’s  father)  into  the Pacific Ocean,  for my  first ocean swim.  And so….I was set on a path thirty two years ago that  I continue along even today.

Anyway, Jesse has shown a unique  ability to  gather the themes of our conversations and emails,  and incarnate  them  into  forms (drawings) that have sublimated my  initial  concepts and  thoughts, as I’ve pondered  the swimming of Lake Siljan.  Below is  an incomplete gallery of some  of the results of  his applying pen to paper (click an image for slideshow)…
(More of Jesse’s work is on flickr.)

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