Exhibition updates

RSMA 2018: President's Foreword and Interactive Map

Discover the RSMA Annual Exhibition 2018 with our new trailer, featuring the winner of the New Generation Award Frances Bell RP and many works which will be on display at this year's exhibition (11 to 20 October). Plus, read the exhibition foreword by Elizabeth Smith, President of the Royal Society of Marine Artists. 


Foreword by Elizabeth Smith, President of the Royal Society of Marine Artists

Over recent years we have received many compliments on the wide variety of work in our Annual Exhibitions, referring to the range of subject matter as well as the choice of media, style and size of working. I hope you agree with me that the work we present in this, our 73rd Annual Exhibition, once again demonstrates this variety. The term “Marine Art” conjures up so many different images, bringing to mind everything associated with the sea and the marine environment. It covers all types of sea-going vessels, and the creatures that live in or by the sea; it includes marine-related industries and many leisure and sports activities; it covers coastal landscapes, shaped by the continual motion of the sea; and the vast expanses of the oceans themselves.

Our members and exhibitors find inspiration all around the coast of this incredible Island, from the northern shores of Scotland to the farthest tip of Cornwall. Much of the coastline of Britain is represented here; each place has its own unique qualities and characteristics which are so ably depicted in the work on show.

There is little wonder, with such a variety of subject matter on hand, that our eagerly anticipated exhibitions offer something to appeal to each of our welcomed visitors. Whatever piece of work catches your eye, you can be sure it is an example of the very best in marine art.

We are delighted to introduce two new awards for this year. The Baltic Exchange, a Foundation member of Maritime London, providing services to the world-wide commercial shipping industry, is sponsoring a £2,000 award for a work relating to their area of expertise – commercial shipping. And, through the generosity of long-standing RSMA member Kenneth Denton, £500 is offered for a work depicting the sea in all its moods. We are most grateful to both of these, and indeed all our sponsors, for their support.

This is my final year as President. Following the close of this exhibition I stand down, as required by our rules. It has been an interesting and rewarding time that has seen this exhibition go from strength to strength. It has been particularly pleasing to be able to encourage the increase in submissions from non-members, and to witness the wealth of talent and diversity of approach they bring. Whilst we must always value the accumulated knowledge and wisdom of our long established members, so too should we welcome and nurture the new ideas and approaches of those who are not yet members, for they could be the ones who will lead our Society into an exciting future.

Elizabeth Smith PRSMA, High and Dry

I cannot finish without thanking the many people who make this exhibition possible. Our members not only produce amazing pieces of art to grace these walls each year, but they also serve on committees and work in a variety of other ways to promote our society. The staff at Mall Galleries do the administrative work with expert efficiency and are always on hand with useful and helpful advice – I thank them personally as well as on behalf of the Society. And last, but never least, I thank you for visiting the exhibition: it has been a real pleasure to meet so many of you over the years and I look forward to our continued association for many years to come.

Enjoy the exhibition!

Elizabeth Smith

President, The Royal Society of Marine Artists

Visit the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition


Image credit

Brian Jones RSMA, Neck & Neck (detail)

Inspiring Maritime Art: Geoff Hunt PPRSMA

Geoff Hunt PPRSMA explains the stories behind his stunning paintings of warships which will be on display as part of the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition (11 to 20 October). From researching maritime commissions to marine artists from history, Hunt reveals what inspires him to put brush to canvas.

I received a commission via the Mall Galleries to paint a Nelsonic subject, and in conversation with the client it emerged that he was interested in a storm scene. I thought at once of the sequel to the battle of Trafalgar, when the battle itself was followed by days of storms, while the crews of dozens of badly-damaged ships from both fleets tried to save their ships from being driven ashore while coping with many hundreds of badly-injured men. Survivors spoke of the storms being worse than the battle.

I followed my usual research procedure, going back to the original sources, the ships' logbooks, most of which are in the National Archives at Kew. Three of the big beasts of the British fleet were all so badly disabled that they were under tow for long periods by other ships, some of which were themselves damaged. Nelson's flagship Victory was towed by Euryalus, then Polyphemus, then Neptune. Collingwood's flagship Royal Sovereign was towed by Neptune and then Mars, while the famous Temeraire was towed by Sirius and then Defiance.

