DEATH! (and my last courtroom assignment)

CHARLESTON S.C.-The jury took 3 hours yesterday to decide on sentencing Dylann Roof to death for the murder of nine members of a black congregation. The sketch below was made live last week from the media room in the Federal Court House. A video camera in the courtroom showed his cold, emotionless expression which I was able to capture live in my journal in pencil and watercolor. The other two sketches were sketched live from inside the courtroom that morning.

For now, I’m calling this my last courtroom assignment and will be focussing on more uplifting themes for my art like National Park murals, and portrait commissions.

roof-jan-4-six

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

DEATH! (and my last courtroom assignment)

CHARLESTON S.C.-The jury took 3 hours yesterday to decide on sentencing Dylann Roof to death for the murder of nine members of a black congregation. The sketch below was made live last week from the media room in the Federal Court House. A video camera in the courtroom showed his cold, emotionless expression which I was able to capture live in my journal in pencil and watercolor.

For now, I’m calling this my last courtroom assignment and will be focussing on more uplifting themes for my art like National Park murals, and portrait commissions.

roof-jan-4-six

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Sea kayaking the Croatian coast with NOLS alumni (part 3)

SEA KAYAKING THE CROATION COAST (continued)

By Walter Cumming

Each day, as we worked together as a team and I learned more about our 11 team members, my respect and feelings of camaraderie  grew. I always find this phenomenon when traveling. Total strangers become intimate partners within days and even within minutes of working together to solve problems.

nols-team-in-broce-copy

 

The team:

jaki-mug(left to right) Jaki “Mitsi” DeGeronimo – The youngest member of the team, Jaki is a lythe, athletic, shy but deceptively ambitious millennial. In her early 20s, she started her own company, a trendy coffee house on the upscale Island of Kiawah, South Carolina.

larry-ryan-mugLarry “The colonel” Ryan  – A retired Lieutenant-Colonel, Army ranger, Larry was the oldest, most experienced, well read, educated, and to me, mysterious yet respectable member of our team. Currently living in Seattle, he was my room-mate for the 7 days in Croatia and a rich conversationalist and solid, well-adjusted companion. We had read the same books, James Michener, John McPhee, Pat Conroy, Ambrose Bierce, David McCullah, but he remained a mystery to the end. I didn’t push, like a good journalist would, but he may have survived traumatic combat in Vietnam. He was fluent in Croate having lived for a year in the Balkans with a government organization in the 1990s during the Bosnian war. His business card reads “Construction Manager Facilities, Engineering & Acquisition Division – Naval Facilities Engeneering Command”. I have no idea what that title means, but I do know I am indebted to Larry for volunteering to paddle my solo kayak for me across 6 miles of rough seas to Dubrovnik our last day; an act of courage and sacrifice knowing that I was not comfortable in the solo boat.

kelly-mug  zach-mugKelly Rodgers and Zach Isaacs. – A nurse with her nurse husband Zach, they both live in Anchorage Alaska. This may be way off the facts, but I’ll call them “gen X” (thirty-forty something?) cultural San Diego raised, by way of Dubois Wyoming where Zach, like me, built buck fences, and we both climbed the Owen Spaulding route of the Grand Teton. Kelly had a magnificent tattoo of a colorful tropical bird on her right rib-cage .

steve-mugSteve Harrington, second in command as NOLS instructor, lives in San Francisco, was an immaculate model of NOLS professionalism. A multi-skilled outdoorsman with expertise in sea kayaking, backpacking, rock climbing (we both had climbed the famous overhanging free rapell move on Mount Yonah Georgia!) Most noteworthy about Steve (whose email address is “be wise, be brave”) was the fact that he very deliberately withheld his full time profession from the team until the last day (something like Captain Miller in “Saving Private Ryan” withholding his profession as a high school English teacher). Steve’s competence and compassion displayed itself daily , from his sincere interest in my art, to his stoic enduring of a hand wound (he smashed open a finger loading kayaks without complaint). The only other skilled vocalist on the team, Steve and I harmonized “No-where Man” together while cruising choppy seas our last day. A married Presbyterian Minister (we learned our last day). Steve’s best quote was describing the difference between Outward Bound and NOLS: “ By the end of an Outward Bound course, every student has cried at least once, and on a NOLS course, the lead instructor has learned all his student’s names.”

