August 09, 2013

Look Who Just Turned 50!

By Doug
Question: what do you get when you have original old maps of the Pacific Ocean and add sailing items like pieces of old compasses, an old sail, canvas, part of a mainsheet, ring dings, wet & dry sandpaper, and a Zhik bag? You then add a little silk, coins from the US, Canada, and Spain, and some feng shui. You then give it to Erika Iris, an extremely talented artist who inspired a music video that has been seen over 700 million times. And what do you get? A portrait of Pam for her 50th!

The background of the Pacific Ocean is because that's our background too - we both have distant relatives whose paths crossed many, many years ago. Pam's relative actually discovered the Pacific and my relative was the most traveled person in the Pacific in the 1700's (on all of Captain Cook's voyages as well as the Bounty). So sailing is very much in our blood. How cool is that!

Update from Pam: My 50th was something I was hoping would just sneak by without notice. Doug, on the other hand, wanted to make sure it was celebrated, commemorated and never forgotten. Mission accomplished.

It’s very flattering for Doug to have put so much thought and planning into his gift and it has such meaning to him which makes it even more special. First, it was done by his favorite artist who is quite selective in the projects she takes on. Getting her to do it was his first hurdle. After she agreed, the project took on a life of its own and pushed the artist way outside of her comfort zone since most of her art has a simple white background. Second, it is made entirely of materials that have special meaning to us and celebrates how our history (and destiny) has crisscrossed and stretched back hundreds of years.

The picture doesn't do the portrait justice. There was no ‘ink to paper’ on any part of this portrait. The white of my face is made from an old Butterfly sail and the features of my face and hair is made from the material and netting of a Zhik bag with a little gray wet/dry sandpaper mixed in for texture. The highlights in my hair are both from the cord of the Zhik bag and well as a piece of Doug’s main sheet that he used when he won his first Laser Master Worlds in Chile (in the Pacific Ocean). My earrings are ring dings. The background is sprinkled with history and symbolic items that range from maps of the Pacific, Texas, and Canada to compass parts facing my best feng shui directions and includes sail canvas cut into bread fruit leaves (symbolic of the Bounty), scores from the Chile worlds and coins of significant year and origin. The silk ribbon at the top is intended to come off but Erika added it as ‘gift wrapping’ and silk is the traditional gift for 4th anniversaries which Doug and I just celebrated a few weeks ago.

Well played dear Doug. Yesterday, as Doug sat and watched the video of the foiling Laser on the 100 Races blog he was grinning ear to ear and drooling and said he’d picked out his Christmas present. Coincidence?

Many thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. 

To highlight the talent of the artist, this is the picture Doug sent her and the first sketch she sent him. I rarely like any picture of me but a sketch that removes wrinkles, dark circles and all signs of age is just plain cool.


  1. Some very interesting ancestors. For an excellent book on the Bounty, I recommend Caroline Alexander's "The Bounty". Your ancestor is mentioned 20 times.

    1. Thanks, I'd love to read it.

      As a loyalist, he was also in the 23 foot launch that traveled 3,600 in the open ocean, apparently still a record today. And William was also the first person to circumvent the globe 4 times.

      When you look at the recent sinking of the Bounty from hurricane Sandy, you start to appreciate the skills these sailors must have had.

  2. Wow. Sailing really is in your blood!

    And what a wonderful unique birthday present.

    Happy Birthday Pam!

    1. Erika's art uses materials related to the subject with a white background so that the subject pops out, and that's what I expected (Pam had no idea we were doing this). But Erika chose to use original maps of the Pacific as our background which was unexpected and brilliant.

  3. Very cool, Doug, on all accounts! :)

  4. This is amazing - and really thoughtful - happy birthday!


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