I produced three alternative sketches for the client, each one featuring a different pair of these ships, and the one he chose was that which included the Temeraire. However the other two sketches were almost as dramatic and interesting, and I chose to paint one of these for the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition (11 to 20 October).

The Trafalgar Storm - HMS Mars standing by Royal Sovereign by Geoff Hunt PPRSMA: Oil, 64 x 89 cm - £18,500

This one shows HMS Mars standing by the dismasted Royal Sovereign, Admiral Collingwood's flagship. Mars had been towing Royal Sovereign for two days up until just before the scene depicted in this painting, when the towing cable parted. Shortly after this the Mars, which had been in the thick of the fighting at Trafalgar, and whose Captain Duff had been killed, was herself dismasted. But both ships eventually reached harbour safely.

When I left the RSMA Presidency in 2008 one of the parting gifts I received was a fascinating book, M.K. Barritt's Eyes of the Admiralty,  a profusely-illustrated account of the episode in 1799-1800 when the marine artist John Serres was attached to the Channel Fleet (no doubt we would now say that he was 'embedded') to record the Royal Navy's very arduous year-round service blockading the French fleet in its main base at Brest and elsewhere. I am indebted to Serres for his wonderful work and drew heavily upon it for this painting.

Morning Reconnaissance - Looking into Brest, June 1800 by Geoff Hunt PPRSMA: Oil, 64 x 89 cm - £18,500

Part of the duty of the watching ships posted closest inshore was to venture each morning at first light into the approaches to Brest itself, close enough so that sharp-eyed lookouts armed with telescopes up at the mastheads could see the French fleet at anchor in the inner harbour. They would then count these ships, to make sure that none had slipped out under cover of darkness, and note their states of readiness (if the yards were 'crossed' it meant that they were preparing for sea). This hazardous duty was carried out by one or two frigates, accompanied by small vessels such as cutters whose weatherliness and shallow draught meant that they could work even closer inshore.

H.M. cutters Joseph and Lurcher in the Goulet, 1800 by Geoff Hunt PPRSMA: Watercolour, 46 x 53 cm - £1,450

H.M. cutters Joseph and Lurcher in the Goulet, 1800 continues the theme of the Brest blockade, showing two of the cutters tasked with this duty. These were very small vessels by the standards of the day of about 100 tons, with forty or so men on board and just one commissioned officer, a lieutenant. Joseph is of particular interest because she was commanded by Lieutenant Lapenotiere, a very capable but low profile officer of great seagoing experience who spent most of his career in such small vessels. He would have remained quite unknown outside the Navy had he not momentarily come into the public eye when in 1805, while in command of yet another small vessel, the schooner Pickle, he was entrusted to carry home the first account of the battle of Trafalgar.

These paintings will be on display at the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition (11 to 20 October). They are also available to purchase before the exhibition. For more information about purchasing or commissioning a work, contact info@mallgalleries.com or telephone 020 7930 6844.

See the painting in the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition from 11 to 20 October.

Find out more about commissioning your own boat, ship or yacht portrait

Behind the Scenes: Geoffrey Huband ARSMA's Historic Shipwrecks

HMS Anson wrecked on Loe Bar

The Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition is a wonderful survey of contemporary marine painting, which includes depictions of historical scenes, often from British Naval history. In this short series of blog posts, we delve into the historical events that inspired some of the paintings on display, starting with the work of Geoffrey Huband ARSMA.

St George’s Day 1947: Penlee Lifeboat The “W & S” rescues the salvage crew from HMS Warspite, ashore in Prussia Cove.

"One of my earliest childhood memories is of a breezy day on a Cornish clifftop, when my father lifted me up to glimpse a scene of great local interest", says artist, Geoffrey Huband. "It was the Battleship HMS Warspite, run aground on the rocks of Prussia Cove. I was about two and a half year’s old at the time.”

“In the years that followed, I watched with interest as the Warspite deteriorated under the shadow of St Michael’s Mount, until 1947, when tugs attempted to tow the battleship to the breaker’s yard on The Clydeside. When heavy weather and a strong westerly gale caused the Warspite to break away from the tugs, it looked as though the Warspite might capsize – she was bows down and listing to port.”

