R is for Revenge

Queen Anne’s Revenge, that is. Queen Anne’s Revenge is the name of Blackbeard Teach’s flagship—though I have to admit I don’t know why he chose that name. Queen Anne ruled Great Britain & Ireland while Blackbeard was alive, so maybe he considered himself to be a privateer on behalf of the Crown? Was he not happy with the War of the Spanish Succession? I’d like it if, in the comments, someone could offer a better reason behind Teach’s name for his ship. Writers Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift & pirate aficionado Daniel Defoe flourished under Queen Anne, so maybe her reign really was culture’s balmiest day—but why did she need to be avenged?

Anyway, he only captained Queen Anne’s Revenge for 3 years before she sunk off North Carolina. And so I had the wonderful opportunity to paint a sunken pirate ship for Eve Bunting’s new book, P is for Pirate. It was also a chance to pay tribute to fantastic illustrator Lloyd K. Townsend. When I say ‘pay tribute to’, of course I mean ‘steal shamelessly from’. I’ve admired Townsend since I was a wee lad, seeing his paintings in National Geographic. One in particular, from 1979, shows the sunken Spanish treasure ship Tolosa. This was my—cough—inspiration for R is for Revenge. Hey, at least I turned the ship around to face the other way!

Herewith, work in progress:

9 responses to “R is for Revenge

  1. This is BEAUTIFUL. I’m really enjoying these process photos.


  2. Very cool, John! I concur with Kirby… really enjoy seeing the process!


  3. Such attention to detail! LOVE the colors and watching the process. What an incredible artist you are. Reading the other comments on enjoying watching the process reminds me when a girlfriend (another artist) and I spent a day in Rochester at a Maxfield Parrish exhibit (my favorite illustrator, but you are second!) We spent the day drooling (it was a little embarrassing!) and learned alot about his layering techniques and how he even created new colors. I just remember standing in front of “Daybreak” for what must have been at least 30 minutes, with tears in my eyes I was so overwhelmed. A woman walked up, took one look at this masterpiece, turned to her friend and said in a totally bored voice “Oh, that’s nice.” OMG! Wanted to slap her! (Still remember how overwhelmed I was) But I guess some people just don’t get it. And even taking the time to explain “it” to them isn’t worth it, is it?! But it’s wonderful to appreciate artwork with people who “get it”!


  4. Hola! I’ve been following your web site for some time now and finally got the courage
    to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Tx!
    Just wanted to say keep up the great job!


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