One detail that was decided upon early in the design process of the graceful classic ketch Aquarius is a large portrait...


2 June 2020
One detail that was decided upon early in the design process of the graceful classic ketch Aquarius is a large portrait...

…of the yacht under sail that will adorn the interior of a couple who selected Dykstra Naval Architects for the naval architecture and exterior styling and interior design by Mark Whiteley. “The owners’ brief has been for a stunning looking yacht for family enjoyment.” 

The painting by David Barker, one of New Zealand’s most internationally active artists, follows on from similar commissions for Royal Huisman stable mates. The mixed media pastel and acrylic watercolour painting is a development of a pencil drawing by the artist based on deck plans, elevations and wireframes provided by Dykstra Naval Architects.

“I’m familiar with Dykstra’s work and their style,” says David Barker. “I asked the studio to remove some of the elements so the 3D images aren’t too cluttered before sketching out the basic parameters, such as where the bows cuts through the water and the height of the deck above sea level. This was then sent back to Dykstra for confirmation before proceeding.”

Barker’s interest in marine art grew from his early years spent racing yachts, and designing and building a series of 17m composite catamarans (he currently owns a picnic motorboat based on a 1913 design by Arch Logan). In 1991 he published An Artist’s Logbook, a sketchbook of his voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula aboard ocean explorer and mountaineer Skip Novak’s sailing yacht Pelagic.

Today Barker lives in Kerikeri overlooking the Bay of Islands, but he once had an apartment in Venice and another studio in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia. All these locations have provided inspiration for his paintings. A Japanese owner, for example, wanted his yacht set in Antarctica, while Athena was pictured with the Golden Gate Bridge as a backdrop, and the 56m classic ketch is seen sailing upwind off the French Riviera. He also asks his clients if they want to have people on board in the painting; there are several figures in his representation of Twizzle, but the decks on the 56m classic ketch are bare.

“After years of sailing on and living close to the water, I’ve become very familiar with way the sea and boats behave,” says the artist. “That association is vital and I often see in paintings of boats that float too high or the wind direction is wrong. There are multiple factors that describe a boat under sail and the water in the Giudecca Canal in Venice is very different from the sea in Antarctica!”

Crop of the final painting of Aquarius by David Barker and a photograph of her sailing near Palma de Mallorca. Learn and see more about this world cruising ketch by following the links on this website: yachts > delivered yachts > Aquarius [link]

“The artist’s voice” was first published in a previous edition of “inhuis”

A selection of sketches and paintings by David Barker including various Royal Huisman stablemates: