“From the Studio of Captain Steve Mayo”

This show will hang in the gallery September 7 – 29, 2018

 Join us for a “Seafeast” reception September21, 2018, 6pm – 9pm 

Ahoy Mates! During the month of September, FCF hosts the renowned artist Steve Mayo in the gallery. He is internationally known for his historically accurate watercolor paintings of tugboats and sailing ships. You will have two opportunities to meet Steve, September 7 during Art Walk and during a special gallery reception during “SeaFeast”, Friday, September 21, from 6 – 9pm.

To read the history of the Chatham, click on the image above.

Artist’s Statement 

Growing up sailing on the Columbia River, I have had a lifelong interest in ships, maritime art and history. As a youth, I learned watercolor technique and composition from Charles Mulvey, a local Washington artist. In college, I majored in art for two years at Idaho State University, one year at the San Francisco Art Institute and one year at Western Washington University.

I worked for one year with a tugboat company on the Columbia River and was delighted to finally be a professional mariner. In 1965, I purchased the Windsong, a 26′ Sea Bird yawl which I sailed for several years on the Columbia River.  After selling the Windsong in 1967 and moving to Bellingham, Washington, I went to work on tugs for Foss Tug & Barge and started painting in earnest. In 1970, I began my professional art career selling paintings of tugs, ships and fishing boats regularly in local Bellingham art exhibitions and galleries. That same year, I bought an old 1914 vintage 60′ tugboat, the Patrol No. 1. Renaming her Skua, I refurbished and ran her for twenty-five years, cruising the San Juan Islands and Canadian waters. In 1973, Foss commissioned me to do 12 paintings which they purchased for their 1974 tugboat calendar. The next year they started an annual Foss tugboat art competition for their calendars which then featured one of my paintings for many successive years and to the present.

I left Foss in 1975 to pursue a full-time art career and became a featured artist at the Kirsten Gallery in Seattle where my annual one-man shows were presented. The gallery also began a biennial marine art show which has shown my paintings from its beginning to the present. My solo shows always sold out and my paintings reside in private and corporate collections. Many have been used as covers and illustrations in numerous books on Northwest history. Although I have entered very few competitive exhibitions over the years, I was awarded “First place” at Mystic Seaport in 1980 in the watercolor division and in 1985, I won “Best of Show” at the Coos Bay Maritime Art Show in Oregon. In 2012, I again received a first place award at Mystic Seaport.

In the mid 1970s, I made several coastwise sailing trips from the Northwest to California as a crewman on a 50’ cutter. Having earned my professional master’s license in 1987, I was hired as captain of the 75′ oil recovery vessel Western Gull based in Bellingham.   Later I became supervisor of the Bellingham base, operating the Western Gull, three other vessels and a 185′ oil barge, retiring in 2005. During this time I continued producing historic marine watercolors for shows at the Kirsten Gallery.

I enjoy the challenge of creating paintings that invite the viewer to see ships of the past accurately portrayed on a specific day that evokes the historic spirit and immediacy of the moment. From all my times on the water with motor and sail, I always paid careful attention to the colors and moods of the maritime environment surrounding me. I want to stir the viewers of my paintings with interest and appreciation for the spirit of the specific moments which I have portrayed.

I am mainly interested in steam and diesel tugs, fishing boats, steam freighters circa 1915-1945 and the vessels used in the early exploration of the Pacific Northwest. To paint scenes of the early historic vessels, I used my own tug to visit locations on the same day of the year where the early maritime explorers had been to record lighting, weather and background details for my work.

My wife, Lynne, and I live in Bellingham where I continue to paint from my studio overlooking the waterfront and the bay.

~ Steve Mayo – 2012

Artist’s Biography

Pacific Northwest marine artist Steve Mayo has had a lifetime interest in maritime art and history. As a youth, he learned to sail on the Columbia River where he became fascinated with fishing boats, tugs, and ocean-going shipping. Another strong influence was his father, who imbued in him a passionate interest in 18th century exploration voyages to the Pacific Northwest coast. Mayo learned technique and composition with the noted watercolor artist Charles Mulvey in Seaview, Washington. He majored in Fine Art for four years including one year at the San Francisco Art Institute. His professional art career began in 1970 with featured shows selling his art while he worked on tugboats for Bellingham Tug & Barge Co., a subsidiary of Foss Maritime. In 1975, Mayo left the tugboat industry to pursue his art career full-time. He used his own 60′ classic wooden tug/yacht SKUA to travel to specific locations of historic events in Puget Sound to insure accuracy in his paintings. During this period he also earned his professional captain’s license. In the mid-1970’s Mayo began showing his art at the Kirsten Gallery in Seattle, Washington. His one-man shows were often sold out on opening night and his paintings have been featured for over 35 years at Kirsten Gallery’s biennial Marine Show. The consistent quality and historical accuracy of his paintings established him as a premier marine artist including a first place award at the 1980 Mystic Seaport International Marine Art Exhibition. In addition, Mayo taught private watercolor lessons for many years. Missing an active involvement in the working waterfront, Mayo returned to captain the 75′ oil recovery vessel WESTERN GULL from 1985 to 2005, while continuing to produce historic marine watercolors. Today Mayo and his wife live in Bellingham, WA where he continues to paint from his studio overlooking the waterfront of Bellingham Bay. His paintings reside in many private and corporate collections internationally and have been featured as covers and illustrations in a number of books on Northwest regional and British Columbia history.