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The Katyak. Or ... what I did on my summer vacation.

So one day Tim & I are looking over his plans to build a VolksKayak (TM) for his wife Kristy when she pops in and asks quite innocently enough, "do you think it's possible to paint the boys on the boat?"

Now the boys are Sammy and Nath, long haired tuxedo twin cats, well twin enough that very few visitors and even family can successfully tell them apart without close scrutiny. Of course I say 'sure anything is possible' & thus seal my fate.  

After much consultation with boat builders and chat room users researching what type of paint to use and how to apply it on the part of Tim and suddenly - we're off.  He's got the boat built & will be ready to paint before we know it. For those who don't know, and I was one of them at the time of the agreement, a VolksKayak is seventeen feet long and uses a stitch and glue method to join its six planes to intersect and form the shape, it's really quite fascinating.

Anyway several thumbnail sketches later, a design is agreed upon. I then convert my living room into a huge sketch pad with paper on the walls from one end to the other, because I want to do it to scale & know that with the materials we'll be using - I only get one shot - so it had better be right the first time. Hey what's life without challenges, right? Then one day Tim comes by to check up on things & sees the sketches & realizes that they are pretty big and fairly involved. But as he said, we've known you forever & we realize that it's always 'go big or go home'. So I went big. Borrowing on the very early works of animation masters Friz Freleng and Chuck Jones, I worked carefully to imbue each of the boys' charicatures with the features and distinctive personality traits that make them unique. Oh at this point you are probably wondering about  the third cat, the upside down one wearing the crown, that's Buddy, who was added to the mix when Kristy, still not having seen the full size apartment covered wall art asked, "would it be much more trouble to put Bud on the boat?"  Naaaaaaaaw, nuthin to it ( gulp).

Fast forward the whole summer, over a hundred hours spent in the shed, painting with a foreign substance on heretofore impossible angles and missing out on countless games of Call of Duty with Tim, Fred and Freddy junior. I will confess it was a hard task, very hard. Especially given the limitations I have. But that's what recovery is all about, pushing one's self to the limit & nudging that limit a little further along each time or two.

Anyway, several dozen learning experiences later (read as cussing sessions) and voila- done! The Katyak as she has been dubbed is complete. With the boys, Sammy and Nath to the bow, both without front claws trying face and eyes into it to keep a balance between catching those darn 'Koya Japan' fish (Koi) and not sliding off the side, evidenced by the scratch marks on the hull & their tails tied in a love knot. Meanwhile Buddy, ever the outdoorsman chooses to lay back, enjoy the ride & let the fish come to him, with his hooked tail under the boat. Good reason to crown him King, but with his uncanny resemblance to a sabertooth with the unusually long canines, who would ever try to deny him?

Throughout the design, there are lots of little surprises and features to make the Katyak eye candy. Just click on any of the links in the photo to the left to get a better view. As we all know photos don't always do justice, so if you're ever on the water & you see her, take a few moments to scan her over & take it all in. I'm sure Kristy & Tim won't mind at all.

Regrettably both Sammy and Bud have passed away and in many ways this project is in honour of their memory. Nath, with health issues of his own, is still on the go, deaf and defiant as ever. 

Gawd luv em.


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