A passion for boats in all their multitude of variety has always been a major part of Ron’s life. Like Ratty in Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows he has never been happier than when simply messing about in boats!
- Over the years he has built boats, skippered boats, drawn and painted boats. As a boy his school books were ornamented with sketches of Viking ships. It wasn’t until 1983 that Ron had time to begin seriously painting ships. His paintings are now in private collections from Tasmania to Cairns, in the United States of America, New Zealand and Denmark. Two serving Australian warships were both subjects and recipients of special commemorative paintings. His subjects vary widely and include –
- The ever popular tall ship with its cloud of canvas
- Contemporary power boat or yacht portraits for proud owners
- Portraits of warships or battle scenes to commemorate a relative’s naval service
- Fishing boats, tugs or larger commercial craft for corporate use
- Cruise ships for passenger memories
- Nautical scenes, river or sea ports from old photographs
- For the genealogist – the ship or ships that brought our ancestors to this shore.
Ron is a member of the Southern Cross Art Group and is an Exhibiting Member of the Australian Society of Marine Artists. He continues to read, collect information, photographs and pictures, belongs to several maritime museums and now in retirement he and his wife have travelled the world visiting museums, restored ships, and researching subjects for later paintings.
Ron was born in Sydney, Australia as the world began to edge ever closer towards World War Two. His home was filled with talk of ships and shipping. The dining table was often covered in ships’ manifests as his father, Tally Clerk with the shipping company Burns Philp, struggled to organise the cargo arrangements of the many ships competing for commerce. Ron’s keen interest in the maritime world was further kindled at an early age when his father took him to visit many of the ships visiting Sydney Harbour. The most memorable of those visits was to the German 4-masted barque Pamir, as well as the popular and beautiful merchant fleet of Burns Philp ships which traded across the Pacific Ocean. Over the years Ron’s work, sport, interest and hobbies have all added a vast store of knowledge and experience to those early recollections.
Although Ron had always sketched and doodled, he began seriously painting ships and other maritime subjects in 1983. Painting mainly in oils, Ron sometimes uses water colour, line and wash, or ink drawing as the subject warrants.
Each painting is meticulously researched to ensure that details are correct for both the ship and its setting. Ron has an extensive database of ships where he can research their years of launch and disposal, changes of name, changes of owner, colour and rigging. His personal research library extends to cover his deep interest in Australia’s working tug boats, and the many and varied flags and pennants that have been in use over the centuries.
Ron is a member of the Southern Cross Art Group and is an Exhibiting Member of the Australian Society of Marine Artists. He continues to read, collect information, photographs and pictures, belongs to several maritime museums and now in retirement Ron and his wife Helen have travelled the world visiting museums, restored ships and collecting information for later use.