David Norcross

Good Morning Captain


Around the first of the year I saw the artist call for the Winter Community Show at the Carrack. I have plenty of paintings that I could have submitted, but where is the fun it that? My wife asked me why I always want to paint a new work for every show, but I never really thought I had a choice. When an idea comes to mind you have to see it through. And so the next week was filled with lots of studio hours, late nights and quiet time spent inside my head.

Here’s is the progression of events…

I started by walking around my garage looking for a starting point. I hoped something would come to mind looking at my primed canvases stacked against the wall and thankfully that’s when the vision hit me. I saw a canvas I had previously stretched to make a landscape. Originally it started as a mountain scene and I got 75% finished with it and lost my drive. I pulled the staples out and threw the canvas in the trash. Hopefully I would have better luck on round two. My first thought was of an old vintage television like the one I had in my bedroom growing up. It was a black and white model and had 13 sweet channels. The shape of the canvas was perfect for it. From there everything else fell into place fast. I started researching images of old TV sets and came up with the other two components – the dead air background and Captain Kangaroo. I liked incorporating these because they were from the same time period as the dial television I had envisioned.

I never really watched the television series Captain Kangaroo since I was only a year old when it went off the air, but I did read about it. The show started in 1955 and ran for 38 seasons with its last episode airing in 1984. This past Sunday my daughter and I watched an episode on YouTube with Dolly Parton. It was super weird in a really cool way. It totally reminded me of Pee-wee’s Playhouse, a show I LOVED watching as a kid.

With the whole composition in place I sat down and drew everything out on paper. I really got into sketching Captain Kangaroo and took it farther than necessary by inking in the sketch. Lately I have been doing a lot of black and white ink drawing and am contemplating the idea of doing some finished work in ink on paper. I could even do two versions of an idea, one in ink and one in color. There was a time when I felt that I could show more detail drawing than I could in painting but not any longer. In fact one of my favorite things about showing both versions is how similar they look while at the same time showing how color changes everything.


So in a week and a half I found an idea, sketched out a decent pen and ink drawing and completed a painting. It was a lot of work in short amount of time, but I feel it was worth it to create a new piece for this show. It opens this Friday and I feel good knowing that what is hanging represents what I am doing at this moment. There is nothing better than a new fresh start! Lets hope that 2016 brings lots of fresh new opportunities for us all.

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