Monday, May 21, 2012

Aqua Feature

When I take my break from work at Trader Joe's, I often go to the apartment complex next door and sit in their garden courtyard. They have a fountain as well as landscaped walkways, a swimming pool, and an outdoor dining area with grills. I sit on the benches or a rock-built ledge near the fountain and enjoy the sound and sight of the water, as well as the birds who come to drink at the fountain. There is a shallow pool on the lower level of the structure, and it reflects the leafy vegetation in this little apartment-block paradise. And this pool makes me think of Aquaman.

For those who know a little about comics, Aquaman was (and is) a superhero whose realm of power was the oceans and anything watery. He was a sunny blond who dressed in a unique costume of an orange fish-scaled shirt and green finned tights. No other major or even minor superhero had an orange costume. He had telepathic powers which gave him the ability to communicate with and command the creatures of the sea, and he had superstrength and super-swimming power as well. Eventually he became King of Atlantis, an undersea realm of aquatic humanoids, and he married the glamorous princess Mera.

What does Aquaman have to do with the courtyard fountain? Well, in the classic character concept of Aquaman, which was changed considerably in later re-tellings, Aquaman couldn't live in air for very long without needing to immerse himself in water or at least get wet. He had gills which would dry out and he would suffer in our world. So when I am sitting by the fountain, I imagine that a dried-out Aquaman would find this place life-saving, even if the water were little more than a foot deep and filled with murky leaf debris. The superhero would splash into the pool and find at least some basic revival, while the residents eating their grilled chicken looked on in amazement.

On Sunday, the weather was very fine, and I took my sketchbook to the fountain to draw its picture, so this is what you see. I depict the two spouts, one higher and one lower, and the upper pool with its little waterfall into the lower pool. Aquaman isn't there, but there is a starling on the edge of the waterfall, taking a drink. 

Ink on sketchbook page, about 9" x 7", May 20, 2012.

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