The W & S at Mousehole - photograph from the Dudley Penrose Collection.

“Penlee Lifeboat, the ‘W & S’, endured thirty-foot waves, navigating between cliffs and a rocky ledge, to rescue the salvage crew one by one. Coxswain Edwin Madron’s skilful operation took just half an hour, and the RNLI awarded medals to both Madron and his motor mechanic, Johnny Drew, for the rescue.”

“Johnny Drew, who passed away in 1988, was a close friend of mine since childhood. His account of the rescue inspired this painting, which is a tribute to him and the extraordinary bravery of the crew of The W & S."

The Loss of HMS Anson on Loe Bar - 29 December  1807

“In the early hours of December 29th 1807, the forty-four gun frigate HMS Anson ran ashore one mile east of Porthleven. The vessel had attempted to escape a strong south-westerly gale, only to find itself embayed, with the waves becoming mountainous.”

“To save the lives of his crew, Captain Charles Lydiard ordered the ship to be run ashore, where it struck the beach and broached - the fore and main mast falling, providentially forming a bridge between the vessel and dry land.”

“Onlookers gathered to pull survivors from the surf, and as the ship broke up around him, Captain Lydiard attempted to evacuate his crew. Before making the passage to shore himself, Lydiard insisted on returning to the wreck to save a younger crew member. Both men were swept away by the waves.”

Illustration made at the scene of the shipwreck.

“Among the onlookers that morning was Henry Trengrouse, who was horrified by the spectacle and resolved to find a better means of rescuing shipwrecked sailors. Trengrouse created a ‘Rocket Line Thrower’, which is the prototype for the Line Throwing systems used today.”

“I was inspired to paint this scene from frequent walks along the wreck site. It pays tribute to early attempts by individuals to save the lives of others at sea.”

See the paintings in the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition from 11 to 20 October.

Exploring Mousehole with the RSMA

The coastal village of Mousehole in Cornwall is a favourite painting subject for members of the Royal Society of Marine Artists. Unpicking its appeal, Mall Galleries Marketing Manager, Liberty Rowley, delves into the rich history behind this picturesque place.

The first thing I learnt about Mousehole from its regular depiction in Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA) works is that it isn’t pronounced ‘Mouse Hole’, but Mowzal.

The paintings I’ve seen over the years of working with the RSMA Annual Exhibitions suggest that Mousehole is a sunshine-filled place, with low-terraced houses running the length of the harbour, and people enjoying what Wind in the Willows’ character Ratty referred to as ‘messing about in boats’.

Leaving the Harbour, Mousehole by Tim Hall RSMA: Oil, 132 x 162.5 cm - £36,000

The contented figures in these paintings row leisurely or manoeuvre sails with confidence, garbed in t-shirts and shorts, while the water looks blue, warm and welcoming. Such images create an instant sense of familiarity, warmth and nostalgia – even though I have never been to the place.

But what of the real Mousehole? Today it’s a small village, but Mousehole was once one of the principal ports of the area. It was a merchant hub, bustling with fairs and markets that traded fresh fish caught by the local fishermen with goods arriving in the port from other regions.

Mousehole Moorings by Peter Barker RSMA: Oil, 51 x 69 cm - £2,450

Mousehole flourished until the Sixteenth Century when, during the Anglo-Spanish War, the town was almost completely destroyed by cannon fire from Spanish galleys. The only building to survive was the local pub, the 'Keigwin Arms'. The Landlord, Jenkyn Keigwin, was killed defending the pub from the bombardment. He is commemorated with a plaque which can still be seen on the building today.

Mousehole is surely a place with a richer history than its welcoming waters and quiet streets might suggest. Another lovely morsel of Mousehole culture is Tom Bawcock’s Eve - an annual festival, commemorating a local legend, Tom Bawcock, who saved the village from starvation.

Evening Sky, Mousehole by Peter Barker RSMA: Oil, 28 x 33 cm - £495

During a long and bitter winter in the Sixteenth Century, legend has it that Tom Bawcock braved the stormy seas in his boat, when all the other fishermen thought it too dangerous to set sail. Despite the storms and broiling waters, Tom managed to catch enough fish to feed the entire village.

