Ships of the Great Lakes
Ever since I was a child, I’ve drawn pictures of boats and ships. I also, drew dinosaurs, rockets, castles and dragons. But, ships were my favorite. I built models of ships, and imagined strolling their decks. I memorized the names of the parts and learned their purpose. As I drew, I learned the language of the sailor and my fascination grew. So did my drawings.
My father taught me to sail at an early age. He shared his love for the sea, through books by Slocum, Mellville, Conrad and Dana. Through their words, I imagined sailing to adventures in far-off places. The more I learned about ships, the more “real” my drawings looked, to me. They became 3-dimensional and full of detail, as I became a sailor, on a small boat, on an inland lake.
As a teenager, I crewed aboard racing sailboats on Lake Michigan, worked in boatyards, delivered a yacht down the Mississippi River and “discovered” the ocean. I worked shrimpboats off the coast of Georgia, handlined for mackerel in the Gulf of Mexico, turned 21, aboard the Cable Schooner, “Western Union” and sailed numerous boats in the Florida Keys. I drew them all, and sold my drawings, first as a street artist, then through galleries in Key West.
As a child, I watched the Longships and Salties making
their way up and down Lake Michigan. Their distant silhouettes, by day,
and long rows of lights, by night, filled me with wonder. In the summer
of 1974, I shipped aboard the 852’ “Roger Blough”, sailing six months
through the Winter Run. We hauled iron ore from the western shore of
Lake Superior, to the steel mills on the southern shores of Lake Michigan
and Lake Erie. I read every book I could find about the history of the
Great Lakes, while experiencing their vast serenity and awesome power.
Years later, this research and experience led to the creation of “GREAT
LAKES AND GREAT SHIPS, An Illustrated History For Children”. It is also
what I bring to my Illustration Workshops.
The following drawing projects, use boats and ships of the Great Lakes as the main characters of our illustrations. Through storytelling and step-by-step instructions, students "build" their own, highly detailed, 3-dimensional vessels. They learn that every line has a name, place and purpose. The ships become our "Time Machines" as we explore man’s quest for, and use of the natural resources of our Great Lakes Region. Students add background details, shading and texture, to end with an "Awesome" illustration, in less than an hour. Multiple-session workshops are available for all topics, resulting in 4-8 page books. These workshops are a great introduction to an area of study, emphasize and develop art, research and writing skills, and, best of all, are FUN.
"Your presentation was just great with the children - one of the best I’ve seen. The children were thrilled with their new found ability to draw ships!"
- Jan Timmer, Teacher, Mary A. White School, Grand Haven
Select from the following topics, to introduce or compliment your Michigan History Curriculum: You’ll find Native Americans, Explorers, Fur Traders, Sailors, Shanty Boys and more...
Single and multiple-session workshops for grades 2-12. Many are adaptable to grades K-1.
2351 WEST BRICKER RD. FENWICK,