Four Leaping Sailfish and Halfbeak, 24 x 43 inches. Bonefish, Four Bones up with the Tide.
Another sub-genre of marine art is the underwater marine.
The American artist and illustrator Stanley Meltzoff (1917-2006) was a master of this type of scene, skillfully combining wild-life painting and underwater seascape. He was probably the originator of this genre.
Emanuel Phillips Fox, Australian, The Ferry. Julius LeBlanc Stewart, American, On the Yacht Namouna, Venice. Raoul Du Gardier, White Calm, Telfair Museum.
This is a kind of sub-genre of nautical painting that seems to have been popular in the late 19th century and early 20th century. It had plenty of scope for interesting compositions combining figures, cloth, linear elements (both curving and straight) and seascape.
James Tissot, Christ Asleep During the Storm Not sure of the medium here. Could be gouache or watercolor, or a combination.
Tissot (French, 1836–1902) is best known for his depictions of fashionable Parisian women (as in the centre image: HMAS Culcutta, painted in 1877, which looks like an oil), but in his later years he turned to illustrating scenes from the Old and New Testament.
The Hull of a Battle Ship (bottom image) definitely looks like an oil.
The Golden Rose, oil on paper on panel, 2007, 36 x 3ft 12 inches
Farseekers - Journey, oil on paper mounted on masonite, 27 x 32 inches
These illustrations by the New York based artist, Donato Giancola, are striking in their use of aerial perspectives. Though the works are quite large, Giancola has chosen paper mounted on panel for his support.
When working in fine detail, paper is a good option as it provides a smooth surface unobtainable with canvas without lots of priming, sanded between coats. Paper, however, needs to be mounted on a panel or canvas support, with an archival glue, to prevent buckling and damage.
The American painter (Thomas) Alexander Harrison 1853 - 1930, was best known for his marines. In The Circle of the Sea, he has captured the nacreous (pearly) effect of evening light.
Harrison rented a ramshackle cottage near the Brittany town of Beg-Meil, and each evening raced to the dunes to watch the sun set over the ocean. In late-summer 1896, he was joined there by struggling writer Marcel Proust and composer Reynaldo Hahn. He opened their eyes to how light plays on water:
"We have seen the sea successively turn blood red, purple, nacreous with silver, gold, white, emerald green, and yesterday we were dazzled by an entirely pink sea specked with blue sails."
Hahn is considered the inspiration for the title character in Proust's attempted first novel Jean Santeuil, but another character, "C", seems to be based on Harrison, along with aspects of the character Elstir, the painter in Remembrance of Things Past.
His brother, L. Birge Harrison (1854 -1929), also a painter, particularly successful in snow scenes, was a pupil of the École des Beaux Arts, Paris, under Cabanel and Carolus-Duran. Another brother, Butler Harrison (d. 1886), was a figure painter.
Lately I have become increasingly aware of certain ideological disputes within the art world. Whenever ideology creeps in - whether left-wing or right-wing - painting suffers. The main divide is between conservatives and progressives. In the complex world of art movements conservatives have become at times radical reactionaries, while progressive artists have sometimes re-explored the painting of the nineteenth century from a slightly ironic viewpoint.
I have an admiration for the technical skills of the nineteenth century painters, but recognize that much of the work from that period is sentimental, superficial and even kitsch, or born out of attitudes no longer tenable today, such as Imperialism and Eurocentrism. As with any period of art, much of it is just mediocre. At the same time, I think a lot of people look at a quality Victorian painting and automatically see something tainted by Imperialism, sexism or some other oppressive ideology of the past, without really pausing to consider it as paint applied to canvas.
There are a lot of nineteenth century works on this blog, but the intention is not to take a conservative, anti-modernist stance, as the Art Renewal Centre has done. The reason there is so much nineteenth century art posted is that I feel there is a lot that can be learnt about image-making, from that period.
There are works from the modern movement also represented here, but it's pretty obvious that the golden age of the seascape was the 19th Century. However, there are many contemporary artists turning to the genre from a fresh angle, and I seek to include their work whenever possible.
For further reading on this topic I recommend this open letter to the ARC by the artist Mark Vallen
The academic Artist William Bouguereau, foe of the Impressionists, is one of the ARC's heroes, though they do, perhaps reluctantly, include some Impressionist work on their site.
This is a contemporary reworking of one of his marines, La Vague, by the Worth 1000 vandals :).
In this piece by the American landscape painter, Raymond Dabb Yelland, the rocky foreground is roughly equal in area to the muted tones of the background sea and sky, forming a kind of Yin Yang composition. The small rock in the waves on the left helps marry the two halves. It's always good to add a little of the Yin in the Yang, and vice versa.
Here's a link to a great post on the painting notes of F. Judd Waugh, the great master of surf painting: art and influence blog.
His seascape palette included three blues: cobalt, ultramarine, and cerulean. Viridian green combined with cerulean blue produces the turquoises in his foreground waves. Cerulean and viridian are essential for capturing the hues of seawater. He added the cool red, Alizarin crimson, to his skies to suggest distant rosiness. He also included cadmium red and yellow in his palette, warm colors suitable for foreground rocks and sand; and burnt and raw sienna would have served for underpainting cliffs and rocks. Sea foam needs to be a bright and opaque white. He used "permalba" white and ivory black (a cool black tending towards blue, suitable for the sea).
I'm not sure what was in the permalba white manufactured in the early 20th century but on a painting forum I read that the permalba white in art shops today is not very opaque.
Frits Thaulow (1847 - 1906) was a Norwegian impressionist painter. The best Impressionists, including Monet, often made use of punchy tonal contrasts, and used black, though there is a misconception that they completely avoided it and only used pastel shades.
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