Thomas Hoyne worked for most of his career as a commercial artist drawing famous advertising icons such as the Jolly Green Giant and the Charmin baby. But in mid-life, after being diagnosed with cancer, he changed career paths and became a marine artist. Although Hoyne only lived and painted for another 17 years, he was considered to be one of the finest contemporary marine artists in the world until his death in 1989. While Hoyne painted many scenes depicting maritime activity, most of his work evokes the terrors and hardships of fishing from sailing vessels on the notoriously inhospitable Grand Bands of the northern Atlantic.
Many consider Hoyne’s greatest strength as a painter his ability to depict vessels realistically, showing how they went about their work along the fishing banks of New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. It is said that the water shown in a Hoyne painting “feels” wet if you touch the surface of the artwork, a testament to the degree of realism the artist brought to his work. His intuitive feel for water perhaps was enhanced by his experiences on the water during his service in the Navy during World War II.
A founding fellow of the American Society of Marine Artists, Hoyne brought life to his canvases and breath to the working sailors he portrayed. Because of his meticulous studio methods, he was able to produce paintings that have become known for their accuracy in depicting vessels and their crews at sea. He commissioned Erik A. R. Ronnberg, one of the finest ship modelers, to build models that became the subjects of his paintings. To capture the vessel’s movement in water, Hoyne positioned the model in a tray of kitty litter, and then raked the kitty litter against the model as water would rake against a ship. These miniature seascapes were then sketched and photographed in order to produce possible compositions for paintings.
Mr. Hoyne passed away in 1989 at the age of 65, CIMM is proud to be home to several of his works.