Why I Love 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 as my drawings improved.
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 and worked in boatyards. I helped deliver a yacht down the Mississippi River and “discovered” the ocean. I worked aboard a shrimpboat off the coast of Georgia and I handlined for mackerel in the Gulf of Mexico. I 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…
|1||Canoe-Dugout||3000 BC||Old Copper Culture-Mines in the U.P.|
|2||Canoe-Dugout||1500 AD||Iroquois Culture, Costumes and Customs|
|3||Canoe-Birchbark||1500 AD||Algonquian, Huron and/or Sioux Cultures|
|4||Canoe-Birchbark||1700s||Voyageurs-Fur Trade/Cultural Interaction|
|5||Viking Ship||1100s||Norse Voyages to the Great Lakes?|
|6||Carrack||14-1500s||European Exploration-Two Worlds Meet|
|7||GRIFFON||1600s||La Salle’s Ship-Exploration and Fur Trade|
|8||OSWEGO||1750s||European War Fleets on the Great Lakes|
|9||NIAGARA||1812||Commodore Perry’s Victory on Lake Erie|
|10||WALK in the WATER||1820s||First Steamship on the Great Lakes|
|11||Canal Boats||1830s||The Erie Canal and Immigration West|
|12||PHOENIX||1840s||The Perils of Immigration-Fire on the Lakes|
|13||CHALLENGE||1850s||The Great Lakes Schooner|
|14||Schooner||1860s||Voyage From the Shipyard to the Scrapyard|
|15||Lumber Hooker||1880s||From Forest to Steamship|
|16||PEWABIC||1860s||Copper Mining-Shipwreck & Salvage|
|17||PHILO PARSONS||1865||The Civil War on the Great Lakes|
|18||INDIA||1870||Passenger Steamers-Leisure and Commerce|
|19||Lifesaving Boats||1870s||Shipwreck and Rescue|
|20||DAVID DOWS||1880s||Largest Sailing Schooner on the Great Lakes|
|21||Fish Tugs||18-1900s||Commercial Fisheries-From Sail to Power|
|22||ONOKO||1880s||First Iron Steamship on the Lakes|
|23||CHAMPION||1880s||Tugboat with Tow-End of the Age of Sail|
|24||Whalebacks||1890s||Pig Boats, Passengers and Iron Ore|
|25||TASHMOO & ERIE||1890s||The Great Race-Ships and Prosperity|
|26||WAWATAM||1900s||Car Ferry-Rail Transportation in Michigan|
|27||War Fleet||1918/40s||Great Lakes Wartime Shipbuilding|
|28||the FITZGERALD||1975||The Last Voyage|
|29||the BADGER||Today||Car Ferry-Transportation and Recreation|
|30||the BARKER||Today||1000 ft. Super Ships-Commerce in Change|
|31||Racing Yachts||Today||Leisure and Sport-Rigging and Nomenclature|
|32||Fishing Boats||Today||Gill Nets to Trap Nets-Managed Resource|
Single and multiple-session workshops are available.