Aviation & Marinelife
When I was in the ninth grade, I lived on Whidbey Island. Penn Cove, is a location on the island that Orca whales have visited presumably since beyond human history. A capture vessel/seine boat, employed by Sea World, had set a trap to capture some Orcas. I happened to be at the city dock in Coupeville when a reporter for the Seattle Times offered me $10 to row him out to the seiner with the captured orcas. Even though I didn't own a boat, I "borrowed" a rowboat and took the reporter out to the scene of capture. Turns out a mother and baby had drowned after getting tangled in the seine net. It was over 25 years before the Orcas ever returned to Penn Cove. This incident had a huge impact on my appreciation of whales.
Without a boat or an airplane, life does not exist in SE Alaska. It's all islands and waterways here. The boat is a way of life. For myself as a registered guide and artist, the boat is an essential tool to everything I do. Boats are very specialized and each specialization has a specific advantage or purpose, especially in Alaska, where a huge percentage of the state's commerce relies on fishing. To own a boat is to appreciate the history of maritime culture, which comes full circle to what I do as an artist/documentarian of my time in the Maritime World.
My first job in Ketchikan was as a "freight hog" (a/k/a, a ramp rat). I was in charge of warming up ancient aircraft in the morning, (DHC-2's) DeHavilland Beavers (vintage 1950) and loading them with gas, freight and passengers. Often I would fly right seat on freight runs and get some stick time while the pilot got some sack time. This developed in me a love of flying and aviation history.
The painting at right, Typical A.V.G. Odds, depicts an historic one-man sortie that took place in China on May 4, 1942. I collaborated with the pilot, one of the A.V.G.’s top aces, Charlie Bond, to create this painting. Read the full story.