Bill Mearns: Under the Spell of the Sea

 

As a muse for creativity and imagination the sea has enthralled humankind since we began to reflect on our surroundings. Most of us are satisfied with dreamily watching a sail disappear over the horizon or letting ourselves become absorbed by the patterns we see in the endless roll of waves up and down a sandy beach. But for some a deeper creative spirit arises in response to the sensual stimulus of the sea, inspiring creativity of great beauty and passion.

Bill Mearns is one such artist who spent a lifetime ‘Under the spell of the sea’ and this retrospective exhibition shows works spanning eight decades of artistic response to the sea and lives lived in its thrall. Works include previously unseen drawings, sketchbooks, models and his highly regarded watercolours.

Mearns was born in Dundee, Scotland before emigrating to Tasmania in 1970 with his wife and family. He worked as a Mechanical Engineer for the State Government for many years before taking an early retirement to paint full-time.

Mearns is one of Australia’s most respected marine artists and his works are known nationally. With a keen eye for detail, an engineer’s understanding of construction techniques and an all-encompassing love of wooden boats his work is an important record of Tasmania and Australia’s maritime heritage.