The Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Marine Artists runs from 14 to 25 October, however here our Exhibitions Manager offers an exclusive preview of what to expect at this year’s show:

There are over 300 works on show at the Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA) Annual Exhibition 2015, all depicting maritime subjects, however from a startling range of places and perspectives.

Along the English coast towards Penzance, Peter Cronin has painted the picturesque Polperro, a large studio piece composed from ‘in situ’ reference studies looking across the water beyond boats and buoys onto buildings and bodies on shore. While further North, Bruce Mulcahy has painted - ‘on-the-spot’, over several visits - South Bay Lights, Scarborough, an atmospheric nocturne of night-time lights on Scarborough Harbour. Of course Peter and Bruce are far from the only exhibitors to find inspiration outside the studio, en plein air. J.F. Morgan has depicted the seas from her actual experience as yachtswoman, cruising and working at sea, whereas Wendy Borello has painted her underwater “landscapes” in watercolour from her personal experiences whilst scuba diving. While back on dry land, the shapes, colours and patterns of ropes and nets found amongst fishing paraphernalia are the inspiration behind Gareth Brown’s still life, appropriately titled Ropes and Nets.

Bruce Mulcahy RSMA South Bay Lights, Scarborough

From still life to sporting events, Barry Peckham recorded his view Valsheda, off The Needles at six o’clock in the morning off Mudeford Quay whilst observing yachts pass The Needles at the Isle of Wight’s Round the Island Race 2013. Another race, another place, David Allen shows the activity at a combined race day between West Mersea Yacht Club and Dabchicks Yacht Club in his pastel painting Cadets, Toppers and Optimists Waiting to Launch, West Mersea. While Raymond Leech’s End of the Toppers Race, Lowestoft depicts the June 2015 event in Lowestoft, at which 159 of the country’s best young sailors competed in a key qualifying event to secure a place in The Royal Yachting Association’s Junior National Squad.

Barry Peckham RSMA ROI Valsheda, off The Needles

Exhibiting artists have depicted less competitive, calmer scenes too, especially so Nicholas St John Rosse’s serene pictures of the seaside, including a faithful dog afraid of water (The Relucant Bather!), a girl at play on the beach with Pink Bucket, Blue Bucket, and in Exploring, even the artist’s own great grandson at Trebarwith.

Many RSMA artists confess to finding Britain their favourite place to paint, with new member Gillian Roberts listing among her personal highlights, Aldeburgh, Southwold, Walberswick, and the Yorkshire coast, as seen in her oil painting Yorkshire Rose and Ocean Crusader at Bridlington. However beyond Britain is well represented in the exhibition as well, from Breakfast on the Riviera with Douglas Gray, to evening in Menorca through the eyes of David Curtis (Evening, Binibèquer Coastline – Menorca), across Italy with David Allen via The Grand Canal at Accademia, and as far as Iceland courtesy of Lorraine Abraham’s Repair and Renovation, Reykjavik Harbour – which depicts boats Lorraine has observed with fascination over frequent visits to Iceland from their dilapidated state upon first sight to them becoming seaworthy following repair and renovation.

Douglas Gray RSMA Breakfast on the Riviera

Above are just some of the works on display in what is the RSMA’s 70th Annual Exhibition, for which the Society is re-introducing a special display of smaller works to hang alongside stunning larger pieces at competitive prices. What better reason to visit the Society’s seventieth Annual Exhibition charting the “Seven Seas”, the country’s foremost showcase for the finest contemporary marine art.

View more highlights from the exhibition here