Shipwright turns back on planking for painting


Many painters, including some of the great artists, are and were practical men. They are more than capable of knocking up frames, making them square and stretching canvas over them. This thought came to mind when looking at the excellent pictures of James Dodds who epitomises the duality of art with craft. James, 50, is a shipwright based in the marshlands of Essex, whose love of pleasing curves has shifted from slipway to studio.
He grew up repairing Thames sailing barges and rebuilding Essex smacks where the necessity of form to make a craft seaworthy or perform a certain task slowly became something purely aesthetic.
He has left the wood shavings, iron bolts and adzes of the shipyard behind and picked up easel, paintpot and brush of the studios at art college and graduated with an MA from the Royal College of Art.
He has a forthcoming exhibition, Fore And Aft, at Messum’s in London’s Cork Street from 24 October- 10 November. Dodds’ work is living proof that if a boat looks right she is right.