Ty, the Rambling Artist
The art of making drawing smiles and making connections, anywhere in the world.
*Stolen from Wikipedia, for the most part…
The Panama Canal (Spanish: Canal de Panamá) is an artificial 82 km (51 mi) waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a conduit for maritime trade. Canal locks are at each end to lift ships up to Gatun Lake, an artificial lake created to reduce the amount of excavation work required for the canal, 26 m (85 ft) above sea level, and then lower the ships at the other end. The original locks are 32.5 m (110 ft) wide. A third, wider lane of locks was constructed between September 2007 and May 2016. The expanded canal began commercial operation on June 26, 2016. The new locks allow transit of larger, neo-Panamax ships, capable of handling more cargo.[1 And modern times cruise ship novelty. The construction of the Panama Canal is where the expression "Another Day, Another Dollar" comes from, as the workers were rumored to be paid a dollar a day for their labor. Very much similar to the pay of the cruise caricaturist.
France began work on the canal in 1881 but stopped due to engineering problems and a high worker mortality rate. The United States took over the project in 1904 and opened the canal on August 15, 1914. There was a world war happening at the time. There was a priority strategic need for such a shortcut. One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, the Panama Canal shortcut greatly reduced the time for ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, enabling them to avoid the lengthy, hazardous Cape Horn route around the southernmost tip of South America via the Drake Passage or Strait of Magellan and the even less popular route through the Arctic Archipelago and the Bering Strait. My cousin and I were just talking about this the other night. I love history humor.
Colombia, France, and later the United States controlled the territory surrounding the canal during construction. The US continued to control the canal and surrounding Panama Canal Zone until the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties provided for handover to Panama. After a period of joint American–Panamanian control, in 1999, the canal was taken over by the Panamanian government. It is now managed and operated by the government-owned Panama Canal Authority.
Annual traffic has risen from about 1,000 ships in 1914, when the canal opened, to 14,702 vessels in 2008, for a total of 333.7 million Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tons. By 2012, more than 815,000 vessels had passed through the canal. It takes 11.38 hours to pass through the Panama Canal. The American Society of Civil Engineers has ranked the Panama Canal one of the seven wonders of the modern world.
And in a couple of weeks, I’ll be going through this engineering wonder of the world. As a caricaturist on a cruise ship. Once again, I have the opportunity to draw people from all over the world and spend little time with them on one of their life highlights. I relish the opportunity. I draw smiles, its what I do. It’s all I want to do. Well, there is another motive to the trip
I’ll be with very little internet service on the cruise, something I think Space X is actually working on these days. Anyway, I’ll be offline and disconnected and to me, that is the best part of these trips, forcefully unplug. I will also be traveling alone. This automatically forces me into an instinctive observation mode. It’s an artist thing. We are trained to look at our world in a way that most people do not see. It’s a wonderful gift to have. Sketchbook and journal is the greatest way to exercise this skill. I can’t wait, it’s like a musician practices or an athlete trains, an artist with time in the sketchbook alone in a new place with new people and new experiences…. oh I just can't wait.
This time between here and there is the equivalent to a marathoner working up to a race coming up. I’m on a routine. I’m remembering old things and trying new things and fiddling with gear and supplies and techniques. Speed drawing. A quick sketch is my instinctive method on trips. It comes from decades of quick sketching caricatures. Watercolor is my medium of choice on these trips. It’s easy to travel with. Compact. A little goes a long way. It’s versatile. I can apply to sketches later when I’m alone in my crew bunk.
That’s right, I’ll be in a crew bunk. Not a stateroom, No towel animals on my bed. No lavender or pleasantly scented lotions and soaps. Just a bunk. An RV size shower. Most probably in the front hull of the ship. Just about wave crashing level. I can’t wait.
More as this develops.
From Ty Walls:
After four decades drawing smiles I often encounter remarkable people. I've learned to create little special moments for people from all around the world with my simple smile-drawing skills. But sometimes, life creates little magical moments for me. This blog is my attempt to share them with you.