"Renny Russell’s Rock Me on the Water is at its heart courageous. To return to the same power of nature that took his brother thirty years previous—to be with it, to confront it, to take solace in it, and to be inspired and healed by it—is remarkable in itself. His book is, as well, a testament to the evocative rhythms of the wilds. In this complicated dance, this profoundly personal journey, Renny Russell also gives us an amazingly spirited tour of one of the truly great landscapes of the American West and a keen understanding of its power to shape a life."
“One of Renny’s books is as unmistakable as one of his wooden dories, which, in the Grand Canyon, can be easily identified from one hundred yards away. Both book and boat are handcrafted, brightly illustrated and lavished with love. The only person I know to have dispatched a packrat in his kitchen with a shotgun, my most vivid visual memory of this painter, silversmith, and boatman extradinaire is of his banjo-playing silhouette, cast on a tall cliff by a driftwood fire. Kokopelli never was so lucky.”
RENNY RUSSELL was born July 31, 1946, in South Pasadena, California. In 1964 Renny attended the San Francisco Art Institute and the College of Arts and Crafts. He was involved with the Free Speech Movement and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations and was swept away in the counterculture of the era.
Renny and his older brother, Terry Russell, wrote On the Loose to chronicle their wanderings through the wilderness of the West It was published by the Sierra Club and became its most popular book, securing a place on the New York Times bestseller list. In 1965, to celebrate the book's publication, the brothers undertook a trip down Utah's Green River. Their boat went over, and Terry drowned. In 1969 Renny found home in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico, where he has lived since.
The author is a boat builder, river guide, illustrator, calligrapher, musician, and painter. Still on the loose, he may be found in the canyon country of Utah or climbing in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.