In Deep Water

Watercolour on paper with shells and charms on customised wooden frame.
2009

12" x 16"

Taking its cue from nautical slang and its everyday use, All At Sea is a collection of paintings illustrating well known phrases while influenced by traditional sailor tattoos styles and pin ups.

The work takes the viewer on a romantic and melancholic journey featuring lost loves, cruel sirens and shipwrecked sailors.

Using both acrylics and water colours the paintings bridge classic sailor tattoo style with a wistful and dreamy narrative inviting the viewer to embrace the call of the sea with all its beauty and perils.


The phrase 'In Deep Water' immediately makes one think of someone who has swum too far out to sea and is literally out of their depth i.e. in a position of discomfort or potential peril.

Sailors identify two types of water; inshore, fairly shallow coastal water and the deep water of the world's oceans. Oceanic storms can throw up enormous waves, and this coupled with the swell of the sea can swamp ships and send them to the bottom where mermaids await! Therefore one needs plenty of skill, experience and concentration to navigate a safe passage.

Rack and Ruin

Acrylic on artist board with hemp rope.
2009

16" x 12"

SOLD

Rack is a variant of the now defunct word 'wrack', more usually known to us now as wreck. This nautical saying literally means to be shipwrecked, no hope and despair! So when it's all gone to rack and ruin for you remember, it could be worse!

To the Bitter End

Watercolour on paper with shells and charms on customised wooden frame. 2009

12" x 16"

The phrase 'to the bitter end' is often used when referring to the eventual completion of a long, arduous and troublesome task.

In fact the term has nothing to do with anything being bitter. On a ship it was vital that important cables, particularly those attached to the anchors, did not run out and disappear overboard. Therefore the inboard ends of such cables were secured to a wooden post on the deck of the ship, which was known as the 'bitt'. Hence when a cable was let out to it's maximum length it was said to be at 'the bitter end'.

A Sailor Stole My Heart

Acrylic on canvas.
2009

12" x 16"

SOLD

Whilst not strictly a nautical phrase this title is inspired by the notorious behaviour of many a sailor who has broken a heart as part of his travels.
I was influenced by a recent trip to Liverpool's Maritime Museum where a 'Sailor's Trophy' is exhibited. The trophy in question is a headband which was worn by a waitress at the Moulin Rouge Club at the port of Recife in Brazil. These trophies were much favoured amongst seafarers visiting the club.
It got me thinking about how many women would have fallen for a dashing sailor and embraced the excitement of a stolen moment before he was shipped off. Also how many sailors have exploited this fact to have their wicked way!

All at Sea

Watercolour on paper with shells and charms on customised wooden frame.
2009

12" x 16"

To be all at sea is to be in state of confusion or bewilderment; to be lost either emotionally physically or mentally. It is derived from a ship that has lost its bearings; it is literally all at sea.

Learn the Ropes

Watercolour on paper with shells and charms on customised wooden frame..
2009

12" x 16"

This phrase is commonly used to refer to the process of learning the skills and acquiring the necessary experience to perform a task. Sailing a ship uses miles of ropes and cordage for a number of different uses. For raw youngsters the hundreds of individual pieces, each with a distinct name, added up to a mind boggling arrangement to get to grips with.

The Devil to Pay

Acrylic on artist board with hemp rope.
2009

7" x 9.5"

This is a common phrase used today used to express unpleasant consequences arising from an action or actions.
In naval slang this still leaves us to wonder why the devil is mentioned and why you would have to pay him. The answer lies in the decks of wooden ships; In between each plank was a seam that had to be made watertight. This was done by forcing oakum into the seams and sealing it with hot pitch a process called 'caulking' or in naval slang 'paying'. The outermost seam where the deck met the hull was notoriously difficult to caulk and was hence nicknamed 'the devil'.

On the Rocks

Watercolour on paper with shells and charms on customised wooden frame.
2009

12" x 16"

To be on the rocks is to be washed up and broke, to be in danger! If a ship were to be driven onto dangerous features she would literally be 'on the rocks' and would soon begin to break up unless quickly moved off.