When people hear the term "marine art" they often think of paintings on the walls of a stuffy men's club, but the best examples of painting in any genre are a treasure trove of learning for the oil painter.
In this work by the American impressionist Childe Hassam, the interlocking areas of water and land are nearly the same in size and shape, creating a sort of yin yang symbol. This produces a visual ambiguity of figure and ground - the viewer's eye cannot fully decide if the land is the figure on the ground of the sea, or vice versa. This makes the composition more interesting.
Childe Hassam was one of the handful of artists who took the Impressionist style of landscape painting from Europe to America.
Two studies of the same subject - one at sunset and one by moonlight.
Making multiple studies of a single subject is a very instructive exercise. After the first study you are familiar enough with the general form of the scene to concentrate on other aspects of painting - such as colour and mood - in subsequent studies.
Ships' masts provide vertical elements to counter the horizontality of the sea. The vertical element provided by the fisherman is extended by his reflection in the wet sand, and provides a visual link from the bottom of the painting through the boat to the top of the composition. I've noticed that old master seascape painters often make an opening, or lighter area, in the clouds behind the top of a mast. The light tone contrasts with the dark tone of the mast, creating a focus of interest for the viewer's eye - a kind of full stop at the end of the sentence - and also can suggest an extension of the visual path into the infinite.
The intervals between sets of elements should be varied, to create more visual interest. Avoid painting regular spacings (like the posts in a fence) or the scene will appear unnatural. This rule could be broken if the intention is to create a surreal effect.
To paint the sea, you must love it, and to love it, you must know the sea. - Frederick Judd Waugh
About this Blog
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This blog is intended as a reference resource for seascape painters (particularly those working in oils) and for art lovers. It's a mix of nautical/maritime art, seascapes and coastal scenes, both old and new. The blog is of a non-profit, educational nature; however, if you are the owner of an image and would like it removed, please advise in a comment to the post. Add comments by clicking on the word 'comments' under a post.
Copyright of images of paintings on this blog are usually held by the artist or owner and are not generally in the public domain.
A large proportion of the artists are from the US simply because their work seems to be easier to find on the internet, and perhaps the genre is more popular there, but suggestions of famous painters from other countries (and for the blog in general) are welcome.
Apologies if a link to an artist's or gallery's website has been inadvertantly omitted. If you are interested in seeing more, or purchasing, work by any of the artists on this site, google their full name in inverted commas, with perhaps the word 'paintings' or 'artist' and it should take you to their site or the site of a gallery representing them.
If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry