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The Beauty of the Sea: Seascape Paintings and the Artists who Painted them

  • 6 min read

Ted Dyer open edition print of Priests Cove at Cape Cornwall

Above: Ted Dyer open edition print 'Fishing Boats at Priest's Cove, Cape Cornwall'.

The Beauty of the Sea: Seascape Paintings and the Artists who Painted them

If you love the ocean and everything about it, then you will love seascape paintings. Seascapes are a genre of paintings that depict the beauty of the sea, often with landscapes or other elements in the background. They can be both beautiful and peaceful to look at. In this blog post, we will explore seascape paintings and some of the sea scape artists who created them, comparing historic and contemporary pieces of art.

What is Seascape Art?

Seascape paintings are a type of art that specifically focuses on the sea. This can include the sky, landscapes, and other elements in the background. Seascapes can be incredibly peaceful to look at and often make us feel calmer. They are a great way to bring the beauty of nature into your home.

Seascape painting can encompass a wide variety of styles and subjects. Some seascapes are realistic while others are more abstract. They can be either representational or nonrepresentational. The one thing that all seascapes have in common is that they depict the sea in some way.

History of seascape painting

The term appeared in the late 18th century and was based on the word landscape. Seascapes are generally images of sea or beach vistas. The ocean, beaches, coastlines, shipping at sea, and nautical pictures are some of the components that make up seascape artworks. Seascape painting is also referred to as Marine art or Maritime art.

Who paints seascapes?

International Seascape Artists

Famous artists who have painted seascapes include Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and the American artist Winslow Homer. These artists are known for their beautiful and realistic paintings. They capture the feeling of being at the beach and make us feel as if we are there.

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

Around 1888 Van Gogh spent a period of time in Saintes-Marie-de-la Mer where he painted a series of seascapes of boats on the beach and in the harbour. He wrote this amazing and very accurate description of the Mediterranean sea.

"Mediterranean Sea is a mackerel colour: in other words, changeable – you do not always know whether it is green or purple, you do not always know if it is blue, as the next moment the ever-changing sheen has assumed a pink or a gray tint."


 Above: 'Seascape near Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer' by Vincent van Gogh. Open Edition Fine Art Print

Above: 'Along the Coast Path, St Anthony Head', 14x14 inches oil on canvas. Painting by Cornish Artist Ted Dyer, £1,750

Claude Monet (1840-1926)

Impressionist artist Claude Monet painted many of his seascapes in and around the rugged terrain at Belle-Île, a French island off the coast of Brittany.

According to the Cincinnati Art Museum, Monet wrote to fellow Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte regarding his stay:

“I’ve been here a month, and I’m grinding away; I’m in a magnificent region of wilderness, a tremendous heap of rocks and sea unbelievable for its colours; well, I’m very enthusiastic.”

He also painted many seascapes in his native Normandy. He created a beautiful series of paintings at the small seaside resort of Pourville-sur-Mer, near Dieppe in northern France.

Above: 'Cliff Walk at Pourville' by Claude Monet. Open Edition Fine Art Print

Above: 'Sea Pinks and Painters. Falmouth', 20x24 inches oil on canvas by Ted Dyer, £3,950.00

Winslow Homer (1836 -1910)

Winslow Homer was an American painter who advocated for the use of direct observation of nature in art. He wanted his work to be "real", based on what he observed.

"When I have selected the thing carefully, I paint it exactly as it appears."

Winslow Homer had long been enamoured with the sea, and in the 1890s he relocated to Maine's coastline, where he not only painted the water itself but also episodes depicting "man against the elements" that demonstrated how powerful the ocean could be, especially during a storm. Later, Homer abandoned painting humans and focused on the ocean, often depicting stormy weather. It appears that you can almost sense the spray of the billowing waves when you look at his works, which is one of the reasons why Homer is regarded as the best American marine painter of all time.

'Beach Scene', oil painting by Winslow Homer 
Above: 'Beach Scene', oil painting by Winslow Homer that is available as a museum-quality fine art print

Above: Ted Dyer Fine Art Print. Open Edition Cornish Art Print. 'Summer Days, St Ives'

Above: Limited Edition Print by Cornish Artist John Dyer. 'Moonlit Lovers'.

