The Royal Society of Marine Artists and Mall Galleries have announced the prizes and awards from the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition 2021, with many of the winners celebrating the fishing industry.

Fishermen in Newlyn were the subjects of the painting that won first prize in the Murray’s Commercial Fishing Award, which went to Henrietta Graham for ‘Twilight Sardine Landing’. “My studio is in the middle of Newlyn Harbour and I watch, sketch and paint the daily life of the fishermen,” Henrietta Graham explained of her inspirations.

Find out more about her celebration of the fishing industry here.

The second prize in the Murray’s Commercial Fishing Award went to a depiction of the industry from the Norfolk coast, in Alistair Butt’s ‘Between Shell Fishing Trips – Brancaster Staithe’. This painting depicts ‘a bright morning on the Norfolk coast with the tide out exposing the wonderful mud banks’, said Alistair Butt. “A few hours later, the creek will be full and the boats will be able to head to their fishing grounds…”

Back down on the south coast, Tom Marsh’s ‘RX56 and Friends, Hastings, Sussex’ shows ‘evening light on the fishing fleet in April’, winning the RSMA Award for the Best Small Painting.

Light was also key for the Topbond Marine Award winner ‘Hazy Light, Fisher Fleet, Kings Lynn’ by Robert Brindley. “The quality of wonderful subject matter, all in one location, together with the lighting and weather conditions, was perfect,” he remembered.

It wasn’t just paintings of fishing boats and fishermen winning awards at this year’s Royal Society of Marine Artists exhibition, with seafood inspiring many of the winners.

“I’ve been painting seafood quite prolifically since the first lockdown in 2020, and I found a great deal of inspiration in the seafood and the fresh produce at my local fishmongers,” said Ollie Tuck, who won the RSMA New Generation Award with ‘Fresh from the Fishmongers’.

Shellfish was again the subject for the winner of The Artist Magazine Award, which went to Lucy Clayton for ‘Spidercrab No. 9’, which was inspired by her ‘love of rock pooling and searching for crabs’.

“This piece was created by printing with drawing ink and painting with loose washes of watercolour to represent the delicate tones and textures of the crab’s shell,” she explained.

The RSMA exhibition took place between 30 September and 10 October, but the full exhibition, including video and written statements from the winners, can still be viewed here and some of the winners’ paintings can be seen in our gallery below…

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here.

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