I am really excited to announce that I'm starting a new series of blog posts about the stories behind commissioned paintings. They were just too cool not to share and I have had the pleasure of meeting the most interesting people through this experience- each with a story to tell. For the first one, I would like to introduce to you, Mike McInnis and the Gallant Lady:
Tell me a little bit about yourself...
I worked commercial fishing in the summers in high school with Dewey Destin. His family founded Destin on fishing. At 20 years old, one of the captains signed off my sea time and I studied and tested for my 100 ton master capt. license. The day I got it, me and a bud drove to Louisiana and I got a job the first day. At 23 I wanted to switch it up so I gave my resumé to a head hunter and had a couple choices, but picked the Gallant Lady. I have my 1600 Master All Oceans License now. 19 years I have had a captains license and 13 of those have been on the water. I live in Santa Rosa Beach, FL with my wife and 2 daughters.
Where did you travel with her and where did you like best?
St. Barts, British Virgin Islands, U.S. virgin islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, St. Martin, all of the Bahamas, St. Croix, bunch of other small caribbean islands. My favorites are Abaco outer Bahamas for fishing and spearfishing the gorgeous reefs. St. Bart's is a great, all around fun and nice island. Cheese Burger in Paradise- haha that's where Jimmy Buffet wrote that song.
Nice! I understand then why you wanted the reef underneath the yacht in the painting. Where do you and your family go on vacations, and what else do you like to do for fun?
Mexico, Colorado, Dominican Republic, Smokey Mountains. I have 5 old Land Cruisers- that is my hobby along with my personal boat, my 31 cc ocean master. My wife and I just took it camping 2 weeks ago on a private island.
Tell me about your daughters and why you wanted to do this commission?
My daughters are 3 and 21 months. They love the water! We have a dock so I have to bait the crab trap and fish trap every time I come home, and they like to watch and hang out on the dock. This was a christmas gift for them, and they love sea turtles. I wanted to have one for each of them in the painting and my eldest daughter Rylee likes seahorses, so we wanted to have one of those too. It is a special way to remember that time in my life and connect it to my family, something we can always look at and enjoy. I also wanted to have the little message written to them to remember this year.
Thank you so much for sharing your story and for commissioning me to do this special piece for you. I am so happy that I could create something for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.
There you have it! The first commission story!
This is one of the lessons that I wrote inspired by Justin Riney and the Expedition Florida 500.
First, I used the projector to blow up Florida on the wall, and the students helped me place paper all over Florida and the surrounding water. We traced Florida and numbered all the papers. Then, students drew the numbers out of a hat to decide which one they would research- it was no surprise that most of the class wanted to research Palm Beach County because they live here, so we had to make it more fair. They researched in the computer lab, at home, and in libraries near by, with the goal of finding or creating symbols that could represent their area.
It was very open ended because they were encouraged to find facts and information that interested them. Some were very nature-centered while others were focusing on tourism, crime or hurricane occurrences. We had discussions about symbols and their presence in our everyday lives in this visual culture. We also talked about which symbols/logos were most successful and how they would make sure that their's was accessible for viewers. Some were really concerned with making really creative symbols that people had to think a little deeper about, while others wanted to make sure that all ages and people would know what it meant when they saw it. It was fun to see how it progressed and a learning experience for myself included. The criteria was to use warm colors for the land and cool for the water (so that is had some consistency for the big picture), show evidence of research of your area, be able to explain what you discovered about your part of florida through your symbols, good craftsmanship, and completion.
Upon reflection: I would definitely use this picture as an example, because it is always hard to explain what is expected of students without a good visual, (I am a visual learner too, so I understand). I would also like for each student to make their own handout about the research they found for their area, and maybe include a couple relevant quiz questions so that we could do a mini quiz on FL in the end of the unit. That would help encourage them to become experts of their area. I also think that this is a great project for the beginning of the semester rather than the end, because some students were able to encourage their parents to take them camping, or on day trips to their areas and it was nice to talk about their experiences if they were going or had already been. It was also fun to see how much they planned their trip, if their parents said yes to their chosen adventure. They really enjoyed hearing about Justin Riney's adventures and can't wait for Riney Ranch to lauch! I think that when young adults are excited to explore the world around them it is a very good thing!
"People protect what they love" - Jacques Cousteau
Carly Mejeur is a floridian artist, inspired by her ocean hobbies and travels. This Blog is for news, events, and just for fun. Click here for the artist's Bio.