Rodney Charman (b.1944 )

A sea's ships are iconic – the cornerstones of a Global Maritime's history. Scores of painters have crafted the visual records, applying them to each ship's portrait. Others have painted meticulous narratives, enacting each ship's sea-worthiness and portraying her unique cultural pride.

But there's another kind of Maritime painting, a style that includes the applied dynamic of atmospherics. Atmospherics are a Maritime tangible not so easily understood, and far less easily pictured. They're the effect of light penetrating space – passing through air laden with water vapor – mists, haze, fog, dust, engine exhaust or battle's smoke; the vapor especially dense near the ocean's surface; heavy, reflected in calm or tossed against waves scumbled by wind. Maritime atmospherics melt distances and blunt edges.

To paint atmospherics an artist must know them intimately, capricious nuance and all. To paint atmospherics, an artist's technical knowledge and skills – that is, his understanding of paint's mineral pigments' opacity and the various carrying mediums' capacity for transparency and flow – must be studied, evalated and practiced. Again and again and again.

Rodney Charman is a Maritime Artist celebrated for both his meticulous detail and atmospherics. He is a self -taught artist, painting since he was 21. The son of a Naval Officer and a passionate sailor, Charman soon turned to painting marine scenes, his oeuvre particularly distinguished by atmospheric effects.

Rodney has traveled extensively to research his paintings, including Hong Kong, China, Nova Scotia, and the US. A permanent collection of his work may be seen at the Egan Institute, Nantucket, MA; a Maritime History of the fabled island fleet, cataloged by a fully illustrated book, published in 1989.
Another exhibition, 'The Famine Ships', presented by the South Street Seaport Museum, New York in 1998 was also accompanied by a book.

A frequent exhibitor at the Royal Society of Marine Artists in London, many of Charman's paintings have been published as Fine Art prints, one of them becoming the third highest selling print in the UK.

With tall ship sailing experience aboard the topsail schooner 'Malcolm Miller' and having raced regularly in 'X' boats at Lymington, Hampshire, where he lives, Charman has enjoyed plenty of opportunity to experience the atmospheric elements he so adroitly portrays.
by Carolyn Walsh with special thanks to “Portrait of Nantucket 1659-1890: Paintings by Rodney Charman” published by the Albert F. Egan Jr. Foundation Collection

Recent Examples at Auction