Paul Loudermilk- Another millennial, Paul was an affable, athletic, energetic, IT professional, working for a small start-up in Houston TX. Recently divorced, we bonded over Croatian beer and pizza in Dubrovnic, trading personal details of our divorces and women. Our stories were very different but, despite our age difference (he was my son’s age) we shared a common male bond . Also, as a graduate of NOLS semester in Patagonia, we had plenty of NOLS “war stories” to share.

lynn-mugLynn Petzold – (No relation to Paul Petzoldt ) Trip leader and, unlike Steve Harrington, Lynn is a full time NOLS instructor. A graceful athlete, a competent and qualified instructor and leader with innate feminine instincts in relationships and communication, she was also quite glamorous in her black evening dress at our goodbye dinner in Dubrovnic. Most impressive about Lynn, though, was her “grace and courage under pressure” guiding the entire team of strangers for three hours through choppy seas while sick (intestinal bug our first night left her very weak but functional ) on our challenging traverse from Broce to Lopud.

princess-jane-t

nichol-mugNicole Pearce – The third of four Alaskans in our group, Nicole lives       in Fairbanks and I regret not getting to know more about her. What struck me about her was her contagious laugh, which, when I was paddling bow with her paddling stern, her laugh always erupted whenever a big broaching wave threatened to capsize us. Also, I loved her dialect which was similar to Nicoles (maybe unique to Seattle and the Pacific northwest ?) . It was a very slow cadence with an almost equal emphasis on each syllable (“Ya – know – what – I – mean?)

bill-%22heyduke%22-mugBill “Hayduke” McCrossen – Fourth of our four Alaskans, an avid photographer (Bill was up at first light every morning with his tripod as I was with my sketchbook) he lived in Steward, Alaska but grew up in New Jersey. I privately dubbed him “Hayduke” after the gruff, eco-terrorist hero from Edward Abbey’s “Monkey Wrench Gang”. Bill declared with a certain working man’s pride that he got laid off from an oil rig job, just after buying his round trip plane ticket to Croatia so decided “What the hell, I’ll draw unemployment and backpack around Europe for a few months after this NOLS course!” Most memorable about Bill was a borderline misogynistic joke that the men laughed at but not the women.

“If childbirth for a woman is supposed to be more painful than a kick in the balls for a man, then how come women keep deciding to have babies after childbirth and no man has ever asked to be kicked in the balls a second time?”

Nest post- “Terror on the Adriatic- Day three sea kayaking the Croatian Coast”

nols-map1

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

More live Dylann Roof sketches

Le bien. Le mal. Sketching Dylann Roof was disturbing for me, but a necessary eye witness visual record. True, the peace and beauty of the the seascape water colors was more enjoyable (“le bien”), but the humanity and courage of murder victims’s family in that courtroom moved me as much as the seascapes. They overshadowed the darkness  of Dylan Roof’s cold presence in that courtroom (“le mal”).

patriots-point-palmetto

hog-island1

In the courtroom, about 6 feet in front of me, was this woman translating in sign language for a hearing impaired spectator and spectator . Her animation and emotional gesturing was filled with joy and compassion. In front of her was NBC sketch artist Art Lien and in front of him was Dylann Roof.

sign-language

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NOT fake news. Dylann Roof trial today

This is what I saw and heard and sketched in Federal court today in Charleston, S.C.

roof-jan-4-six

roof-jan-4-three

 

roof-jan-4-eight

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Two more live watercolors from Charleston

After a sweaty run on an alligator trail on Hog Island, I sketched these two watercolors. Tomorrow, the interior of Federal courtroom will be less lovely but important historically.

hog-island-charleston

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Live from Charleston

meeting-street-930-amJust finished these 2 quick watercolors from outside the Federal courthouse. Dylann Roof sentencing trial has been post pond a day due to competence hearings yesterday. Media presence is quiet today. Tomorrow should be more active.

st-michaels-steeple

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This just in! Hot off the easel!

Just finished this portrait commission (with my son’s help! he has a good visual critical eye, as did my mother). Pending final approval from my client…

leslie-and-charlie-detail

“Leslie and Charlie” (detail)

leslie-and-charlie

“Leslie and Charlie”, 19″ x 24″, pastel on Strathmore grey paper

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I drew this card in 2006 but it still works.

2013 xmas card

Also, coming soon:

ON RUNNING, ART, LOVE and LOSS : Reflections of a half century in the sport

“Running a marathon is an act of self abuse, but, running one with a fever is outright vandalism!”

Marshal Frady (author of “Wallace”) to me in 1974 on the eve of my first attempt at a Marathon while sick.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Gala event last night! Exhibit opening at National park headquarters

Wonderful crowd of art and river lovers last night. (Also an Armadillo sighting in North Georgia!). Celebrities included River Keeper hero Sally Bethea, John and Dyna Kohler of Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy among many others.

photo-1

National Park Chief Ardrianna McLane (above), art patron and curator of the event, poses with my original painting last night.

photo-4

Entrance to the exhibit at historic Hewlett Lodge last night. My mural displayed on mantle of fire place.

photo-5

The creative team poses with my original painting in the conference room (left to right: designer Ted Conrnett, Reporter (desole) , Jackie Bass, Ranger Cedric Talley, and Chief Ardrianna McLane.

photo-6

… and this page from my journal yesterday.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment