The Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA) is widely recognised as the focal point for much of Britain's finest contemporary marine art and many of the country's leading marine artists are elected members of the Society.
The common theme is the sea and tidal waters although, within that remit, members work is wide and varied. Subjects range from deep water shipping to coastal scenes, competitive sailing to quiet harbours, marine wildlife to still-life. Some members specialise in carefully researched historical paintings; others paint en plein air, attempting to capture the essence of the scene at a particular moment in time; yet others work in their studio from copious notes and sketches made on location. The work is representational in the broadest sense and includes all the usual media: oil, watercolour, acrylic, pastel, pencil, pen and ink, as well as prints and the occasional sculpture.
In 2014 the Society celebrated its 75th anniversary. Founded in 1939 as The Society of Marine Artists, in 1966 Her Majesty the Queen granted it the title Royal Society of Marine Artists. Early members included Charles Pears, Montague Dawson, Claude Muncaster, Norman Wilkinson, Rowland Hilder and Edward Wesson, all eminent artists in their day and whose work is held in major national collections. Many of the current members are equally eminent in their field and their work will be valued and appreciated for generations to come.
The Society has links with the maritime world, including the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Navy, the RNLI, sail training organisations and publishing. It also has a valued group of supporters, the Friends of the RSMA. The Society is a registered charity with a commitment to encourage and promote marine art, and many of its members are active in teaching, lecturing and demonstrating their skills.
The Annual Exhibition is open to non-members and the Society welcomes entries from all artists interested in celebrating some aspect of the sea and tidal waters. All submitted work is subject to selection by a panel of RSMA members. Each year a number of prizes are awarded, most of which are open to non-members as well as members.
President: Elizabeth Smith
Vice President: Martin Swan