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What makes me want to paint the sea? I find the ephemeral patterns of light dancing on, in and through the graceful, ever changing fractal forms of moving seawater completely fascinating. The sea and the sky change constantly. The attentive eye can record flowing patterns in that change in a way a camera usually cannot. A well executed marine painting can powerfully evoke the experience of watching the sea. Time is obviously a crucial element in seascape. It all happens very fast, and the challenge is to quickly register what you are actually seeing as the scene unfolds, and to work with those appearances, not assumed or invented ones. The sea helpfully repeats her movements, and glimpse by glimpse, a sense of an evocative visual composition is built up and distilled. Although a painting is two dimensional and unmoving, there can be a real recognition of the natural form, motion and energy that informed and inspired it, and a magical anticipation of what 'will' happen next in the imaginal world it conjures.

 

     Many of those familiar with the tradition of marine painting (as distinct from maritime painting) would cite the American painter Frederick Judd Waugh (1861-1940) as the 'father' of the contemporary art. Closer to home (but even further back in time) the Pre-Raphaelite landscape artist John Brett (1831 -1902) toured the area of West Wales where I live and painted many of the places I know well. His depiction of geological features is humbling. More contemporary, the stunningly observed realism of Zaria Forman and Ran Ortner sets new standards. I have paid a lot of attention to the work of these, and many other inspiring marine artists, but I am quite sure that there is a great deal more to explore in the subtle, dynamic and stirring appearances that the sea offers to our visual senses and our emotions...

          

 Brief biography

 

   Howi Steed was born in Machynlleth, mid-Wales, in 1957. He was educated in, and then settled in Swansea. Although he studied sciences, painting was a long-standing and self-taught interest that he took up professionally in 1983.

   Steed quickly developed a specialist interest in seascape and coastal landscape.
He exhibited in various galleries in South Wales in the 1980's and '90's, as well as completing a large number of private and corporate commissions. His 'Gower Coast' seascape prints were a popular range in the Boots Company department store in central Swansea for some fifteen years and are owned by collectors around the world.

Howi Steed now lives and works near Cardigan in West Wales, and is engaged in a new phase of his career, painting along the coast of Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion.

 

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