Marine Art News n October, marine artists of all stripes, plus collectors, curators, gallery owners, and admirers, gathered in Mystic, Connecticut, for the American Society of Marine Artists’ second national conference. After the resounding success of their first conference, held in fall 2016 in Williamsburg, Virginia, ASMA members had high expectations for the four-day event. They would not be disappointed. Impressionist Charles Warren “C W ” Mundy kicked off the first day with a demonstration on painting from an image turned upside-down. He worked from a photograph he had taken of the Maine windjammer ketch Angelique and explained that, by flipping it 180 degrees, you turn a specific nautical scene into an abstract form, which allows the brain to work through color, value, shape, and edges without the distraction of thinking about
Among the highlights of the conference was the morning plein-air paint-out on the grounds of Mystic Seaport. The artists spread out across the museum campus and were open to questions and comments from onlookers while they worked. That evening, artists and conferees met at the R. J. Schaefer Building at the museum to view the ASMA 17th National Exhibition.
photos by david farabaugh
American Society of Marine Artists–2nd National Marine Art Conference
Artist Don Demers talks to interested observers while at his easel during the plein air session at Mystic Seaport.
C W Mundy starts on his painting of an upside-down windjammer. this specific boat, where it was and what it was doing, or your experience with the subject. While his plein-air contemporaries might not have the advantage of turning their subjects upsidedown, Mundy introduced us to an unusual technique that he’s found useful in his own work. His painting, once turned right-side up, was indeed a successful effort and found a buyer on the spot. Following C W Mundy came a more traditional demonstration by Don Demers on “Conception and Development of a Marine Painting.” A veteran art instructor, Demers explained that he very rarely works from a photograph and that he likes to convey “something that has just happened, something that is happening, and something that is about to happen.” For his subject, he chose a New York pilot schooner and discussed how he balances his thorough understanding of ship anatomy—schooners in particular—with needing, at times, to forget what the thing is and work on assigning shape, lines, color, and value. Many artists emphasized the importance of knowing one’s subject, from those who study naval architecture to better understand ship design, to others who immerse themselves in the history of seaports and waterfront scenes to ensure their works on historical subjects and scenes are portrayed accurately. Artists more focused on the natural environment include seascape painters who have spent a lifetime studying the littoral zone and sculptors who recreate marine life in stone and bronze. 36
The American Society of Marine Artists supports its members through national and regional exhibitions of their work and through many workshops throughout the year. By attending the conference and presentations where the artists we’ve come to admire are present, we get the rare opportunity to talk with them about their work, their approach, and about what we might have to offer them. ASMA also supports up-and-coming artists through its Young Marine Artist Search competition. The winning youth art pieces are exhibited alongside those of the masters in the national exhibition. Mystic Seaport is the last venue for the 17th National Exhibition; it is on display through 21 January 2018. (You can view the works online through the ASMA website at www.american societyofmarineartists.com.) The National Maritime Historical Society is a long-time supporter of the American Society of Marine Artists, and ASMA artists are regular and generous contributors to Sea History, sharing cover art, marine art features, and illustrations for maritime history articles. Recent cover art by ASMA artists include works by Robert Semler (Sea History 160), Russ Kramer (Sea History 158), and Daven Anderson (Sea History 157), and past covers by artists such as John Stobart, Patrick O’Brien, Don Demers, and Peter Rindlisbacher. —Deirdre O’Regan, Editor, Sea History
Hammerhead, by Scott Penegar (onyx, 10” H x 7” W x 7” L) Before turning to art full time, sculptor Scott Penegar studied marine science in college, and now puts his knowledge of marine animals to use in his sculptures. Penegar gave a demonstration using power tools, picks, and rasps to show some of the process of turning blocks of stone into exquisite sculptures. SEA HISTORY 161, WINTER 2017–18