Art during the summer before middle school took a major change in direction. Therefore, it was a time when my art started being expressed physically and not just on paper or canvas. I loved building models, but they felt very limiting and pre-planned to me. So I started building my models out of wood, plastic, cardboard and even toothpicks.
Summer Before Middle School – USS Intrepid and Model Ships
My grandparents were always taking my brother and I to exciting and interesting places in and around New York City during our summer vacations. After one such trip to the Aircraft Carrier USS Intrepid I made this cardboard model while sitting at their kitchen table. That was during the summer of 1980 when I was 10 years old.
Summer before Middle School – Fascination with Sailing Ships
Art during the summer before middle school also focused on wooden sailing ships. I wasted no time after my summer vacation with my grandparents before I started drawing old sailing ships. Back home in Connecticut during my last week before middle school started, my mother took me to the Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut. What I remember most about the museum was the exhibit of model ship. The models were incredible, and the detail on them was so subtle and tiny, and they looked real. They reminded me of the model ships my Uncle Joe used to build. I decided I wanted to build model ships like that. After going to the local public library and checking out every book on model shipbuilding, I made blueprints and building plans that I intended to use to make my own models. Here are some of those drawings and models.
Drawing the blueprints
From Paper to Reality… Custom Model Building
At first I did not have access to real modeling supplies, so I used materials that I found lying around the house. One excellent building material that I found were toothpicks. I used them to build my first ship models. I had no idea how to construct a hull using toothpicks, so I started by making only the decks of the ships. Here is my first toothpick model of a small ship deck. I was about 11 when I built this model.
This is a more complex model, also created using toothpicks. The model is somewhat damaged which you can see in the pictures, I’m surprised it has not been completely demolished in all this time. I must thank my mother for keeping these early art projects tucked away and safe. I was about 11 when I built this model.
Building with Balsa Wood
My mother took me to a hobby shop to purchase some balsa wood for my ship models. Balsa wood was very easy to work with and was used to create my next model. Jumping from one model to the next without completing them was common for me, especially when I realized that the materials did not produce the results that I was after.
Advanced prefabricated wood ship model
I talked with my parents and convinced my father to buy me a wooden model ship kit. Here is the wooden model ship kit that my father bought me. I am still working on it today when I get the rare free time. I pull it out every couple of years and work on it. It will get finished one day. I’m not going to buy another wooden ship model …this one is it.