British Seascape Artists

One of Britain's most famous seascape artists is J.M.W. Turner. He is known for his more abstract seascapes. He often used bold colours and brushstrokes to create a feeling of movement in his paintings.

J. M. W. Turner

J. M. W. Turner, one of the most well-known British seascape painters of all time, spent his entire life recording the characteristics of the sea and life along the British coast. From his childhood in Margate to his love for immortalizing the ever-changing patterns of the sea, one of Turner's primary sources of inspiration was water.

 Painting of sunset by artist JMW Turner

Above: J. M. W. Turner 'The Scarlet Sunset' 

Original Painting and contemporary seascape by Joanne Short. Summer Evening Godrevy. 18 x 18 inches oil on canvas, £895

Cornish Seascape and Landscape Painters: Modern Seascape Artists

Some of the most well-known seascape artists come from Cornwall, England. Contemporary artists John Dyer, Ted Dyer, and Joanne Short are some of the best loved emerging artists. These artists are known for their beautiful, colourful and fun paintings of Cornish beaches, harbours and coastal seascapes. Each of these painters have their own artistic styles, but all capture the fun and sun of a Cornish holiday.

John Dyer

Artist John Dyer has an extensive collection of paintings, prints, limited edition prints and posters depicting the Cornish seascape. Brought up on the North Coast of Cornwall, John grew up running around on cornish beaches. This childhood joy is ever present in his colourful, happy paintings.

Limited Edition Print by Cornish Artist John Dyer. Racing to the Lizard Lighthouse.

Ted Dyer

Ted Dyer started painting in his thirties while living in Somerset. However, the pull of the sea soon captured his imagination and it wasn't long before he moved to Cornwall with the family and started his successful journey as a Cornish painter. His iconic paintings, with their soft light, capture the essence of Cornwall at its best. His beach paintings, with children in the foreground fishing with nets and paddling in the water, creating those Cornish holiday memories.

Above: Late Summer, North Cliffs, Cornwall. By British Artist Ted Dyer. Original Oil Painting on Canvas. £3,950.00

Joanne Short

Seascape painting is Joanne Short's main genre. Her artwork is generally of Cornish beaches and clifftop views.

"I am always inspired by the colour and beauty of Cornwall. The flowers that grow on the cliffs, the ever-changing colours of the sea and the big Cornish skies. I will never tire of painting the beauty of Cornwall"

 Above: Signed Limited Edition Print by Cornish Artist Joanne Short. 'Rugged Cornwall, Botallack'

Seascape Open Edition Prints for Art Lovers

The John Dyer Gallery is proud to offer a stunning selection of Cornish seascape open edition prints. Whether you're looking for a fun and sun-drenched beach scene, a wild and rugged view of the Cornish cliffs, or colourful and vibrant sailing boats, we have the perfect print for you. Our collection features some of the most iconic and beloved images of Cornwall, all of which are available in a variety of sizes and frame options. So whether you're a Cornwall enthusiast or simply looking for a beautiful piece of art to brighten up your home, we invite you to browse our collection of Cornish open edition seascape prints.

Above: John Dyer Fine Art Print. Open Edition Cornish Art Print. 'Wild Flowers and Sunshine, Kynance Cove'

Above: Ted Dyer Fine Art Print. Open Edition Cornish Art Print. 'May Sunshine, Kynance Cove'

Above: Claude Monet Framed Open Edition Art Print. 'The Beach and the Falaise d'Amont'

 Vincent Van Gogh Framed Open Edition Art Print. 'Barques aux Saintes-Maries'

Above: Vincent Van Gogh Framed Open Edition Art Print. 'Barques aux Saintes-Maries'

The John Dyer Gallery offers a stunning selection of seascape prints from some of the most well-known international, British artists and Cornish artists. If you're looking for a beautiful piece of art to hang in your home, we invite you to browse our collection. We are sure you'll find the perfect print or art poster to suit your style and interior space.

Buy Seascape Paintings: Find a Stunning Piece of Contemporary Seascape Art for your Home