Our cruises are well known for their historical and cultural experiences, but for the first time in March we tried something a little different… and it was very popular!
We welcomed Kevin Dean onboard Aegean Odyssey for the cruise from Mumbai, India to Safaga, Egypt. This cruise has a number of sea days and we wanted to include something a little different for our guests. Kevin Dean is a leading UK based artist, known for his floral artwork which features on the external walls and flooring of the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi as well as patterns for products such as wallpaper, crockery and fabrics from many of the UK’s leading retailers.
Kevin came up with a series of lectures designed for both novice and experienced artists. We hope you like these watercolours and drawings Kevin created during the voyage, as well as his diary from the cruise.
“Before leaving the UK, I spoke to Ann Carr, Enhancement Programme Director at Voyages to Antiquity’s office in Oxford. She said, “We don’t know how many people will be interested in the art classes but I’m sure you will have a good time!” Two weeks later I’m pleased to say that not only did I have a wonderful time but the demand for the classes was very high! About 45 people came to the various classes, either drawing, watercolour, or keeping a travel journal. Some people came to all the classes, some just for the occasional session. Most people who took part said they’d not drawn or painted since their school days, others were very experienced, including a former art teacher. All said they really enjoyed the classes and some hoped to develop their newfound skills upon their return home.
The sea was so calm and the weather so warm that we used the aft deck for all the workshops, sometimes using the surrounding sea as our subject matter.
Whenever the ship docked, I either set off independently or joined the tour buses. I painted temples and street scenes in India, souks and rocky landscapes in Oman. It sometimes meant working quite quickly as the tours try to include a good variety of exciting sights and I didn’t want to keep people waiting. The guides and tour managers were very patient with me, though, and in Porbandar, India, I left on one bus and returned to the ship on another, to give me maximum time to finish my paintings!
It was actually a good way to work as I really had to focus on what I was going to paint – I would set up my equipment and just paint. This has given the finished pieces, I think, a lot of spontaneity and atmosphere, something that doesn’t always happen if I have an endless amount of time. It was also so pleasing to have such vivid colours and strong shadows to work from, so different from the light in the UK!
Painting on location is sometimes problematical but on this trip it was fun interacting with the local people. Some offered me refreshments and one shopkeeper bought me a more comfortable seat than my little fold up stool.
The passengers were also very interested in seeing me work on the tours. At the end of the trip I held a very well attended exhibition of my work, which also included samples of the passengers’ work from the classes.
I also enjoyed meeting my fellow lecturers – the famous Martin Bell and Sandy Gall, the highly knowledgeable Robin Cormack from Cambridge University and renowned Egyptologist Karen Exell from Doha University. It all made for a fascinating and very creative trip.”
We are hoping that Kevin will be back onboard again over the next year as well as extending this programme with other artists on specific cruises. Watch out on our web site for further opportunities to ‘paint and cruise’.
Kevin sells his work including some of the paintings from this cruise. If you would like to contact him, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.