Painting the ocean and ships is one of the most difficult genres of painting to master. It’s not surprising that the most recognisable marine artists had experience on the high seas.
Marine paintings have been exclusive prized possessions of statesman and shipowners, captains and Kings. John F Kennedy, Franklin D Roosevelt, J.P Morgan and all the monarchs of Europe owned great private collections.
Living and working on the ocean for many years certainly has been an asset for me when crafting each painting. There is a saying that you must know the ocean to paint the ocean. To experience the ferocious great Southern Ocean in all her glory will always remain in my memory. One could never properly interpret these scenes from books or photographs. You must feel the ocean beneath your feet and watch how a vessel reacts to her ever changing moods.
Additionally my love for ships since I was a small boy has allowed me to portray their complex forms and challenging planes from any perspective. The complexities involved in painting these subjects can not be under – estimated particularly when composing historical scenes where a high level of research is involved. Although the technical aspect of the subject is important I am also conscious that the poetry of the painting is not lost.
It is not surprising that classic marine paintings are becoming extremely rare now. There is a number of reasons including the time involved in creating these works. Ships rigging can be extremely complex especially square rigged sailing ships. It requires careful planning and draftmanship that few have the required patience, knowledge and ultimately the dedication. In fact it maybe viewed as becoming a lost art.