My wife, Mary, is from Liverpool and Halifax, Nova Scotia and has always wanted me to paint the famous Liverpool Packet. The Covid down time has given me the inspiration to paint this ship after doing much research. This is a difficult ship/ boat to paint as there are no plans or official paintings of her but we know she was a Baltimore Clipper schooner – so we worked from the clipper schooner lines even though the Liverpool was quite a bit smaller.
During the days of sail, square rigged ships berthed in Steveston to load the annual pack of salmon.
The ever beautiful wonder of Desolation Sound proves a fantastic backdrop for trollers setting out for an opening in the Gulf of Georgia.
Colours from the forest, sky, and water combine to create a magical moment.
I was privileged to ship aboard HMCS Protecteur to capture events during one “RIMPAC”. This is an exercise where, in this case, 8 navies from our Pacific coast neighbours work together.
It was a great experience for me to travel aboard the supply ship for the operation and see how the “RAS” -Replenishment at Sea- operation unfolded. In this painting you can see how the lines were set up to move the fuel and water pipes across from Protecteur to the receiving vessel. It is a complex operation and safety is of prime importance. See explanation below.
Until the buffer realized that I was an experienced seafarer and would not get myself in danger, I was required to remain at quite a distance from the action. But very quickly he realized that I knew my way around and he allowed me to get close enough to photograph and sketch things.
Five weeks aboard allowed me to get to know my shipmates and become good friends with many of them. Tea time on the Protecteur is something I will always talk about.
Following is an explanation of what is happening in the painting:
Prior to conducting a replenishment at sea, the seamen/women (or bosuns) must prepare all the necessary gear. Messengers, or lines, to be passed between the ships must be “flaked out” on deck so that they will not become entangled as they run out. Once the lines have been prepared, a rifle will be used to fire a “gun line” that will be attached to other lines increasing in size and strength. Finally a taut wire is passed. down which will ride travellers supporting the large, heavy fuel lines as they are paid out from the tanker to the other vessel. Replenishment techniques were developed during the Second World War to enable ships to stay at sea longer, especially during lengthy convoy deployments.
Changing Perspectives, Rio di San Travaso
This is Venice, with two gondolas passing the gondola shipyard on the left of the painting. This facility was a few blocks away from our hotel in the Dorsoduro area of Venice and we spent a lot of time watching the workers as they moved gondolas into and around the yard for repair. Two tourist vessels pass and you can see the winding canal twist and turn between the historic buildings. Many different vanishing points and sight lines are required as the buildings start to sink into the canals due to their instability. Nothing is straight in Venice!
This is one of the 15 contemporary paintings I produced for a major exhibition at the Winchester Gallery in Victoria, BC, Canada. I also produced 7 large historic Venice paintings and spent hours in the Naval Museum sketching and photographing the ship models and historic images of Venice Lagoon.
This painting was commissioned by a gentleman who served aboard the river class frigate in World War 2. He has since passed away but kindly left the painting to me in his will.
Set in the Broughton Islands, the passage has a spectacular backdrop of mountains and islands. A popular cruising ground it is also a rich commercial fishing area.
Every where you look, buildings are reflected in the canals. When there is no wind Venice’s face can be seen in nature’s mirror.