Captain Card has sailor’s eye for ships and ocean
Some 15 years ago, I had the opportunity to cruise around the bottom of South America. On that cruise, a lecturer presented a series of talks on the golden age of steamships and, in one, spoke glowingly of the maritime painter Stephen Card.
More recently, I read an article by Richard H. Wagner, who described Mr Card as “the leading maritime painter of the day”. All this is background to indicate something of the international reputation that Mr Card, a Bermudian, enjoys.
The artist is currently exhibiting 20 of his recent oil paintings at Gallery One Seventeen on Front Street. Not surprisingly, most of them are paintings of ships. Among his many accomplishments, Mr Card is a ship’s captain. In other words, he knows ships inside and out — the function of ships and all their moving parts — and this shows in his work.
He paints ships with a considerable amount of love for them. He also has a sailor’s eye not only for the vessels themselves, but also for the ocean and the weather.
In addition to his ship paintings, he is exhibiting four still-life paintings of toy vehicles and the actual toys from which he painted — a Jaguar car, a Royal Mail van, a mobylette and a police patrolman on a Triumph motorcycle. He has also painted a Vickers Super VC10 BOAC-Cunard aircraft.
When I visit exhibitions or art museums, I sometimes play a game with myself — or with others if I am not alone. I ask which one would I buy if I was in the buying mood or if I was allowed to buy whatever.
With this current Gallery One Seventeen show, I had difficulty deciding which one it would be as they are all so skilfully rendered. In the end, the one I especially favoured is Number 19, Bark Waterwitch. It shows the sailing vessel off Land’s End near Wolf Rock Lighthouse in moonlight. I realise it’s more personal, but I am drawn to the magic of moonlight.
Other than that one painting, I found Number 20, The Fort St George, appealing, especially the way Card creates a sense of distance by placing a sailboat in the foreground. The same can be said for Number 13, the Swedish American line Kungsholm.
Card’s paintings are all modest in size, the largest being 18 in x 24in; they would all fit well within most Bermuda homes. Given his accomplishments and international reputation, I was surprised at the modesty of his prices. All are beautifully and appropriately framed. This is an exhibition I certainly recommend seeing.
• An Exhibition of Marine Paintings by Stephen Card continues at Gallery One Seventeen, at 117 Front Street, until Saturday
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