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Lawrence Packard


Winter Haven, FL 





My interest in the sea and shipwrecks began in 1966. I was the radio operator on an Air Force Air/Sea Rescue “Crash-boat”. Built in 1944, the high speed 63-foot wooden boat gave me the opportunity to experience the sea and wonder about what lies below.

In 1968, I was a ground Forward Air Controller assigned to the Army in Vietnam. My maps became a sketch pad for drawing the things that caught my eye. But it was the Vietnamese fishing boats sailing out to the South China Sea that caught my imagination.

In 1970, I joined other artists working on Jackson Square in the New Orleans French Quarter and drew pen and ink sailing ships on nautical charts and sold them right off my work board. I learned the art of scrimshaw and worked with watercolors and oils; only to discover that the challenge of pen and ink was my passion. I participated in my first organized art show in 1972, where I won my first award.

My drawings are actual ships - most were lost at sea. I find their stories in old newspapers, insurance records, Admiralty Court cases and government reports. I sailed on working tall ships in the Atlantic and on the Great Lakes and as a licensed pilot I learned to feel the wind and understand weather in the three-dimensional world of flying – an even more unforgiving environment than the sea.

Each drawing begins with a rough pencil sketch. Then I use a single technical pen with a point diameter of five thousandths of an inch to create the entire drawing. Completely self-taught, I developed my own technique for building up the details, shapes, textures and shadows by layering thousands of tiny pen strokes. My one-of-a-kind drawings are done free-hand, based on my research and the image of the ship that I see in my mind."

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