Tenpin takes to the water with his brushes
Patrick Bollen, an accomplished competitive sailor, offshore yacht master and sea captain, has added another string to his bow as a maritime artist.
Since making his debut as a painter in 2018 he has focused on competitive racing yachts. Bollen draws on a nautical lifetime immersed in famous racing yachts and events, and in particular the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
A refined understanding of the principles of yacht racing, the dynamic and challenges of the start and the geography of Sydney Harbour, its wind patterns, tidal flow, even the tightly compact formation and synchronicity of crew — all are taken into account with each brush stroke.
Patrick’s appreciation of the maritime art comes from a lifelong fascination stemming from his own family — his father a merchant mariner, Captain Joseph originally from the Netherlands and his youngest brother Joe, now an established maritime and landscape artist in his own right.
Patrick’s understanding of competitive yachting comes from his endeavours onboard in some of the most admired offshore yachts — Mary Muffin, Mercedes V, Parmelia, Ex-Tension, Apocalypse, Freight Train, Dr Dan and Apollo. He also was crew on Condor of Bermuda when she w0n the 1982 Sydney to Hobart.
As a commercial yacht delivery skipper, he has sailed on many of Australia’s most beautiful private yachts and motor vessels, including the Swan yacht Concordia, the great classic yacht Astor and the beautiful Ed Dubois 100 foot cutter Alcanara, as well as skippering the 90 foot former Hobart relay vessel Mia Mia.
“I love the vibrancy of colour and I like to paint sail against the grandeur of the Australian coastline,” says Bollen, “particularly the dramatic rock formations of South Eastern Tasmania.
“My works feature yachts and sailboats both racing and cruising. As a yachtsman and commercial Captain I have, since my youth, had a great affection and admiration for the lines and grace of sail and sailboats as well as the might and power of ships.”
There is a huge diversity in Bollen’s style and mood. Some days the focus is more on the rocks than the boats themselves. Some simply more about the sensation of sailing and of movement through the water and air.
Another preferred subject matter is Sydney Harbour itself. A founder of the Friends of Sydney Harbour, Bollen has a special interest in the harbour.
Two recent private commission focus on this — the arrival of the new Engage Marine tuboats on Sydney Harbour (seen above) including one technically difficult two metre long panorama of the bright blue tugboats in action against the backdrop of the CBD skyline and Harbour Bridge.
Bollen’s work is informed by a comprehensive appreciation of all aspects of competitive yachting from the aesthetic to the technical. His appreciation of the tension of the start line, sensitivity of the movement of the boat through water to his sailor’s eye for the horizon and foreshore, light on water, cloud and sail formation and weather all bear the hallmarks of a lifetime in yachting. He is in this regard a real yachtman’s artist, currently in pencil and watercolour and soon to be in oil.
Patrick Bollen’s work made it’s first public debut courtesy of the Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association (RANSA) in Rushcutters Bay. He is a member of the Australian Society of Maritime Artists.
“Whether you sail dinghies, skiffs, ocean racers, cruisers, power boats or ships, whether you sail rivers, lakes, harbours or oceans,” Patrick says, “the seas does not return what you ask for but the strongest memory she grants you is the beauty of her moods.”