It was seeing the atmospheric, quintessentially English and hugely popular paintings of fellow East Anglian artist Edward Seago when he was a child that determined Richard Dack to pursue a career in painting.
His hometown of Lowestoft, then a busy Suffolk fishing port, provided him with a wealth of subject matter.
He delighted in sketching and painting the boats in the harbour, the docks and the bustling fish-market, as well as the wide-open land and seascapes that surround the town.
To this day these subjects continue to inspire him.
Richard attended Camberwell College of Arts, where drawing and rigorous observation in figurative work were instilled in the students, disciplines that would serve him well throughout his career.
He is a highly successful painter, a member of the prestigious Royal Society of Marine Artists and Chairman of the East Anglian Group of Marine Artists.
In 2013, at the invitation of Staithes Gallery, Richard, along with several other members of the RSMA, came to paint in Staithes.
He loved the huge cliffs, deep shadows and rugged coastline, such a contrast to the wide-open vistas of his native Suffolk.
Richard has been a regular visitor to the area ever since, bringing a fresh eye to our stunning coastal landscape.
In particular, Richard developed a fascination for the traditional Northeastern fishing boat: the coble.
“It’s the shape,” he told Whitby Gazette, “makes it such a wonderful subject for painting.”
Richard depicts the coble on water and resting on estuary mud at low tide, but also the abandoned boats, no longer seaworthy, left out to grass, their once proud hulls of larch and oak giving way to rot and ruin. Following a visit to Cook’s Yard in Whitby, and witnessing a coble restoration project in progress, Richard is eager to support such projects, donating a portion of the sale price of his paintings to help finance them.
He sponsored the restoration of Staithes coble, Mizpah, which formerly belonged to the late Staithes fisherman Willy Wright.
Willy was thankfully able to see Mizpah almost fully restored before his sad and sudden death last week.
Richard has pledged to donate £250 from the sale of Faded Glory – Odin at Port Mulgrave to help complete the project.
Richard’s paintings of cobles and other aspects of the Yorkshire coast can be seen now at Staithes Gallery, High St, Staithes, TS13 5BH.
Call the gallery on 01947 841840. mobile 07972 012464, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.staithesgallery.co.uk to find out more.
The gallery is open Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm.