Saturday, November 28, 2009

There is more to life than sailing... or the Artist in the Family has a show.

Gale warning have been up for the past few days, as autumn arrives for real, which means... raking leaves. It also is time to look around the yard to see what is wanting for attention.

A year ago we had to take a few large trees out. One of them ended up as a totem pole, courtesy of my father's talents. Though we share some small bit of Native American blood, it is not from a tribe that practiced this tradition. Still, it seemed worthwhile, and he worked a few family images into the project.

First we experimented and produced a fine guard for my daughter's backyard fort. Fun.

Then my Dad got involved and crafted this 25-foot totem. More fun. It turns out, after much research that the National Parks Department learned that high-copper paint would be the proper environmentally acceptable preservative for the base. They had it specially formulated. I gather they had never heard of bottom paint. Before the bottom paint they suggested soaking the base in a borax/glycol mixture, which we prepared by dissolving about 2-3 pounds of borax in 1 gallon of ethylene glycol (concentrate antifreeze would work) at about 200F (heated on the stove). Several coats soaked in over 2 days did a fine job; as of 5-1-2015 there is not trace of rot. The glycol mix, after drying for a week, did not reject the paint.

Ken Frye - Watercolorist

But there is a point to this rambling discussion. My Dad opened a gallery show in Vienna, Virginia today. He's been painting and selling water colors and prints, generally of ocean and architectural themes, since I was small. Cape May, New Jersey was a favorite location, became a summer home for us, and influenced in no small way my interest in sailing. If you have visited Cape May, are interested in maritime scenery, or simply appreciate art, give my Dad's blog a gander.

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