Have you ever heard of the Royal Society of Marine Artists? Not many stateside have, but they are based in England and are the foremost marine artists in that country. Their tagline is “Celebrating the Sea” and that they do, with a fervency that rivals any religious group. Since 1939, the group has been at the center of English marine art, providing the world with oil paintings, watercolors, acrylics, pastels, drawings, prints, sculptures and more.
The group started out of necessity really. After a few exhibitions that focused on marine art, many began to wonder why Great Britain, a country so intertwined with the sea, did not have a group focused on the wonders and histories of the water. British identity (culturally, economically, socially etc.), in other words, doesn’t exist were it not for the waters that surround the green isle. They are nurturing, life giving almost, and should be cherished in artwork.
By maintaining relations with organizations such as the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Navy and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the Royal Society of Marine Artists is able to produce artwork that moves across various subjects including ships, people, animals and more. The Society recently gathered at Staithes, a seaside village in North Yorkshire.
Staithes has enjoyed a long history of watery traditions and is now a popular tourist destination. Many tourists are intrigued by residents’ use of the coble, which is a traditional fishing vessel. Due to this cultural importance and history, artists frequently flock to the seaside village. It is, in many ways, a rite of passage.
While America does not have a Royal Society of Marine Artists per se, the importance of water nonetheless connects the two nations. Historically speaking, both have relied on bodies of water to grow, prosper and to exert dominance on world affairs. Where would most Americans be were it not for the lakes and rivers near their homes? The water is an important part of American identity.
At Windjammer Arts, our motto could be “Celebrating the Sea” as well! Paintings of American aircraft carriers, commercial ships and historical ships are little slices of Americana, especially the navy paintings for sale. These strong vessels have beating hearts that call out to you. The trick is to know what they’re saying and responding in kind.
What do you think? In what ways has a body of water shaped you?
*Video courtesy of rmm413e