Article in the October 2020 Magazine of the Naval Association of Canada – Startshell. Read more at: https://www.navalassoc.ca/naval-affairs/starshell/ page 68
A press release from the Government of BC
“As we celebrate B.C. Day, I want to recognize the efforts, achievements and accomplishments of this year’s Order of British Columbia recipients,” said Premier John Horgan. “Congratulations on receiving this well-deserved honour. Your many contributions have enriched the lives of British Columbians and helped make our province an even better place.”
Read more here
In 2017 we moved our vessel, the Steveston Lifeboat, to Ladner, a small riverside community in the City of Delta. Under an agreement between the City of Delta and the Canadian Lifeboat Institute (for whom we do search and rescue) the vessel was given a berth in Ladner Harbour so that it could provide search and rescue capability in the waters that surround Delta.
With an all volunteer crew trained in all aspects of SAR, and renamed the “Delta Lifeboat” she now provides support and assistance to the Coast Guard, fishermen, commercial shipping, recreational boaters and even floating homes in the area. I painted the attached image as my donation for the fundraising Christmas cards that year. It shows the Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft “Siyay” escorting the Fraser Lifeboat and the now Delta Lifeboat up the Fraser River for the dedication ceremony in Delta.
Saturday April 23rd is the date for a MASSIVE marine garage sale in Victoria. Mary and I will be there to support the Maritime Museum by having a table to sell affordable prints, limited edition prints and books. The majority of income from the small prints will go to support the museum and it’s efforts to remain a vibrant maritime museum!! 9am to 1pm at Pier A warehouse building at Ogden Point (the cruise ship terminal on Dallas Road) Please come and buy – and visit with us. small entry fee applies.
IF YOU CANNOT COME – PLEASE support the Museum by visiting their new location at 634 Humboldt Street – beside the Union Club – across the street from the Empress Hotel! The Museum now has a lovely gift shop and the SAME PRINTS ARE ON SALE THERE, SAME PRICES, AND SAME BIG BENEFIT TO THE MUSEUM!
If we do not support our maritime museums the very important history about our province and country will be lost.
SEE THE ATTACHED LINK FOR THE STORY IN THE NAVY’S “LOOKOUT” NEWSLETTER.
I have been working at the Shelter Island Marina in Richmond, BC, Canada for over a year since my boat was in an accident in December 2014. The Steveston Lifeboat (previously known as the Artists Life) was on a training accident for the Canadian Lifeboat Institute (CLI) when it ran aground. Fortunately only one person was slightly injured and we all got off safely.
The boat was taken to Shelter Island Marina and work was started immediately. She is an historic wooden boat (see my previous story in “News” dated October 22, 2013) and so it was going to be a big effort to get her back to her original state. Fortunately the engine was not damaged and that was a huge savings.
Many companies in the yard have assisted with her repair and given us special rates. We are very thankful for this as since we volunteer the boat into lifeboat service and she is not owned by the CLI they technically cannot assist us financially with the rebuild.
So – I have been working hard painting commissions and new paintings to sell as that is the only way we can get her repaired. This painting of Shelter Island Marina was inspired by the beautiful boats and great people who work here. This story about the painting is now going in the news file (not in Original Art for sale) as I have just sold the painting to the owner of the Marina.
I will have reproductions available for sale.
My historic research boat was damaged in an accident almost a year ago and I have been supporting and working with the professional shipwrights to rebuild her, ever since. I have been at the shipyard almost every day, when I am not at home in the studio painting, to bring in money to repair her!. It has been a hard slog and she is still a ways away from being finished, but we are getting there.
I have missed having her to do research for my Fraser River, BC and local paintings, but I have received requests from patrons and friends for commissions and they luckily have been supplying research material for me to capture their ship. It will be great to get back out on the water regularly to refresh my feel of the sea. Every time I am on a boat I photograph or sketch and so have valuable material in my library for reference. Catching the magnificent clouds and skies, but especially the waves and how they act when a boat passes is what I miss most.
I have had reviews that state ” you can tell the season and the time of day from John’s skies and seas – he captures the feel so well”
Currently I have a commission on the easel for a dear friend whose grandfather was a barge captain in Sweden – this vessel carried coal and wood on canals to the Baltic and so it is very interesting to paint. Having just returned from the UK where we spent a few days on a “narrow boat” (we call them canal boats in Canada) with friends Lyn and Tom Lewis who own “Moonstone”, it has given me a much better feel – especially when we went through the locks! See picture of Moonstone and Lyn and Tom following – I’m there too – helping get Moonstone through a lock. I am planning to create some paintings from the trip – I was really inspired by the light and relaxed atmosphere of canal cruising.
