The Society wrapped up its 3rd National Marine Arts Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia on March 8th, 2020. The conference drew together some of the best and brightest of American Marine art today, and included presentations by Christopher Blossom F/ASMA, Bill Davis F/ASMA, Bill Farnsworth F/ASMA, Michael B. Karas F/ASMA, Patrick O'Brien ASMA, Mark Shasha ASMA, Nancy Tankersley ASMA, and Len Tantillo F/ASMA.
These artists and attendees understand that the Society's purpose is not only to promote American Marine art, but also to be a place where artists can learn, grow and share.
The conference kicked off with a happy hour and casual pizza dinner on Wednesday night in the Williamsburg Community Building, where President Lisa Egeli welcomed everyone.
With scheduled presenter Morgan Samuel Price unable to attend, Fellow Bill Farnsworth stepped forward to give an excellent demo of how he creates his unique sense of space and unity in his works. Immediately following Bill's presentation, Nancy Tankersley gave a thrilling introduction to the tools and scrapers she uses to create the unique texture and style of her paintings, while discussing how she deconstructs what presents itself in the field on the canvas to bring it closer to her perceived reality, rather than a literal translation. In the afternoon, Michael B. Karas presented his approach to seascape construction and execution. Making sure the standing room only crowd understood that what they were seeing was an extreme temporal compression of his sometimes months-long process for a single work, he showed how he delineates his horizon, breaks it, and creates volume and depth in a work's solid elements. The last presentation of the day was by attorney Barbara Pederson, who laid out basic legal steps every artist needs to take to protect and ensure their legacy. Thursday ended with a delicious barbecue and a rollicking maritime and marine art trivia game.
On Friday morning, Nick Fox gave a talk about technology for artists in the Stryker Building, across from the Community Center, which was immediately followed by a great preview presentation by board member and Fellow, Russ Kramer, of the works shortly to be seen at the opening of the 18th National. Len Tantillo and Anne Brodie Hill made a tribute to Robert Semler, former president of ASMA and editor of this magazine. Bob was a giant who steered ASMA through difficult times with good grace and kindness. The Society deeply mourns Bob's loss (see In Memoriam on p. 32). Before lunch, Len Tantillo and Christopher Blossom described how their artistic processes have evolved over the years, using images not only of works, but also of their workspaces, sketchbooks and inspirations. Fellow William R. Davis then gave a demo on how he approaches creating light atmosphere in his works. At the end of the demo, he donated the completed work to the Society. The work sold for an undisclosed amount later in the day. The Society is tremendously grateful for his contribution. Mark Shasha, ASMA, showed how he assembles the light and textures of nature in his paintings. The dapper artist painted, as is his custom, in a tuxedo, explaining that painting is a special activity and deserves special dress. While many plein air artists may not take this admonition, they could certainly learn a lot about their craft from Mark. Michael Harding, whose paints are world-famous, gave an excellent talk about his career and how his paints are made. It is the first time many of us have actually touched ground lapis lazuli, the semi precious stone used as blue pigment until the development of chemical ultramarine in the 18th century.
The next event was the gala opening of the 18th National Exhibition of the American Society of Marine Artists. Lisa Egeli and Peter Armstrong, Senior Director of Museum Operations of the Jamestown Settlement Foundation, kicked off the exhibition, inviting everyone attending to proceed up the winding staircases to the beautifully designed and layed out galleries above. Saturday saw the society's Annual General Meeting and Patrick O'Brien's informative presentation on the meticulous research and documentation he goes through to create each historical work. Mr. O'Brien was also presented with the Society's Outstanding Service Award to recognize his contributions not only to the conference, but also his volunteer work designing the 18th National Exhbition Catalog. Sarah Cash, Associate Curator of American and British Paintings at the National Gallery of Art gave a scintillating talk dedicated to the marine art of John Singer Sargent.
The conference culminated in the Captain's dinner, where Burchenal Green, President of the National Maritime Historical Society, received the Society's Lifetime Achievement Award. Also at the dinner, works donated by the Fellows were awarded to lucky raffle winners.
In challenging times, it is vital that we, as a Society, redouble our commitment to each other. The National Marine Arts Conferences are not just parties. When we meet, face to face, it allows us to be our best selves, learning things we didn't know before, growing as artists and knowing we're not alone, and sharing what we know so others may benefit. The American Society of Marine Artists: Learn! Grow! Share!
After two years of anticipation, the National Marine Art Conference is back!
Join the country’s leading marine artists, scholars, and collectors for presentations, demonstrations and discussions.
During the Conference, the 18th National Exhibition will have its grand opening at Jamestown Settlement Museum. This will be the first opportunity to see the exhibition as it launches a tour to five museums over the next year and a half.
Take a look at our complete program.
We look forward to seeing you this week!
We greatly appreciate the support of our sponsors!
American Art Review Magazine
Blick Art Materials
Michael Harding Paints
Princeton Artist’s Colors
Rosemary & Company