My Painting Life

I began drawing and painting warships during my early teens, when I considered the possibility of being a professional artist. Following my two older brothers and several uncles, I decided to join the Royal Navy, on leaving school, in the hope it would further my desire to study ships and the sea. When my ships were in harbour, I spent much of my limited spare time sketching ships - usually from the vantage point of the Captain's chair on the bridge. Despite some success selling these to commanding officers, winning a competition to design a First Day Cover envelope for the Silver Jubilee Review of the Fleet and having a painting selected for the 1977 Royal Navy Calendar - I realised I would not be a marine artist within the service, so I left to attended Art College. My knowledge of ships was soon put to use when at college, illustrating a large cutaway of HMS Belfast; for the World War II cruiser moored on the Thames. The finished picture was presented to the ship in 1985. This brought my technical drawing skills to the attention of a leading maritime books publisher, which commissioned me to write and illustrate four books in a new series called 'The Anatomy of the Ship'.

Other illustration work has included book covers for fiction and non-fiction maritime titles, illustrating children's books and worldwide postage stamps, covering a vast array of subjects.

In 2006, I was finally offered the chance to provide ship cutaway artwork for the Royal Navy newspaper, and from this received a commission to paint a warship and provide enough prints for the Ship's Company. This led to my receiving similar requests, particularly for ships decommissioning from the service or on overseas deployment.

I usually work in either oils or acrylic on canvas and try to make every new painting better than the last.

If you would like to discuss commissioning a painting from me, please email me at: rosswatton@btinternet.com.