10 Coastal Paintings & Artworks That Aren’t Cliché
Seascapers, beachsiders, and thalassophytes: here are your new favourite coastal paintings you’ll want to hang on your walls…
10 Artists Who Uniquely Capture the Beauty of the Coast & Sea
If we’re honest with ourselves, when we think of coastal art it tends to blur all into a one-dimensional hazy visual of yellow sand and tinkling boats, and not much else.
But, obviously, there’s much more to it. Whoever said that coastal art couldn’t be cutting edge or contemporary was simply looking in the wrong places. Here are ten artists that have represented the coast in some way, who we’ve got in our Instagram saves folder.
We’re playing a little fast ‘n’ loose with ‘coastal’ artists, because Fawn Rogers is anything but (installation pieces, photography, and sculpture are just some of the things that play a part in her oeuvre). Zeroing in on the fleshiness, Rogers takes us into the phlegmy, tactile, and textural world of nature, with all its sheens and undertones, here. We’re both fascinated, mesmerised, and maybe even a little disgusted (in a good way) by her take on the clam especially.
Acclaimed interior designer, Charlotte Rey, has recently been platforming the Los Angeles based artist on her socials. And why wouldn’t you? Anyone could just pick up a clam on the beach, but Fawn Rogers makes this clam say something. You get a visceral reaction to it. Rogers’ clammy creations tip toe the line between hyperrealism and maybe even a suggestive kind of fleshy eroticism (in a similar vein to 20th century painter, Georgia O’Keefe). This isn’t coastal art in the way you’ve seen it before, and we’re all here for it.
If you aren’t initiated in the fandom around Nina Brooke (David Cameron and Gordon Ramsay are among those who have her work hanging in their homes), let me explain the hype. The Cornish-based artist is known for her aerial seaside views that cut through the classic boat-n-beaches trope, because it literally takes you out of your vision of how you walk to the beach, and instead forces you to marvel at the colours, sparkles of light of the sea, like a sea bird would.
And that’s what makes it magical, because Brooke’s work becomes more of a hazy, escapist dream, that’s more about the wanderlust of the sea, the concept of the sea, as opposed to a picture-perfect cookie cutter representation of it. It also helps she’s rather masterful with her use of colour, her flecks of blues and greens are brushed on the canvas with a boat-load of energy. No doubt her work will add plenty of joie de vivre to any tired wall to your home.
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Again, like Fawn Rogers, you wouldn’t ever describe Antonia Showering as a coastal artist: but she has a knack of capturing atmospheric moody waters. She’s often tipped as one of the great young woman artists working in London at the moment (she’s just had a solo show at White Cube), and you can see why.
Showering is known for her haunting, muted, ethereal scenes, layered with many washy, impasto style strokes, that evoke ideas of memory, family, love, and relationships. It’s Marc Chagall, Monet, Peter Doig, all wrapped up together, in her own beautiful perspective of the world.
The much fêted Lewes-based artist and illustrator, Camilla Perkins, is known for her zesty, patterned takes of the natural world. Not ostensibly a coastal artist per se, her work is more about evoking ideas that surround things like the seaside. And, luckily for us, that’s the subject for her latest solo exhibition that’s taking place in Hove, titled Echoes of Summer, which is all about conjuring that feeling of summer, the nostalgia, the heat, play, nature, that’s inspired by her childhood spent in Brighton. If you can’t visit her exhibition in Hove, Partnership Editions are doing an online sale of the work, that goes live the morning of Sunday 14 August at partnershipeditions.com.
If you see the seaside as wild and rambling, take your cue from Maggie O’Brien, whose swooshes of impasto will take you there (even if you hang it in your London flat). Any coastal artist that goes beyond the yellow-sand-and-blue-sea is refreshing, and, her work, Sienna Evening, with is almost entirely in pink, has our vote.
Far flung in her studio on the Scilly Isles and West Coast Coast of Cornwall, you’ll find Maggie working with glass, gouache, and scraping paint around, that gives her work depth, and energy that cuts through the over-saturated genre.
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Most people, when they go to the beach, might pick up a shell or two, leave it in a coat pocket for years and completely forget about it. But Sussex-based artist, Tess Morley, might be one of the most masterful collector of shells around. She crafts mirrors, sailors valentines, objets d’art, obelisks, even grottos that are so dazzling it encourages the same level of worship as a Renaissance reliquary. For those mesmerised by symmetry, intricacy, detail, the wonders of nature’s own patterns and beauty, Tess Morley is your best bet.
Lucy Laucht’s dreamy stills are something of a Mediterranean hazy dream. She captures that glittering sea, that feeling of being stung by the sun in mid-afternoon heat, and why wouldn’t you want that moment suspended on your walls? You’ll catch her capturing the coastlines of Cornwall and Italy.
Nostalgia, play and imagination drench the work of Gordon Hunt. His dabs of zingy turquoise and touches of white will take you back to those long summers in your childhood chasing crabs and running around with a bucket.
Ostensibly a coastal artist through and through, Hunt paints from his studio in Fowey, Cornwall, and his work is on sale at 1st Dibs, Saatchi, amongst a flurry of other places.
Cecilia Reeve doesn’t really do coastal paintings, but her subjects often include a body of water say that’ll say something though provoking about the character of her subjects. Her works hang in Soho House (amongst a string of other places), Reeve is one to watch.
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Cornish based artist Martha Holmes one for thoughtful, unique use of colour with her coastal paintings. Taking her inspirations from Cornish coastal masters by the likes of Heron, Hepworth, Nicholson, Scott, and Bray, Holmes is one to buy for timeless elegance for your home.
Main Image: Image courtesy of Nina Brook. Photographer: Doon Williams
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