A few words about painting the sea

sea

Sea and oil painting

Let me click a few words about a painting topic that has always occupied me a lot. This is a very difficult topic because it is repeated many times and often in a weak way. It’s about the sea. His boundlessness, seriousness and power have always influenced man. Unfortunately, this is often an artistically poorly played or even completely lost topic. Sea painting brings associations with kitschy pictures, full of aggressive colors. Unfortunately, it has already come to the fact that this beautiful and noble subject is treated with reluctance. Due to the fact that it has been pushed into cramped patterns and drawers, it often becomes poorly received. The sunset was even more difficult. This is a beautiful phenomenon of the highest order. Meanwhile, the associations regarding this subject as a subject of a work of art run in very bad directions. Associated associations are kitschy postcards, lame drawings or kitschy images of street vendors of pseudo-art. Sunset is a topic widely used on the packaging of crayons or paints for children.

Painting of the sunset
Painting of the sunset

Picture of the sea – how did the sea appear on the canvas?

Initially, in the Middle Ages, the subjects of paintings were rather final issues – death, God. The sea only appeared in the paintings from time to time. The development of sea painting is the 17th century and painting in countries with good access to the sea. Certainly the development of ships, maritime trade and the general increase in the importance of this mode of transport had an impact on the development of marine painting. Therefore, precursors and very important painters dealing with the subject of the sea included: Salomon van Ruisdael from the Netherlands, William Turner from England, Claude Lorrain from France and Giovanni Antonio Canal from Italy. Undoubtedly, their countries of origin are places where shipping and trade by sea developed very dynamically thanks to the extensive coastline.

Claude Lorrain sea landscape
Claude Lorrain sea landscape

In subsequent creative periods such as impressionism and post-impressionism, the sea was an extremely inspirational painting theme. Impressive reflections of the sun were reflected in the sea.


As a modern painter, I see how difficult the sea is. Due to current trends in art. Due to the dominant tendencies, where the image is more and more often a supporting role and art becomes a social or sociological manifesto, the sea goes to the background. Even if it becomes the subject of an image, it is not treated in a way that focuses on its aesthetics. Due to the fact that today everyone is afraid of aestheticizing. meanwhile i love this topic. I paint the sea for many reasons. Painting the sea is one of my main painting themes, I am attracted to a lot of threads. One of the key is the mystery and beauty of the horizon.

Contemporary painter and the sea

Painting of the sea 1
Painting of the sea
Tomasz Pilikowski
Oil on canvas
70×60 cm