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Back to the Drawing Board

I like to draw. As a child whenever I left the house, I carried a notebook and pencil. Today in a cardboard box on a shelf in the basement there is a collection of my sketches from the late 1960s. Then it was all about fashion. Long-legged models in bell bottom jeans. Flowers in their hair.

In grade school, art and music classes were scheduled once a week. Our teacher was a 23-year-old University graduate who cruised into the schoolyard in a yellow Ford convertible. We were more than impressed. It was 1964. For the next three years, his dynamic approach to art and music shaped how we learned and ultimately how we viewed the world.

At secondary school, the curriculum offered electives beyond the required math, science, and English. I loved both art and music but could only choose one. Music won the coin toss, and art became a personal pursuit. One that I still enjoy today.

point prim lighthouse
Point Prim Lighthouse, PEI © bschepers 2021

My collection of sketches grew over the years but was rarely shared. That changed when a drawing I made of the Point Prim Lighthouse on Prince Edward Island captured the attention of my sister-in-law, Nancy Schepers.

Not long ago, a story written by Ine Molijn-Schepers was found and returned to Nancy. The daughter of a long-time family friend located Nancy through social media. In 1972, Ine’s book, ‘Schokland, the Deserted Island’, received award winning recognition in the Dorothy Shoemaker Literary Competition sponsored by the Kitchener Public Library. At that time, Ine handcrafted a limited number of copies and gifted them to family and friends. This was one of those original copies.

To honour her mom’s work, Nancy suggested re-issuing the book with illustrations. She credits the sketch, ‘Point Prim Lighthouse’ as her inspiration. Nancy and I collaborated on the text and layout for ‘The Spirit of Schokland’, engaged the services of an editor, and thoroughly enjoyed working together to bring the book to the finish line. My job for three months was to draw. Lucky me!

Then storms roared in the night and the dike threatened to collapse, church bells rang out and the islanders came running to help fight the sea.
The Spirit of Schokland © bschepers 2021

The Spirit of Schokland — A Dutch Legend’ project began in August of 2021. Three months later it was completed and independently published with illustrations and a dedication in memory of Ine Schepers-Molijn.

It is the story of seven-year-old Marietje who loves her island home where she lives with her parents and brother. Schokland is under constant threat from the surrounding Zuider Sea. When a storm sweeps Marietje away, she insists on returning to watch over her beloved island.

As the spirit of Schokland, Marietje watches as the island is abandoned and ultimately reclaimed from the sea as part of a large polder in the Netherlands. Based on historical facts, this is a tale of love and perseverance in the face of adversity. Schokland is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The book we created is available for purchase on Amazon.

Rainwater lasher her face as she struggled on, shaking her small fist at the gusty wind.
The Spirit of Schokland © bschepers 2021

It is a pleasure to return to drawing. It brings me back to a place where putting pencil to paper opened doors to possibility. It’s nice to know that place still exists.

I am working on a series of prints and note cards. These little drawings are moments captured from memory. Maybe you will see yourself in them too.

A selection of images can be found on the My Drawings page here in The Beehive menu. I hope they bring a smile to your face and sunshine to your day. Now… back to the drawing board.


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