As a marine artist, it is most gratifying that so many of my commissions have been for people who have spent their working lives at sea.
If you are interested in commissioning a painting, please contact me using the form at the bottom of this page.
Convoy o.b. 205
I have just completed this commission. The client, at the age of ten, was one of 370 working class children from Bristol who, in 1940, was being evacuated to Canada on board the SS Volendam. Two days into the voyage, at midnight and in a storm, the Volendam was torpedoed twice. The crew got all the children into the lifeboats and transferred them to the tanker, SS Valdemosa. Only one person lost their life and that was the purser who was killed in an accident as he climbed down to a lifeboat. The tanker, being so overcrowded, had to put back for Glasgow, and the children eventually found themselves back in Bristol to face the blitz.
This commission shows Nelson’s favourite ship, Agamemnon arriving at Bastia, Corsica in 1794. Nelson’s squadron landed heavy guns from the ships, and the locals were amazed to see the ease with which the experienced seamen hauled them up cliffs to positions overlooking the town, from whence they proceeded to bombard the French until they surrendered.
The following four oil paintings were painted for a retired radio officer, and are part of a set that will eventually show every ship on which he served.
This is the first in the series
The second oil was in complete contrast and showed the collier, Corbrae, preparing to load coal at the Staithes in Blythe.
Back south for the third and the Clan Line’s Clan MacIntyre was shown off Table Mountain.
The fourth in the series was the most challenging so far, but for me, the most fun. The tramp steamer Kathy Hope Maline was an old rust-bucket belonging to a Greek shipowner who never spent a penny on niceties like safety or correct certificates. She was sent to Montreal in winter to pick up rolls of newsprint and got stuck in pack ice in the St. Lawrence Seaway. It took four Canadian icebreakers to free her. For the sake of composition, I only included two in the painting.
The following oil painting was the biggest challenge yet. My client was the captain of a north sea oil rig service ship and a qualified diver. In 1953 his father had been part of the crew of the Shell oil tanker, Liparus, that went to the rescue of a sinking cargo ship. He commanded the lifeboat that rescued sixteen men.
The two greatest challenges with this painting were, that the only man who knew what it should look like, was his father and, as the painting was a surprise for him, I had to do my best without the benefit of his knowledge. Also, as the rescue took place at six in the morning, in a storm, in December and off the southern coast of Ireland, it would have been very dark indeed. I had no choice but to use my artistic license to the full and create a pre-dawn glow in the sky.
For the rest of the light, I emphasised the boat-deck and bridge lights of the tanker and the emergency lighting on the stricken cargo ship.
I sent the painting off with the proviso that, as it was an oil, I could change anything that was drastically wrong.
As it turned out his father was delighted and wanted nothing changed.