Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Scott MacLeod Drawings 1960-1962: Part 3: Ships & Boats

USA Ship, 1962

I'd intended to post a different show this month but that project turned out to be more complicated & time-consuming than I thought it would. Time & energy are in short supply this month, as my current employment strategy has insidiously mutated from a sporadic, bureaucratic type of thing I could do in my pajamas (if I wore any) to a nearly full-time, dust-covered, sweat-streaked physically demanding killer of 50-year-olds. So I've taken the easier route & come up with another exhibit of my drawings from 1960-62.

It's not surprising that ships show up a lot in my drawings; we traveled by ship whenever we moved to a new assignment. My mom is claustrophobic & won't get into a subway, an elevator or an airplane. Car or train tunnels make her nervous unless she can see the light at the other end.

Orange Ship, 1962

Luckily in the 50s & 60s we could avail ourselves of what were still commercially viable & not-that-expensive passenger freighter & ocean liner travel industries. My friend Martin Cox has created probably the best online resource providing a glimpse into that world: Maritime Matters.

My father worked as a radio engineer for the U.S. Embassy and we accompanied him to postings in Caracas, Venzuela; Djakarta, Indonesia; and, later, Paris France. By the time these drawings had been made, I'd sailed on the SS Santa Rosa from New York to La Guaira, Venezuela, back to NYC via Aruba, Kingston & Port-au-Prince on the SS Santa Paula, from LA to Japan via Hawaii on the SS President Cleveland, from Japan to Indonesia via the Phillipines & Thailand on the freighter SS President Grant.

Minature golf on the SS Santa Rosa, 1957

Vendors, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 1960

Me keeping watch on deck of freighter SS President Grant, 1961

In 1961 we sailed from Indonesia to Singapore & back on the SS President Harrison, and did the same again in 1962. On that 1962 trip we then took the M/V Frankfurt to Singapore, Bataan, Corregidor, & Hong Kong, the M/V Hamburg back from Hong Kong to Singapore, & the Norwegian freighter Turandot, with 12 passenger cabins, from Singapore back to Indonesia.

In 1963 we left Indonesia for good, boarding the M/S Frankfurt on May 10th bound for Singapore, then Penang, Malaysia, where we took on a large load of Banka tin ingots. From Penang, we headed west across the Indian Ocean, where we were caught in a monsoon that put the ship at risk.

I vividly remember trying to sip warm Canada Dry Ginger Ale from a can in an effort to quell the prodigious vomiting brought on by the lurching of the ship between huge swells. We would slide sideways up a wave till one side of the ship was suspended in air at the crest, then slide nauseatingly down into the following trough. Later the captain told us that without the weight of the tin ingots in the hold, the ship would have likely capsized. This drawing, done three years earlier, seems prescient:

Ocean Liner On Big Wave, 1960


Sphinx, Great Pyramid, Ray-Bans, 1963

Passing through the storm, we continued on our way to Suez, where we debarked and made our way by land towards Cairo for a couple days of sightseeing. Our ship made its slow way through the locks of the Suez Canal and we re-boarded her at Port Said, on the Mediterranean coast. We sailed to Naples, left the M/V Frankfurt, spent a couple months driving around Europe, then returned to Naples and boarded a ship (I can't remember which just now) for New York City.

Sipping Coca-Cola by Lago di Como, 1963

I was barely seven years old & had traveled around the world solely by surface transportation. In fact I'd logged enough sea miles to have gone around another half turn as well. I've always been very grateful for this experience of having seen, up close, nearly every mile traveled, and credit it as one of the most profoundly influential of my life.

And in fact it was aboard ship that I made my performance debut, backed by a big band, singing what song I will certainly never recall:

Singing on ship, (1961?)


Anyway, enough autobioblather - here's some more types of boats:

A paddle-wheeler about to run over several men in a canoe, 1960

Some sort of odd houseboat? 1960

About as square a yacht as you can imagine. Some flag-waving & some mysterious activities & appurtenances. 1960


Fishing Fleet, 1961

In Indonesia we had use of a sailboat, Ichiban, Japanese for "Number One," and its skipper Eddie. We'd sail out and around, nothing too adventuresome though on one trip we got caught in the edge of a storm and things got pretty dicey. Mostly it was calm sailing over coral reefs. If we went swimming we'd have to wear sneakers or the coral would've shredded our feet. This drawing above also pictures two junks, which I'd seen plenty of by then, and a canoe, which I'd probably only seen in movies.

Raft Rescue, 1960

Here two people on a large square-rigged sailing vessel are probably rescuing two people on a raft. If they'd been pirates putting two people on a raft, I'd definitely have drawn a skull & crossbones flag.

Two Aft, 1960

This miiiight be a covered lifeboat; I'd seen lots of them in real life & in the movies.

Piranesi Ship, 1960

The stacked ziggurat shape is typical of how I drew large ships, but this double-stack is over the top even for me; maybe Piranesi drew this one.

And here I'll leave you with a cheery drawing/collage from those bucolic days of May '62: sun, sea, snorkeling, fishing, seagulls overhead & even sensible UV-blocking headgear.

Sailboat Party, 1962