Seas & Greetings

I got an email from the Pride of Baltimore II, one of the ships I’ve sailed on (several times as a guest on a two hour tour, and once as guest crew for two days and nights). A couple years ago I did art for them for a holiday card, an interesting project because I draw nature and animals and characters… (they used it then and have used it again this year!)

…but ships?!?!?

Here’s how the art happened…

A ship is more like a living thing than a piece of technology. The hulls breathes with the whoosh of the waves moving against it. The sails snap out like dragon wings. The standing rigging hums like huge harp strings. The running rigging loops in curved lines, like waves, like bird wings, like running horses.

Pride II is a reproduction of the wicked swift and agile privateers of the War of 1812 (back in Europe, the Brits were up against a short French guy with delusions of grandeur… here in the US, we were the rebel teen trying to prove to the Mother Country that we should be allowed to do our own thing). The Baltimore Clipper was spawned in the shallow twisting shoally waters of the Chesapeake Bay. It could outrun what it couldn’t outgun, and outgun what it couldn’t outrun.

You can find out more here:

My sail here:

I did the original art as a watercolor (with some Prismacolor pencil), with this background…

Pride of Baltimore II

Not overly thrilled (and the Pride crew wanted something less, eh, colorful) I Photoshopped some different backgrounds…

…including this bit of watercolor…

… until I got this…

I had sailed on this ship, and had a basic idea of how she worked, and, unlike Moana learning to sail, I already knew (from our Viking longship) that this is a stay and that’s a shroud and that’s a sheet.

There’s just waaaaaay more of them on this ship.


I had lots of photos, but since they were generally taken in the bay or on a river, Pride is not in full glorious sail, so your shots look like this…


or you are on the boat and…

and the one time she was in full glorious sail, I couldn’t take the picture because…


Pride of Baltimore II under full sail, passing the Key Bridge out of Baltimore

…so I panned up, one shot at a time, with my cheesy throwaway camera (wide angle lens though!). Pride used it briefly for one of their brochures. While I could line up the masts on Photoshop (or the panorama maker) I could not line up the lines. So; montage.

For the art, I found a great shot by Lynn Yonally, mom of one of the crew…

uh oh, foresail missing…

Fortunately, I had this shot I’d taken (same angle, just the missing sail up)…

Also more light on the hull to show detail.

So, happy happy joy joy, whatever form your winter holiday takes.

I think I’ll go hang out with these guys again…




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