Skip to main content

Paintings of Sailboats

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

With water covering nearly seventy-one percent of the earth’s surface, it is no surprise that people have been portraying the sea through marine art since prehistoric times. There are many marine artists who are keeping this tradition alive: here are six of them.

Crossed Paths. Image copyright of Steven Lush

Crossed Paths. Image copyright of Steven Lush

Steven Lush

Steven Lush

“Since I am mostly self-taught, I do not approach any of my subject matter from an established protocol. I am mostly interested in light and how it transforms that which it envelops. Whatever medium I choose, I lean toward the application of strong brush strokes saturated with color. I am constantly trying to evoke a mood rather than a realistic clarity by blending precision with freedom.” Having messed about on boats as a child and then graduated from the Merchant Marine Academy, Lush was naturally drawn to the maritime world for his art. He paints freighters, workboats, classics, modern raceboats with equal passion and attention to detail. His comprehension of how a certain brush stroke or color has the ability to evoke a feeling or emotion is evident in how he portrays seafaring so eloquently. Sometimes thoughtful, sometimes rushed, it’s as if his brush strokes speak the feelings of the people on board his boats. stevenlushart.com

Morning Ready to Sail. Image copyright of Alana Knuff

Morning Ready to Sail. Image copyright of Alana Knuff

“Deep hues quietly form shadows playing near subtle neutral grays. These offer the backdrop, the harmony with which vibrant and bright colors sing the melody. It is an enchanting song that I see—elusive and captivating. As an artist, one cannot refrain from trying to capture the moment and preserve the emotion it evokes. That is why I paint.” From her home in Charleston, South Carolina, Alana paints the sea like a conductor leading an orchestra. Her colors play together in harmony, guiding you through her work with lost and found edges. Beginning her career as an artist at the ripe age of five, she went on to embrace her analytical side, earning a degree in mathematics and working as a project manager. Her paintings are an exquisite balance of her creativity and practicality. alanaknuff.com

Alana Knuff

Alana Knuff

“The lure of foreign places, and the desire to see the world or the challenge of facing the dangers to be found at sea—all these sentiments are part of the romance of seafaring. And it is the romance of seafaring that often draws people to marine art.”

— The National Maritime Historical Society

Diamonds on the Water

Diamonds on the Water. Image copyright of John Barber

John Barber

John Barber

“From the beginning, I was into marine art, I think before I even realized it. As a young boy, my mother came in one morning to find me lying on the floor drawing a picture of a whale spouting water by a tropical island. She was surprised because I’d never seen the ocean at that early age.” Known as “the premier chronicler of Chesapeake life,”this nationally acclaimed artist’s paintings have a depth to them that not only depict his surroundings but also the stories happening inside of them. Barber’s use of light and texture, along with his distinct attention to detail ,bring his paintings to life and allow you step into the beauty of the eastern seaboard. johnbarberart.com

The Egret and the Heron. Image copyright of Val Sandell

The Egret and the Heron. Image copyright of Val Sandell

“I love painting water, I love painting sun hitting things, sun hitting sails, Plein air painting—dealing with what real life looks like, rather than a studio painting from a photographer.” Val does an exquisite job of expressing how she feels through what she calls “the language of paint.” In this language she speaks in a way that makes you feel as if you are standing there beside her taking in the beauty of nature at the same time. Her training in blending naturalistic and impressionistic styles is as evident as her appreciation for the outdoors. valartist.com

Val Sandell

Val Sandell

Into the Gulf Stream Chop. Image copyright of Donald Demers

Into the Gulf Stream Chop. Image copyright of Donald Demers

Donald Demers

Donald Demers

“I have had a deeply rooted attachment to the sea from the time I was a boy. It defied age, it broke the separation between past, present and future, and it actually almost puts me in an eternal time frame. And the emotions that are brought up by watching the repetition of the sea over and over and what it means—it’s life on the edge.” A passionate sailor, Don has crewed on a plethora of traditional boats ranging from schooners to square-riggers. His summers spent on the coast of Maine near Boothbay Harbor are evident in his work, as are the skills that he developed from his years at art school. You can feel the impact that the sea has had on him, his paintings allowing you to also embrace that eternal repetition. donalddemers.com

One Day at Bahia Honda. Image copyright of Priscilla Coote

One Day at Bahia Honda. Image copyright of Priscilla Coote

“I always found the sea and everything around it to have an edge that matched my feelings. It was a wonderful series of images to express what I felt inside. The iconography of the sea has the mixture of joy and pain or sorrow that matched my inner feelings.”
Growing up on the water, Priscilla was introduced to boats at an early age. With a desire to travel and use the knowledge she had, she continued seeking out opportunities onboard into her adulthood that would inspire her work. Not only do her bright colors and warm touch allow you to see her adventures, they let you share them. When admiring her work you’re left smelling salt water and feeling the breeze in your hair. pcoote.com

Priscilla Coote

Priscilla Coote

December 2016

Related

00-Alexe-1---GUaGKDY4-single-boat-sailing-away-from-skyline,-Hill-Holiday

Cruising: Find Your Own Adventure

Whether they’re at the end of their collegiate career or after aging out of a summer sailing program, a lot of young sailors have a hard time finding a way to continue sailing as adults. Some of the barriers to sailing, including location, finances and time, can be hard to ...read more

00LEAD-IMG_2183

Heavy Hitters on Heavy Weather

“What’s the joke about heavy weather? You know it when you see it.” Figure 8 singlehander Randall Reeves drew laughs from the Cruising Club of America (CCA) sailors attending the forum “Heavy Weather Sailing: Bluewater Perspectives” as part of the CCA’s centennial celebration in ...read more

Nominne-Promo-2048x1149

Best Boat Nominees 2023

The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same. Some of it is timing. Some of it is just the way of the world. Either way, it can be fascinating to see the evolution of the boatbuilding industry over the years, as has been evident in SAIL magazine’s annual Best Boats ...read more

NOAA-1280x

Notice to Mariners: 2023 Hurricane Season in Full Force

There’s so much going on in the news that you would be in good company if you didn’t realize the first major storm to hit the Caribbean was in full force. Hurricane Fiona is currently raging over the Turks and Caicos and is projected to make its way north in the coming three ...read more

StarWorlds2 Photo by Matias Capizzano

Star Worlds Celebrates 100 Years

The 2022 Star Worlds featured six days of intense racing where the final and deciding gold medal win went to Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi of Italy. During some of the toughest sailing conditions in the race’s recent history, sailors and race management overcame daily ...read more

Screen Shot 2022-09-16 at 9.16.00 AM

Dockside Chat on 3D Sonar Technology

Over the years, these products have become simpler to use, smaller, and lower cost. This technology is both more advanced and more accessible than ever before. Bob has much to share with his extensive knowledge of seamanship, safety systems, and vessel operation. Matt is the CEO ...read more

01-LEAD-Caribbean-600---Feb-21th---Start(All)---High-Res-115

Offshore Racing with Brian Thompson

Brian Thompson could have become just another financial type on Wall Street, which would have been surprising enough in itself for a Brit who grew up in the London suburbs, reading Science Fiction books on smoke-filled commuter trains. From an early age, though, Thomson wanted ...read more

01-LEAD-Dinghy-tow

A Truly Awesome Dinghy

In 1980, I owned a 26ft fiberglass ketch named Recycle, a full-keeled vessel with a 10 hp Honda outboard in a well behind the tiller. An inflatable dinghy would have been nice, but I could only afford an 8ft plywood pram. She had reinforced fiberglass seams, which made her ...read more