A View From the A-Frame

1975 - A View From the A Frame

This was a sepia pen   ink wash drawing which I created on location from the upstairs balcony of my A-Frame out behind the old Charles Van Damme ferry back in 1975. This was the middle panel of a triptych I created over a number of months which showed a panorama encompassing 180 degrees. These three panels, measuring 30" x 40" each, were designed to show everything I saw within the area of my arms which extended out in each direction from far left to far right. Trying to capture this vast area was no small undertaking This middle panel is a view looking south towards Sausalito and the Golden Gate Bridge. The cool fog which frequently rushes in over the Marin Headlands towards Sausalito and Richardson Bay is seen in the background. Whitey's Marina, in the center of the scene contained the Oakland, a sprawling potato barge where Joe Tate and the Redlegs often practiced. The tall masts of the Richmond owned by Joe are seen there. Chris Robert's tall structure called the "Madonna," known by many in the community simply as the "Tower" is back on the far left. The boat in the foreground over on the left was owned by my neighbor Jane. She was a truly beautiful young lady then, who wore very little on hot days and was a joy to watch from my balcony. The boat in the foreground over on the right was owned by my well known neighbors Josie   Jose. They had a daughter named Rainbow while we lived across from each other who is my God Child. I loved to spend hour after hour using my ink wash technique, combined with my crow quill pen for the detail, to capture every minute little thing in my scenes, right down to the realistic textured look of the wood grain on the plywood covering Jane's boat, the great designs around the knots in the wood of the dock, or the mirror like reflections in the water which were creating the reverse images that I loved to study.

The people in this scene were all a big part of my life back when I lived at the community. My brother James (who is now a prolific song writer working with my two sons Christopher and Cody, both very fine musicians) pictured sitting on the left, helped me to salvage my A-Frame with George Gates, an old Alvime High School buddy from Hudson, New Hampshire. George is sitting on the rail to the right of Jim and next to myself in the center of the scene. I'm wearing a beret and looking much as I still do today, although with my long, now white, beard I currently look even more like Gandalf. My old friend " Big Dan," who towed the A-Frame across the bay to Tiburon and back (while we re-floated my new home a few years earlier) is to the right of me standing closer to Josie's boat. Jose stands in his doorway while his wife Josie and my old girlfriend Elizabeth stand together both looking up at me as I am drawing. Larry White Is shown sitting on the railing closest to the viewer of this scene in the immediate foreground. Larry worked with me a few years earlier on Shel Silverstein's boat, the "Evil Eye," while we were creating a mixed media film together on my Master's project for San Francisco State College. Larry, who was a film and photography major at the San Francisco Art Institute, filmed from my Ink wash drawings, still photographs and colored slides with his old 16mm movie camera to create our film. He is now an award winning film maker with numerous major awards for his short films from places such as the American Film Institute, the Chicago Museum of Art, and the Seattle Film Festival. He received the New York Press Association Award in 2001 for his photographs of 911. He even has a couple of short films in the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. His film there called "The Retrieval," about the community of SoHo returning to its identity, features a song which Larry felt fit the mood of his film called "Heralded Angels" which my brother James had earlier written and recorded. His site www.lawrencewhiteimages.com is a MUST SEE!!!

Starting in 1973, after I got License #30 the day it became legal to be a Street Artist, my brother James, George, and "Big Dan" became my crew that matted, and sometimes framed, my "Timeless scenes of San Francisco " at the Hardman Gallery on Polk Street which I then sold to tourists from all over the world as one of the original San Francisco Street Artists. For a number of years I commuted daily back and forth over the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco to sell my scenes. It was enjoyable after a long day in the city to return to my floating home which I shared with my girlfriend Elizabeth. The laid back lifestyle at the Gates was a nice change from the hectic life in the city.

As an artist, 1975 proved to be the most creative and busiest year of my life. Shortly after completing my triptych from the A-Frame, started late in 1974 and completed early in 1975, i created the scene "Old Victorians at California   Franklin"zon location in San Francisco that summer. I followed that up with a scene of the Cologne Cathedral in Germany that fall. Earlier, Elizabeth and I offered a German couple who needed a place to stay for a while the opportunity to stay with us on the A-Frame if they wanted to. They took us up on our offer and stayed on our floating home for a couple of months and loved the experience. In exchange they offered us the chance to stay with them in their farmhouse out in the country outside of Cologne Germany. We headed there late in the summer of 1975 where I created my masterpiece "The Cologne Cathedral", done completely on location from a small somewhat secluded park directly in front of the Cathedral in Cologne. The original, which I worked on almost every day from early morning until almost dark took me about three months to complete. This original, also 30" x 40", was incredibly detailed and took in excess of 300 hours to complete. As a young Artist who thought that just about anything was possible. back then, I proved to myself by creating five large and incredibly detailed scenes in a row on two different continents that anything was, indeed, possible.

Prints & Pricing
Please contact artist John A. Kendall if you would like a custom size: jakendall@kendallink.com or 603-763-3295.