Saturday, November 12, 2016

My Fairy Tale Ark Art In The Ark Encounter!

 About a couple weeks before the Ark Encounter opened to the public, I received an email from the Ark Encounter Art Department requesting a piece of artwork I had originally produced for an article I had written and illustrated for Answers Magazine in 2007. The art was to be used in an exhibit on the small, fairy tale Arks we see far too often in church nurseries, and children's books.( I've even produced a 50 minute presentation on this topic, a small part of which you can see here.) I could have just sent the art over to them, but I took a few extra minutes to add a secret touch that would be fun to tell others about ... later. 

I had hoped, later, would be during the first visit to see the Ark with my family. You see, the secret touch was the hidden addition of the names of my wife, Marcia, and daughter, Hannah into the artwork. But that's not quite how it happened. More on that later.

Lots of artists hide things in their artwork and in the past I’ve hidden Marcia’s name on covers of books I’ve illustrated.  See here. But this time I was excited for the opportunity to hide hide Hannah’s name too! 

When you look at my illustration of a fairy tale type Ark, find the elephants and the lions. The trunk of the female elephant is the location for Hannah’s name. And the jawline of the female lion is the location of Marcia’s name. Each of these animal's mates are looking at the hidden names. 

Can you see "Hannah" 
 in the  female elephant's trunk?

Can you see "Marcia" in the jawline of the female lion?
For all those reading this that are going, “AWWWWWWWWWW!” there’s a twist to this happy secret. You see, I didn’t see the actual print of my art in the exhibit until 6 weeks after the Ark Encounter opened. During that 6 weeks, I told a few friends and then eventually Marcia, Hannah, and a bunch of relatives on Marcia’s side of the family of the hidden names. All of them were excited to go to the Ark and see this special secret and I was happy to have them see it.

 Then in mid-August my family and I visited the Ark, and I saw the actual art as it was used in the exhibit and it wasn't quite what I expected. The exhibit was very nice, but the print of my art was too small for the details of the tiny hidden names to be seen! Nobody could see it.

Oh well, It’s still a fun bit of information to share with people even though I have to add the part about the fact that the names can’t be seen. :-)

Here they are! Really!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Tale of Two Vacuum Cleaners

Most people don’t know that right before my professional cartooning career took off, I was a Filter Queen vacuum cleaner salesman … for about a month. I’m a horrible salesman, so the only thing I took away from that “job” was a renewed love for Filter Queen vacuum cleaners. BTW I grew up with one in the house and my parents still have that unit! And it still works!

Anyway, Marcia and I got married 2 years after my sales career tanked and our first vacuum cleaner was a Filter Queen! However, it was a much cheaper model called the Princess. I wanted the Majestic which was the model I tried to sell, but they were EXPENSIVE!!! $1500 - $2000 or as much as the salesperson could squeeze out of you. That was probably the top reason I was no good at the sales game. There was NO way we could afford a Majestic so we got the best FQ unit we could fit into our income.
Our old Princess
Flash forward 23 years later and the powerhead motor burned out on our much used FQ Princess. Marcia encouraged me to get it fixed so I found online (isn't the internet handy?!) that the motor would cost $40 - $50. Not bad. But I decided to look around to see if I could replace our now dear old unit with an older Majestic for reasonably close to the price of fixing our unit. I did find a few on Craigslist, most of which were $120 and up. I was surprised to see how many generations of the FQ Majestic there were since I had tried to sell them back in 1991. I kept looking. 
This ad had been posted for 12 days!
A few weeks later while we were in Wisconsin visiting family on vacation, I found a FQ Majestic on Craigslist in the Duluth, Minnesota area that had to be TOO GOOD to be true!!! It was only one generation older than the newest model (it's about 8 years old) AND it was being sold for only $35!!! Deals like this are usually some sort of scam, but the older gentleman that I spoke to on the phone seemed sincere and genuine. He said it was only used for part of the year as they spent half of their year away in Las Vegas. And the unit had only light use plus it came from a non-smoking home with no pets! I said I'll take it! The next day we met them and I bought it... for only $35. WOW! This was no scam.
Our NEW beautiful Filter Queen Majestic!

Our new Filter Queen Majestic works and looks like almost new, except for some light wear marks on the powerhead. I’m still stunned. When this unit was new it would have sold for over $1500 at least! And the Lord blessed us with it for only $35. WOW! I love it! Praise the Lord!

Yes, you really read a blog post about a guy that loves a vacuum cleaner. :-)  And I use it too! True story!