On Monday, June 25 at 7pm at the Lyman Museum, award-winning marine artist Robert Weiss will share the history of Yankee whaling and the art of scrimshaw. To fully understand and appreciate scrimshaw, which is pictorial art etched into the teeth and bones of marine mammals, it is helpful to know the history and workings of the Yankee whaling history, since the two are inextricably linked in time.
A native New Englander and a 1978 graduate of Pratt Institute, Robert Weiss is one of only two marine artists to have won the prestigious Rudolph J. Schaefer Maritime Heritage Award three times. This is the top award given each year at the Mystic International Marine Art Exhibition, recognizing the one work in the show that “best documents our maritime heritage, past or present, for generations of the future.”
After college Bob pursued a career in commercial art in Manhattan. In 1985 a friend living on Nantucket island sent him a scrimshaw kit as a gift and this proved to be the major turning point in his career. He fell in love with the art form and after several more years of working by day as a graphic designer and nights practicing scrimshaw, he finally made the leap into marine art as a full-time career. Since then his unique approach to and appreciation for scrimshaw and its tradition have won him accolades from collectors, gallery directors and artists alike.
At the beginning of his scrimshaw career he began an intensive and continuing study of whaling ships, whales and whaling history. From 1993 through 1996, Bob attended daily drawing and painting classes at The Riley League of Artists in White Plains, New York, practicing the principles of Classical Realism. This experience gave him the picture making skills needed to push his scrimshaw to new levels. Whether it’s the drama of a Nantucket sleigh ride, the gnarled visage of a whaling captain or the inquisitive expression of a walrus perched on arctic ice, Bob not only remains faithful to historical and natural detail, but captures the essence of his subject as well.
Weiss moved to Hawai’i in 2006. Since then, he has been an ardent practitioner of Plein Air painting, the art of painting directly from nature ‘in the open air’. Working alone and with the Plein Air Artists of Hawai’i Island (PAAOHI), he has focused on capturing the light, energy, and beauty of the varied and stunning landscapes of Hawai’i Island.
For further information call (808) 935-5021 or visit www.lymanmuseum.org.