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Clansman departing Castlebay, Barra – The Story

Clansman arriving at Castlebay, Barra

Clansman departing Castlebay, Barra – a thoroughly professional commission, thank you all at Calmac

Today you can view “Clansman departing Castlebay, Barra” onboard ship in the main saloon of Clansman, or collect a beautiful signed copy here from page http://frickers.co.uk/prints.html See below how pleased others are with their copies!

What do people say?

Princess Anne

asked to speak to Gordon Frickers and spent 15 minutes after the naming ceremony of “Clansman” talking to the artist.

Princess Anne suggested that he should be encouraged by Calmac to paint more Hebrides’s scenes. A result was 2 further commissions from Calmac.

The print has just arrived …. I am speechless… just as well I am typing! I knew it would be nice, but I am totally blown away, it is fantastic. … On looking at it again I noticed how good the quality of the print is and although the original is a formidable force in it’s self, the atmosphere and mood of Barra is still very apparent in the print. … reactions have been from ‘that’s never a print, look at all the detail…’ [to a] budding artist telling us how hard it is to capture the sea and how well you have done it.”

I have now received the print of ‘The Clansman arriving at Castlebay’, and I am extremely pleased with the result. The print has already been well admired by my family and friends. It will probably look even better once it is mounted and framed. Thanking you again for all your assistance and I am so pleased that there was a successful conclusion to all your efforts.”
Alastair MacCrimmon

For shipping professionals

Example: How to commission a first class painting.

The artist’s brief was to create a series of 3 paintings, to show the new ship in her regular ports, at least one to be completed for the naming ceremony before the ship was launched.

One for the main saloon of the ship, one as a gift for either the builders or the VIP who named the ship, and one for the company offices, all to be complete before the new ship was launched in time for the naming ceremony were they were to be displayed beside the GA drawings.

What we did not know when we started was the VIP was to be The Princess Royal, Princess Anne. The Princess is quite a nautical person who knows well and loves the Western Isles, The Outer Hebrides.  Clansman_invitation.JPG

The artist was flown to Glasgow and met by the then managing director of Calmac, Captain John Simkins.

Together they sailed on the route from Oban to Barra that the new ship was destined to serve, to research for the paintings.

The 2 men explored the islands for locations and views the artist could be satisfied with.

The task included quite a bit of hiking up peaty boggy hillsides to consider some splendid scenery and a trip into the bay courtesy of the Castlebay Lifeboat engineer.

Fortunately they were very well provided for by the owner of the Castlebay Hotel (castlebayhotel at aol dot com).

While Captain Simkins was busy with Calmac affairs the artist produced a series of sketches and photographs which they discussed on the voyage back to the mainland.

The artist worked closely with the ship’s design team who also used him to advise on colour schemes for the ship.Clansman_sketch_IMG_0869.JPG

The paintings of Castlebay included changes and an extension that were going to be made to the pier heads to accommodate the new larger ship. All this was taken from engineering drawings supplied by the Calmac design office, placed in the painting to scale and in perspective, a difficult feat completed successfully, painted by the artist in time, in advance of the ship building being completed.

Gordon Frickers even included the Barra RNLI lifeboat, a truck from Calmac’s biggest customer at Barra and the MD’s yacht in the painting.

People intuitively notice the difference, when the artist has been on location, including those who travel on the ships and see the originals. The Princess Royal (Anne) who knows the islands very well was very impressed by the “Clansman” paintings, she particularly noted the colouring and light was very convincing, that the picture was very detailed yet had managed to avoid the trap of becoming “photographic” or static; she commented that it was remarkably fluid, mysteriously convincing yet painterly.

While the artist can work very successfully from plans and photographs, there is a significant advantage when budget permits and you want the best, in his visiting the locations.

This is an artist who loves to paint modern ships.

Considering a commission? Talk to the artist.

This splendidly atmospheric original painting is displayed onboard Clansman in her saloon.

This painting has superb paint texture for example look at the water around the ferry. The location is Barra, Outer Hebrides, sometimes romantically called “The Western Isles”, Scotland.

We have had several requests for prints so it is now available in open edition, signed by the artist, prices including framing.


Often noted for its beauty, Barra, Southern most of the Western Isles, nestled at the foot of the Outer Hebridean chain Barra is only five miles across by eight miles long, with a ring road all the way around. Barra is a compact paradise with stunning coastal scenery and a mild climate.

The island has white sandy beaches, often deserted, offer good to excellent surfing that would not look out of place in the Mediterranean, remarkable wildlife, diverse flora and fauna good food and excellent Scotch.

The people are mainly Gaelic speaking on the island of Barra which. From your first sight of Kisimul Castle the ancient seat of the Clan MacNeil, standing guard over Castlebay, you know you have arrived in a place were you will treasure the new memories you make.

useful addresses: http://www.calmac.co.uk/, castlebayhotel at aol dot com

Contact Us to request information about the original .
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