Craig Crawshaw is presently co-pastor of the Oaks Bible Church of Santa Barbara in California where he is the primary teaching pastor. He is married to his high school sweetheart Joanne. They lived two miles from Garé and Carl Barks in the 1970s and enjoyed a number of visits to their home and home studio on many occasions, and kept contact with the Barkses even after they moved elsewhere.
Craig Crawshaw, have been a long time fan of "the good
artist" of the Donald Duck comics ever since I was a boy. I
became an avid collector of Carl Barks comics in my adult life in
the 1970s. I attended a comic convention where I learned that
Carl Barks lived in Goleta (next to Santa Barbara, California),
the same town I lived in. I couldn't believe it! But when I went
home I checked in the phone book, and sure enough, a Carl Barks
lived about 2 miles from my house!
I finally got the nerve to write him a letter, asking for a meeting, and after some correspondance, we set up a meeting. We hit if off, and I was invited to Carl and Garé's home on many occasions with my wife and 2 small children. Carl and Garé enjoyed having the young toddlers around their home and would bounce them on their knees.
Carl drew a number of pencil drawings of Scrooge and Donald for me and my family. He had a number of original Scrooge comics pages in his possession and gave my wife and I the opportunity to buy any of them we would want for $300. That was a lot for us then, so we carefully picked out one and purchased it. If only I had been able to buy many more. I sold the page a number of years later to help put our children through college. The selling price: $8,000.
At one point in my collecting I was fortunate enough to have 4 original Carl Barks oil paintings in my possession. My all time favorite was "Golden Fleece" which was made into the first Disney Studios serigraph. For the use of my painting to make the serigraph, Disney gave me a deluxe edition serigraph of "Golden Fleece" which I still have. I finally sold the original, which I had purchased for $3,600 in 1974 for a hammer price of $80,000 in the mid 1990s to put my two children through college. I tell people, truthfully, that "my children went to college on a duck."
was the first owner of Carl's non-Disney duck painting, "The
Pied Piper." We saw Carl painting it when my wife and I
visited he and Garé in their then Temecula home. We agreed that
he would finish it for us and we picked it up a few months later.
The asking price: $1,000. I would never have sold it, except an
investor agreed to buy it for twice what it was worth at the time:
$10,000. This helped me buy the house I still live in today in
Santa Barbara. The painting has gone up many times. My house is
worth 2 million. Not bad for a duck.
I also owned a Carl Barks money bin painting: "Time Out For Therapy" and a mini painting of Uncle Scrooge "Miser's Hangup." Both were sold for good profits to buy my home as well.
In 1983 I asked Garé Barks how I might purchase one of her oil paintings. She referred me to the Chriswood Gallery in Temecula, where she had some of her paintings showing. I purchased "Child of the Forest" from Chriswood Gallery in Temecula in July of 1983. The asking price was $2,295. After negotiations I paid $1,700. I then had the piece reframed in a beautiful carved wood frame for an additional $200. Garé later told me that she personally considered this painting to be one of her favorites.
Carl and Garé were always gracious to me and my family and he would willingly have me come over to have what he called some "quack quacks." I am a pastor, and in his 80's he asked me if I performed funerals. I told him that I did, and he said that he would keep me in mind "if he ever needed one." I was not living near his home in Grants Pass, Oregon, when he passed in August of 2000 or I might have had the privilege of performing his funeral.
Now I am a collector of the Carl Barks serigraphs. I find them to be just as brilliant and satisfying as the original oils. And they are much more affordable and still rising quickly in value. In fact, my "Golden Fleece" serigraph is now worth about two or three times what I paid for the original oil painting some 30 years ago...
This contribution was written specially for this website. The photo is the personal property of the author. © Craig Crawshaw.