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The Clear Blue Line
Written by Al SpragueGenre: Action and Adventure, Romance
An excerpt from
The Clear Blue Line
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During that time, he began to paint the country and people of Panama, one of the first artists to really define the Panamanian culture through the arts. His most noted works are of the Panamanian native dancing women in the traditional costumes of the "pollera" and the "montuna" as well as the fisherman who troll the seas of the Pacific Ocean for snapper, grouper, and dolphin fish. Al, an avid fisherman himself, creates fishing lures that are also works of art.
Throughout his teaching career, Al painted the Panama Canal and the men who keep it running. A number of his paintings were purchased by the Panama Canal Commission, and presently hang in the current administration building of the Canal. Two of his paintings were made into postal stamps of the now defunct Panama Canal Post Office, and are collectors' items. At least two other paintings were made into postage stamps for the Republic of Panama.
Al's one man show of Panama Canal artwork opened the new Museum of the Panama Canal in 2000. Many of his paintings of Panamanian fishermen and native dancers hang in banks and museums throughout the country of Panama, and have been purchased as gifts of state for the presidents of Spain, Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil, and the United States. Al Sprague paintings are included in the Presidential Libraries of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Al was chosen as the official combat artist for "Operation Just Cause" and created a series of paintings which form part of the army art collection in the Pentagon and were featured on CNN.
In addition to oil and watercolor paintings, Al taught himself the art of bronze casting. Since moving to Virginia in 1992, he has built a small foundry and produces his own bronze pieces, using typical Panamanian subjects. Al summarizes his feelings about his work in this way: "I have never overcome enjoying what I see. Therefore, my painting and sculpture I attempt to portray the literal - a visual world made up of patterns of abstract shapes, planes, and colors that stimulate our senses."
Most recently, Al has begun to write novels based on his experiences growing up in Panama. The Mahogany Tree, a young adult bilingual novel published in 2010, was a finalist in the International Book Awards. The sequel to that novel, Windswept, also a bilingual book, was published in 2014. Al's first adult novel, The Clear Blue Line, was published in 2014 by Bacon Press Books.