Why bother to map the entire Chesapeake Bay, you may ask? The answer is a bit like the old cliché joke, “because it’s there”. This enormous inland body of water, spanning substantial parts of Maryland and Virginia, has so many iconic connections to East Coast lives as well as the United States’ history, that it begs the question. As my interest in Coastal Art Maps specifically focuses on interesting situations where land and water meet, depiction of this great sand-bottomed sea presented nearly limitless opportunities to explore those interests, resulting in a series of 10 maps to achieve a scale that would do it justice. Big cities, historic towns, classic seaports, islands and marshes, bridges and harbors, dots its entire 150 mile length. Naturalists, boaters, hunters and fishermen, historic naval and merchant sailors; they have all plied the Bay. Baltimore and Annapolis, Norfolk and Virginia Beach, the James and York Rivers, Hampton Roads and Cobb Bay. All names that resonate in our subconscious and conjure images of seafarers are their adventures. Is the Chesapeake not endlessly fascinating? Why indeed!
We are proud to announce the release of the second of three collections of the entire Chesapeake Bay and surrounding area, depicting the iconic inland sea which spans some 150 miles north-to-south, in Maryland and Virginia. This group completes the Maryland part and the final group, due out later this year, will encompass the entire Virginia portion. It is a big undertaking but really provides a comprehensive look at the most significant body of water on the east coast of the US. Studying this complex, diverse area has provided me a really challenging and rewarding task and we are really pleased with the results. Viewing each map singly or as a group gives a really clear understanding of the contrasting land-water relationships that make up this immensely popular area of the mid-Atlantic region.
These maps are part of Coastal Art Maps’ growing oeuvre of hand-drawn, water-colored maps that encompass a significant portion of the east coast from Massachusetts to Florida. These unique, detailed art pieces offer a valuable perspective on one of man’s enduring pursuits of knowledge. This ageless love of maps; representing the attempt to master the 3-dimensional world in a 2-dimensional document, continues to fascinate despite the fact that the entire world is at our fingertips through electronic media. These viscerally satisfying, accurate cartographic documents, displaying the endless variety of where the land and water meet, allow us a bird’s-eye view of familiar locales while fostering an understanding of their place in the larger geography of the country and world. These keepsakes offer equal pleasure for both the expert collector and the casual novice, as well as for anyone who enjoys the seashore and its natural wonders. I look forward to sharing this experience with all who join me in the enjoyable task of mapping our surroundings.
I was recently down at the Jersey Shore recharging my batteries for the ongoing new maps that are in the works. While there, I was able to visit some good friends and longtime supporters of my mapmaking endeavors. They have encouraged me from the beginning over the past 12 years and have carried them in their shops and galleries. Before the websites, this was the main way in which I was able to have my work shown and I am grateful for all of their efforts. These include Cricket Luker of Wildflowers by the Lighthouse and Diane Coppola of Island Arts on Long Beach Island, NJ. Also on the Island, Steve Fritz of Seawall Artifacts has been very enthusiastic. Beyond these folks, I’m reminded of numerous other stores that have carried my maps and helped get me this far. In NJ, they include Armadillo Ltd in Avalon, Squan Custom Frame in Manasquan, Tuckerton Seaport, Atlantic Artisans in Atlantic Highlands, Art Effects in Spring Lake, Great Pacific Frame in Point Pleasant, Erickson’s Picture in Toms River and Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City. In Delaware, Your Home Art Gallery, Fast Frame, Creative Art Center and Frames with Character in Wilmington, Big Picture in Hockessin, RJ Bloomingdale’s in Newark, Rehobeth Art & Framing in Rehobeth Beach and Donald Duck Shoppe in Ocean City, MD. All these folks have been faithfully promoted my efforts and given a broad audience access to my Coastal Art Maps. Thanks one and all and best of luck for the upcoming season.
As this new, communicating process is pretty much in its earliest stages, I thought it might be fun and informative to chronicle the process and see how the final results might be impacted by doing so. For the next couple of months (at least), this post will posit my experiences in creating this year’s maps. Look for these installment soon under the blog category “The Mapmaking Process”. In the meantime, under this heading, I want to try and solicit more feedback from those of you who have something to ask or say. I’m interested to know what you think of the maps, what questions you may have about how they are made, and most importantly, what you might be looking for that isn’t currently available. As I noted in the first installment, the hope for the websites, is to be able to broaden my reach and make it viable to work on areas well outside my local geographic locale. If this freedom works out, Florida and California, the Caribbean and other countries are all within the realm of possibility. As the name of my endeavor makes clear, anywhere that water meets land is of interest to me and could provide the inspiration for the next map cycle. And, as much as I do this for the personal satisfaction it provides, I do hope people out there will like them and ultimately purchase them for their own pleasure. They are not custom-made but are responsive to requests, so I am certainly interested in what you all think and are looking for. I look forward to hearing from you on any of the points in this post. Cheers.
Following the initial launch of my website, www.coastalartmaps.com, and its related Facebook and Etsy sites, I got a lot of positive feedback from friends and other interested parties about the style and content. Many folks asked very good questions about why I have done the maps that you’ve seen so far and why I don’t have others. Most specifically, numerous people asked about Florida, a state that has a very large coastline and which many people from the greater NY area have ties to. These questions also dovetailed nicely with thoughts about getting to work on maps that were outside of my original geographic area, something that I hope the websites will help facilitate. Most of my creative time on these maps takes place in the winter, as a result of bad weather and more time inside, which helps them appear in time for spring when peoples’ thoughts turn more to outdoor activities (like boating and fishing) and engagement with the very areas that my maps depict. So this time of year usually finds me working on new projects and this year is no exception. Having done some research and thought quite a bit about who is really interested in what I do, I’ve decided to make the next maps of the Florida Keys. These represent really iconic pieces of land and water and are locations that many, many people have been to and feel a real connection with, myself included.