The catch, which included seven types of fish, was baked into a ginormous pie, and the village was saved. Since the 1950s, Tom Bawcock's Eve has been celebrated on 23rd December by villagers parading a large ‘stargazy pie’ around the village before eating it. Sounds delicious!

Moored at Mousehole by Peter Barker RSMA: Oil, 47 x 37 cm - £995

All of these paintings will be on display during the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition. They are also available to purchase prior to the exhibition. For more information on purchasing an artwork, email info@mallgalleries.com or call us on 020 7930 6844. 

See all these paintings and more in the

Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition from 11 to 20 October.

Find out more about commissioning your own boat, ship or yacht portrait

Image credit

Peter Barker RSMA, Mousehole Moorings

Behind the Scenes: Mark Myers PPRSMA's Maritime Paintings

Mark Myers The Tea Clipper Serica Outward Bound

Mark Myers PPRSMA takes us behind the scenes of two of his paintings, on display at the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition 2018 (11 to 20 October).

The Tea Clipper Serica, Outward Bound by Mark Myers PPRSMA, Watercolour, 45 x 54 cm - £975

The Serica was one of the fast and beautiful tea clippers, which raced the new season’s teas from China back to the London market. She was designed and built by Robert Steele, and launched at his Greenock shipyard in 1863.

The Serica was the first clipper home during her maiden voyage in 1864, and was part of the famous 1866 race, where the first five ships to sail from China arrived in England almost together, 99 days later.

The ship continued to make good passages for another five years, but her luck ran out in November 1872, when she was wrecked in the China Sea, just a day after sailing from Hong Kong.

Coasters in Lundy Roads by Mark Myers PPRSMA, Watercolour, 45 x 54 cm - £975

The small granite island of Lundy sits foursquare athwart the entrance to the Bristol Channel. Now a favourite retreat of walkers and nature lovers, the island was once a haven for smugglers and pirates, as well as a vital place of shelter for sailing ships in westerly weather.

This painting by Mark Myers PPRSMA shows two small coasters in Lundy Roads on a moonlit night, overlooked by the ancient cliff-top castle.

“Lundy is usually visible on the horizon when we go rowing in the Clovelly pilot gig” says the artist, “and every year when the weather permits, we row the 16 miles of open sea out to the island. This picture was inspired by the return to Lundy in the gig this summer."

These paintings will be on display at the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition (11 to 20 October). They are also available to purchase before the exhibition. For more information about purchasing or commissioning a work, contact info@mallgalleries.com or telephone 020 7930 6844.

See the painting in the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition from 11 to 20 October.

Find out more about commissioning your own boat, ship or yacht portrait

Image credit

Mark Myers, The Tea Clipper Serica, Outward Bound

Behind the Scenes: Paul Wright RSMA's HMS Vanguard


The Royal Society of Marine Artists: Prelude offers a sneak peak of the delights in store at the society's Annual Exhibition. In the Prelude, each exhibiting member artist will display one standout piece. Here, Paul Wright RSMA talks us through his painting in the Prelude. 

Paul Wright RSMA, HMS Vanguard

HMS Vanguard was the last British battleship completed in 1946. She was a war 'emergency' ship, with a modern design, and 15-inch guns salvaged from two ships which had been converted into aircraft carriers.

The Vanguard's construction had been long-lived and her design was frequently revised, as experiences in WWII altered ideas around naval engineering. These disruptions and delays prevented the Vanguard from being completed before the end of the war. By the time she was finished, HMS Vanguard was the largest battleship built in Britain, and a very effective unit of the fleet - although her only notable mission was to take the Royal Family to South Africa in 1947.

When Paul Wright RSMA was a ten-year-old schoolboy, he visited HMS Vanguard in the Solent. The experience sparked his lifelong interest in historic warships and inspired his career as a maritime artist.

This paintings will be on display at the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition (11 to 20 October). Works also available to purchase before the exhibition. For more information about purchasing or commissioning a work, contact info@mallgalleries.com or telephone 020 7930 6844.

