Jack Balas, 2016; MILE SWIM (OWASIPPE) (#1334); watercolor, ink, acrylic and oil on 2 paper panels, 30" x 45" overall

Until that summer at scout camp (Owasippe) I'd never seen naked naked boys before, when two of the lifeguards jumped bare-assed into the pool one night, swam some laps and slithered out like fish, glistening under floodlights and strolling the deck, hands on hips. Everything changed after that -- I was 11 or 12 and I stopped missing home. All of a sudden catching fish was fun, as was coaching my shadow under an isolated streetlight at night to maybe swagger, hands on hips. And of course, needless to say, right away I signed up for the MILE SWIM.

(Along top on the long tent): Success was, however, imminent.

(Torsos of the lifeguards): BRUSH, STROKE