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Dye Laughing

Dye Laughing

Dye Laughing


Available through Charleston Artists Gallery (

  • ...that one moment...

    This painting depicts an adventure I shared with Tom Edsel Dennis (1929-2021).Tom was 88 years young at the time of this memory. This story begins with him wanting to fish in his farm pond, so his son (Tom Jr) asked if I’d take him. While we were there, he asked us to treat the pond with a chemical to retard the growth of weeds and lily pads, warning us to be careful due to the highly concentrated liquid's staying power. Innocent enough, right? As I used the electric trolling motor to maneuver around the pond, I noticed the bottom of the small boat was getting dark. When I glanced back at Tom, he was seated, bending over, sopping up the spilled quart of weed control. His son’s words flashed like subtitles over the scene: "Please don’t let my daddy fall out of the boat," meaning take care of him. Tom looked back at me with twinkling eyes and a childlike grin. He didn’t say a word and continued to transfer the spill from the boat to the pond, one dab and wring at a time. Tommy’s disgust with our fishing trip was only reiterated whenever the boat got wet, releasing dye from the marrow of the boat's wooden floor. However, the dye also appeared as Mr. Tom would walk through the morning dew, leaving hints of purple shadows where his boots touched the barn floor.

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