We have a very special boat on which we travel the coast to do research for my paintings. The vessel is an historic wooden boat built by the US Navy in Pearl Harbor in 1944, and was brought to the mainland in the 50’s and converted to be used as a pleasure craft. When in service in the US Navy it was used as a launch or barge by Admirals for transportation between their ship and the shore when they were not along side a dock. We have been told it was used by Admiral Nimitz as his launch at one time.
I bought the boat in 1988 and it has been used as my research platform, and also used for search and rescue on the Fraser River, out of my home port, Steveston, which is just south of the Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, BC.
As well as cruising the coast to do research, we volunteer our boat, the Steveston Lifeboat, into the Canadian Lifeboat Institution service. This non profit organization is similar to the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in England in that it is run by volunteers and supported by donations and receives no federal government funding. We run patrols on the Fraser River during August, September, October and sometimes November when the salmon are running and our assistance is required to patrol and offer preventative service to the shipping companies and to the commercial fishermen and women.
We are closely connected to the Navy as I am a naval war artist and we often work with the local Naval and Army reserves in Vancouver during their exercises. One exercise in particular stands out as a very interesting example of co-operation. We were in a waterway close to Vancouver, Burrard Inlet, and were requested to deliver a landing party of 35 armed Princess Patricia reservists at the Buntzen Power station at midnight, then wait for them and return them to the main group after their exercise.
We loaded the group on the way to the exercise and I requested my crew ensure the heavily armed reservists were positioned to balance our craft, which is only 52 feet long. They were scattered appropriately around the ship on the outbound trip. However, on the return trip I was quite curious as I could not see any of them on the outer decks. I was told to look below in the mess. There, standing and wedged together in a solid mass, were all of the party – most of them sound asleep as they had been on their feet for many hours and the pleasant motion of the ship rocked them gently to sleep!
If you ever travel the west coast of British Columbia, please watch for us as we work on the Fraser River. We also visit the Gulf Islands, the Central coast and next year will go south to the San Juan Islands and Seattle looking for more ideas to add to my over 50 paintings about Captain Vancouver and to complete research for a book about the good Captain.
Details about the ship
LOA 53’ 0”; LWL 51’ 0”; Beam 12’ 8”; Draught 5’ 0”
Construction: Mahogany and fir on oak frames
Engine Specifications: Single Detroit 671 diesel, 157 S.H.P.; economical cruising speed 9 knots; maximum speed 10 knots; range 1,000 nautical miles.
Builder: US Navy, Pearl Harbor 1944
Naval use: Admiral’s barge aboard flagships
We are down to the last few boxes of John’s book! How did that happen? I guess we have many good clients and friends who like the book and not only buy it for themselves, but also as gifts.
Just so you know the book is now half price – so $30.00 plus 5% tax. Please let us know how many you would like. At this price they are a very good item to buy as gifts for your nautical friends. Purchase them in our Reproductions section, please.
In December 2012 Mary and I travelled again to Venice. This time being winter, the lighting and atmosphere would be different (from our sunny, bright last visit) and there might even be some flooding. I had wanted to get inside the Arsenal on my last visit but it is a restricted naval area and without proper notice I was denied access.
Before leaving Canada our dear friend, Admiral Nigel Greenwood had kindly provided an introduction for me. On my arrival I made contact with the Italian Naval authorities and an appointment was made.
The Arsenal is the historic shipyard where the Venetian fleet was built. It covers a huge area. At one time ships were launched at the rate of one a day.
On arriving at the beautiful main entrance we were greeted by Admiral Bruno Marconi who took us on a short personal tour, making arrangements for a full guided tour the following day
I was amazed at the beauty, size and age of the buildings, some of which date back to the 1400’s. I could not believe the roof spans over many slipways that defied the simple structure within.
I am most grateful to all those who made my tour possible.
True to forecasts we did see some flooding, but it did not inconvenience us. High tides and fog made for some interesting scenes, the result of which I am sure will culminate in more paintings.
I was also able to visit several exhibitions of master artists, studying styles and techniques. Mary had fun photographing interesting scenes – one in particular is of Santas rowing under the Rialto Bridge – right beside a traditional gondola. The weather had brightened up at that point so we were lucky to see the mist and also the bright sunshine.