Artist Illustrator Dick Levesque

Coast Guard Illustration – Born in Oakland California and raised in San Francisco, Richard Levesque, or Dick as he prefers, came upon his love of the sea quite naturally. As a young boy he could be found mingling with the Italian fishermen at the Wharf one day, talking to Merchant Seaman on the Embarcadero the next or (his favorite) climbing the rocky cliffs at Lands End with his trusted dog “Teddy”. For hours they would sit atop the boulders watching the ships come and go through the Golden Gate or just gazing fondly at the Coast Guard’s 83-foot harbor entrance patrol boat quietly anchored at Bonita Cove. Once, Dick recalls with a grin, while he and his faithful companion were sitting on an outcropping of rocks at the oceans edge the patrol boat weighed anchor and came as close to the rocks as possible. “What a great bunch of guys” he thought as he returned their waves. A short time later the reason for their presence was more evident as a bright orange helicopter loomed over the cliffs toward the cutter and rocks. Daydreaming as he was, Dick and Teddy did not realize that the tide had come in swallowing the beach with water. Dog under arm, he jumped into the knee deep water and ran to the tree line where he managed to find his way home without further detection. Frightened at being discovered again, Dick and Teddy spent the rest of the summer days on a different beach or scampering about the caves under the Cliff House near the Seal Rocks.

Educated in public schools, he was not the best of students, once being told in the only art class he ever attended, that perhaps he would be better suited in woodshop.

His interest in drawing continued to grow though (probably because of his teachers comment) and one day, while mowing a neighbors lawn she brought him out a soft drink. He learned that she was an artist and he was intrigued by her work. She eventually encouraged him to continue drawing, loaning him several art related books including one on anatomy. One day he proudly showed his parents a pencil sketch of a half draped nude that he drew from a drawing found in one of these books. That was the end of his drawing and any lawn mowing at this ladies house!

Dick’s attraction to the sea continued, learning to sail with the Sea Scouts, making several offshore trips in their forty-two foot schooner Reliance. He soon entered the Coast Guard and retired after an exciting twenty plus years. It was during this time that his talents were rekindled. On a long trip with the Coast Guard to Panama, Dick began drawing cartoons for the ships newspaper and eventually pencil sketches of other ships and shore stations. He was soon in demand busily filling orders when he was not on duty. He had the opportunity to show his work locally, won several awards and was published in military magazines.

When Dick retired from the Coast Guard and entered the private sector his days were filled with work and raising a family. His art took a back seat and lay dormant for several years. Dick and his wife lived aboard an old 32 foot doubled ended ketch for awhile and then a 35 foot Fantasia sloop for several more years. They both loved the peace and solitude they found at secluded anchorages. He has recently retired permanently and is now enjoying his free time renewing his previous passion for art and is again exhibiting with many of his paintings in the collection of Government agencies.

Dick is a member of several art organizations including The International Society of Marine Painters and has been designated an official Coast Guard Artist in that services art program. Now, with three grown children, Dick, and his wife Judy, reside in the country near Puryear Tennessee where nearly every morning he can be found in his studio creating more of what Dick feels he is meant to do. Although firmly planted inland, they are content being surrounded by nature only a few miles from the massive Kentucky Lake and about a twelve-hour drive to the ocean should he suddenly have the urge to replenish the “salt” in his veins.

FINAL APPROACH LT Pritchard and the CGC Northland On November 28th 1942 LT John A. Pritchard USCG took off from alongside the CGC NORTHLAND WPG-49. He and Aviation Radioman first class Benjamin Bottoms volunteered to search for a B17 with a crew of nine that had crashed on the ice. After sighting the plane and survivors he had to land two miles from the crash scene. Pritchard and Bottoms hiked to the crash scene. He took two back to the biplane and departed planning on making many trips to recover the rest. On the 29th he and Bottoms landed again, wheels up, using only his floats. Before he arrived at the scene an Army rescue party had arrived via motorized sleds. He soon learned that one of the Army rescuers had fallen into a deep fissure. With visibility getting worse Pritchard decided to return to the NORTHLAND to gather men and equipment to help rescue him. As he was preparing to get airborne one of the B17 survivors entered the plane and into the fog they flew. They were never seen alive again. Seven days later an Army aircraft spotted the J2F-4 Duck but no survivors were sighted. The remainder of the B-17 crew was evacuated in the Spring of 1943. For his rescue Pritchard and Bottoms Posthumously received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The Search for Amelia Earhart USCGC ITASCA 1937 Commissioned on 12 July 1930 at General Engineering and Drydock Company Oakland CA. She was one of ten to be built. 250’ overall with max speed of 17.5 knots. Compliment in 1940 was 97. Decommissioned on 30 May 1941 and transferred to Great Britain under the Lend Lease program along with the 9 other cutters. Depicted here is the ITASCA anchored off a western Pacific island near Howland Island searching for Amelia Earhart or her aircraft in 1937. No trace of her or the plane has ever been seen although much speculation on her whereabouts have been controversial.

USRC BEAR sailing alongside the current BEAR (The Two Bears) 20×24 Always With You, Always There The Two Bear’s As you might know, the original Bear was built in 1873 by Alexander Stephen & Son of Scotland. She only spent about the first 10 years sealing before she was acquired by the Revenue Cutter Service in 1885. She had a very colorful career and is probably the CG’s most famous Cutter. One of her most noted adventures was the rescue of the Greely Expedition. Sadly she foundered on Mar 19th 1963 off of Chatham MA while under tow to Philadelphia to be converted to a restaurant. I was told by a friend that even during her last hours she continued to rescue as there was a crewman from the tug aboard and she didn’t sink until he was removed! If you look closely just forward of the foremast on deck there is a white hat sailor waving to the one on the new Bear who is on the 01 deck just above the last port…he is clad in orange foul weather gear …probably the BMOW eh? The current Bear is 270 ft long and the first of the “Famous Class” Cutters. She was commissioned on February 4th, 1983 and is home-ported in Portsmouth VA. Quite a contrast! Memberships/Affiliations

Artist/member Coast Guard Art Program

Board member Paris-Henry County Arts Council

Member Nautical Research Guild

Signature member International Society of Marine Painters

Member Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association

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