johns great strength as a marine artist is his ability to portray
yachts in varied light, wind and water conditions, and always from
a truly unique perspective. when viewing johns paintings, the
viewer becomes absorbed by the scene. because of his painstaking research,
and a painting technique that puts great emphasis on historical accuracy
and minute detail, john produces only a few paintings per year. these
paintings are always outstanding.
my husband and i are pleased to have shared these
last fifteen years with john. he is truly a gifted marine painter
and it has been a privilege to work with him and to represent him.
our first exhibition of his collection of marine
paintings was presented in 1988 and was an immediate success. this
was followed by the overwhelming success of the limited edition prints.
on this occasion of the second exhibition of john
mecrays paintings of classic racing yachts, we enthusiastically
look forward to sharing this new and exciting body of work with you.
i first became aware of john mecray in the mid 70s through rudolph
j. schaefer as we discussed mr. schaefers authoritative book
on j. e. buttersworth which mystic seaport was about to publish. mr.
schaefer had a keen eye and recognized johns talent and potential.
it has been fascinating to observe the emergence and maturation of
a great marine artist over the last two decades.
johns love of sailing and his devotion to
his subject not only show in his work but give it a primary quality
that comes from someone who has enjoyed the experience he is depicting.
the word balance seems to apply readily to johns work.
there is an elegant feeling to his composition
which reflects his training in design. his meticulous research, which
fully engages the interest of experienced sailors, matches the spirit
he instills into his vessels. the mixture of light and shadow, sea
and spray, lend reality and dimension to his paintings.
we at mystic seaport are proud of the long association
our museum has had with john and we are appreciative as he continues
to share his expertise as a member of our yachting committee. john
has clearly earned his stature in the top rank of contemporary marine
artists. it is with great admiration, interest and anticipation that
i await the work that will come from this fine artist in the decades
j. revell carr
president and director
mystic seaport museum
john mecrays marvelous paintings of classic yachts come alive
in ways unparalleled in the field of marine art. over the years i
have had the opportunity to compare works by many of the worlds
top marine artists. i am always inspired by johns unique ability
to create the most amazing clarity of detail with both water and vessel.
his paintings give us a distinct sense of motion and power which commands
a remarkable presence no matter where the work is hung. i am convinced
that when the next generation of sailors and art critics review the
wide range of marine art produced during the twentieth century, johns
work will be counted among the major examples equal to the fine marine
art produced by the eighteenth and nineteenth century masters.
i first met john in newport, rhode island during
the americas cup summer of 1977 when he was just starting his
painting career and i continue to value his company as a friend and
sailing companion. his skill and experience as a sailor is reflected
in creating the excitement and exhilaration of the sea. the astonishing
details of his paintings derive from his intensive research into both
boat and rigging, making the study of his work such a pleasure.
over the years, i have collected most of his limited
edition prints, three oil paintings and six superb pencil drawings.
each year his work grows in stature and draws more acclaim. our home
in annapolis is frequently filled with friends and sailing companions
from around the world. they are invariably in awe of johns ability
to capture the thrill of racing and the beauty of sailing.
this new collection of his work confirms john mecray's
standard of excellence, and is bound to enhance his international
john mecray has established himself as the preeminent contemporary
artist of classic racing yachts. his paintings reflect the full vigor
of the sea, together with the authentic details of the yachts he brings
to vibrant life.
something felt, something learned, something thrilling
undergone: this is what the viewer takes away from a mecray painting.
perhaps we who sail modern or historic yachts have special reason
to appreciate these dramatic scenes. more than that, the evolving
series of mecray paintings provide for many their only sense of the
power and grace of the great racing yachts of the past.
it has been my distinct pleasure to observe the
remarkable intensity john brings to the process of developing his
ideas from concept to finished painting. to ascertain and to ensure
faithfulness to the original circumstances of the races he portrays,
john mecray is an indefatigable researcher studying plans, models,
and photographs of the yachts he will paint. it is typical that, late
one evening, he phoned me to check on the exact color of the deck
edge of reliance.
the resulting painting of reliance conveys the
power and finesse of this largest of all cup defenders, competing
at her best in smoky souwester conditions. johns rendering
of the sea surrounding the yacht evokes ones own pleasure in
seaborne experiences. for it is the skill of this fine artist to convey,
along with detail, something more intimate: subtlety and mood. in
this john mecray excels.
nowhere is this ability more evident than in the
recent mecray columbia vs. shamrock, 1899. the sea, the
sky, the sails, and the yachts in this scene immediately summon the
excitement of an important race day when all is right with the world.
both the maritime and the artistic communities are grateful to john
for his continuing series of exquisite works of art that provide such
a palpable surge of emotion to the viewer.
halsey c. herreshoff, president
herreshoff marine museum
bristol, rhode island
john mecray looked pleased. he had just learned that a missing log
book from the schooner coronet had been found. now there was another
chance to search through words from the past that might give some
added dimension to his painting of coronet.
john is often to be found sailing on and working
to preserve the great yachts he paints. he is principal founder of
the museum of yachting, a member of the mystic seaport museums
yachting committee, and for years he has donated income from his prints
to help maintain coronet. nowadays, in fact, john serves on the board
of the international yacht restoration school, the group that will
in preparation for a painting, john spends an unusual
amount of time gathering research. he has driven great distances to
study a model. he has sailed great distances to experience the elements.
it is his deep involvement with yachts, yachting, and yachtsmen that
feeds his art. the reward is the visceral impact of john mecrays
paintings. such pure expressions of speed, grace, and beauty, such
encompassing images of weather and waves, could not have come from
a man who did not live the very life he paints.
elizabeth ernst meyer
newport, rhode island