Oil Portrait of Larry by Barbara Sparhawk

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Ah, Larry. Gone but not forgotten you fabulous creature.
He was a wildcatter from Louisiana, and we met in Coney Island, the once-famous Brooklyn amusement park landmark. I was painting signs, rides and carousels. He was managing the park. It was 24/7 non-stop noise, rock’n’roll, disco, motocycles, the Wonderwheel, plastic rocketships, food, beer, Jack Daniels, drugs, beach, color, sun moon stars, and danger. Knife and gun fights every night. Bodies washing ashore. What a summer! We fell in love (I was nuts for him – and he liked me a lot) and lived in his tiny trailer right off the go-kart track. We were in the bottom bunk, his sawed-off shotgun was in the top bunk. I don’t think we ever slept.
He was so totally alien to anyone I’d known before, all instinct like something feral. Speed. Action. Cooked Cajun food. Covered with grease from the go karts but loved to dress up. Could fix any motor, build any building, handle any problem. The isolated lonliness of six months on the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico brought him to Coney Island every summer. He drew people to him like a magnet. Everything he did was excessive til he passed out or puked.
“New York,” he said, “has got the best boxed cake in the world!” Entemann’s chocolate layer — he used to eat it in the shower.

It was a long time ago, but the experience (one of those I’m gonna take a chance and do this come hell and highwater) was profound. I wrote a novel about it, and call it NOISE. Still trying to publish it and what a movie it would make, the synopsis and one chapter are on my website, www.hawksperch.com. and I just uploaded them here under “Writing”.
Would love to know what you think.

Professional Expressionist, portrait painter, writer, children’s book illustrator, entrepreneur, and adventuress.

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  • David Harris
    David Harrisover 6 years ago

    Wow!! Barbara!!! I love your story!! What a great experience to have had and remember! Is Larry dead or just gone?

    I think I would love to see the film and read the book! Now to the painting! Fantastic!! Was this from memory of a photograph? Was of Irish decent? Love th vibrancy and the motion like you ecpect him to swing his arem through the other shirt sleeve and shrug it straight!! Brave Barbara!!

  • He was just too much, and thanks David. Swept me off my feet. Scot, I think, and with the most beautiful southern drawl you ever heard. Damn hot. He was an extraordinarily intense human being, not like anyone I’d ever met before. He was constantly trying to stop the commotion inside him and lusting for it at the same time. He vanished after that summer and it nearly did me in. I heard from him in a muddled phone call two years later. He killed himself. In my novel, he lives. In my heart too.

    – Barbara Sparhawk

  • David Harris
    David Harrisover 6 years ago

    Actually, that should have been Bravo Barbara Lol

  • David Harris
    David Harrisover 6 years ago

    Wow!! I am hooked! Perhaps you could publish extracts on here? I think you should be snapped up! Great work my friend and I am sure that he is happy to know, that you still think of him with fondness.

  • SandeElkins
    SandeElkinsover 6 years ago

    My gosh, Barbara!! Just this taste you’ve given us is so delicious, spicy and delectable. I’m so sorry that this relationship had to end for you two and even sorrier to hear that Larry is gone. Who was it that wrote that some people are just too beautiful and big for this life, it just can not hold them. That is the feeling one gets from both your story and this incredibly moving portrait. The only portrait that I’ve ever seen that had this much energy and life in it was a self portrait of Van Gogh which I’ve already told you is my favorite of all time. This moves me in the same way. It is simply incredible. Ditto from me~Bravo!!

  • Oh, Sande. Thank you, dearheart. He was like a shooting star. I’m pleased and proud from what you said to me about this painting.

    – Barbara Sparhawk

    KEITH R. WILL...over 6 years ago


  • Thanks so much, Keith.

    – Barbara Sparhawk

  • gladders
    gladdersover 6 years ago

    Wow Barbara….what a time that must have been…isnt it so sad how the most passionate of times are often THE most heartbreaking…but they forge and temper us into the human beings we are!

  • Yes Simon, total electricity.
    Thanks for coming to visit, I’ll be at all your work soon and have missed seeing what you’re up to!

    – Barbara Sparhawk

  • whisperingruth
    whisperingruthover 6 years ago

    I am in awe Barbara! Never mind the bode…….but those eyes!! Breathtaking work!! xx

  • Very pale blue and riveting. Ah.
    Thanks for liking the portrait.

    – Barbara Sparhawk

  • Barssel
    Barsselover 6 years ago

    Super………well done.

  • Thanks, Ade. Half naked guys for a change.

    – Barbara Sparhawk

  • Gene Praag
    Gene Praagover 6 years ago

    I just love to sit and read your stories of your life…Simply wonderful!

  • Dear Geno. Maybe not as exciting as your wild horses, but somehow close. Actually, I just uploaded a chapter of my novel, NOISE, on my writing page here, and the synopsis. Our names are changed to protect the guilty but it’s the continuing saga started with the painting above. If you have time to look, I’d love to know what you think.

    – Barbara Sparhawk

  • rosepepper
    rosepepperover 6 years ago

    I do hope the book gets published so one day we can see the movie which will include you. I am sure many women can relate to this. I can. The energy field and optimism is doubled and like a stampeding horse- magnificent and strong they conquer and rip through life hardly stopping for a moment to take in the silence ….difficult (for me) to understand. Yeah, they live and expend faster and usually die young having condensed twice as much in half the time. The painting is beautiful Barbara and really captures the spirit -moving, muscular and pulling at the bit like a horse. I like the paint quality, jeans and belt and the action in the background as well.

  • Thank you rosepepper for all your painterly observation. It’s interesting to me that my first worries were that I was alone in propelling myself into this particular insanity and should keep quiet about it, but every woman who’s read the book has retailed a similar life-changing encounter with a wild man. Aha!! Lusty men have liked it; one very unadventuresome guy felt sorry for me! Your encouragement is always treasured by me; you write beautifully about the emotional content of such people. I hope the novel eventually sees the light of day, may publish it myself. But it’s nice to get paid for creative work, though so darn hard to pull off. It was 20 years before I could even tackle the painting and it caused chaos with me. We never fully grasp our impact on others.

    – Barbara Sparhawk

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