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Artist celebrates love of sea

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Bikini beauty: Sailor’s Lady at 222°

Olivier Moreau had heard of the Bermuda rig long before he moved to the island.

The sailing enthusiast has a love of the ocean that rivals his love for art.

His latest show Sailing Forever both captures his love of the pastime and celebrates the America’s Cup.

The French artist will display 40 watercolours at the Bermuda Society of Arts, Friday through July 4.

A follow-up of Retour au Port, a show in his home village of Trégastel in Brittany, France, the watercolours are in the style of the famous American painter Winslow Homer, who visited Bermuda long ago.

Mr Moreau, who paints under the name Omoro, said: “I didn’t want to get that postcard Bermuda, there are plenty of people doing that already. I wanted to do an exhibition which is more oriented towards the ocean.”

Married to a Bermudian Diane Taylor, he lived here from 1984 to 1990 before moving to Martinique.

Self-taught, he relied on studying the work of the old masters and “the advice of his artist friends”.

Much like the green of Perigord and pink granite coasts of Brittany that inspired him in his youth, he said: “Bermuda has always been very inspiring for painters because it has wonderful colours.

You’ve got the pink sand, but you’ve also got the turquoise waters, the white roofs the pastel walls.”

While he made computers his work, he said art and sailing will always compete for his first passion.

“Sailing is my occupation here — my other favourite activity besides the painting,” said the consultant, a leader in internet, intranet and collaborative work.

“If I could, I would sail all the time. I have to be back home once in a while.”

He said he was thinking about bringing the works by boat on his 36ft Jeanneau Sun Odyssey, but the two-week voyage here and back deterred him.

“You really have to get your boat in perfect shape to do that. I’ll just dream about it [instead] this time,” he said.

Dreaming is what he does well.

While his images are based in reality, he prefers to take a surrealist approach to each painting.

The works depict many kinds of sailboats, including the six catamarans racing in the Great Sound. He got permission from the America’s Cup authorities to use their images, choosing photographs that showed the boats at their best.

“A boat will never complain about how it looks, but it has to be precise,” he said.

“For the Japanese one, I’ve been trying to reproduce a little of the atmosphere of Japan with the waves.”

Dockyard is visible in the background of Land Rover BAR’s boat to mark the island’s British heritage. He also found room for Bermuda fitted dinghies in the show.

“I tried to make it as much as possible influenced by Bermuda, not because I’m doing an exhibition in Bermuda, [but] because Bermuda is fundamentally a very important place for sailing.

“First, because it’s in the middle of the ocean, a nice stopover when you cross the Atlantic — every sailor knows where Bermuda is.

“The second reason is the Bermuda rig.

“When you see a modern sailboat, the way the sails are set up, it’s called the rigging of the boat and the Bermuda rig is pretty much the only way to do it.

“Of course with the modern catamaran of the America’s Cup, it’s evolved into something different. The sails are more like the wings of an aircraft.

“But they still use the Bermuda rigging.”

•Sailing Forever opens on Friday at the Bermuda Society of Arts. Visit: www.omoro.fr.

Sea legs: Olivier Moreau on his Jeanneau Sun Odyssey
Olivier Moreau (Photograph supplied)
Olivier Moreau (Photograph supplied)
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