When I was a kid, I would call each of the Great Lakes ships we saw, a monster boat. However as a book writer, I have titled my kids rhyme about these massive vessels; Big Ships.
In those young years I was awe struck by the size of these Great Lakes ships docked in my hometown of Alpena, Michigan. I dreamt of secreting myself aboard as a stowaway amongst their cargoes of Huron Portland cement or Abitibi wall paneling destined for some far away land. Instead of fulfilling those vagabond dreams, I dutifully went to school where I stowed away in the library and became enamored with geography and monster boat destinations across the world.
When visiting the Mackinaw Straits bridge to the Upper Peninsula, I had a chance to witness many ships passing through and bound for the cities and ports I had read about in my books. They were laden with an array of Michigan cargoes like iron ore, copper, and zinc, and of course my imagination and dreams about someday visiting those far away lands.
Ships and the Great Lakes have always been synonymous with boats. Painting big ships resulted from that closeness to the water while growing up.
As an artist trying to capture these monster boats, especially while they are at sea can be a bit challenging. I'm afraid they do not wait around in a sanquin pose while I dabble with my brushes, rags and fingers. Yes, I use my fingers like a kid, I paint with them more than any other tool in my box of artistic tricks.
Some of my monster boat paintings became the illustrations for my kids book-- Big Ships.
If I were a big ship,
I'd be the Ling Tze
outbound from the Orient
across the China Sea.
If I were a big ship,
I'd be the Ivan sent
all the way from Russia
for tons of dry cement.
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We also offer an online book building and publishing program for middle school, fourth and fifth grade classes. We work with teachers and students to write and illustrate a custom book for their class. We use the kids words and illustrations created from the project. This is a fun filled program that results in each classes very own personalized book. If you are interested in this project, please email me at email@example.com