Rodney Charman first started painting at the age of 21. A self taught artist working primarily in oils, he began by portraying equestrian portraits. The son of a Naval Officer and a passionate sailor, he soon turned to specialising in marine scenes, distinguished by their meticulous detail and atmospheric effects.
Rodney Charman has been painting historic marine scenes full time since 1979. Painstakingly researched from his own comprehensive library, archive photographs and by travelling to the locations in question, the now world-renowned artist has produced a substantial collection of original oil paintings, increasing in value not only due to their superb style but for the historical accuracy they contain. A frequent exhibitor at the Royal Society of Marine Artists annual exhibitions in London for many years, the artist has also had many of his paintings published as fine art prints, one of them; ‘Poole Quay by Gaslight’ becoming the third highest selling print in the country in the years following its publication.
Rodney has travelled extensively to research his paintings, including Hong Kong, China and Nova Scotia and is a frequent visitor to America. Following a private commission spanning many years and resulting in a substantial series of original paintings depicting the marine history of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, USA, there is a permanent display of Rodney’s work at the Coffin School and the Egan Maritime Institute on the island and a book entitled ‘Portrait of Nantucket, 1659-1890: The Paintings of Rodney Charman’ was published in 1989. During this time, the artist was assisted in his research by award-winning historian Nathaniel Philbrick, author of ‘In the Heart of the Sea’, now a major motion picture.
Following this long term commission which resulted in a large body of historical work, two of Rodney’s paintings were selected and featured in the American documentary ‘Moby Dick – The True Story’, which was also shown on British television. Rodney went on to produce a series of oil paintings which were reproduced to illustrate a book entitled ‘The Famine Ships’, published in 1996 and the paintings formed a major exhibition of the artist’s work at the South Street Seaport Museum New York in 1998. By request of the organisers, Rodney was invited to New York to speak publicly about this collection of work.
With tall ship sailing experience aboard the topsail schooner ‘Malcolm Miller’ and racing regularly in ‘X’ boats at Lymington, Hampshire, where he lives, Charman has plenty of opportunity to experience the elements that he has chosen to portray. In recent years the artist has portrayed many subjects that have inspired him personally as well as undertaking commissions, notably a series of paintings for the Sultan of Oman.
Rodney continues to paint on a daily basis, adding to his impressive archive of original marine art spanning almost five decades.