Sunday, October 16, 2011

Top 10 Non-Cheesy Nautical Artists of All Time

Here's the problem. I love art. And I love the sea. But all too often, when one attempts to combine the two, what you get usually comes off as tacky:

                            Or even worse, boring as sin:


Yikes. Yawn... Art is supposed to provoke and inspire. 

The problem is, the ocean is so frighteningly beautiful that I myself am often stricken with the desire to paint it when I'm out there. But I resist the temptation. 

Because trying to paint a shockingly transformative, mystical ocean scene is kinda like trying to paint God or Perfect Love.

Yeeesh. Needless to say, some things are practically impossible to translate onto canvas in a thoughtful, insightful way, and are usually better left unpainted.

Having said that, though, there are a gifted few who are able to make that mystical ocean world come alive in a non-tacky, non-boring way.

                                   10) KARLA NOLAN 


She is an American artist who lives in Colorado but is drawn to the sea. Her favorite quote: "Life is short. Use color!"

                                  9) DEREK MCCREA

      Derek is a retired US Army veteran who lives and paints in Georgia. I like the way he combines different textures: the softness of the clouds, the roughness of the whitecaps, and the sleek smoothness of the palm frons.

                                8) JAMES BUTTERWORTH

        He was an English painter born in 1817. He is known for his America's Cup paintings, which bring you up close to the action. I love the detail that you can only see the legs of two of the crewman.

                                 7) RAPHAEL LACOSTE

   Mr. LeCoste was born in Paris in 1974. Painting underwater scenes is also extremely hard to do. It is so easy to go over the top and end up with something unspeakably cheesy:

                                            Yeesh... :-/

                                    6) RICK SHORT

                                         "Lightning at Sea"

Painting drama and danger at sea is another challenge that is rarely done well. Mr. Short is particularly inspirational as he is self taught! He currently lives and paints in Florida. I certainly hope we never see anything like his frightening (yet beautiful!) image above.

                                      5) ANIL NENE


  Mr. Nene is an Indian artist who is also a practicing architect. He does the impossibly by making watercolor come off as thoughtful and provocative as well as characteristically beautiful. 

                                     4) THOMAS HOYNE

Thomas Hoyne grew up in the early 20th century in New England. He pursued nautical painting full time after he saw the film "Captains Courageous" in 1938 (which is, by the way, one of the many nautical films I haven't yet seen...). What I love about the work above is the realism of the shot. You feel like you are right there on the water with them. And the big, black tanker heading towards them ominously feels very familiar...been there, done that. :-/

                                  3) GEORGE DMITRIEV

Born in 1957 in the former Soviet Union, he does the impossible by using blazing color without appearing cheesy. 

                                 Dmitriev's "Moon and Waves"

                                2) KATSUSHIKA HOKUSAI


Born in 1760 in Japan, Hokusai's wood block paintings were revolutionary for their time. His "tsunami" above is one of his most famous.

                             1) CASPAR DAVID FRIEDRICH

                                   "Arctic Shipwreck"

 Born in 1774 in Germany, Mr. Friedrich managed to merge the terrible and the beautiful, as in "Arctic Shipwreck" above. If you look to the right of the jumble of ice you can see the last vestiges of a crumbling schooner, being crushed by the unrelenting march of nature.

"Close your bodily eye, that you may see your picture first with the eye of the spirit. Then bring to light what you have seen in the darkness, that its effect may work back, from without to within." -- Caspar David Friedrich 

No comments:

Post a Comment