Naval life shown in a new light with new exhibit

Maritime Museum of B.C. hosts “Ready Aye Ready” showing until August

A number of paintings crafted by a former merchant mariner who later served as a war artist for the Department of National Defence are now on display publicly for the first time.

The exhibit at the Maritime Museum of B.C., entitled Ready Aye Ready: The Naval Artwork of Robert McVittie, features 22 oil paintings that depict Royal Canadian Navy ships and other aspects of navy life.

McVittie, who died in 2002, first sailed with the Merchant Navy early on in his life. Several years later, in his role as an official war artist for the Department of National Defence, he documented the missions conducted by some 4,500 military members deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1991.

McVittie chronicled navy life through notes, photos and videos, which he later referenced as he painted.

“The way he painted water is absolutely beautiful,” said MaryAnne Dieno, the museum’s marketing events and communications co-ordinator. “I’ve never seen somebody capture it like that in a painting before.”

The exhibit of original works will be on display until the end of August. The Maritime Museum of B.C. is located at 28 Bastion Sq. For museum admission details, go to mmbc.bc.ca.