Find out more about the Royal Society of Marine Artists: Prelude

Find out more about commissioning your own boat, ship or yacht portrait


Image credit

Paul Wright RSMA, HMS Vanguard

Behind the Scenes: Mark Myers PPRSMA's HMS Triumph

Mark Myers HM Ship Triumph and Squadron off the Pointe

The Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition is a wonderful survey of contemporary marine painting, which includes depictions of historical scenes, often from British Naval history. In this blog post, Mark Myers PPRSMA takes us through the history of the HMS Triumph, which features in one of his paintings included in the exhibition.

The HMS Triumph was a 74-gun ship-of-the-line, built in Woolwich Dockyard and launched in 1764. She served in many of the Royal Navy's chief conflict zones during her 48 years of active service, appearing in the Channel Fleet, the Mediterranean, the West Indies and the North Atlantic, before becoming a quarantine station for maritime travellers in 1812 to prevent the spread of plague, cholera and other infectious diseases.

During the American War of Independence, HMS Triumph served under the controversial figure of George Brydges Rodney. While Rodney achieved victory for the Royal Navy in numerous campaigns, he also emprisoned, deported and robbed Jewish families on the Dutch island of St Eustatius. 

The Triumph also fought in Admiral Adam Duncan’s fleet at the Battle of Camperdown in October 1797, which is considered to be the most significant action between British and Dutch forces during the French Revolutionary Wars. At the time, the Dutch populace and armed forces had joined with the French Revolution to become the Batavian Republic. In Britain too, there was widespread support for the French Revolution, and it was up to the Monarchy and in part the Royal Navy to keep revolution from British shores. The Battle of Camperdown was a decisive victory for the British.

In Mark Myers' painting, HM Ship Triumph and Squadron off the Pointe du Raz, the sun is rising over the Breton coast as the Triumph threads her way through the intricate passage of the Raz du Seine, an area the British Navy blockaded regularly during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

This painting will be on display at the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition (11 to 20 October). It is also available to purchase before the exhibition. For more information about purchasing or commissioning a work, contact info@mallgalleries.com or telephone 020 7930 6844.

See the painting in the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition from 11 to 20 October.

Find out more about commissioning your own boat, ship or yacht portrait


Image credit

Mark Myers PPRSMA, HM Ship Triumph and Squadron off the Pointe du Raz

Tony Williams' Dockyard Scenes

Tony Williams The Ghost of the Deaf Rivetter

The Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition is a wonderful survey of contemporary marine painting, which includes depictions of scenes from Britain's naval past. Here, exhibitor Tony Williams shares his passion for painting historic dockyard scenes from Britain's industrial past. 

"In the 1970’s I was a creative director, working on the Camper & Nicholson account" says marine artist, Tony Williams. "I had to dream up campaigns to promote the yachts built at the Gosport and Southampton yards - both the fibreglass and steel hulls. Ever since then I've been increasingly fascinated by shipbuilders, and the trade and commerce that was served by them, going all the way back to London’s merchant adventurers of the sixteenth century."

In The Damp Moon Dock, a big friendly Moon rises, reflecting the quiet of the docks at close of day

The Damp Moon Dock by Tony Williams, Oil, 57 x 72 cm - £1,950

"My interest isn't borne out of nostalgia, but rather admiration for the laboured endeavours of men who built the ships that once powered our economy.  As further research made me realise that this industry has now been almost entirely lost, these men became ghost-like figures in my imagination. It is this idea that I have been painting for several years, alongside subjects of dockside activity. Period vessels hold a greater charm for me than more recent bulk carriers and container ships, and their shape seems somehow more industrial. The yards that were fully employed in the first half of the 20th century provide all the ingredients I look for in a painting, in terms of composition, narrative, and atmosphere.  The presence of the sun, usually cloaked in the fog and smoke of an industrial environment, is the one constant positive connection between these ghosts and us. The rest has gone."

In The Ghost of the Deaf Riveter, ghost-like figures of the ship builders walk away from the harsh yard of steel and noise

The Ghost of the Deaf Riveter by Tony Williams, Oil, 56 x 72 cm - £1,950

"Shipyard workers were frequently injured, and suffered in other ways too. Deafness was a regular condition brought on by riveting and by all the resonant concussion of noise around the yard. The deaf riveter is a familiar figure in my work, leaning in to better hear a conversation."

