Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 8°C

Search

Artist’s portraits of RNLI crew take social media by storm

PUBLISHED: 15:20 28 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:20 28 January 2018

Coxswain Steve Saint, his dog George and David Gillingwater with some of  the paintings.   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Coxswain Steve Saint, his dog George and David Gillingwater with some of the paintings. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

A Suffolk artist who saves lives at sea has captured the passion and bravery of his crew-mates in a collection of portraits which have taken social media by storm.

David Gillingwater has been making paintings of his fellow RNLI crew at the Aldeburgh lifeboat station.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDavid Gillingwater has been making paintings of his fellow RNLI crew at the Aldeburgh lifeboat station. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

David Gillingwater has been a member of the Aldeburgh RNLI for nearly 20 years but only recently decided to incorporate his talents as an artist.

The 51-year-old father of two, who also runs Herring Bone Design in Aldeburgh, said he had been stunned by the response to his paintings, which has seen strangers stopping him in the street to congratulate him.

He began the project in October and so far has 13 works in progress but intends to produce portraits of all 25 crew members, including George the station dog.

While some colleagues were initially reluctant to pose, he says their enthusiasm has grown.

RNLI member and artist David Gillingwater with some of his works of art.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNRNLI member and artist David Gillingwater with some of his works of art. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“When they saw the results, they were all loving it,” he said. “They were retweeting the pictures and getting their family to see it and all of a sudden the rest of the crew were asking ‘when are you going to do me’?”

Mr Gillingwater takes inspiration from Sir William Orpen, a renowned artist famed for his work painting soldiers during the First World War, and hopes his work can shine a light on the RNLI in a similar fashion.

His process involves taking photos of the crew to use as a reference for oil paintings.

“I like the paintings to show the brush strokes and the textures because it reflects the turbulence of the sea and the dynamism of the crew,” he added

David Gillingwater on Aldeburgh beach.   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDavid Gillingwater on Aldeburgh beach. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Images of his works in progress posted on Facebnook and Twitter have gained hundreds of appreciative comments.

“People seem to really love seeing the work develop, particularly when it’s someone they recognise and they can see it come to life,” he added. “This project has really been driven by social media more than anything.”

The added publicity has seen him get “the bit between my teeth” to complete the collection while the interest lasts.

“Some people are saying this is going great, you’ll be a full-time artist, but I know the sun tends to shine very briefly in the moment.

“I’m just trying to keep the momentum going,”

Mr Gillingwater hopes to complete the Oilskins collection by June and is looking for somewhere to show it.

To find out more or suggest a venue follow him @SuffolkPainter on Facebook and Twitter.

An Ipswich school has won gold and silver trophies in the Boccia under-19 county championships.

Officers are reassuring residents after a large police presence was called amidst fears for a man’s welfare.

Investigations are underway following two burglaries in Ipswich, which are being linked by police.

Ipswich School’s Remembrance Day art installation will be open to the public again after overwhelming public interest.

Insurance payouts for vehicle damage caused by potholes in Suffolk has soared by more than double in the last year, shock new figures have revealed.

A Millwall supporter was stopped by police on his way home from his side’s crushing injury time defeat to Norwich City – and then arrested on suspicion of road offences.

Unusual gin flavours such as Victoria sponge, blueberry muffin, and rhubarb and custard crumble are being launched in a local pub. Find out how you can get a free glass here.

A man accused of nine Ipswich burglaries will answer charges before a judge next month.

The battle against Suffolk drug gangs is being hindered by a lack of resource, it has been claimed - after a round of government funding left the county short-changed.

Earlier this year we asked people to nominate their inspiring women of Suffolk – and today’s the day we finally reveal the results.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Ipswich Star daily newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24