'PRIDE of BALTIMORE'
Born 1945, Bob spent most of his childhood amid the
rugged yet beautiful cliff-hanging scenery of the north Devon coast where
the seeds of his passion, and deep-rooted empathy, for the sea were sewn
from an early age.
Inspired by his environment, Bob’s creative ability
was evident at school though he spurned advice to pursue a career in art
choosing instead to study full-time at the University of Life. As a
teenager, his passions were motor racing and motorcycles and his
insatiable appetite for excitement and adventure lured him away from the
Grammar School he attended in North Devon at the earliest possible
opportunity – it having demonstrated a complete inability to relate to
such a restless, willful and rebellious young man. At just fifteen years
old, armed with no academic qualifications, Bob went on to explore a wide
range of potential careers including mechanic, welder, deckboy on an oil
tanker, regular soldier, racing driver, truck driver, salesman, carpenter
and, eventually, harbour master and boat builder.
An appetite for
more – much more –developed, and Bob committed to a hugely ambitious
project that would ultimately change the rest of his life: he would
sacrifice his home and his job to build his own boat, a 46ft flush deck
ferro ketch capable of taking him and his family anywhere in the world. He
moved his family into a caravan adjacent to the plot where the build would
take place – their house sold to purchase the plans and necessary initial
materials. Working part-time, scrimping and saving at every turn, 6 years
of hard labour were required to get ‘Carius’ (a derivation of ‘Carry Us’)
ready for launch. The boat proved a robust and very competent cruiser –
the family twice crossing the Atlantic Ocean during a year-long round trip
to the Caribbean.
For the last 20 years, eschewing many of the
conveniences available to the modern sailor, he has literally lived his
art aboard his classic gaff ketch ‘Meander’ (another derivation: this time
for “Me and Her”), the home he has shared with his wife Jean since 1992.
Meander also serves as his studio from where despite the confined space,
often complex maritime subjects and scenes are committed to canvas – all
with a choice of palette and attention to detail that truly brings to life
the often harsh reality, but always the majesty, of working sailing ships
from a bygone era. This specialist subject combined with his particular
style attracts growing patronage from a number of specialist marine art
collectors and his work is on permanent display in numerous galleries on
both sides of the Atlantic.
In art, as in his every other exploit, he is largely
self-taught - making up for any lack of formal training by a combination
of personal drive, energy, dedication and plain hard work!