"Most shipyard workers smoked, and could be seen enjoying their Capstan or Woodbines on the way into or out of work each day. In my painting, wisps of cigarette smoke add to the atmosphere of grey fog and industrial haze."

In The Onlookers, a small and helpless group of onlookers waits for something - high water, or maybe calamity. A sad-faced ship, stuck fast, stares back with no mind to do anything except rock to the whim of the waves.

The Onlookers by Tony Williams, Oil, 57 x 72 cm - £1,950

"Any marine situation can be a compelling image for a painting. In the days before satellite navigation technology, ships would often run agrond during bad weather. Such scenes enable painterly compositions which draw strong connecitons between the sea and the coastline, such as The Onlookers, which is a loose depiction of an incident that occured at the turn of the 20th century."

Unloading the September Shadows by Tony Williams, Oil, 60 x 72 cm - £1,950

These paintings and many more will be on display at Mall Galleries from 11 to 20 October as part of the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition. To purchase one of these artworks or find out about commissioning a marine artwork, contact info@mallgalleries.com or telephone 020 7930 6844. 

Find out more about the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition 2018


Image credit

Tony Williams The Ghost of the Deaf Rivetter

Jill Moger SWLA: Inspired by Spires

Jill Moger SWLA describes the inspiration for and creation of her huge ceramic sculpture of the Hydrothermal Vent that can be seen in The Natural Eye 2018.

"I was first inspired to make a ceramic sea chimney whilst watching a video of a manned submersible dive down to a volcanic rift valley in the Pacific ocean. Massive and multiple spires of solidified lava hove into view - strange, mystical shapes culminating in pinnacles and chimneys with multiple stacks up to tens of metres high. They looked sculptural - the unique and strange life forms teeming all over the surfaces were so beautiful that I felt the urge to try and recreate a version of it.

I found many references to hydrothermal vents online, plus a few books on the subject and set about learning as much as I could. The life on and around a hydrothermal vent is fascinating and largely unique. The scientists who discovered them in the late 1970s had not expected to find life two miles deep in total darkness, with extreme pressure and temperatures of around 750F.

How does life thrive there without photosynthesis? With chemosynthesis. Mineral-rich fluids erupt out of cracks in the earth’s crust and react chemically with the seawater. These chemicals feed the billions of microbes which in turn feed the populations of higher animals. Sometimes the chemicals symbiotically maintain creatures, as with the striking and unique red-plumed Giant Tube Worms (Riftia). The microbes within the worms survive by converting the chemicals and minerals (importantly, hydrogen sulphide) into sugars which in turn feeds the worms. Vent Snails, Brachyuran Crabs, Yellow Mussels and clams graze on the microbial film on the vent surfaces. Squat Lobsters, Yeti Crabs (yes, they are hairy!), Zoarcid Fish and octopuses scavenge and prey on each other. Most of the life here is white or colourless - why expend energy on colour production in total darkness?

It took several months to work out the best way to make my ceramic sea chimney. It needed to look tall but be small enough that I could easily reach the top with a step ladder. I prefer to make life-sized sculpture so I aimed for a height of six to seven feet – perhaps a young eruption with young life. I knew that a multitude of four to five foot long red-plumed Giant Tube Worms would not work and neither would Giant Clams the size of dinner plates!

It was not going to be possible to make my chimney in one piece, not only because of the modest size of my kiln but also because of the vagaries and unpredictability of clay. Unless the structure is an even thickness throughout, large clay forms can warp, slump, crack and always shrink during the long firing processes. These possibilities need to be allowed for.

Following several scribbled sketches, I settled on making the main shape in a number of parts that fit together in a kind of three-dimensional jigsaw.

The basic clay needed to be rough, strong and thermal shock-resistant. This created another problem because different clays shrink at different rates. The rougher clays only shrink about 6%, whilst the white stoneware and porcelain that I use for fine work shrinks by 16%. This meant that the finely made life forms, when attached to the basic chimney, would fall out in the firing! I was going to have to do some careful mixing of clays to achieve a more even shrinkage between them.

