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  • Writer's pictureKerry McCoy

Welcome to the Ships of State Studio Blog!

Updated: Sep 2, 2023

Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome aboard!

This is my first time doing a blog, so it'll definitely be a learning curve for me. For any of you experienced bloggers out there, feel free to shoot me any tips or advice on how to create an interesting and engaging blog!

A little about myself. As you've probably already seen on my homepage - and as is the case with many of us who have a deep interest and passion for the great ships that sailed the oceans many years ago - my journey in this far-reaching subject began with the best-known ship of them all: Titanic. For my 10th birthday, my parents bought me Revell's 1/570 scale model of the ill-fated White Star liner, as well as a copy of "Titanic and Her Sisters Olympic and Britannic" by McCluskie, Sharpe, and Marriott. I still have this book on my shelf and, while not entirely accurate in the text and photo captions, it is an excellent pictorial reference for those interested in the Olympic-class ships. For those interested in high-quality photos - some of which aren't commonly seen - I highly recommend it.

But it didn't stop there. I wanted more! I started getting any and every book I could get on Titanic. One of those books was Dr. Robert Ballard's "The Discovery of the Titanic" (as an interesting side note, yesterday marked 38 years since Dr. Ballard's team discovered the wreck of Titanic). It featured many of the stunning, world-renowned paintings of the ship by Ken Marschall - readily accepted as the master artist of Titanic today. As I turned the pages, read the story, and took in the beautiful artwork, I was gripped by the mystique and allure of Titanic and started on the path that has led me to where I am today. If it wasn't for my parents, this website - and the original works featured therein - likely would not exist.

As mentioned previously, Ken's paintings were - and still are - a huge inspiration to me. The accuracy and level of detail in his work brings the Ship of Dreams to life. I draw heavily from his paintings in the creation of my drawings in order to help ensure accuracy and a realistic level of detail. One of my treasured reference books features much of his work. Again, I highly recommend it and consider it an absolute must for any amateur and serious Titanic enthusiast and artist.

You're probably wondering, "why don't you paint like the other great maritime artists?" Well, for one, I have red-green colorblindness, so that creates some barriers with experimenting in color mediums. I do have plans to start seriously exploring it in the future, but graphite is my medium of choice. I've had some tell me that graphite is very difficult to work with. While that is true in that graphite definitely has its challenges and shortcomings (namely lack of color which really brings a piece to life), it's about the only medium I've known, so it's pretty natural for me. I still feel that graphite is an important medium and, when used skillfully, can yield incredible results. I am one of a handful of graphite artists who is working to expand the medium and bring it into sharp focus in the maritime art realm.

I focus on a very high level of detail in the vessels I portray. I also extensively research each drawing, spending at least several hours poring over articles, ship's log entries, books, photographs, and other artwork to ensure that my chosen scene is as accurate and lifelike as possible - particularly when portraying an actual event. Sometimes, however, there is still some artistic license required to help bring the scene together. For example, in "Almost Home," I wanted the distant Bishop Rock Light to be easily recognizable for what it is - a lighthouse. Olympic passed about six miles south of the light as she raced towards Plymouth that beautiful summer afternoon 112 years ago. From doing the calculations - which included the height of the viewer's vantage point, the height of the structure, and the distance to the horizon - I determined that only the upper half of the lighthouse would actually be visible above the horizon. So, using my artistic license, I drew the entirety of the lighthouse minus the rock on the horizon line. It allowed me to give the viewer a recognizable landmark while still giving a realistic sense of distance.

So, that's me in a nutshell. Titanic continues to play a huge part in my life, and I strive to bring her - and other historic vessels - to life in my work. How did you become interested in Titanic and her story? Leave a comment below.

Be sure to check back often as I make new posts. I will post stories of the great ships of the past, updates on WIPs, and announcements of up-and-coming products and projects. Until then,

Bon voyage!

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