Thursday, October 15, 2015

Review: 70th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Marine Artists

The 70th Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Marine Artists opened yesterday at the Mall Galleries. It closes on Sunday 25th October.

RSMA exhibition in the Main Gallery
There are 329 paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures in the exhibition in the Main Gallery and the Threadneedle Space.  For those unable to get to see it, you can view the catalogue of the exhibition online. It's an excellent exhibition of various styles of painting in a largely representative fashion.

View of the exhibition in the Threadneedle Space
I'm afraid I was suffering from a frozen back during my visit to this exhibition and was in absolute agony!  Nevertheless I managed to get round and found the prizewinning paintings. I'm only sorry I wasn't able to study the other paintings in more detail - although I have highlighted some of the ones which struck me below - under the prizewinners

RSMA Annual Exhibition - Main Gallery
Variations of a marine theme - in the Main Gallery
RSMA Annual Exhibition
RSMA Annual Exhibition - another corner of the Threadneedle Space


The Charles Pears Award

This award commemorates the first elected President of the Royal Society of Marine Artists. You can read a blog post by Tony Williams - who won the £500 Charles Pears Award - on the Mall Galleries website.

Ship with Moon (£1,595) by Tony Williams
Winner of The Charles Pears Award
The painting “Ship with Moon” has come from a series of romantic/nostalgia studies following bright summer moonrises and a looking back to the days when I lived in south London as a boy and art student cycling up to the river Thames a few miles away with my old camera. It is a subject that allows me to indulge in my love of the constructivists, whilst mellowed by a romantic element.

The Artist Magazine Award

Jamel Akib will be interviewed for a feature in The Artist Magazine after winning their award. The composition and dynamic diagonals within it make you feel as if you're sailing in the boat with the crew.

Pull 2 (£2,200) by Jamel Akib
Winner of The Artist Magazine Award

The Classic Boat Prize

Sheena Bevis-White - from the open entry - won this prize with her painting of Juno and will have her painting featured in Classic Boat.

Juno by Sheena Bevis-White

The RK Burt Canson Paper Award

This is for works on paper and was won by Margaret Heath RSMA. Her traditional watercolour has some wonderful qualities of light.

Winter Sunrise, Lymington Quay (£795 - sold) by Margaret Heath RSMA
Winner of the R K Burt Canson Paper Prize

The Derek Gardner 'Sea and Sky' Award

James Williams focused on paintings of waves and that sometimes indeterminate horixzon line between sea and sky.

Two paintings by James Williams
the top one - 'Into the Light' - won the The Derek Gardner 'Sea and Sky' Award 

The Russell and Chapple Canvas Prize

John Lines RSMA RBSA won this prize with a painting of a very large ship.

Brisk Day Departure (£2,150) by John Lines
Winner of the Russell and Chapple Canvas Prize

The Sea Pictures Gallery award

David Nixon painted a subject which I guess would most watercolour artists think twice.

Highrise (£1,000) by David Nixon
Winner of the Sea Pictures Gallery Award

The Winsor & Newton Oil Prize

Bruce Williams won Winsor & Newton products to the value of £250.

Breakwater and Neptune (£3,000) by Bruce Williams
Winner of the Winsor & Newton Oil Prize

Other works I liked

I don't normally think of monochrome as being associated with Marine Art but I saw four works which I thought worth highlighting.

(Left) Next-the-Oceans VII (Aquatint) by Marianne Ferm
(top right) Walking the Pier (solar plate etching) by Despina Symeou
(bottom right)  Beached (aquatint) by Stephen Asquith 
Wells next the Sea (edition of 10) by Simon Dodd ARBSAlinocut £380

One of the things I noticed is that paintings including figures were selling very well.

Particularly if they were children on a beach AND were well drawn/painted. There's a lot of famous painters who have painted children on a beach - with Singer Sargent and Sorolla being two of the more well known. This is an exhibition which provides an opportunity for the artist who likes painting figures - they just need to find a marine context!

Events and workshops

There's a range of events and workshops during the exhibition. Some are free and some have a fee for attendance.

Yesterday afternoon Tim Hall gave a well attended demonstration of painting a marine scene in oils
2.00 – 4.30pm. We discussed my review of his painting which won the Charles Pears Award in 2014.

Oil painting demonstration by Tim Hall
Today Lorraine Abraham RSMA was demonstrating scraperboard in the Learning Centre

Tomorrow Geoff Hunt PPRSMA is doing a workshop on drawing ships and boats

Next week there are more demonstrations by members:
Plus there's a Vice President's Tour at 11am on the 21st October . On Wednesday evening there's a maritime themed evening of stories from artists about commissions undertaken 

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