The lifeboat crew who will live forever
Aldeburgh lifeboat volunteers have been keeping people safe around the east coast for over 115 years. Here’s how one crew member is making sure his generation of RNLI lifesavers will always be remembered.
Artist and Crew Member David Gillingwater combined his passion for creativity and the Aldeburgh lifeboat crew by capturing his crewmates as oil paintings for a very special exhibition, Oilskins: A Portrait of the Aldeburgh Lifeboat Crew.
And this November, you can get inspired by the time-capsule project by coming to see the exclusive collection of paintings for yourself.
‘I began painting the lifeboat crew in October 2017,’ David explains. ‘I’ll probably finish the last one the night before the exhibition!’
David says: ‘There’s something about each painting that I really love – the one I’m working on at the time is the painting I fall in love with most.’
David adds: ‘The drying process takes more time than painting. It can take weeks, depending on things like how thick the layers of paint have been or the details of the image.
‘While one’s drying you work on another, so you work on around 6 paintings at a time in rotation – you never get bored!’
‘See it for yourself’
‘There was a teaser for my exhibition earlier this summer and a lot of the crew came to see the paintings. They were blown away – they absolutely love them.
‘They got a real surprise when they saw them in real life. No matter how good the camera or the photographer, you can’t capture how special a painting is until you see it for yourself.’
Oilskins: A Portrait of the Aldeburgh Lifeboat Crew
Visit the lifesavers of Aldeburgh, captured in a remarkable collection of oil paintings, from 22–28 November at The Garage Gallery on Aldeburgh seafront.
‘The gallery makes you feel like you’re in the wheelhouse – you’ve got the natural soundtrack of the sea right in front of you,’ describes David.
‘With the paintings there, you feel like you’re surrounded by the crew: like they’re protecting you. That’s what they do – and that’s what I’m trying to get across.’