has devoted a lifetime of effort toward their-creation of seafaring history through his
artistic endeavors. His paintings reflect the endless romance and conflicts between man
and the sea that have endured for centuries on the North American continent.
portray both the beauty and timelessness that the history of the sea, of sailing ships,
boats, lighthouses, ocean coasts and nautical structures have offered. In collaborative
works, many historical shipwrecks, particularly in Florida waters, are located, documented
and illustrated. However, the artist's largest thirst has been to whet his appetite on the
history of lighthouses - a longing that evolved into a memorable, historical love affair
for both the artist and his wife with these monuments to nautical safety.
In dedication to this effort, Bill and Frieda Trotter sold their home, studio and
gallery in 1983, and left in a motor-home on a quest that lasted some eight years to
visit, document, record and recreate on canvas some 300 lighthouses throughout the United
States. His endeavor so impressed historians and authorities that he was named Official
Artist for the US Coast Guard and was given access to numerous structures restricted to
visitors due to safety and other concerns. Mr. Trotter is a signature member of the International
Society of Marine Painters.
A prolific artist, Trotter also developed and implemented an unusual talent for model
making. Like his paintings, Trotter's models of Lighthouses are meticulous in minute
detail and realism. He uses flashing light, wood, copper, modeling clay, stained glass and
oil paints to build the three-dimensional beacons.
The commitment of Bill Trotter and his wife Frieda has been intensified by their deep
interest in historical data. In earlier works, they documented numerous paintings of
steamboat vessels, canal boats and other classic ships with collections of memorabilia,
relics, lighthouse and seamen lore, and even ghost stories. Trotter has collaborated
closely with several historians and writers, including, on several occasions, Florida
author Kevin McCarthy, and steamboat authority Edward Mueller.
Interested in art all of his life, Bill Trotter began painting during his high school
years. However, his need for security led him to pursue a business major in college,
followed by careers in insurance and as a jeweler. But the attraction of the creative life
soon after led him to turn totally to art and artistic endeavors. Some of his earlier
works include several murals in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, as well as paintings of
native Indian life-styles.
One of the talents that distinguished Trotter as a true technician of the arts, was his
penchant for history. Bill sought and captured the history and lore behind virtually every
piece of work he completed. He often gets as much involved in the history behind a subject
as in the subject itself. For example, through extensive research, he was often able to
illustrate a lighthouse as it was before the ravage of age, sea and weather led to
deterioration. He also was able to reconstruct images and illustrations of ships long ago
sunk at sea, only from historical data, descriptions and ship or seamen's lore.
Trotter's masterfully executed works graphically illustrate man's ongoing battle with
the elements of sea, wind, wave and weather.
In addition to historical vessels, lighthouses, ferries, river-boats, steamboats, and
famous shipwrecks, artist Trotter has been commissioned to paint a wide variety of
contemporary naval ships, largely through government and private grants to support the
immortality of Trotter's much sought talents.
William L. Trotter: artist, model-maker, muralist, historian, museum curator, gallery
manager, photographer, and book and magazine illustrator.
- the official artist for the
award winning Florida Keys Dive Odyssey video series!
- Thirty Florida Shipwrecks, Pineapple Press,
- John River Steamboats, Edward A. Mueller Perilous Journeys: A History of Steamboating on
the Chattahoochee, Apalachicola, and Flint Rivers, 1828 - 1929, by the Chattahoochee
- Twenty Florida Pirates, Pineapple Press,
- Steamboats of the Mississippi, Edward A. Mueller.
- Lighthouses of Ireland, Pineapple Press,
- Georgia's Lighthouses and Historic Coastal Sites, Kevin M. McCarthy, Pineapple Press, Sarasota, Florida. Illustrated
by William Trotter.
Lighthouse Scale Model Exhibits
- American Lighthouse Society and Museum, Jacksonville Beach, Florida.
- St. Augustine Lighthouse Museum, St. Augustine, Florida.
- William Trotter Lighthouse Maritime Studio, Jacksonville Beach, Florida.
Interesting Lighthouses Sites on the Internet