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Fish for the 4th

by Amy Bowerman

Today I’m reminiscing about my younger days when I shared a beach house with a group of friends.  I spent two years on the beach and cherished every moment.  Although there was no cold like the cold of the beach in winter (not to mention an astronomically high gas bill) those few months of summer were worth every minute…especially the 4th of July.  The neighborhood would spring to life on the 4th.  Filled with festivities, parades, BBQ’s and patriotic decor.  The house I rented had a rickety, old, stockade fence bordering the patio.  My friend Steph came up with the idea to paint it.  After getting the green light from my landlord (his wife thought it was a marvelous idea) we set to work.  The background colors were purchased at Home Depot and even the not so artistic friends got in on the fun of rolling on fresh paints.  As for the fish, Steph and I took a trip to Michael’s and bought every color of Folk Art and Apple Barrel Acrylic they had in stock!  For weeks we worked tirelessly taking turns painting on days off from work and painting together on weekends.  Our main goal was to have the mural completed for the 4th of July party we were hosting.

 

fish mural

Remembering the days spent by the sea

 

I was so amazed at how this mural brought the neighborhood together.  Every day I spent painting neighbors I had never met before would stop by to see what was being added to the mural.  It was an endless stream of compliments and expressions of gratitude for beautifying the neighborhood.  One woman couldn’t stop thanking us because her grandkids were staying with her for the summer and seeing the fence on their way to the beach brought them great joy.  Another neighbor came up and complimented a particular fish saying that he woke up to it every morning when he looked out his window and loved to see it sparkle in the sunlight.  This is the fish…

fish illustration

An abstract self-portrait

 

Everyone thinks this is “Rainbow Fish”….I can assure you it is not.  I drew this before Rainbow fish even existed (2002….Rainbow fish made his debut in 2003).  This is an abstract self-portrait of myself….before I caved to corporate America and removed my piercings and was forced to cover my tattoos.  No big deal I guess in the grand scheme of things….I wear a Liger wristband to cover up the stars on my wrist because Liger’s are bred for their skills in magic…Ha!!  This is my absolute favorite illustration that I have ever done.  I recently turned it into a pinata to see it Click Here.

All of the kind words from our neighbors did so much to reaffirm Mine and Steph’s creative spirit.  Not to mention we had a life-size piece of art to enjoy throughout the year…and also to share with everyone.  At the end of the year I decided it was time to move on from the beach and to my surprise some old highschool buddies of mine had rented the house in my place.  They swore they would not paint over our masterpiece but upon attending their 4th of July party I was horrified to discover they had white washed it.  One of the guys met me at the gate to do damage control saying,  “Ame I’m soo sorry we had to paint the fence it was just a bit too girly for a group of guys, but if it’s any conciliation the neighbors have been yelling at us all summer!”  Well I guess that’s as good a conciliation as any.  Better yet  nearly 10 years later…whenever I visit the old neighborhood people still remember “the fish mural fence.”

Thanks for letting me share…have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

 

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