In the last six months or so I have managed to complete a few sea paintings all of which I am pleased to say have found new ports in which to drop anchor. These were the first paintings of mine depicting warships and steam ships of the early part of the 20th century. I find ship architecture of this period fascinating. Tramp steamers with tall funnels and iron clad battle ships and heavy cruisers. Perhaps it is a throw back to my childhood. I was an avid model maker and Airfix plastic ship kits were always on Santa’s list. I made models of sailing ships and WWI ships like HMS Iron Duke, WW II ships including HMS Ark Royal, Hood, Bismarck, Scharnhorst and Prinz Eugen and the Mighty ‘Mo’, USS Missouri. In fact ships and the sea were a greater love than heraldry and took up as much space in my early sketch books. At school my class mates laughed at me because when I drew ships fighting battles I did so with accompanying sound effects.
I am not sure if it was studying the detailed plans of the kits but I built an extensive knowledge of naval architecture and rigging which has never gone away. When I was 12 our art master Mr Greenslade did a competition during a double art class, we had an hour and a half to draw or paint anything of our choosing. I drew the USS Missouri and he asked how I had knowledge of so much detail. I got the 1st prize, a large bar of Cadbury’s chocolate. I later sent a drawing of a New Bedford Whaling ship drawn after making a model kit, to a BBC TV program called Vision On and had it featured in the Gallery which was shown each week.
A few years ago I announced I was going to concentrate on fine art painting and slowly wind down the heraldry, I have been inundated with final heraldry requests which I was blessed to receive and so sea paintings have been sparse. Those I have done have always found homes with friends and collectors. The most recent are no exception. Two action paintings of WWII US Navy Fletcher Class destroyers in action, including the USS O’Bannon going full steam ahead into harms way. Two paintings of WWI ironclads, showing a Royal Navy heavy cruiser squadron and a painting of HMS Lion at sunset. I think I like these great iron warriors because whilst they are steam ships they still have tall masts and yardarms and that memory of Nelson’s ships of the line. The final painting is perhaps my favourite thus far, ‘A meeting on the Grand Banks’ showing a tramp steamer and a fishing schooner out of Gloucester, Massachusetts meeting on the fishing grounds of the Grand Banks off Newfoundland. All paintings were acrylic on canvas.
Andrew Stewart Jamieson