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Wooden Ships & Iron Men: The Maritime Art of…
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Wooden Ships & Iron Men: The Maritime Art of Thomas Hoyne

by Reese Palley

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The fishermen of the Grand Banks were artists of the sea. They sailed in fast schooners, using the dory to hand-line fish. A lost art. Their heyday was from the end of the 19th Century to the first three decades of the 20th Century, when technology then decreed the use of bottom trawlers and nets. The change meant that any fish could be caught, which quickly depleted the schools of fish, a change that reverberates today.

Thomas Hoyne was a commercial artist who received a death sentence of terminal cancer from his doctor and was told to get his house in order, as he only had two years to live. He quit his occupation and decided to paint the wooden ships and iron men...for another seventeen years (he did not die of cancer). Hoyne's passion and respect for the brave fishermen are splendidly displayed in this book, with multiple paintings for some pages and extraordinary detail for the magnificent ships.

Hoyne hired a model maker to build replicas of many of the boats he wanted to paint, enabling the final artwork to be precise yet alive with the danger of the sea. The men who did the hard work were only protected by just a few feet of wood, with most of the ships eventually lost to disaster. You can smell the seawater in these pages and sense the waves about to hit as a squall passes through. Then, there's always the dangerous fog, with huge passenger liners suddenly appearing as monstrous apparitions about to slice the fishing boats in half.

This book is a glorious ode to the brave men who were masters of their trade, but it's also a lesson to do what you love to do, so that your skill can be saved for later generations, who can admire both the subjects of the paintings as well as the artist.

Book Season = Summer (before the storms hit) ( )
  Gold_Gato | Sep 16, 2013 |
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