The chimney is made of ten pieces – three at the base, two in the second layer and three upper storeys. The subsidiary chimney has two parts and sits neatly at the base.

Each piece was separately made by building up the walls with internal supports and the life forms were added along the way.

Tube Worms, mussels and shrimps were all made in small batches so that I could place them en masse on each piece of chimney to achieve some balance and harmony. The more singular species such as fish, octopus and crabs, I placed on or amongst them as appropriate. The exact positioning of animals evolved as I worked.

I placed thick polythene between the sections of chimney wherever they touched in order to be able to take them apart easily when ready for the first of four firings.

Each was coloured and glazed using the same palette, with lustres added where useful for example the shrimps have the illusion of looking slightly transparent.

After all the firings the fitting back together of such a comparatively large ceramic structure had its difficulties, but with a little chipping, filing and some internal reinforcements, all was well. I hope you enjoy looking at it."

Jill's work will be on show as part of The Natural Eye 2018: The Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition (25 October to 4 November).

View the Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition Online Now


Image credit

Hydrothermal vent life - Pompeii worm, yeti crab

SWLA Project : KYST - My Home Island of Bornholm

Ben Woodhams SWLA

KYST (‘coast’) is the name of a project Ben Woodhams SWLA has been working on in 2018 on the Danish island of Bornholm, in the Baltic Sea - his home for the last ten years. KYST takes the form of a series of 52 consecutive walking tours following Bornholm’s coastline, one for each week of the year, with each walk no more than two or three kilometres.

"Each week I start the walk from the same spot where I finished the week before. The concluding walk in the last week of the year (Friday, 28 December) will take me right back to where I started on Friday 5 January – the pier arms of Rønne harbour, Bornholm’s point of entry and exit.

Vang Harbour, Bornholm

Each walk begins at dawn and ends at dusk. During each journey I move slowly – clockwise – along the coastline and observe and record my experiences as I go with the aim of making some sort of physical record of my journey on that particular day, on that particular stretch of the coastline. Everything is completed on the day, in the field, between the sunrise and sunset, and everything I produce is part of the project - also the disasters and disappointments, of which there have been many.

Example of Woodhams' 'slice paintings'

During the course of the journey, I have passed through rocky, deserted shores, sandy tourist-filled beaches, small fishing villages, and built-up areas and industrial fishing harbours. On some of the journeys I have been completely alone, on others surrounded by people. In midsummer I was out for over 18 hours, in midwinter less than seven. So far I have been out in freezing snow storms, baking summer heat and torrential rain.

Pissebække, Bornholm

KYST is a journey through time and space, a voyage of discovery and exploration, with Bornholm as a gigantic clock face, sundial or calendar. Each walk is a story of a day, of the changing weather patterns and tidal flows and the rising and setting of the sun. By physically moving through the landscape I move through periods of geological time, in some places passing through millions of years with just a few steps. The arrival and departure of migratory birds, the flowering and wilting of vegetation, even the coming of the tourist hordes, all tell a story of my journey through the year and around the island.

Walking to Vige Harbour, Bornholm

I am fascinated by the process of observation and the way in which the physical act of looking – really looking – creates a deep physiological connection between ourselves and our environment. I am equally fascinated by  how we respond creatively to this process of observation, and the relationship between the objective physical act of observation and the subjective act of interpretation. And I am deeply fascinated by how this process unfolds within the natural environment and the passing of time and space.

While birds have been the focus of my efforts, I am equally fascinated by changes in the sea and sky through the day, and the landscape itself. I’ve been painting lots of ‘slice paintings’ where I split up a sheet of paper into different timed segments, and I’ve also experimented with letting elements of the day itself (the wind, the frost, the rain, the traces of birds and insects…) somehow decide the course of the drawing.

Eider Studies, Tejn Harbour

On the KYST day itself, I upload some images on my Instagram account and on returning I collate the images and write a blog of the day on my website, including a GPS map of my route. Next year, I will be producing a book and touring an exhibition of the KYST project."

Ben's work will be on show as part of The Natural Eye 2018: The Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition from 25 October to 4 November.

View the Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition online now

Apply for a Bursary from the Society of Wildlife Artists to do a similar project

Image credit

Ben Woodhams SWLA