The Artist Stephen Card
Born in Bermuda, Stephen Card came to the world of Maritime Art after many years following an altogether different career path. Having gown up in Bermuda’s unique marine environment, it wasn’t surprising that he developed an early fascination with ships and the sea. At the age of 11 he visited New Zealand Shipping Company’s Rangitane, a memorable experience that resulted in a lifelong interest and passion for passenger ships and shipping.
In 1966, at age 14, his keen interest in ships led him to join the Bermuda Sea Cadet Corp, 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 1967 as a Deck Boy on 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, England. They traveled from Bermuda to New York on the Franconia and then crossed on the Queen Elizabeth to Southampton. After a month in England, the group traveled back to Bermuda, again on the Queen Elizabeth and Franconia.
During school holidays in 1969, Stephen flew back to England to join the tug/tender Gatcombe as Deck Boy for her delivery voyage from Bermuda. On finishing school in 1970, he joined the Glasgow firm of J. & J. Denholm (Management) Limited as a Navigating Cadet on board the 33,000-ton bulker Naess Pioneer.
Over the nest five years, he served on various ships in the fleet, ranging from tankers to bulkers to gas turbine-powered container ships and oil/bulk/ore carriers. During this time he also attended the Glasgow College of Nautical Studies, where he studied and took the examinations for Mate (Home Trade), Second Mate (Foreign-Going) and Mate (Foreign Going). In 1975, he was appointed to the reefer Loch Lomand as Second officer on her maiden voyage. Apart from a short Second Officer on Shaw, Savill & Albion’s Icenic and Chief Officer on the Denholm Training Ship Wellpark, Stephen spent six years on the Loch Lomond and her sister Loch Maree as Chief Officer.
After returning to Glasgow where he studied and attend 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-ton 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 Harbor Master, Bermuda and he returned to Bermuda to take the position. While there he was bale to devote spare time to his old hobby of sketching and painting. At year’s end however, having decided to return to the sea, a chance meeting with Holland America Line’s Chairman, Mr. Nic 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 point where he decided to come ashore for good to become a professional maritime painter. His first one-man exhibition was held in late 1984 at the Heritage House Gallery in Hamilton, Bermuda.
Mainly self-taught, he currently works in oils. 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 yacht Jezrbel and also made several delivery voyages as Master on board tugs, including the tug/tender Gatcome (as Bermudian in 1983, Topsman in 1988 and Royal M. in 1989), the vessel on which he first served as deck Boy in 1969. His last command was the Irish-flagged 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 15 years work involving over 70 paintings featuring HAL vessels. Following the contract for Cunard Line’s new flagship Queen Mary 2 in 2000, Stephen was commissioned to complete a series of paintings for the new liner. Thirty oils where commissioned which took almost 3 years to complete. Numerous paintings have also been done for other ships within the Carnival group including the Imagination, Costa Victoria, Queen Elizabeth 2, Queen Victoria and new building Queen Elizabeth. A number of his works can also be found aboard Saga Shipping’s Sage Rose and Ruby and Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Constellation. In addition to the many paintings in corporate and private collections worldwide, a number of Stephen’s paintings are also in the permanent collections of the Bermuda Maritime Museum and the Bermuda National Gallery.
Stephen presently divides his time between Bermuda and long ocean voyages, although you will sometimes find him hosting some of our WOCLS "Hosted" voyages.