Card, J. Stephen A.F.N.I.
Marine Artist Stephen J. Card’s
Born in Bermuda on 28 October 1952, Stephen came to the world of Marine Art after many years following an altogether different career path.
Having grown up in Bermuda’s unique marine environment, it wasn’t surprising that Stephen developed an early fascination with ships and the sea. At the age of 11 he visited the New Zealand Shipping Company’s Rangitane, a memorable experience that resulted in a lifelong interest and passion for passenger ships and shipping.
In 1966 his keen interest in ships led him to join the Bermuda Sea Cadet Corps, an organization well known for sending cadets abroad as part of their training. For Stephen, his first training trip was a three-week voyage in 1977 as Deck Boy in the Cunard liner Franconia. .
The following year the Corps sent twenty cadets, including Stephen, to train at the Royal Navy Gunnery School, H.M.S Excellent, in Portsmouth. They traveled in the Franconia to New York and then crossed in the old Queen Elizabeth to Southampton. After a month in England, the group traveled back to Bermuda, again in the Queen Elizabeth and Franconia.
During school holidays in 1969 Stephen flew to the UK to join the tug/tender Gatcombe as Deck Boy for her delivery voyage to Bermuda. On finishing school in 1970 Stephen joined the Glasgow firm of J & J Denholm (Management) Limited as a Navigating Cadet on board the 33,000-dwt bulker Naess Pioneer.
Over the next five years he served on various ships in the fleet, ranging from tankers and bulkers to gas-turbine container ships and oil/bulk/ore carriers. During this time he also attended the Glasgow College of Nautical Studies where he studied and sat the examinations for Mate (Home Trade) Second Mate (Foreign Going) and Mate (Foreign Going).
In 1975, he was appointed to the reefer Loch Lomond as Second Officer on her maiden voyage. Apart from a short period as Second Officer in Shaw Savill & Albion’s Icenic and Chief Officer in the Denholm Training Ship Wellpark Stephen spent six years in the Loch Lomond and her sister Loch Maree as Chief Officer.
After returning to the Glasgow college where he studied and successfully sat for Master (Foreign-Going), he joined the London firm of Uiterwyk Lines (UK) Limited in 1981 and was appointed to their reefer Polar Uruguay as Chief Officer. In early 1982 he became master of their 15,000 dwt general-cargo vessel Pyramids U. He became a Member of The Nautical Institute (M.N.I.) in 1982.
Later that year Stephen was offered the post of Queen’s Harbour Master, Bermuda and he returned to the Island to take up the position. Whilst there he was able to devote spare time to his old hobby of sketching and painting. At year’s end however, having decided to return to sea, a chance meeting with Holland America Line’s Chairman, Mr. Nico van der Vorm, led to a commission for three paintings for his Seattle office.
Such was the success of this project that Stephen was encouraged to pursue his interest in painting and drawing to a point where he decided to come ashore for good to become a professional marine painter. His first one-man exhibition was held in late 1984 at The Heritage House Gallery, Hamilton, Bermuda.
Mainly self-taught, he currently works in oils and, although he does the occasional sailing vessel, he is much better known (and happier!) painting ocean liners of the 20th century.
Between 1984 and 1991, in addition to a full time painting career, he sailed for two months as Chief Officer in the classic 1928-built motor yacht Jezebel and also make several delivery voyages as Master on board tugs, including the tug/tender Gatcombe (as Bermudian in 83, Topsham in ’88 and Royal M. in ‘89) a vessel on which he’d first served as Deck Boy in 1969. His last command was the Irish flag tug/tender Tara II , formerly Red Funnel’s Calshot.
In 1990 Stephen was asked to paint a series of five oils for Holland America Line’s Statendam, a commission that ultimately led to 20 years work involving almost 100 paintings featuring HAL vessels, most of which appear in his book, Holland America Line – The Spotless Fleet published by Carmania Press in 2006.
Following the contract signing for Cunard Line’s new flagship Queen Mary 2 in 2000 Stephen was commissioned to complete a series of paintings for the 150,000 grt liner. The thirty oils, which took almost three years to complete, are featured in his book ‘Cunarder’- Maritime Paintings by Stephen J. Card.
Numerous works have also been painted for other ships within the Carnival group, including the Imagination, Costa Victoria and Queen Elizabeth 2, Queen Victoria and the new Cunarder Queen Elizabeth. A number of his works can also be found aboard the Saga Shipping’s Saga Sapphire and Saga Pearl II in addition to many corporate and private collections worldwide.