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96-024 "Queen Mary - Into the Sea"
1996, Acrylic on Illustration Board

This image surprises some people, but it's typical of many of my sea illustrations: stormy! Why I would choose to illustrate a violent, churning ocean - after all, isn't a peaceful, calm sea more pleasant to look at? It would certainly be more relaxing, but that's not what I'm trying to show in this aerial view of the Queen Mary. In truth, I find that calm seas focus the attention of the viewer more on the sea - the lovely scene - than on the ship. For me, the point is the ship: an island, an isolated bubble of comfort and even culture in an alien environment. Even the glassiest tropical lagoon is a dangerous place for humans; sharks, sharp corral, poisonous salt water and the absence of dry land to stand on will all conspire to kill an unprotected human eventually. The perils of the Queen's regular turf, the north Atlantic, are legendary: waves as tall as 100 feet, brutal cold in the air and sea, fierce place for fragile mankind. But in building a strong ship like the Queen, we are defying nature to do its worst. Like a starship between worlds, the Queen Mary is seen here far from safe harbor, but making progress through mere 25-footers (she saw far worse). Her captain has minimized her tendency to roll by steering the mammoth ship into the oncoming sea, no doubt to the relief of her 2200 passengers. Into the Sea is a statement about both human daring and natural power. Ships, as they say, are safe in a harbor - but that's not what ships are for.

This image was purchased for exclusive commercial use by the RMS Foundation, the operators of the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. It is available on several merchandise items in their shops. For more information, contact the Queen Mary Official web site or call 562-435-3511.

Chris Butler

Copyright 1994-2003 by Chris Butler
More of Chris Butler's art can be viewed at Novagraphics Space Art.