Tag Archives: National Maritime Museum

Marrying technical prowess with the intangible…..

Marrying technical prowess with the intangible….is the goal of an artist.

To achieve technical prowess an artist must work at honing his/her skills for years.   This takes dedication and consistent work habits.

To tap into the intangible, an artist must take from life experiences, inner feelings and emotions.

Although commendable, pure technique doesn’t make for sublime art.   In the same way spewing ones emotions on the canvas without any technical know how, although therapeutic, often leads to frustration.

The two elements need to be married.

When I visited the Joseph Mallord Turner, RA – Turner and The Sea – exhibition at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich,  last Friday, I was reminded of this.

Born in London, 1775 – Turner became a very successful commercial and fine artist.    For anyone interested in learning more about him, there are of course many books, however when visiting London, there is a wonderful permanent collection at Tate Britain.   

He worked in oils and watercolour, and it was his watercolours during the latter part of his career where we see the combination of technical prowess and the intangible…played out so beautifully.

This oil painting was the first of Tuner’s exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1796


Known for large theatrical oils….in this oil painting shown at the exhibition, we see Turner’s technical prowess in all its glory..


One of his earlier watercolours.


And then, this is where we see Turner move to a totally different level, where he marries technical prowess with the intangible.

Called mad by the art critics of the day….Turner had the courage and independence to do his own thing…..and thank goodness he did.


In his latter watercolours, we can feel the wind and hear the roar of the waves….they are superb.


Turner loved the sea and was fascinated by its violent power, but he also painted beautiful landscapes where he was able to capture the same sense of atmosphere.

This famous image entitled, Rain, Steam and Speed, is a perfect example of this.


And so to all we mere mortals, it’s literally back to the drawing board….:)

I will be writing about the recent seminar I attended…but this will now have to be next week.


A Bientôt

Staying open to all possibilities….

One certainty of life is that there will always be change.     We go through good times, challenging times, the weather is wonderful or not so good, all depending on where we are and what we are doing. 

One of the many things I have learned in my 68 years is the importance of staying open to all possibilities, and so it was last weekend when I attended a seminar here in London.  

For me, it was one of those transformational moments, which I will write more about next week when I have had time to assimilate what I experienced.     

So much of my work is based on symbolism and so today I offer this peacock, which is a detail from a large oil painting I am currently working on.     The peacock symbolises, resurrection….and in this instance for me, yet another new beginning. 



Today I am off to see the work of one of my heroes, the great English painter Joseph Turner at the National Maritime Museum. 

I wish you all a beautiful weekend. 


A Bientôt