Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition 2022


It has to be said however that painting vessels – of every shape and size –
should be left to those who know something about boats.
I say this having been
round the exhibition several years ago with somebody who did – and who
identified problems with rather a lot of paintings painted by people who don’t
‘know boats’.

That said marine art can and does include the following.

  • commercial fishing boats
  • commercial ships
  • traditional warships
  • modern warships
  • sailing boats and yachts
  • leisure craft and motor boats
  • rowing boats
Some of the boats in the exhibition

More boats in the North Gallery

Seascapes – with or without boats 

Probably the most popular subject matter in the exhibition. It helps if your
seascape is associated with places popular with those who like all things

For me, i like artwork which persuades me the place is real – which is not the same as being hyper-realistic – i.e. you get a strong sense of place and know that the artist has sketched or painted the scene in real life.

RSMA Annual Exhibition 2022: View of the North Wall in the East Gallery

Figurative art involving people associated with the coast 

LOTS of paintings of small people (and others) on beaches and messing about
with boats. The artist who is outstanding at this is Raymond Leech who is
very, very good at painting very persuasive people and small children
without being over fussy or detailed. 

Other people who figure in paintings are fishermen and those sailing yachts.

Sculpture of marine phenomena 

Fish and birds are popular but this year we have seen waves as well. Plus rather a lot of pretty indeterminate objects which don’t speak ‘marine’ to me on first sight.

Ceramic Sculptures:
Braking Wave, Rippling Wave and Sea Shell by Valerie Kaufmann

Still life paintings

There’s a fair few still life paintings – with fish, seafood, shells and molluscs featuring prominently.

Paraphernalia associated with boats and boatyards and fishing are also popular.

Still life shellfish and seafood

Art Media

There are a few constraints on eligible media for artwork in this
exhibition – which includes

Oil, acrylic, watercolour, original prints of any media, mixed media,
drawings, pastels, or sculpture. Fine art prints must be from a
limited edition not exceeding fifty.

In terms of media I observed the following.

Painting using wet media is dominant.

Oils and watercolour are very popular. I think this might reflect the people who buy marine art who possible favour more traditional art media and more traditional approaches to figurative art. I saw very few artworks in acrylic. This usually means that:

  • few are entered 
  • few sell
  • few get selected – with this partly reflecting what is know about the
    collectors like and buy. Bear in mind selectors are experienced
    sellers of art as well as creators!

Not a lot of drawings / dry media

I’ve never seen a lot of drawings at this exhibition. Maybe this reflects
what selectors like? Or maybe it reflects what gets entered? I’d certainly like to see more drawings and works in dry medua

I rather liked this particular drawing – using thread

A Mackerel Muddle by Emily Tull
Drawing with Thread (Hand Embroidery)

I discovered a new art society after exploring her website – founded after a conversation about the inclusion of (or lack of) stitched/embroidered artworks in the art world. 

Fine Art Prints

There are very few fine art prints in this exhibition – which I find very
If you go to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, fine art prints
generate huge sales – in part, because it is more affordable art and often
because if can be smaller than some paintings – and easier to find space
for. Hence it’s a much easier impulse buy – which in turn enhances sales
at an exhibition (as indeed happens at the Summer Exhibition).

Fortunately John Scott Martin, the President of the RSMA is a painter – printmaker and,
as he observed in the catalogue, possibly the only fine art printmaker in the RSMA.

Mixed Media Linocuts by John Scott Martin PRSMA

I am however VERY surprised to see Giclee Prints included in an exhibition like this. Giclee prints are never ever counted as Original Fine Art Prints in any other reputable FBA exhibition – and I’m very surprised to see one included in this exhibition. I’m left wondering whether its price is what tempted the selectors……

Hawke’s Action, The Battle of Quiberon Bay by James Mauger
Giclee Print (edition of 3) £3,000

James Mauger appears to be a 3D Artist – specialising in Shading, Lighting, Rendering & Compositing. So is it a giclee (reproduction of a painting) or has it been created digitally?

Prints created using digital media are another matter (i.e. they’re never a reproduction of an original work in other media.) I spotted a digital print in the East Gallery. I only spotted it was digital when looking at it closely and wondering how it had been produced.

All I ask for is precision in the identification of media – and the exclusion of all reproduction prints as these are not original art.

Home in Sight by Jeff Kindleysides
(Digital Print; edition of 40)

Hopefully, next year I’ll see more ORIGINAL fine art printmaking included in the exhibition in future – and no giclee reproductions!

Perhaps the RSMA need to review whether 

  • the invitation to submit “original prints of any media” needs refining? and/or 
  • a clear statement made that reproductions of original paintings in other media are never acceptable.


The culture varied from ceramics to wire birds and fish and a boat which looks as if it’s made out of very old Hawthorne twigs which is actually bronze in reality. Before I discovered this fact I found myself walking very carefully around it not wanting to damage it in any way!

Interestingly it was created by a female sculptor called Robyn Neild. So much for the notion that it’s only boys who like boats!

Neild models directly uses natural materials such as bramble, hawthorn,
or tree roots. These botanicals are destroyed in the casting process, the bronze replacing them, retaining their texture and angles, supplanting the ephemeral with the permanent.

Unconventional Media

What was very pleasing to see at the exhibition this year is media which
is less evident in other exhibitions in the past – or other exhibitions at
the Mall Galleries

The North Gallery has a couple of artworks involving kiln-fused glass.

Kiln-fused glass scenes of the seaside by Bren Keyte

– both priced under £500 / both sold

I also spotted several examples of textile art created through stitching and/or
embroidery.  Plus I’m pretty sure some people will not have
realised some of these were textile art.

Wind in your Sails by Kate Rowe
Fabric Collage

Finally some of the mixed media pieces by Richard Dack RMSA seemed to involve the skeletons of fish!

About pricing

In 2021 I published a post Pricing a marine artwork & RSMA Annual Exhibition Metrics and I’m thinking of doing an update next week – in part to see if
the recession is beginning to bite – as this has traditionally been one of
the better selling exhibitions, generating good sales.

In part this is because people who like (and own) boats tend to have a bit
of spare cash to indulge their interest in paintings about marine life of
every sort. 

About the Exhibition

The Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition 2022 presents
works inspired by the sea and marine environment, including harbours
and shorelines, traditional craft and contemporary shipping, creeks,
beaches, wildlife.

How to see the exhibition

The RSMA 77th Exhibition continues

  • at the Mall Galleries in
  • until Saturday 1st October 2022. Hours are 10am to 5pm.

You can also 

Archive of posts about past annual exhibitions

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